Multiple defensive backs in mix for three starting positions
At Pro Day on March 16, defensive backs Amari Coleman, Josh Cox and Darwyn Kelly took the field for the final time as Chippewas to test their talents for National Football League scouts.
With one starting cornerback and two starting safety spots open, the chase for those positions is now underway in spring practice.
“It’s young but talented,” said CMU head coach John Bonamego. “It’s a challenge for us coaches to see what they can handle. We don’t want to starve them, but we don’t want to put too much on their plate. Talent is always a good thing to have.”
Junior cornerback Sean Bunting is the only starter from the secondary returning to the Central Michigan football team for the 2018 season. After the loss of defensive backs coach Archie Collins to Pittsburgh, it is up to his replacement, Cory Hall, to make the decision.
“We lost two starting safeties, so everyone in that group is competition,” Bunting said. “We got new coaches, so it’s completely up to them.”
Hall spent the past two seasons at Oregon State coaching cornerbacks and was the interim head coach in 2017. He joined CMU as the secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator on March 18 and is eager to help the young group of Chippewas grow into stars.
"The players and Bono attracted me to Central Michigan," Hall said. "The opportunity to continue to develop a talented young group was an important piece in making my decision. My goal is to contribute as a member of this staff and to develop young student-athletes."
Along with Hall, Bonamego is excited about the defensive back opportunities. The only senior in the secondary is Tyjuan Swain, who was a transfer from College of DuPage two years ago.
Swain is currently battling a foot injury, which will keep him out during spring practice. The injury will not require surgery. Bonamego said the team can count on Swain in the secondary.
“The most experience returning (in the safety position) is Tyjuan Swain and Alonzo McCoy,” Bunting said.
Bonamego said McCoy, a sophomore, and junior Da’Quaun Jamison are also in the mix to earn significant playing time. As a senior in 2013 season for Lee County High School in Leesburg, Georgia, Jamison made 67 tackles, seven interceptions and 10 pass breakups.
“(McCoy) is another guy that’s coming on,” Bonamego said. “He’s right there in the mix. We will see Jamison some at safety or the star position. We have more guys that have played than people give us credit for. Swain and (McCoy) played back there and (Jamison) has played a lot."
If Swain, McCoy and Jamison fall behind, redshirt freshman Devonni Reed and sophomore Gage Kreski could see significant playing time. Last season, Kreski was forced to sit out with an injury.
“I’m excited about that young group,” Bonamego said. “Devonni is a guy who is an instinctive, smart and talented player. (Kreski) is having a great spring.”
Hall is expected to develop the talent wearing Maroon and Gold in the secondary. The more the defensive backs grow in spring pracitce, the better they will be equipped to succeed in the 2018 season.
“This is a young team overall at a lot of positions, but it’s not one without talent,” Bonamego said. “There is still growth that needs to occur quickly. We need all hands-on-deck to get these guys as many reps as possible.”