The Akron Zips secondary wasn’t the picture of consistency last season. It would appear that 2017 will be a much different story. Seven defensive starters return including Zach Guiser, who will lead a young and explosive squad that could challenge for best in the Conference.
Despite losing two starting defensive backs in Larry Hope and DeAndre Scott, the Zips are more loaded in the secondary than ever before. A lot of that falls on the shoulders of Guiser, who, make no mistake about it, is the heart of the unit. Yet, there are others that can pick up the slack as well.
Replacing two starting cornerbacks isn’t easy for any team. Fortunately, Akron has plenty of options at its disposal. Juniors, Kyron Brown and Jordan George are both highly regarded. In addition, Rutgers transfer, Darian Daley, who was named Akron defensive MVP during spring drills, is a possibility for a starting role as well.
Brown played in 12 games last season with 1 start and 3 interceptions. He’s the favorite to land one of the two starting spots at CB. The remaining spot will fall to either George or Dailey. Personally, I’d expect Daley to win the role after his impressive Spring. Regardless, the Zips have a lot of depth at the corner position.
Cornerback aside, Akron has quite the talented safety core. We’ve already mentioned Guiser, but Sophomore Alvin Davis, who started 7 games as a true freshman last season, is a gamer. He finished second on the team with 87 tackles.
The combo of Guiser and Davis will make it extremely tough for the opposing defense. Guiser is a former All-MAC selection, while Davis was the Harry “Doc” Smith award winner for defense. Having someone like Guiser is beneficial to the growth of Davis, who, if all goes right this year, could challenge for a spot on the All-MAC teams.
Akron finished 114th in the Nation in total defense last season. That’s nothing to write home about. With a mix of returning players, transfers, and those who will take on bigger roles in the offense, that 2016 Akron secondary might be a thing of the past.