Football Guide: Positional grades for defensive backs
Projected starters: Jonathan McKnight, redshirt senior (cornerback); Jarvis McCall Jr., redshirt freshman (cornerback); Jourdon Grandon, redshirt senior (free safety); William Parks, junior (safety); Jared Tevis, redshirt senior (safety)
Backups: Cam Denson (true freshman), Tra’Mayne Bondurant (senior), Devin Holiday (sophomore), Jamar Allah (junior), Tellas Jones (redshirt sophomore), Blake Brady (redshirt senior), Patrick Glover (junior), Johnny Jackson (redshirt junior), Kwesi Mashack (true freshman), Brendan Murphy (redshirt senior), Rodney Carr Jr. (true freshman), Trevor Ermisch (senior), Carter Hehr (redshirt freshman), Brogan Kemmerly (redshirt freshman), Anthony Lopez (junior), Yamen Sanders (redshirt sophomore)
Departures: Shaquille Richardson (graduation, NFL), Derek Babiash (left program), Logan Barlett
Returning stat leaders: Jared Tevis (2013-14) — 83 total tackles, one interception and four tackle for loss
Jourdon Grandon (2013-14) — 73 total tackles and two interceptions
Jared Tarvis, Safety
Cornerbacks at Arizona have consistently revolved over the past couple years, and there will be yet another new starter this season. Jarvis McCall Jr. is slotted to start and should provide considerable height alongside Jonathan McKnight.
McKnight, who started all 13 games last season, will fill a similar role as last season’s No. 1 cornerback Shaquille Richardson.
Behind McCall Jr. and McKnight, there is a unique mixture of upperclassmen and underclassmen that could see playing time if the starters underperform.
Among those looking for playing time are Cameron Denson, Devin Holiday and Patrick Glover. All three are talented enough to play but need to earn their snaps.
On the other hand, all three starting safeties are back from last season, but Tra’Mayne Bondurant will start the year on the bench due to disciplinary reasons. Bondurant started 12 games last season at safety and was among team leaders with 72 total tackles.
Replacing Bondurant is junior Will Parks, who joins Jared Tevis and Jourdon Grandon as the three starting safeties.
In defensive coordinator’s Jeff Casteel’s 3-3-5 defensive formation, having the extra safety helps guard against the spread offenses in the Pac-12 Conference. The Tevis and Grandon duo is among the best in the conference, and their versatility provides Casteel with plenty of options in regard to pass coverage and run support.
This season, safety will be one of the few positions of strength on the defensive side of the ball.
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