NASHVILLE --- The safety corps returns as arguably one of the biggest strengths for the Tigers in 2018. The unit was the backbone to the seventh ranked defense in the country a season ago and the second ranked pass defense in FCS play.
LaQuarius Cook enters his final season in blue as a three-year starter. The senior has finished second on the team in tackles every year of his career, totaling 185 stops. Cook is joined by second year starter Vincent Sellers. The sophomore finished 15th in the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award for the top freshman player in the nation and was a HERO Sports FCS Freshman All-America Team Honorable Mention member. Sellers earned a spot on the All-OVC Second Team and the OVC All-Newcomer squad after posting 49 tackles, 36 solo, 2.0 for loss, two interceptions, five pass breakups, a safety and a blocked punt.
Shakur Jackson and John Robinson IV provide experience to the backfield. Jackson played in 10 games, starting one, as a sophomore and finished with 14 tackles, two breakups and two pass defenses. Robinson comes to TSU after spending three seasons, one as a redshirt, at Connecticut.
Junior Ronnie Killings joins freshmen Ray Coggins, Dieuseul Stcyr and Donavan Wallace to provide depth. Killings moves to the defensive backfield after playing his first two seasons with the Tigers at wide receiver. Coggins is a talented athlete who will look to battle for playing time in his first season.
|SAFETIES||HT||WT||YR||Gms Played||Tackles||Pass BrUp||INT|
|John Robinson IV||6-2||195||R-Jr.||UConn||7||--||--|
|Ronnie Killings||6-1||185||Jr.||21 (WR)||6||--||--|
Redshirt Junior John Robinson IV
- On camp
“Camp has been really good. I feel we’re working really hard to just be better than we were the day before. I think everybody comes into practice with a good mindset to be the best they can be. We listen to coaching – we never take it too personally. We know we have some of the best coaches who coach us hard. We take the coaching and try to make plays and put ourselves in the best position to win.”
- On his transition from UConn
“I feel like when I got here, especially Coach (Garry) Fisher, he didn’t give me any personal promises. They just told me to come here and compete, and I believed in what he told me. I believe in Coach (Rod) Reed. I’ve enjoyed my experience here. It’s definitely been a different transition, especially being from up north and coming to the South. That’s definitely been different for me being really far away from home, but I’ve enjoyed myself. A lot of the guys have embraced me really well – they didn’t have to do that. I feel like I’ve made a lot of great connections here so far.”
Sophomore Vincent Sellers
- On how the safeties are coming together
“We’re coming together pretty good. We’ve got a strong bond. We talk every night about how we can better each other. I just feel like we’re coming together real well.”
- On his comfort level entering year two in the defense
“I’m a lot more comfortable because I just studied the film a lot more. I know the coverages a lot more. There are a lot of young guys that I have to teach also. That’s also going to help me out.”
Junior Ronnie Killings
- On moving from offense to the defense
“It’s been really good. I moved over there in the spring. The spring was mostly learning stuff and trying to switch over from playing offense for so long. I’m getting more and more comfortable every day, and I feel like the transition has been really good. I feel like I can make a real impact on the defensive side.”
- On the progress of the defense
“It’s been going pretty good. Our defense as a whole has been really coming together. We’re really trying to be the number one defense in the country this year. I feel like we’ve been working hard to come together to achieve that goal.”
Freshman Ray Coggins
- On the progress of the safeties
“Everybody’s developing at their own pace, but I feel like once we get going, we’ll connect on a different level.”
- On the goals of the defense
“We want to be the number one defense in the country and just all play as a unit. We want to be sure we know our assignments and what we have to do.”