Projecting the Georgia Southern defensive starting lineup in 2021


DJ Cadden, Correspondent

Scot Sloan led an elite Eagle defense in 2020 and his unit should be just as good in 2020. With the addition of a key Power Five transfer and minimal losses, the Eagle defense returns a substantial amount of production.

As a follow up to a previous article, below we will predict the starters at each defensive position as we look forward to the 2021 college football season.

2021 Predictions:

Defensive End: Dillon Springer is entering his fifth season with the Eagles and will look to take on his biggest role yet. After starting nine combined games over the past two seasons, Springer will look to become the full-time starter at defensive end.

Defensive Tackle: CJ Wright has been a force to be reckoned with at nose tackle for the Eagles. Despite some off-the-field issues in 2020, Wright still started eight games and accumulated 5-and-a-half tackles for loss and a sack.

Defensive End: Justin Ellis is a guy who has patiently waited his turn for the Eagles. Despite being a redshirt senior, Ellis has started just five games in his time with Georgia Southern. With the departure of star defensive end Raymond Johnson III, Ellis should finally be a full-time starter for Coach Sloan’s unit.

Linebacker: Andre Johnson Jr. is a name most Eagle fans may have never heard. The former Oregon Duck linebacker transferred to Georgia Southern this offseason. Despite not seeing the field for the Oregon defensive unit, Johnson was a contributor on special teams.

Linebacker: Jon Ferguson has been a key role player on Sloan’s defense over the past two seasons; however, with the departure of Rashad Byrd, Ferguson will be forced into a much bigger role as one of the leaders of the defense.

Linebacker: Todd Bradley-Glenn is another veteran who has waited his turn on this Eagle defense. As a sixth year this upcoming season, Bradley-Glenn should finally become a full-time starter for Scot Sloan.

Linebacker: Randy Wade Jr. is another sixth year player, but has started 37 of the last 39 games for the Eagles. Wade has consistently been the leader of this defense and this will not change in 2021.

Cornerback: Derrick Canteen should be a household name among Eagle fans after his 2020 season. Canteen tied the national leader with six interceptions in 2020 and cemented himself among the best cornerbacks in college football.

Cornerback: Darrell Baker Jr. is one of three sixth year players on this Georgia Southern defense. Baker started 12 games in 2020 and garnered a third-team All-Sun Belt selection. Expect an even bigger year from Baker next season.

Strong Safety: Anthony Wilson started 11 games in 2020 after redshirting the previous season. Wilson was all over the field as he accumulated 67 tackles, one-and-a-half tackles for loss, and an interception in 2020.

Free Safety: Justin Birdsong is a name that should be fresh in the minds of Eagle fans after his two interception performance in the 2020 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Birdsong was effective all season long and should be even better in 2021.