Southern Miss is halfway through the season and the defense is starting to come around after back-to-back solid performances against North Texas and Marshall.
Many of the first-year players are starting to catch on and that’s helped the group improve as a whole.
The unit is playing well together at the moment, but it’s worth taking a look at the Golden Eagles’ top players on that side of the ball.
Here they are, the top five players on the USM defense at the midway point of the season:
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1. DE Dylan Bradley: The junior from Noxubee County has had a very good season so far. He leads the team in sacks (4) and tackles for lost yardage (7.5). The 6-foot-1, 265-pound Bradley also ranks third on the team in tackles with 27.
2. S D’Nerius Antoine: No first-year player has made a bigger impact ont he team than Antoine. He leads the team in tackles with 41 and has one interception. Antoine has played well, but you get the feeling his best football is still ahead of him.
3. CB Kalan Reed: He’s always been steady at cornerback, but he has become one of the better corners in Conference USA this season. He has 21 tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups.
4. LB Brian Anderson: The 5-foot-10, 240-pound Anderson has been much better at middle linebacker position season. He’s been a sure tackler and ranks second on the team with 37.
5. DT Andrew Bolton: There may be better players on the defense, but Bolton’s arrival after transferring from Kansas has been crucial to USM in the front four. He has started all six games and has 17 tackles.