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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Football

UH football 2021 season grades: Defensive backs


The UH secondary took a tremendous leap from in the 2021 football season, they totaled 14 interceptions and ranked 18th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game. | James Schillinger/The Cougar

The UH secondary took a big leap from in the 2021 football season, they totaled 14 interceptions and ranked 18th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game. | James Schillinger/The Cougar

With the Cougars impressive 2021 football season reaching its end, it’s time to look back on how each position performed during the season.

This week, we shift focus to the defensive backs.

Season Overview

The UH secondary saw a considerable improvement in 2021, ranking third in the American Athletic Conference in passing yards allowed per game and 18th in the nation, allowing just 194 passing yards per game.

The Cougars managed 14 total interceptions on the season, putting an exclamation point on their pass protection and ranking them 26th in the nation for total interceptions, another massive improvement from the teams numbers a year prior.

When players got passed the front seven the secondary did their job making stops. Two of the Cougars top five tackle leaders were players among the secondary, senior cornerback Damarion Williams and junior safety Gervarrius Owens combined for 115 total tackles on the season.

All-American Impact

Senior defensive back Marcus Jones, who has recently declared for the NFL draft, was again the Cougars big-time player in the secondary. Five of the teams 14 interceptions came from Jones and he recorded 13 pass breakups on the year.

Jones did it all for the Cougars. While ranking 4th in the nation in interceptions and 5th in the nation in total passes defended, he also managed 48 tackles and a forced fumble to go along with his pass protection numbers.

Jones’ numbers in 2021 were enough to have him named to the AAC All-Conference Second Team as well as a consensus All-American, which was the same honor current Buffalo Bills defensive end Ed Oliver received when he was a Cougar back in 2018.

Performance Grade

UH saw another position take a big leap in 2021 with the defensive backs, the improvement from a season ago proved to be a game-changer for the defense as a whole.

Coming away with interceptions was one of the biggest improvements the defensive backs made, it gave the offense solid field position and extra possessions, shifted the momentum of the game at times and prevented more than a few opponent scores on the season.

The improvement the Cougars secondary made earns them a solid performance rating.

Performance Grade: B+

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