Stony Brook Football Preview - Defensive Backs
Aug. 27, 2009
Stony Brook, N.Y. - Like it was a year ago, the Stony Brook defensive backfield is a talented and deep group that should prove to be among the best units in the Big South Conference. All four starters return from 2008, as well as three other letterwinners that will make the group one of the most experienced in the league.
Senior Cory Giddings (Ocean, N.J.) has been a key part of the Stony Brook defensive backfield since his freshman season, starting all but three games since he arrived on the SBU campus. One of those players who seems to be able to come up with the big play when needed, his five career interceptions lead the team as do his three defensive touchdowns scored. A versatile player for the Seawolves, he can play at either the corner or safety positions.
Fellow senior Chris Richards (Quartz Hills, Calif.) picked off a pair of passes in his first game at Stony Brook a year ago and went on to become an All-Big South selection at cornerback. An athletic player that is capable of locking down a receiver, he is also a sure-handed tackler that lets few opponents through his grasp. Moving up from his corner position a year ago he was among the team leaders with 32 solo tackles.
Moving into a starting role after a season-ending injury to one of Stony Brook's safeties, junior Arin West (Toms River, N.J.) proved to be a valuable addition to the defense and finished the season leading all defensive backs with 58 tackles. With that year of experience he will be a key player in the middle of the Stony Brook defense in 2009.
Senior Benjamin Clements (Glen Burnie, Md.) is also a versatile player in the defensive backfield and gives the team an option at either corner or a safety position. A regular for the past two seasons for SBU, he has been among the leaders in the defensive backfield in tackles in each of those two seasons. Sophomore Corey Stringer (Warren, Ohio) is also ready to step in and contribute after missing last season with an injury.
Senior Dayton Guillory (Bossier City, La.) started the season primarily as a special teams player in his first season at SBU, but saw more playing time at a corner position as the season progressed and he gained experience in the Seawolves' system. With that experience under his belt he will give SBU some valuable depth at corner. Among the safeties, redshirt freshman Dominick Reyes (Hesperia, Calif.) had a strong spring season and appears ready to make a contribution in 2009 after spending last year learning the SBU defensive system.
Senior Luis Altamiranda (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) made the switch to defensive back a year ago from offense and was a strong contributor on special teams for the Seawolves. With his experience from a year ago he will provide depth for SBU while still playing a role with the special teams units.
A promising group of new faces will bolster the defensive backfield in 2009 for Stony Brook. Highlighting the group are two talented players who are expected to challenge for playing time right away. Justin Blake (Piscataway, N.J.) and Taj Johnson (Upland, Calif.) bring all-state credentials with them from New Jersey and California after standout prep careers that saw Blake pick off three passes as a senior and Johnson coming up with a pair of interceptions in his final season. A two-time all-conference selection, A.J. Valentine (Marlton, N.J.), also from New Jersey, will add valuable depth to the position.
"Our secondary is one of the stronger positions on our team," said head coach Chuck Priore. "We bring back some quality players like Cory Giddings who has been a four-year player for us, and Arin West and Chris Richards, both of whom have two years of experience with us. We also have a lot of depth with players like Corey Stringer, Dominick Reyes, Benji Clements and Dayton Guillory. We are in a passing league and our secondary is strong and should be able to compete against those passing attacks with the talent and depth that we have."