Heading into 2017 this group led by Armani Watts was supposed to be the best besides the running back position. Did they live up to expectations? I would say they did at times and other times they did not. Losing Donovan Wilson in the first game did not help.
Besides Watts and Wilson, big things were expected from Priest Willis and Nick Harvey. Willis was a disappointment and Harvey never played a down. This opened the door for several freshman to play significant snaps.
That list included Debione Renfro (started 10 times), Myles Jones (started four games) and Derrick Tucker (started final six games). Others that contributed were Charles Oliver, Antonio Howard and Larry Pryor.
If the NCAA grants Wilson and Harvey another year and with all this young talent returning the Aggie secondary has a chance to be really good. Watts is gone and yes it will be tough to replace 87 tackles, 10 behind the line of scrimmage and four interceptions, but I think Tucker is ready to assume those responsibilities.
I mentioned in the mid-season report that the pass defense needed to improve. At that time, the defense was giving up 244 yards per game, over the final five that number was reduced to 224 thanks in part to New Mexico only throwing for 24 yards in the game.
Against better offenses the defense gave up 268 to Auburn and 351 to LSU, that will have to improve if the defense is going to take the next step.
As with the front seven, the new coordinator should be truly excited to look at all the talent in the secondary.