Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Position breakdown: Defensive backs
By Sam Khan Jr.
Deshazor Everett's interception against Alabama will go down in A&M lore.
Having the same combination of players in the secondary from week to week wasn't a common occurrence for Texas A&M in 2012.
Whether it was an injury or simply trying fit the right pieces into the right places, the defensive backfield was an area where the Aggies moved a lot of pieces.
The unit had its ups and downs but returns plenty of experience for 2013.
Of the nine players listed on the final two-deep of the 2012 season, seven of them are back for 2013. That includes cornerback Deshazor Everett and safety Howard Matthews, both of whom started the final four games of the season.
Everett started all 13 games last season but not at the same position. Depending on the week, Everett could be at cornerback or safety. His versatility allowed the Aggies the option to mix and match in the secondary.
He turned in a strong sophomore season, tallying 56 tackles, three tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and two interceptions, including one that will long be remembered by Aggies fans -- the fourth-quarter pick that essentially sealed Texas A&M's upset win at No. 1 Alabama.
Matthews showed significant progress during the season. After not even being in the two-deep to start the season, Matthews came on strong, earning starts in five games. He finished seventh on the team in tackles (58) and had six pass breakups despite not playing a major role until later in the season.
Another key player returning who played multiple roles is Toney Hurd Jr. The Missouri City, Texas, native is entering his senior season and as a junior, showed off his versatility much like Everett. Hurd played the role of nickel cornerback when the Aggies went to three-corner packages, but also showed the ability to play safety, earning three starts there during the season.
Hurd started seven games and appeared in all 13. He finished fourth on the team in tackles (67) and also had a memorable interception of his own -- the one that secured the Aggies' thrilling, come-from-behind win at Mississippi.
It stands to reason that all three of the above names will play significant roles in the secondary. While Matthews is likely to stick at safety, where Everett and Hurd line up could change depending on needs, just like last season.
Also returning at cornerback are sophomore De'Vante Harris and senior Tramain Jacobs. Harris started seven games as a freshman and played in 12 while Jacobs appeared in all 13 games, starting two. Junior Floyd Raven, who played a bit of a hybrid role and played in all 13 games, returns as well. If Everett lines up at corner, look for one of those three to fill the other corner spot vacated by departed senior Dustin Harris.
The void that needs to be filled in 2013 is the one left by former starting free safety Steven Terrell. As a senior, Terrell started all 13 games and was a consistent presence. Hurd could step into that role. He was listed as Terrell's backup at the position on the two-deep at the end of last season.
The Aggies brought in six defensive backs in the 2013 recruiting class and one is already on campus -- Orange (Texas) Little Cypress-Mauriceville's Alex Sezer.
A running back at LC-M, the speedy Sezer will be a cornerback at Texas A&M. The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder spent some time on defense for LC-M and was also a sprinter on the track team. He could be a factor this spring.