Mathieu Araujo was named Yale’s Defensive Backs Coach after stints at Boston College and Springfield College (Graduate Assistant). Vashel will coach the outside linebackers and McGowan will assist with the defensive backs as well. Welcome aboard Coach Araujo and best of luck in transforming this secondary!
Spencer Matthaei and Josh Keeler are the top returners at defensive tackle. Both have flashed dominance in spurts, but need to be much more consistent at the point of attack this season. Sebastian Bruno, Michael Chime, Tate Goodyear and Adam Raine all have a chance to see extending playing time with a solid performance in Spring Ball.
Charles Callender and Devin Moore both return as starters from a year ago. Callender wasn’t the same player this past season as he battled through an injury, while Moore struggled to contain the outside edge at times. Christian Sampleton, Sean Kissel, Oso Ifesinachukwu and Reid Nickerson all played major roles last season and have the potential to replace Callender or Moore. Ethan Campbell and Brett Gerber could enter the defensive line rotation as well. Will Kyle Mullen ever return to reclaim his starting position?
The linebacking corps is full of raw talent that has yet to be fully developed. Micah Awodiran, Ryan Burke, Blake Hill, Noah Pope, John Dean, and Jordan Carey all started at some point last season. There never seemed to be a consistent unit on the field that could mesh well together, so developing cohesiveness among the top linebackers is crucial this Spring. These six players must take drastic leaps from 2018 to solidify the defense. Abelite, Frommer, Large, MacPhee, Ryan and Westafer will have the opportunity to compete for playing time and likely will be key players on the special teams units.
The secondary has an abundance of depth and experience returning, but these players need to be properly coached and put in a position to succeed. Our defensive backs must look for the ball and tackle well to give us a chance in 2019. Rodney Thomas will likely return as the starting free safety. Tosan Agbeyegbe and Miles Oldacre could be in competition for the strong safety spot, although Oldacre seemed to play more as an outside linebacker last season opposed to a true safety. Isaiah Dunham really showed a willingness to hit opponents in his limited playing time, something that was lacking in the secondary most of the season. Abraham, Alburg, Dixon, Ellis, Granberry, Henson and Hickey saw a lot of snaps last season and will battle it out for the starting corner positions. Dixon and Hickey played safety during parts of last season and could contend for the strong safety position with Agbeyegbe and Oldacre.