Tulane Football 2017 Position Preview: Cornerbacks

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Green Wave cornerback Parry Nickerson (#17)

NEW ORLEANS – Tulane football worked out in full pads and incorporated scrimmage situations in its two-hour practice Friday morning at the New Orleans Saints indoor facility in Metairie.

The Green Wave focused on team scrimmage sessions and special teams during the workout, which included full tackling in team drills. While the Wave has been going hard in practices during the first two weeks of camp, head coach Willie Fritz said the coaching staff wanted a good look at the players in game-like conditions with officials on hand Friday and Saturday.

“We’re going to go back and watch the tape, and some guys will have taken advantage of the reps they got and they’re going to move up the depth chart, and some guys are going to go lower on the depth chart,” Fritz said. “I told them all before we got out here, the only way I can evaluate is seeing what you do when you get out there in these game-like situations.”

The Green Wave return to campus Saturday morning for a workout at Yulman Stadium. Practices are closed to the public.

As the 2017 season approaches, with just 22 days to kickoff, the units are rounding into shape, and previews of each position will follow on TulaneGreenWave.com in the coming days and weeks. Today: cornerbacks.

The cornerback position is an area of strength and experience with a pair of fourth-year players returning as starters in 2017. Senior Parry Nickerson and redshirt junior Donnie Lewis Jr. have combined for 53 starts in their careers and anchor the defensive backfield.

Nickerson has made 34 starts at cornerback, totaling 133 tackles, 10 interceptions, 32 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in his career. The Algiers native and second-team All-American Athletic Conference selection last year picked off four passes, including one returned 96 yards for a touchdown, and recorded 29 tackles with 13 pass breakups. Redshirt junior Donnie Lewis Jr. has 19 starts in two seasons under his belt. The Baton Rouge product has compiled 69 tackles, two interceptions and 12 pass breakups.

“(Parry) and (Donnie) are two good football players. They’re tough-minded, and they do a good job of improving on their craft every single day,” Fritz said. “Both of them have become more physical players, at re-routing receivers and tackling. They’re more complete football players, which is something we’ve been working on with both of them. They’re both fine, fine players.”

Sophomore Thakarius Keyes, who hails from Laurel, Miss., played in seven games last season, totaling eight tackles and a breakup, while redshirt junior Stephon Lofton, a New Orleans native, has played in 16 contests over two years. Redshirt freshman Tre Jackson, a Baton Rouge product, is poised to return to the field after missing all but two games with an injury last year. True freshmen Willie Langham (McAdory, Ala.) and Jaylon Monroe (Mesquite, Texas) are set to make an impact with the Green Wave in their first year uptown.

“Parry and Donnie are both playing exceptionally well,” cornerbacks coach Chris Hampton said. “Thakarius Keyes is doing a great job. He has a lot of length and athleticism. Two freshmen – Jaylon Monroe and Willie Langham have really been a pleasant surprise. I think Parry and Donnie have done a great job of helping Willie and Jaylon grow. They’re getting better and better each day, and I think they can help us this year.”

Season tickets and mini-plans are on sale now, and can be purchased by calling 504-861-WAVE (9283), logging onto TulaneTix.com or visiting the ticket office at the James W. Wilson Jr. Center. Season tickets that includes all six home games during the 2017 season start as low as $200 for a single book and $300 for a family four-pack. Mini plans include the 3rd & Goal package for $75 and the Homecoming & Lagniappe package for $65. Seats are available in locations throughout Yulman Stadium.

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