Steve Wilks / Defense
I'll finish off my view of the transformation of the Tigers football team by looking at the defense . When Coach Drinkwitz got here the defense was thin on talent and very thin on depth . At times they looked confused, they had trouble generating pressure and an inability to create turnovers and make big plays, They've brought in some exciting recruits and this year they brought in veteran Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks . In turn he has put together a fine veteran staff and if the spring practices is a barometer this defense looks vastly improved .
Starting off with the defensive line which needed a total reset . In 2020 they got back DE Trajan Jeffcoat who had walked away from the team in 2019 . A huge turn as this young man looks like he might be playing on Sundays in the near future. They also added coveted JUCO DT Benjamin Key . In 2021 they added a quartet of talented DE's Travion Ford, Kyran Montgomery, Arden Walker, and Jonathan Jones . They also added JUCO Daniel Robledo . On the interior they brought in local standout DT Mekhi Wingo and transfer Realus George . the 2022 offers include highly touted Marquis Gracial and Dominic Orange and Gracial is close to announcing his intentions .
Linebacker was a position with some talent and a little depth so this was more of keeping the line moving and as always upgrading if you can . In 2020 the staff held on to two recruits Will Norris and Johnny Walker . The 2021 class would bring Dameon Wilson and Zachary Lovett along with transfer Blaze Alldredge . The 2022 class still has a few interesting names and we'll just have to see how it shakes out but talent and depth have been increased.
Finally we look at the defensive backs where the Tigers had some good players especially at safety but were once again very thin . They held onto 2020 S Tyler Jones, ATH Jaylon Carlies and pried CB Ennis Rakestraw . In 2021 they got four CBs Daylan Carnell, Davion Sistrunk, Darius Jackson, and Zxaequan Reeves . They also brought in local S Tyler Hibbler . The 2022 class already boasts star S Isaac Thompson and there will be more to come .
As you look over the recap it's amazing how this staff has been able to improve this entire roster in such a short time . They've also managed to generate a lot of enthusiasm and excitement with lighting the dome and a fantastic social presence . Winning on the field is the next thing to check off. The first season was a surprising 5-5 in an all SEC schedule and there are high hopes for the second season. At this point all I can say is thanks Coach Drink and keep up the good work.