Tulane Football Positional Preview: Defensive backs

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Macon Clark, #37, Tulane
Macon Clark (Photo: Parker Waters)

NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane defensive backs played a pivotal role in helping the Green Wave defense rank among the league’s Top 5 in scoring defense, interceptions and redzone defense in 2020. The Green Wave will boast 14 returners and 9 newcomers.

THE UNIT
• Tulane’s 2020 defensive backs helped the Green Wave lead the American Athletic Conference (tied for 14th overall) in passes broken up with 42.
• The Green Wave’s 51 passes defended ranked second in the AAC and tied for 19th in the nation.
• Junior Larry Brooks totaled 58.0 tackles three interceptions, three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble on the season in 2020.
• Brooks earned two 2020 postseason accolades, including Phil Steele All-AAC Third Team and Pro Football Focus All-AAC Honorable Mention.
• Senior Jaylon Monroe led the team with nine pass breakups in 2020.
• Junior Macon Clark totaled 43.0 tackles, 4.0 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two interceptions and four pass breakups.
• Clark was named to the Phil Steele All-AAC Third Team and the Pro Football Focus All-AAC Honorable mention at the end of the 2020 season.
• Freshman Rudy Dyson saw action in nine games last season and recorded 26.0 total tackles.
• Senior Ajani Kerr appeared in all 12 games for the Green Wave in 2020.
• Redshirt freshman – Levi Williams, Kiland Harrison, Jonathan Mestayer II and freshman – Kevaris Hall, Shi’keem Leister, Reggie Neely, Rishi Rattan, Gabe Liu and Aidan McCahill round out the returners.
• Transfers Derrion Rakestraw (Colorado) and Lance Robinson (Kansas State), also join the Olive and Blue.
• Rakestraw comes to Tulane following a productive career at Colorado where he saw action in 41 career games with the Buffaloes.
• Robinson, a native of New Orleans, spent three years with the Wildcats where he appeared in 19 career games.
• Freshmen Kolby Phillips, Jadon Canady, Bailey Depanie, Brandon Kim, Rodrek Williams II, Jean-Jacques Hunter and Ford Dickerson as the newest additions to the Green Wave secondary.

OF NOTE
• Brooks was been named to the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Watchlist. He also was selected to the preseason All-AAC team by Phil Steele and Athlon Sports.
• Monroe was one of only seven players on the team to start in every game during the regular season.

SECONDARY COACH J.J. MCCLESKEY
“We’re focusing on making plays. In college football, you have to be a team that makes plays, we have been focusing on tips and overthrows and I think that’s something we want to bring to our football team. We want to be able to make the plays when the plays are there. We have overstressed that we have got to make plays.”
Tulane opens the 2021 season against Oklahoma, with kickoff scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 4. The game will be aired nationally on ABC. The Green Wave return to 16 starters and 53 letterwinners.

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WE ARE NOLA BUILT
Tulane University is located in the city of New Orleans. It is a city built on tradition and resiliency. The lessons Green Wave student-athletes have learned through their connection with this university and city have BUILT doctors, lawyers, business leaders, conference champions, all-conference players, All-Americans, professional athletes and NCAA tournament teams. The city of New Orleans has shaped us into who we are today. We are One City. We are Tulane. We are NOLA BUILT. Check out our story at NolaBuilt.com.

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