Football Preview: Defensive Backs

Keith Cork getting set at cornerback

HCAC PRESEASON POLL

2016 STATISTICS

HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover football team will open the 2017 season in less than three weeks, so we continue our season position previews with the secondary unit.

Over the weeks leading up to the season opener against Centre (Ky.), we will take an in-depth look at each position group, mainly focusing on the key returners. Check out the previous position releases below.

Hanover is coming off a 4-6 season in 2016, including a 4-4 mark in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play, its first conference winning percentage of .500 or better since 2013. The Panthers were recently picked by the conference coaches to finish fifth in the HCAC this season after tying for fourth in 2016.

The secondary returns a quartet of experienced athletes this season and they will look to improve in Year Two of the new defensive scheme.

“We are expecting good things from our upperclassmen this season,” said defensive back coach Todd Taylor. “They continue to understand the defense more and more each day.”

One returner in the secondary is senior Kegan Aldridge (Jasper, Ind.). Aldridge has 136 total tackles over his first three years at Hanover, which is the most of any current defensive back on the team. The incoming senior was a 2015 HCAC honorable mention selection, when he snatched a team high five interceptions. Last year, despite not recording any picks, Aldridge still played a role in the turnover battle, recovering two fumbles and forcing another.

A pair of juniors in Brody Dell (Tipton, Ind.) and Keith Cork (Indianapolis, Ind.) also return for the Panthers this fall. Dell ranked fourth on the squad in tackles last season, totaling 48, while Cork added 34 stops in 2016. The duo also added 11 and 10 pass break ups, respectively, to lead the back end a year ago.

The fourth returner looking to make an impact this fall is sophomore Isaac Rowan (Richmond, Ind.). Rowan played in eight games during his freshman campaign with the Blue and Red, as he recorded 33 total stops. The sophomore came on strong toward the end of the season, logging 23 tackles over the final three games of the season, including 10 stops in a 49-27 victory at Manchester.

Taylor is also expecting the underclassmen to push the experienced players and to earn some time on the field this season, “We have competition in our secondary now and it is helping us as a group to get better each day.”

The Panthers welcome Centre for the season opener at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2. Hanover will be hosting Football Alumni and Community Day during the home opener as well.

Stay tuned later this week as we continue our position group previews.

Preview No. 1: Running Backs and Wide Receivers

Contact: Tyler Jester

jestert@hanover.edu

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