To continue our positional preview of the 2018 football season, it’s now time to take a quick look at the cornerback position. The Deacs should be solid at CB this season, returning 3 key players from last season in Essang Bassey, Amari Henderson, and Ja’Sir Taylor.
Bassey had a sensational year last season and quickly became a pass defending machine for Wake Forest. He finished the season 9th in the nation in total passes defended with 16 pass break ups and 3 interceptions. He also finished 5th on the team in total tackles with 75. His play gained him 1st team All-ACC Defense from Pro Football Focus (yet somehow just honorable mention from the media).
The 2017 PFF All-ACC First Team Defense pic.twitter.com/6BAHrE81Mr— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 5, 2017
Now a junior, Bassey should definitely be a leader and cornerstone of the Wake Forest defense this season.
Amari Henderson was not far behind Bassey, finishing the season with 11 passes defended and 2 interceptions. He also added 62 total tackles. With 23 games under his belt, the redshirt junior can also bring an element of experience and leadership to the defense.
Ja’Sir Taylor played in 10 games last season as a true freshman, which is an impressive feat in and of itself. He broke up 5 passes and recorded 27 total tackles playing wherever he was needed in the secondary. Now that he has a year of experience, we could potentially see a Bassey-like jump in his production against the pass this year.
As far as depth is concerned, the Deacs are young and inexperienced outside of the 3 mentioned above. Coby Davis, a current sophomore, saw small action in 8 games last season. He defended 2 passes and recorded 10 total tackles in his freshman campaign. Malik Grate played in just 2 games last season as a redshirt freshman, recording 3 total tackles, and came to Wake as a wide receiver.
The rest of the DB’s on the roster are freshmen or have not seen any game action so far. At this point it’s unclear which freshmen will redshirt and who might contend for some playing time, but given the new rule that allows players to play up to four games and still redshirt, it would not be surprising to see a new player jump out and impress.
The most likely candidate here on paper at least would be Kenneth Dicks III, a freak athlete who picked Wake over a litany of other big name schools.
The cornerback position should be a strength for the Wake Forest defense this season as long as the key guys can remain healthy.