There is no denying the impact a great safety has on a defense, and C-USA has a strong collection of outstanding safeties. This article will take on the task of ranking the top four safeties in C-USA heading into the 2016 season and only returning safeties with college experience in C-USA are eligible for this list.
4) Ocie Rose: Florida Atlantic (6-2, 190, So)
FAU’s Ocie Rose came out of nowhere last season as a freshman and developed into one of the best safeties in C-USA. Rose quickly became one of the best players for the Owls last season and the sky appears to be the limit for how good he can become in the future. In his first and only season at the FBS level thus far, Rose accounted for 41 total tackles, 1 1/2 tackles for loss, three interceptions (two pick-sixes), four pass breakups and two forced fumbles. His outstanding freshman season earned him a spot on C-USA’s All-Freshman Team as well as earning C-USA Honorable Mention. Heading into his sophomore season, Rose was named a preseason all-conference selection. For FAU to get in the postseason discussion in 2016, Rose will have to play great football. And being one of C-USA’s fastest rising stars, expect nothing less out of the young safety.
3) Michael Egwuagu: UTSA (6-0, 220, Sr)
Michael Egwuagu is arguably the best defensive player on the UTSA Roadrunners and one of the best safeties in C-USA. Egwuagu has been a very productive player for the Roadrunners in three years and looks to cap off a stellar career with a memorable senior season in 2016. During his freshman season in 2013, Egwuagu accounted for 24 total tackles, three tackles for loss and one interception in UTSA’s debut season in C-USA. He improved in 2014 by racking up 41 total tackles, three tackles for loss and one interception. Egwuagu’s 2015 season was the best statistical season of his career as he accounted for 62 total tackles, 3 1/2 tackles for loss, 1 1/2 sacks and three interceptions, earning all-conference honorable mention. Egwuagu was named an all-conference selection heading into the 2016 season. Now heading into his senior year, look for Egwuagu to have the best season of his career. The Roadrunners hope Egwuagu can help them climb up the ladder in C-USA in 2016 after two straight down seasons.
2) Kishawn McClain: North Texas (5-11, 201, Jr)
The North Texas Mean Green have enjoyed the services of star safety Kishawn McClain for two years and now as a junior, McClain looks to continue developing. Despite North Texas being down as of late, McClain has been putting up great numbers and establishing himself as one of C-USA’s elite safeties. During his freshman season in 2014, McClain racked up 34 total tackles and one interception in only nine games, earning a spot on C-USA’s All-Freshman Team. McClain’s 2015 season blew away the previous season, accounting for 110 total tackles, 2 1/2 tackles for loss, one interception, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He was named a second team all-conference selection by Athlon Sports heading into the 2016 season. Expect McClain to have an outstanding season and help the Mean Green move up the ladder in C-USA after two straight disappointing seasons.
1) Xavier Woods: Louisiana Tech (5-11, 219, Sr)
The best safety in C-USA is a member of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Xavier Woods. Woods has been arguably one of the best defensive players in LA Tech history and looks to write a memorable final chapter in his storied career in 2016. During his freshman season in 2013, Woods racked up 61 total tackles, three tackles for loss and two pass breakups. He had a breakthrough season in 2014 with 71 total tackles, 3 1/2 tackles for loss, one sack, six interceptions, seven pass breakups and three forced fumbles. Woods’ outstanding 2014 season earned him a first team all-conference selection. He had another stellar season in 2015 with 56 total tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for loss, three interceptions, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles, earning yet another first team all-conference selection. Woods was named a preseason first team all-conference selection heading into the 2016 season and expect the best safety in C-USA to go out in style and help the Bulldogs contend for a C-USA West Division Championship.