All Sports Schedule

Football Camp Preview: Defense and Special Teams


Old Dominion University football reports to camp on Sunday and starts fall camp practice on Monday. previews the defense heading into camp.

Defensive Line

ODU returns seven defensive linemen that saw action in the rotation last season, not including six players that redshirted as well as several highly touted freshmen.

Senior Poncho Barnwell is the leading returning tackler from the defensive line with 34 stops, 6.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.  A junior college transfer, Barnwell started 11-of-12 games at defensive end last season.

A former walk-on, Bunmi Rotimi started a pair of games last season at defensive tackle and recorded 30 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two tackles for loss.  Junior Rashaad Coward started the first game of his career last year and notched 26 tackles for the season. With the departure of starters Malik Gumbs and Chris Smith, Coward and Rotimi will be looked upon for more production.

Galen Evans also recorded a start last season following a redshirt season in 2013, he saw action in seven games and registered five tackles.

With the loss of starting defensive end Andrew Everett, more will be looked for from a trio of players in Terrell Reid, Jude Brenya and Scott Wiggins.

Brenya played in nine games last season as a sophomore making 15 tackles and one sack.

Reid played in all 12 games, notching 14 tackles and tied for third on the team with four quarterback hits, while Wiggins played in five games, making four tackles.

Daniel Appouh, Ryan Londree, Pat Toal, Brandon Tyson, Torrez Wentz and Oshane Ximines all redshirted in 2014 and will compete for starting positions during fall camp.

Tim Ward joined the Monarchs from High Point High School in January as a mid-year transfer and had a solid spring showing off his athleticsm, while Casey Bernard and Miles Fox signed National Letters of Intent in February.  Bernard is an athletic defensive end, while Fox is an interior defensive tackle who had offers from Iowa, Georgia Tech and Arizona State.


ODU graduated its leading tackler in D.J. Simon but returns TJ Ricks and Martez Simpson as well as a host of capable players waiting in the wings.

Ricks finished second on the squad last season with 80 tackles, seven tackles for loss and tied for the C-USA lead with four forced fumbles.  A former walk-on, Ricks started nine games last season and is the Monarchs’ leading returning tackler from last season.

Simpson was 10th in Conference USA in tackles per game at 6.8 per game.  He started 11 games, missing the season-opener with an injury.

The third linebacker spot will be up for grabs between a pair of junior college transfers in Richard Thomas and Shadow Williams.  Thomas is a transfer from Pearl River CC, the same JUCO as Simpson, while Williams was originally a walk-on at the University of Arizona before tranferring to Glendale College.

ODU has a variety of options for depth with senior Malique Johnson, junior Anthony Wilson and sophomore Isaiah Worthy.

A junior college transfer, Kohl Adams-Hurd missed last season due to an injury but returns in 2015 and will look to compete for a starting position.

The Monarchs added a pair of mid-year transfers in January in Jaylin Jeffries from North Carolina and Derek Wilder, the son of head coach, Bobby Wilder

ODU also added A.J. Oneal, an All-District linebacker from Holly Springs, N.C., who will join the team this fall.

Defensive Backs

The only position group on the defensive side of the ball with a new coach are the cornerbacks, who will have Sam Perryman overseeing them in 2015.  Perryman replaces Darrell Perkins who left for Maryland.  Perryman comes to the Monarchs from Lenoir-Rhyne, where he spent the last two seasons. He coached the Bears defensive backs and helped them to a pair of Division II playoff appearances, including a spot in the championship game in 2013.

Perryman will have a young group to work with after the Monarchs graduated their top three cornerbacks in Reggie Owens, Eriq Lewis and Jevon Neal.

The only returning corner with experience is junior Aaron Young.  Young has seen spot duty the last two seasons, including playing in 11 games with one start in 2014.  He recorded 10 tackles, breaking up two passes and recovering a fumble.

ODU added Devon Brown, who transferred from UAB after the Blazers dropped the program in December.  He played 11 games for UAB in 2014, recording 11 tackles and two pass breakups in 10 games. He is listed as a starter heading into fall camp.

Senior walk-on Aquante Thornton is the other starting corner heading into fall camp.  A native of Chesapeake, Va., Thornton has bounced around at ODU trying to find a position. He came to ODU as a corner, moved to wide receiver, before returning to corner last fall. He had a strong spring and is listed as the starter at one corner spot.

After winning a starting safety spot early in fall camp last year, Rob Thompson redshirted after injuring his shoulder late in camp. He returned this spring with a position change to cornerback, his original position at ODU.  He had a strong spring and will compete for a starting position.

Jordan Glover and Lawrence Holley redshirted in 2014 and will compete for playing time this season along with incoming freshmen Jamez Brickhouse and Jelani Carter.

The safety position has much more experience with returners Fellonte Misher, Christian Byrum and Justice Davila.

Misher finished third on the team in tackles last season with 79 and led the Monarchs in takeaways with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Byrum was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team after recording 20 tackles in nine games.  He intercepted First-Team All-CUSA quarterback Rakeem Cato twice.

Davila battled injuries to play in six games but notched 33 tackles and four pass breakups, while making a team-best nine tackles in the win at Florida Atlantic and 10 stops at Vanderbilt.

Special Teams

The Monarchs were up and down on special teams in 2014. ODU kickers missed a pair of extra points and were just 6-of-10 on field goal attempts, but three of those kicks were game-winners on the last play of the game.

Junior Ricky Segers started the season as the kicker and was 2-of-3 on field goals and kicked the game-winning 25-yarder to beat Rice in the C-USA opener.  Segers suffered a season-ending injury at UTEP and was replaced by Jarrett Cervi. Cervi, who also earned All-Freshman honors as a punter, was 1-for-2 on field goals and 12-of-13 on PAT’s.  As a punter, he averaged 40.5 yards per boot with a long of 54.

Junior Satchel Ziffer took over kicking duties at Western Kentucky and was a perfect 13-for-13 on extra points and 3-for-5 on field goals, including game-winning kicks against FIU and at FAU.

ODU will have to replace four-year starting long snapper Rick Lovato. Lovato was perfect for four years and is now in training camp with the Chicago Bears

Adam Vaught, a redshirt freshman from Blacksburg High School, is the frontrunner to replace Lovato.

The Monarchs also need to replace punt and kick returners, Antonio Vaughan and Cam BoydIsaiah Harper, Nick England, Zach Pascal and Vincent Lowe will be given first crack at the job.