2017 Johns Hopkins Football Preview - Defensive Backs
BALTIMORE, MD – In the sixth of a seven-part series breaking down the 2017 Johns Hopkins football team, HopkinsSports.com takes a look at the Blue Jay defensive backs. While newcomers to the program may make an impact this season, the breakdown includes only returning players.
Who’s Gone: One starter and a number of experienced players return, but the Blue Jays did take some hits here. Gone is two-time All-American and two-time Academic All-American safety Jack Toner, along with First Team All-Centennial strong safety Dan Johnson and Second Team All-Centennial cornerback Marcus Spearman. The exciting part about the secondary as a whole entering the 2017 season is that seven of the top eight returning players have at least two years of eligibility remaining.
We’ve Got You Cornered: Replacing Spearman on the corner will be a challenge, but two-year starter Michael Munday returns at one corner spot and there are a number of talented players in the running for the other starting nod and a regular role in the rotation. Munday counts 76 tackles, 11 pass breakups and five interceptions to his credit in the last two seasons.
Sophomore Patrick Kelly and junior Michael Kearns are the leaders in the race for the other starting spot at corner and both will see significant time this season. Kelly saw action in eight games as a rookie last season, while Kearns has played in 20 games in two seasons and counts 19 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on his resume; he has also averaged better than 24 yards on kickoff returns and is a threat with the ball in his hands.
Junior Grant Mosser, who narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Track Championships in the spring, and sophomore Jonah Gundrum, are also likely to see extensive time this season on the corner. Mosser has 19 tackles in 20 career games played, while Gundrum cracked the lineup six times as a freshman last year. Both are taller than Munday, Kelly and Kearns and provide a good option when the Blue Jays are matched with taller receivers.
Curry Takes Over for Toner: Replacing one of the best players in school history is the task at hand for junior Michael Curry, who inherits the safety spot from Toner. Curry made a seamless transition from corner to safety in the spring and quickly demonstrated an understanding of the position. Despite not being a starter last season, he totaled 35 tackles and finished second on the team with five interceptions.
Quinones Ready for Breakout Campaign: Junior Addison Quinones could be the X factor in the Blue Jay secondary as he takes over for Johnson at the WILL/strong safety spot. Quinones, who is equally effective against the run and pass, made an immediate impact as a freshman in 2015 with 45 tackles before a preseason injury cost him the first five games of the 2016 season; he appears poised for a breakout season and provides a relentless, physical presence in the secondary.
Sophomore Ryan Hanks will team with Quinones to handle the strong safety spot. Hanks played in five games with six tackles as a freshman last season and has worked his way into the regular rotation.
Inside the Numbers
8 – Consecutive years that at least one Johns Hopkins defensive back has earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
16 – Consecutive years that at least one Johns Hopkins defensive back has earned All-Centennial Conference honors.
62 – The number of interceptions the Blue Jay defense has come up with over the last three seasons. While not all attributed to members of the secondary, the play of this unit has contributed significantly to the Blue Jays’ ability to cause turnovers.
3.43 – Johns Hopkins’ top eight returning defensive backs combined to post a 3.42 GPA in the 2017 spring semester; three of the eight posted a 3.8 GPA or above.
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