UConn football’s secondary was bad last year. Really bad. The Huskies ranked 121st in Passing S&P+ out of 128 teams and lost a handful of seniors.
On the bright side, two of the seniors — Jamar Summers and Tre Bell — were both part of the reason UConn was so porous against the pass. While they are replaced by players without much experience, those young guys should theoretically improve as they get more snaps.
Herring-Wilson played in eight games but saw action in just three on defense. However, he’s the only cornerback listed on the depth chart with any experience at all, as the other three are all true freshmen. At 6-foot-1, Herring-Wilson has great size to be a boundary cornerback and has performed well enough in camp to earn one of the two starting corner spots.
Keyshawn Paul, Shamel Lazarus, Ryan Carroll
After Herring-Wilson, the remaining three cornerbacks on the first two-deep are all true freshmen. Paul is slated to be the starter with Lazarus and Carroll as the backups. During the recruiting process, Lazarus was the only three-star recruit and had offers from Rutgers and Purdue while the other two were two-star prospects. Despite Paul penciled in at starter, all three should see plenty of time on the field this season.
A local kid from Windsor, Connecticut, Coyle played in all 12 games last season with nine starts. He led the team with two interceptions including a pick-six against Temple. Coyle will certainly benefit from a year in the system and if he can make a big leap this season, it will go a long way to stabilizing the entire secondary.
Fortt also played in 12 games a freshman and only got better as the season went on. He topped off his first year with the Huskies with a 12-tackle performance against Cincinnati. Fortt was an early-enrollee in spring 2017, meaning he’s been with the current staff as long as anybody. He’s in prime position to have a breakout season this year.
Jalon Ferrell, Oneil Robinson
Like cornerback, the two safety spots are backed up by true freshmen. Both players were two-star prospects without much FBS interest outside of UConn. While it’s not ideal to have so many young players in key spot, the most of the players brought in by the old regime are gone, leaving the Huskies without many options.
The HUSKY position is a hybrid safety-linebacker position in the 3-3-5 defense. They can play in the box as a coverage linebacker or drop back and play safety.
Despite being a redshirt freshman, Swenson saw some time last season before a shoulder injury ended his season. He’s had a strong camp and beat out incumbent starter and defensive captain on the leadership council Marshe Terry.
Despite his position as a key leader, Terry lost his starting job to Swenson in camp. The redshirt junior started 11 games and was the sole defensive back to record a tackle in every game. However, he struggled at times, especially against quicker players. He also was slow to react to plays and played too rigid at times.