Let’s Talk Defense
By Madison Penke
Photography by Madison Penke
Let’s talk defense!
Specifically, tiger defense. In just over two weeks, the Memphis Tigers will take the field on September 2nd for the 2023 home opener. It is no secret that the fans will be expecting a lot from this defense. With the return of some heavy hitters, such as Jaylon Allen and Cormontae Hamilton, as well as the addition of some new faces like Karmelo Overton and Simeon Blair, it is safe to say this defense is not lacking talent, determination or leadership moving into the new season. What can the fans expect to see? Who should fans expect to lead the defense?
Jaylon Allen, a six foot three, fifth year senior will be a force on the defensive line. Allen has proven time and time again why he is the face of the defense for this program. Last year, Allen managed a total of 58 tackles, 5 sacks and 1 interception resulting in a 39 yard touchdown for the Memphis Tigers. Going into the 2023 season, Allen has earned the honor of First-Team Preseason All-AAC. Allen has proven himself to be, not only an amazing athlete, but also a very well-rounded leader for this tiger defense. Fans can expect to see that same explosive competitiveness and leadership throughout this season.
Another key member of the upcoming tiger defense, Cormontae Hamilton. Hamilton is a six foot three Memphis native and Ohio State transfer. Last season, Hamilton played a huge role for the defensive line and it is safe to say that fans should expect that to be no different this upcoming season. With a total of 45 tackles and 5 sacks last season, Hamilton has proven himself to be a defensive player fans will want to keep their eyes on.
Rolling into the new season, there are quite a few new faces within the Memphis program. Who should fans be on the lookout for? Start with Simeon Blair. The five foot ten, fifth year defensive back spent the last four years at the University of Arkansas. In his time as a razorback, Blair collected 135 total tackles. In his 2022 season alone, he collected 73 of those tackles and served as team captain. Blair was explosive during his debut in the Memphis Tigers spring game. Fans should look forward to that same explosive energy and leadership throughout the 2023 season.
The Memphis defense has a few younger guys fans will want to be on the lookout for as well. Let’s start with Karmelo Overton. Overton is a true freshman out of Ozark, Alabama. The four star recruit was ranked 8th best inside linebacker in the country and 20th best overall player in Alabama. Having played in the Alabama-Mississippi All-star game in 2022, Overton has proven himself to be among the best in this true freshman class. He is expected to play a huge role for the Memphis defense.
Saying that the Memphis defense is a force to be reckoned with would be an understatement. It is no secret that the Memphis program has a history of strong defense. This season should be no different. Fans can expect to see a strong, dominant, explosive and forceful defense in this 2023 season. While these names are just a few fans will hear often this season, definitely keep an out for these guys and so much more this season!