Top 10 returning players at South Alabama include CB Darrell Luter Jr.

The top 10 returning players at South Alabama are led by a stout defense including All-American CB Darrell Luter Jr.

The South Alabama Jaguars are well on their way to becoming a nationally-known program. With success from this group of top 10 returning players, South Alabama could be on the way to their first bowl game in nearly two decades. Darrell Luter Jr. is an all-everything cornerback with staggeringly good numbers. He anchors what should be a stout defense in 2022.

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Top 10 returning players at South Alabama

The countdown to the regular season continues here during Pro Football Network’s top 10 returning players series. We’ve crossed the country to the Sun Belt and have firmly entrenched ourselves across the southeastern portion of the country with our look into each FBS team.

Looking only at players returning to their same team from a season ago — we’ll deal with transfers later — we’re counting down all the top 10 players returning to action on every team. Here are the top returners from South Alabama.

10) Anterrious Gray, G

While South Alabama’s offensive line will return four starters from a season ago, Anterrious Gray may mean the most to this unit. Even with Dontae Lucas transferring in, Gray should hold down the right guard spot as he was the vocal leader of the unit last year. Improving as the season went on, Gray displayed great strength at the point of contact. He wasn’t knocked into the backfield often and paved the way for big holes in the rushing game.

9) Caullin Lacy, WR

Bursting onto the scene in what was a stacked receiver room last year, Caullin Lacy finished with 291 receiving yards and 41 total receptions. He was heavily featured as the team’s third receiving option from the slot, but moving him around the lineup will only favor the Jags. He’s a speedster with terrific elusiveness in the open field and has terrific hands at the catch point.

8) Lincoln Sefcik, TE

An All-Sun Belt performer a year ago, Lincoln Sefcik is back to eat up chunk yardage over the middle once again. Sefcik finished with 218 yards and five touchdowns, the latter finishing second on the team. He’s a red-zone threat, but Sefcik also adds great value with his run-blocking skills.

7) Wy’Kevious Thomas, DT

With 5 1/2 tackles for loss and 2 1/2 sacks to his credit, Wy’Kevious Thomas was terrific during his redshirt-freshman season. He was quick to burst through the offensive line, whether he was fitting the run or finishing at the quarterback. Thomas was excellent in his first season as a full-time player. He brings strength and quicks to the middle of the Jaguars’ defensive line.

6) Yam Banks, S

A strength of the South Alabama team will undoubtedly be its defense — specifically, the secondary, as it’s the unit with the most depth and star power. Yam Banks burst onto the scene a season ago with a ridiculous all-around display. He’s a great cover man in the box as he uses his size and speed combination to cover all types of receivers. He blitzes well and is no stranger to blowing up rushing attacks.

5) Charles Coleman III, EDGE

Get to know the big man off the edge as Charles Coleman III returns to wreak havoc on opposing Sun Belt offenses. The 6’3″, 270-pound Coleman led the Jaguars with 4 1/2 sacks and six total tackles for loss a year ago. He’s a menace off the edge with a growing repertoire of pass-rush moves. He pursues ball carriers with a great motor and somehow got better as the season went along last year.

4) A.J. DeShazor Jr., LB

Strongside linebackers don’t get more reliable than A.J. DeShazor Jr. A sure tackler, DeShazor is also reliable in coverage and produces when allowed to show off his blitz skills. He’s a testament to the growth of the South Alabama program over the past few years as he embarks on his fifth year of meaningful snaps on defense.

3) Keith Gallmon Jr., S

One of the top safeties in the conference, Keith Gallmon Jr. returns for another season of blasting receivers in coverage and stymying running backs. Gallmon is a brute force on the back end for the Jaguars, recording three interceptions and a bevy of tackles for loss over the past three seasons of starting duties. With one final season, Gallmon should cement his legacy as one of the best the program has had to offer.

2) Jalen Wayne, WR

The next in line to join Jalen Tolbert in the pros from the receiver position is none other than Jalen Wayne. A big-play threat, Wayne recorded 630 receiving yards while averaging 11.9 yards per catch last year.

That figure, impressive on its own, is even more spectacular when you realize Wayne was often targeted in the bubble screen game. A few deep downfield throws likely buoyed his average depth of target. Wayne is a threat with the ball in his hands, no matter where he gets it — but if he builds up steam, he’ll be hard to catch in the open field.

1) Darrell Luter Jr., CB

Darrell Luter Jr. is a bona fide star. He’s a stud in coverage. Don’t let my word be the only reason you need to know about him ahead of the 2022 season. Let the advanced analytics tell you more. According to Sports Info Solutions, Luter led the nation in yards allowed per coverage snap, completion percentage in his coverage, deserved catch percentage, and quarterback rating when targeted. He allowed a passer rating of 0.0 into his coverage. Luter is a special player.

Honorable mention players returning to South Alabama in 2022

  • Quentin Wilfawn, LB
  • Desmond Trotter, QB
  • Terrion Avery, RB
  • Antawn Lewis, OT
  • Trey Simpson, G
  • Jamie Sheriff, EDGE

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.

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