2011 Spring Football Outlook: Defensive Backs
Editor's note: This is the seventh of an eight-part series taking a
look at the Iowa State football team position by position heading into
practice. A review of the defensive backs is below. Click the
in the photo above to see an interview with head coach Paul Rhoads.
Links to other position breakdowns can be found at the bottom of the
Pre-Spring Defensive Back Depth Chart
5 **Jeremy Reeves, 5-7, 165, Jr.
2 *Jansen Watson, 5-9, 176, So.#
8 Matthew Thomas, 5-9, 164, Fr.#
23 ***Leonard Johnson, 5-10, 196, Sr.
4 *Anthony Young, 5-8, 169, Sr.
22 ***Ter’Ran Benton, 6-0 207, Sr.
17 *Earl Brooks, 5-10, 196, Sr.#
27 C.J. Morgan, 6-2, 201, Fr.#
10 *Jacques Washington, 6-0, 209, So.#
26 *Deon Broomfield, 6-0, 192, So.#
24 Durrell Givens, 5-11, 204, Jr.#
Leonard Johnson is an All-Big 12 corner and the best cover man Iowa State has fielded in recent memory. Johnson has started since his freshman season, accuring 175 career tackles with five interceptions and 18 pass breakups. Johnson is additionally proficient against the run, having forced and recovered five fumbles.
Playing along with Johnson in the secondary is fellow senior Ter’Ran Benton. Benton has 123 career tackles with three sacks. Benton’s athleticism has given the Cyclones another frontline player who brings a wealth of experience to the secondary. There are opportunities for the up and comers. Jeremy Reeves has played in a variety of situations and is a playmaker. He returned a interception 94 yards for a touchdown against Northern Iowa and had another pick in Iowa State’s 28-21 win at Texas. Jansen Watson will get more playing time this season and Rhoads will see Matthew Thomas after his redshirt season. Former juco Anthony Young, starts the season backing up Johnson after making 17 tackles in 2010
Along with Benton at safety, Earl Brooks has some experience and redshirt freshman C.J. Morgan is get a look this spring. Jacques Washington made 12 tackles last season and played in some major game day situations last season. This is big spring for Deon Broomfield and Durrell Givens.
Rhoads on his defensive backs:
“We have zero experience at the safety position, so this is an area of concentration this spring. It’s the No. 1 position that we must bring along. The good news is that there’s great competition that can make us productive there this fall. Deon Broomfield and Jacques Washington, although not experienced, got some exposure last year as redshirt freshmen. Durrell Givens, coming off a redshirt as a junior college player, must step up for us. Earl Brooks enters his third season as a junior college transfer and must be helping this team out defensively, not just special teams. Jansen Watson moves from the cornerback position back to safety He is maybe one of the most athletic players we have on the roster. We have the numbers to create a competitive environment. Ultimately, I think in the end we’ll be okay at the safety position. We will take a long took at Benton as safety.”
“Cornerback will be our best position on the defensive side of the ball. Along with linebacker spot and running back I think it’s got a chance to be one of the three best positions on our team. Leonard Johnson and Ter’Ran Benton are both NFL players in my estimation. I think Jeremy Reeves is very talented as a true junior. Matt Thomas and Anthony Young will also be out there competing this spring and trying to provide much-needed depth. This is imperative because we like to play five and sometimes six defensive backs.”
"We will experiment with both TB and Jansen at the safety and corner positions. We'd like to see what TB can bring us as a safety and Jansen has experience at both positions. Throw in playing Nickel and TB might be the most versatile DB in the league."