Position Preview: Defensive Backs

Aug. 31, 2017



Excelling on the field and in the classroom, UC Davis student-athletes compete in 23 intercollegiate sports (14 women's and nine men's) and are enrolled in 93 different undergraduate majors offered by the University, finishing with an average GPA of 3.0 during the 2016-17 school year.

Follow UC Davis on Social Media: Twitter  Facebook  |  Instagram


By: Christy Effendie
Athletics Communications Assistant
 
With a conference known for its passing game, assistant coach Cha’pelle Brown and his defensive backs are eager to positively influence games for the Aggies this season.
 
"It’s all about the explosive plays. For a secondary defense, everyone knows when there is an opportunity to make a game-changing play," Brown said.
 
For the Aggies to win games, Brown emphasized the need to be more consistent than other Big Sky teams, and he’s leaning on veterans like Keleen Culberson to lead the group of safeties and defensive backs.
 
After sitting out 2013 due to injury, Culberson recorded a breakout season in 2014 with a team-high 73 tackles, which included 47 solo stops — another team high. When a season-ending injury in 2015 sidelined him after two games, he again returned in 2016 and received all-conference acclaim after ending the year with 47 tackles.
 
Other returning safeties include Darryl Graham and Ryan Parenteau.
 
Graham, a senior, missed just one game in the past three seasons for the Ags and collected a total of 145 tackles (95 solo). In 2015, Graham led the team in both total (76) and unassisted (48) tackles.
 
Parenteau, a junior, saw action in every game last season, and averaged five tackles per game for a total of 55 (39 solo) for the year. Also included in this total is a sack for a loss of nine yards against Southern Utah.
 
Even though Coach Brown remains elusive on which players will earn the starting nod at cornerback, all eyes are on juniors Isiah Olave and Vincent White heading into the season opener.
 
Olave started every game for UC Davis last year, collecting 35 tackles and six breakups. He was also just one of 12 Big Sky players to record a pick-six in 2016, which took place against Northern Colorado.
 
White also saw action in all 11 games last season and finished with a total of 16 tackles (10 solo) and three broken passes.
 
However, the door is still open for guys to prove themselves to Coach Brown, who is challenging his players to find a healthy balance between competing for their spot and maintaining their ability to work as a unit.
 
"No matter who plays, everyone knows that we will support one another and stick together as a group. When one person succeeds, or makes a key play, the entire team will benefit from that extra effort."