2014 Big 12 Preview: Secondary Unit Rankings

Posted Aug 15, 2014

Preview 2014 - Big 12 Secondary Unit Rankings & Breakdowns



- 2014 Big 12 Preview
- 2014 CFN Big 12 Schedules & Picks: Baylor to OU
- 2014 CFN Big 12 Schedules & Picks: OSU to WVU
- CFN All-Big 12 Team & Top 30 Players
- Big 12 Team Looks & Predicted Finish   
Unit Rankings QB | RB | WR | OL
DL | LB | DB | ST | Coaches

- 2014 Baylor Preview
- 2014 Iowa State Preview  
- 2014 Kansas Preview  
- 2014 Kansas State Preview
- 2014 Oklahoma Preview
- 2014 Oklahoma State Preview  
- 2014 TCU Preview 
- 2014 Texas Preview 
- 2014 Texas Tech Preview 
- 2014 West Virginia Preview  
1. Oklahoma
The Sooner secondary was fantastic last season, leading the Big 12 in yards allowed and giving up 17 touchdowns while picking off 16 passes. Now is when it should really rock with three returning starters including the corner tandem of Zack Sanchez and Julian Wilson, who spent most of last year at safety, and the big-hitting Quentin Hayes at strong safety. If the pass rush is as good as advertised, this could be one of the nation’s most productive defensive backfields.
Unit Ranking: 8

2. Texas
The secondary had to spend way too much time helping out the run defense. But this time around, it should be loaded and ready to do big things thanks to the return of star corner Quandre Diggs for his senior year. He’ll be on the All-America short list, while fellow corner Duke Thomas and safety Mykkele Thompson should be in the hunt for all-star honors. There’s depth, and there will be help from the pass rush, but after allowing seven yards per pass attempt, it’ll take a more aggressive approach to improve.
Unit Ranking: 7.5

3. TCU
It wasn’t a vintage TCU pass defense, but it only allowed 14 touchdown passes and came up with 19 picks. This year, there’s a chance to be special with the return of safety Sam Carter, who should return to all-star form, and Chris Hackett, who should be among the team’s leading tacklers. The problem is at one corner where Jason Verrett is gone, but overall, the secondary will be a strength.
Unit Ranking: 7.5

4. Kansas State
It will be a bit of a transitional year without Ty Zimmerman at safety, but Randall Evans is a good, versatile corner to work around, and Dante Barnett will be among the team’s leading tacklers. The secondary came up with 17 picks and only allowed 13 touchdown passes, but it was hit hard by Baylor and Texas Tech. With JUCO transfers Danzel McDaniel and Jesse Mack coming in, depth and options won’t be a problem.
Unit Ranking: 7.5

5. Baylor
The Bears held up under the barrage. Everyone tried to throw to keep up, and the secondary did its part allowing teams to connect on just 48% of their passes and coming up with 19 picks. However, four of the five starters have to be replaced losing star safety Ahmad Dixon and playmaking corner Demetri Goodson. Terrell Burt is a good, veteran safety, but the corners could be sketchy early on with SMU to start the season. The pass defense will take a step back, but it won’t fall completely off the map.
Unit Ranking: 7

6. Oklahoma State
A problem last year even with a superstar corner in Justin Gilbert to count on at one corner and Daytawion Lowe at safety, there should be bigger concerns this season. The Cowboys were second-to-last in the Big 12 in pass defense giving up 3,153 yards, but leading the conference with 21 interceptions. Kevin Peterson is the new top corner now, but it’s going to take a little while before all the pieces fill in around him. Sophomores Deric Robertson and Jordan Sterns will have to play like veterans from Day One against Florida State.
Unit Ranking: 6.5

7. Texas Tech
The Red Raider secondary was one of the unsung stars of the Big 12 last year finishing third in the conference in yards allowed per game giving up 217 yards per outing. Unfortunately, only one starters is back in sophomore Keenon Ward. JUCO transfer Josh Keys comes in to add another option just about anywhere, likely at free safety, but it’ll mostly be up to sophomores Justin Nelson and La’Darius Newbold to help out the corner situation. It’s going to take a little before this group comes together.
Unit Ranking: 6.5

8. Kansas
A big problem throughout last year, the Jayhawks couldn’t come up with a key stop and allowed way too many key plays down the field. Things should be better with four starters returning in the 4-2-5 alignment including rising safety Isaiah Johnson and good-hitting versatile defender Cassius Sendish. There are options to play around with, and the coaching staff will need to work on the alignment to make the experience translate into production.
Unit Ranking: 6.5

9. West Virginia
Dead last in the Big 12 in pass defense, the Mountaineers gave up a whopping 7.9 yards per pass and were roasted for 24 touchdowns and over 260 yards per game. Top safety Darwin Cook is gone, but Karl Joseph returns and should be among the league’s top safeties again after a bit of a down year. Ishmael Banks is a veteran corner who has to do more, and JUCO transfer Jaylon Myers needs to produce right away. Expect more from this group – the pass defense can’t be any worse.
Unit Ranking: 6.5

10. Iowa State
Inconsistent, the Cyclones had their problems against the Big 12’s top passing games, but held up well against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Only one starter returns, and San Richardson is a good corner who can tackle, despite being undersized. JUCO transfers Qujuan Moore and Devron Moore will see time right away, and redshirt freshman Kamari Cotton-Moya has to be ready to be one of the team’s leading tacklers. If the JUCO transfers aren’t great, it’s going to be a long year.
Unit Ranking: 6