2019 Southeastern Football Position Report No. 7: Defensive Backs

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HAMMOND, La. – With nearly every team on its 2019 schedule featuring a returning starting quarterback, the Southeastern Louisiana Lions head into the coming season knowing it needs a large contribution from its secondary in order to be successful.

No position on the SLU roster has seen as many additions during the offseason than the defensive backs. The new additions combine with a solid returning nucleus to raise expectations for the back end of the Lion defense.

The Lions’ top returner in the secondary is Xavier Lewis, who earned honorable mention All-Southland Conference accolades in his debut season in Hammond after transferring from LSU. Lewis is one of three senior returners in the secondary, along with Tre’ Spann and Dejion Lynch, that provide leadership for the Southeastern defensive backs.

“Xavier’s someone whose understanding of our scheme has really improved since he’s been here,” Southeastern secondary coach Tarence Calais commented. “We can use X in a variety of ways, because of his ability on the ball, defending the run and as a blitzer. Tre’ and Dejion are doing a good job of bringing our young guys along. We can count on them to do the right things and know their roles within our defense.”

A pair of sophomores – Donniel Ward-Magee and Ferlando Jordan – have consistently earned praise through fall camp from head coach Frank Scelfo and defensive coordinator Lance Guidry for their improvements.

“Donniel has matured on and off the field for us,” Calais said. “He’s helping us get lined up correctly, taking pride in what he’s doing and has really taken well to Coach Guidry’s scheme. Ferlando has tightened up his technique and we expect him to be a dynamic player for us as a sophomore.”

Both Matt Wright and Marcell Selmon Jr. return after injury-marred 2018 to give Southeastern more options. Calais also cited Justin Douglas, Shawntrez Spates, Derek Turner II, Patrick Johnson and Dontrell Smith, among others, as expected contributors to an improved secondary unit.

“We believe we’re up to the task this year,” Calais said. “I’m really pleased with the excitement and energy we’re playing with right now. We’re not flinching and attacking whatever’s thrown at us. It’s been enjoyable to watch our guys grow and I’m looking forward to watching this group compete week-in and week-out.”

The opening game of the 2019 season is a week away, as No. 6 Jacksonville State visits Strawberry Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m. Next Thursday’s game against the Gamecocks will also be Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day at Strawberry Stadium. All SLU faculty and staff can receive two complimentary tickets by presenting their Southeastern faculty/staff ID.

To avoid ticket lines, faculty and staff are encouraged to pick up their tickets prior to game day at the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office, which is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Friday. On game day, tickets may be picked up at the ticket booths in Friendship Circle or Strawberry Stadium.

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