Farmersville is moving some of its top athletes to the secondary intending to become more dynamic against some of the best teams in the area.
Part of that change was moving Dauntae Pearson and Jeralin Craddock to the secondary, a change to put two of their best players on the field in most passing situations. Pearson will line up at the safety position, while Craddock will slot in at cornerback. Most importantly, Farmersville boasts a lot of options to play in those spots this season.
“We’ve got a lot of depth and a lot of kids with playing experience,” Quinlan said. “As we move some kids to the secondary from linebacker we feel like it can be a strength of the defense. We’ve got a lot of talented players competing for snaps on the field.”
Along with Pearson and Craddock, Cuddie Fisher, AJ Blake, Kevin Oliver, and Rafe McCormack will also get chances in the secondary.
Pearson will play safety this season, moving from outside linebacker in 2022. He’s one of the top athletes on the team, and coach Quinlan believes is one of the most underrated players on the team.
Similarly, Craddock played outside linebacker and will move to cornerback. As one of the team’s top receivers, it’s a natural transition for him on both sides of the ball.
“Last year, we needed them at linebacker because we felt good about the guys in the secondary,” Quinlan said. “Now we feel good about our backup linebackers to the point where we want to put our best players on the field, and they can move to the secondary. Dauntae will still fit well on the run from safety, but will also be an eraser for us back in the secondary.”
Pearson filled the stat sheet last season, finishing the year top five in tackles to go along with a sack, two forced fumbles, three recoveries and a blocked punt. Those ball skills should translate well to the secondary this season.
“Toward the end of the year last year we went to the three safety look from the start of the district on,” Quinlan said. “Making him that third safety allowed him to do a lot of different things and he took advantage of that. The thing about Dauntae is he’s just consistent. He’s not a flashy guy, he just goes and makes plays. He stands out on film, even if it isn’t always noticed live. He doesn’t miss a lot of tackles and he can make a play on the ball when needed.”
Craddock moves to cornerback and should excel in that role for the Farmers. Another one of the top athletes in the area, he’s not afraid to take on any matchup in the area heading into this season.
“He’s very confident out on the field,” Quinlan said. “He’s going to do well out there and we’ll figure out how his reps go with him playing a lot of offense too. He likes the matchup and he likes the lights on him. He embraces those challenges and ultimately that will be what the key is to play the cornerback position.”
Another returning starter is Fisher, who was a key player in the secondary last season. Coach Quinlan is expecting a big leap in production from his talented safety, who has put the work in this summer to get even better.
“I think he’s going to surprise some people,” Quinlan said. “He’s put the work in all summer to get better and being coached by his father helps, and he’s a great kid and hard worker. He’s got the athletic ability to do a lot of different things and we’re going to do different things to help him stand out.”
Blake and McCormack fill in at the other corner positions while Aaron Talley will compete for snaps at cornerback and safety next season as well. With the depth the Farmers have, it should only help the starters have an impactful season.
“The best thing about competition is it pushes the kids at the top to be even better,” Quinlan said. “Even just a week into practice I’m already seeing it translate, where the players competing will raise the level of everyone around them. I expect us to have a productive year at the position with the way all of these guys are competing.”
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