– The Georgetown University football preseason camp is well underway as the team is working hard to prepare for the 2018 season. As the Hoyas get ready for the season opener at Marist College on Sept. 1, GUHoyas.com will take an in-depth look at each of the team's position groups, with this edition featuring the defensive backs.
The Hoya secondary lost three seniors from last year's squad to graduation, including two-time captain and 2018 No. 35 Joe Eacobacci Memorial Jersey recipient David Akere (C'18), who led GU with 99 tackles in 2017. Georgetown does bring back a strong core unit, including eight returners who saw game action last season, and add four newcomers to the mix.
"As a whole, they have all been competing," said Georgetown Special Teams Coordinator Maurice Banks
, who works with the team's defensive backs. "This is a very competitive group and everyone is pushing for playing time. We have some upperclassmen who are stepping up and leading the way while taking the underclassmen under their wing."
Leading the returners are seniors Blaise Brown
(New Orleans, La./St. Augustine/Loomis Chaffee) and Ramon Lyons
(Orlando, Fla./Ocoee/West Orange), who appeared in every game last year. Brown tied with Akere for the team lead with two interceptions, while ranking fourth on the squad with 66 total tackles. Lyons was fifth in tackles with 63 and second with 10 pass breakups, which ranked fourth in the entire Patriot League. Fellow senior Jethro Francois
(Winter Haven, Fla./Victory Christian Academy), who appeared in 10 games as a junior, finished with 18 tackles and one pass breakup.
"The three seniors have definitely taken the initiative and realized their role this year is to push everyone else in order to have the group step up as a whole," Banks said. "I have been really pleased with how they have performed in camp."
Juniors Leon Agee
(Laurel, Miss./Robert S. Alexander) and Jalen Goldwire
(Plantation, Fla./Western) will be among those looking for an increased role in 2018. Agee appeared in all 11 games last season, mostly on special teams, and finished with three tackles. Goldwire saw action in five contests and recorded 13 tackles and one pass breakup. Classmate Ryan White-Boyd
(Wilton Manors, Fla./South Plantation) is looking to bounce back after missing all of last year.
(New Orleans, La./Archbishop Rummel) and Cameron Deen
(Fort Washington, Md./Oxon Hill) led the sophomore class by appearing in nine and eight games, respectively, last year. Roemello Walton
(Miami, Fla./Miami Norland) also got into seven games, blocking a punt at Holy Cross. Fellow sophomores Dawson Hawkins
(Sugar Land, Texas/George Ranch) and Jonathan Honore
(St. Louis, Mo./Timberland) will look to see their first game action in 2018.
Sophomore Antonio Griffith-Keaton
(Fairbanks, Alaska/Ben Eielson Jr./Sr.) joined the Hoyas this fall and is competing for playing time. Freshmen Micah McNeil
(Olney, Md./Good Counsel), Delano Salgado
(Laveen Village, Ariz./Mountain Pointe) and Zaire Webb
(Cleveland, Ohio/Cleveland Heights) will all look to also crack the lineup.
"The freshmen are competing," Banks said. "They understand that there is an opportunity to get some playing time because we are going to rotate as many guys as we can back there. They have done a good job of coming in during the summer and picking up the defense and trying to learn as much as they can."
The Hoyas open the 2018 season on Saturday, Sept. 1 at Marist. Kickoff in Poughkeepsie, New York is scheduled for 1 p.m. The Blue & Gray will play its home opener at Cooper Field the following weekend, hosting Campbell on Sept. 8 for a 12:30 p.m. matchup.
Tickets are now available for the 2018 football season. Only a very limited number of tickets are being made available for this year's games due to construction on the west side of Cooper Field. Purchase in advance to guarantee your admission on game day. For the full schedule and to purchase tickets, as well as information on directions and parking, please visit WeAreGeorgetown.com/football.