A while back, before the start of the 2009 college football season, I was asked to write a two part article for a now-defunct Troy blog on Wordpress about "Players We Can't Afford to Lose." I did one for the defensive side of the ball and one for the defensive side. I'd simply post the link up as a fanshot, but I can't find it and only have a file sent to me from the owner of the blog. Not surprisingly, both of our Troy pick ups, Boris Lee and Cameron Sheffield, are mentioned. You'll also see mention of Cardinals CB Jorrck Calvin, Atlanta UDFA LB Bear Woods, and San Diego UDFA DE Brandon Lang.
Its a bit dated, but the way the AP community gobbles down any information it can get its hands on, I figured you all might find it interesting/useful.
Here it is:
About a week and a half ago, we took a look at the guys on the offensive side of the ball that as far as I’m concerned, Troy can’t afford to lose and still expect to see the end result of this season as a success. This time we’ll pull a Zacchaeus and gander on over at the defense to see what we can see.
It’s completely debatable who the anchor is for Troy on defense as we have a lot of talent between our defensive line and linebackers. For this reason I’ll just list the most significant guys out there and you can rank them as you please, if you please. Let me know what you think in the comments.
First up is the man himself, Boris Lee, a Lombardi Award watch list nominee headed into his second year and two time first team All Sun-Belt selection. Lee is an all around stud, solid against the run and consistent finishing tackles, as well as adequate in coverage with 7 INTs to his name as well as a handful of PBUs. Lee is up to a solid 230 by his own account and is quick to get to the ball with 40 speed clocked as low as 4.63. All of this is excellent on its own, but when you pair Lee with buddy and fellow senior LB Bear Woods, the duo provides leadership and identity to the defensive side of the ball. Woods is also an extremely talented back and second team All Sun-Belt performer who is only absent from this list because of the fact that Troy will simply have to get along without him for 2 games to start the season off.
Next up are senior defensive ends Brandon Lang and Cameron Sheffield, both Lombardi Award watch list candidates along with Lee who inherit a position at DE that has an outstanding pedigree at Troy with NFL superstars Osi Umenyiora and Demarcus Ware having played there in the past. These experienced linemen will be pivotal in containment and forcing the direction of the game in to Troy’s defensive strengths. The pair was able to combine for 14.5 sacks last season, and will aim to improve on that in their senior campaign. Stopping the run and containing the QB will recieve added importance against mobile quarterbacks like Tim Tebow or even Tyler Sheehan, among others.
Finally is senior DB Jorrick Calvin, a two time Sun Belt defensive player of the week and four time special team player of the week. The transfer from Decatur’s East Central Community College recorded 62 tackles, a forced fumble and 2 interceptions last year playing aside Carolina Panther Sherrod Martin. Calvin is another player who seems to have an ability to simply make things happen, with perhaps the most memorable moment being in the opening moments of the 2009 New Orleans Bowl, snatching a lateral and taking it for a TD. Also in the defensive backfield is freshman Bryan Willis, who has been very impressive in practice thus far, could prove to be an integral part of the Trojan defense lining up in the CB spot opposite Calvin.