Gone: Grant Cunningham
Arriving: Jamison Collier (signee '18), Jeremiah Wood (signee '18)
Ohio returns both of its starters from last season at safety in RS junior Javon Hagan and RS senior Kylan Nelson so the back end of the Bobcats defense, which was already solid in 2017, should do nothing but elevate as the crop of young up and comers add to the mix.
Hagan was second on the Bobcats defense with 85 total tackles and 45 solo stops while also picking up seven pass breakups, a fumble recovery, an interception and a forced fumble while earning Second Team All-MAC honors.
Nelson meanwhile picked up 53 total tackles and 28 solo stops, had three tackles for loss, eight pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
Ohio will be leaning on a group of up and coming players to provide depth for Hagan and Nelson after losing Grant Cunningham to graduation and Tyler Gullett moving to linebacker.
RS sophomore Jarren Hampton and RS freshmen Michael Ballentine, Alvin Floyd and De'Vante Mitchell should all see some action this fall at safety and have all looked good at various times so far this spring.
Quote from Jimmy Burrow – Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Safeties
"We got a lot of young safeties that are competing against each other and improving every day. Michael Ballentine, Alvin Floyd and De'Vante Mitchell that are getting a lot done and giving them a lot of reps and that is a good thing. We are looking for depth, Kylan Nelson and Javon Hagan are solid as starters and Jarren Hampton has done a good job, he has been around and shown a lot of improvement"
On Defense this spring
"At linebackers and defensive line, there are six guys that we lost in that group. We have a lot of young guys and some inexperienced, some have been around they just haven't played a lot. So we are trying to make sure mentally they are in sync with what we are doing and be able to take that part and be physical which is what our defense is all about. I have been encouraged and real positive about how it's gone. I told them the other day that spring ball isn't over, there is still a log we can get done, so all in all its been a good spring."