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Sun Belt Secondary Rankings

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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Southern Pigskin's top five SBC defensive backfields for 2018.

1. Appalachian State: In Clifton Duck and Tae Hayes, the opportunistic Mountaineers boast one of the top cover corner tandems in all of college football. Duck, an All-American candidate who paced the Sun Belt in interceptions a season ago with six, has eleven picks in two years. He and Hayes combined for ten interceptions last fall, a higher total than five league teams. Rangy safety Desmond Franklin added three more picks himself and is ready for the next step as a junior.

2. Troy: A former walk-on wide receiver, Blace Brown has developed into one of the top defensive playmakers in the country. He has eleven interceptions the last two seasons and has proved key in big moments for the Trojans. Veteran safety Cedarius Rookard has 166 career tackles and five career interceptions. Marcus Jones, who had a critical 100-yard pick six versus Arkansas State and stands as one of the nation's top return specialists, is a dynamic, versatile weapon.

3. Georgia Southern: Monquavion Brinson burst onto the national scene with five interceptions last year, showcasing a playmaking knack with 12 pass break ups. Brinson is active and fluid in coverage and gives the Eagles a true number one defender downfield. Senior safety Joshua Moon is a team leader with 119 tackles, six tackles for loss and four interceptions the past two seasons. Corner Kindle Vildor is an emerging talent who came late a year ago.

4. Arkansas State: Senior Justin Clifton has virtually done it all during his career: 178 tackles, 19 pass break ups, 17 tackles for loss, four interceptions. An All-Sun Belt defender, he is a tone-setter for the Red Wolves as the quarterback of the unit. Clifton can line up anywhere in the secondary and can make an impact from each spot. Safety B.J. Edmonds, fresh off a season with 80 total tackles and three interceptions, is another player to watch.

5. Georgia State: Even after the departure of Chandon Sullivan, Georgia State will have a cornerback capable of competing for all-conference honors, in Jerome Smith. Aside from Smith, the group is young and relatively inexperienced but possesses elite speed throughout the two deep. Senior safety DeAndre Applin could be poised for a breakout year, as well.