NIU football breakdown: Defensive backs

By Tony Osborne

The defensive secondary for the NIU football team is expected to exhibit qualities of youth, with a hint of experience and high expectations. After the departure of starting cornerbacks Chris Smith, Kiaree Daniels and saftey Tracy Wilson, there’s a sense of an overhaul at the third level for the Huskies. Besides safety Tommy Davis, the two starting corners and free safety position will feature fresh faces. Here’s how they break down.

Rashaan Melvin: CB

Melvin is coming off a 39 tackle and two interception 2010 season, and appeared in 14 games at cornerback last season for the Huskies. Although the 6’0″, 190-pound Melvin only started two games last season, he has the big game experience starting against the University of Illinois.

Outlook: Melvin should continue to get better with his work ethic and have a breakout year in 2011. With time, Melvin could develop into a shut-down cornerback that not many quarterbacks want to throw towards.

Dominique Ware: CB

Ware is a 6’0″, 180-pound sophomore with limited experience in a predominantly young defense. The Bolingbrook native redshirted in 2009 and saw time in eight games as a redshirt freshman recording three tackles. Along with those tackles, Ware also had an interception against Akron.

Outlook: Ware will be counted on to compliment his counterpart Melvin as the other starting cornerback in NIU’s secondary. Davis mentioned Ware’s improvement and solid play during summer camp sessions, and NIU hopes that will translate onto the field once the season starts.

Tommy Davis: SS

Not only will Davis return kicks and punts for NIU this season, but he will also be the rock to this young secondary. Davis comes into his junior season with the most game experience of all the defensive backs, playing in 27 games and starting in 14 of those.

Outlook: Davis is quick, fast and can fly around, creating havoc for opposing offenses. The proof of his versatility resides in the fact that he’s on the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, given to the nation’s most versatile player.

Demetrius Stone: FS

As the backup safety in 2011, Stone saw action in 11 games. During those 11 games, Stone recorded 20 tackles. The Miami native attended Coffeyville Community College in Kansas where he accumulated five tackles and two picks.

Outlook: Stone and Davis will be looked upon to bring a thump in the pass defense aspect of NIU’s defense. The secondary will have no learning curve, jumping into big game action in game one against Army this Saturday.