Wolf Pack Position Group Profile: Defensive Backs

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 5:08 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The last line of defense.

They’re Nevada’s defensive backs: 24 corners and safeties make up the position group. Co-Defensive Coordinator & Safeties coach Kwame Agyeman likes his group’s versatility - even without starter JoJo Claiborne to open the season. The senior has an undisclosed injury the team is calling ‘long term.’

“(The safeties) get what their job is but also where they fit in the entire puzzle,” said Agyeman. “It helps them understand what their role is (and) where they fit which allows them to play faster and know where the help is at.”

Senior safety Bentlee Sanders has been playing college ball since 2017 and is expected to be one of the leaders in the back end.

“Make sure my teammates can trust me on the field and I can make the plays that need to be made when they come my way,” Sanders said of his responsibilities.

Sanders is one of 13 upper classmen in the defensive back group. Another is Jaden Dedman who has been with the Pack since he was a freshman in 2018. The senior has risen up the depth chart to secure one of the top two corner spots to start the season along with senior corner Isaiah Essissima.

“I worked on my feet more,” Dedman said of his growth. “I’m getting a lot more technical with my position. My coach here, Jalen Ortiz, and then my DB coach back home taught me things that elevated my game. Now I’m just trying to take advantage of it.”

Ortiz comes from Oregon where he was a graduate assistant with the Ducks. The experience of his Wolf Pack corners is what stands out most about his group.

“Whether it’s special teams or they’ve traveled before, there are a lot of guys with game experience so hopefully that moment isn’t too big for them when it’s their first time taking the field,” said Ortiz.

Agyeman expects to run five defensive backs out on the field at a time as he schemes up defenses throughout the season.