TOWSON, Md. - As the Tigers held their first double practices of the pre-season, Safeties Coach Brian Fleury was presented with two more opportunities to evaluate the personnel.
In one sense, Coach Fleury may be the most fortunate on the Tigers' staff because he gets to work with the Tigers' All-American safety Jordan Dangerfield.
A two-year starter in the secondary, Dangerfield has led the Tigers in tackles the last two seasons. Despite missing two games with an injury last year, he still made 93 tackles, the second-highest total among Colonial Athletic Association defensive backs.
In addition, he intercepted two passes, forced two fumbles and recovered a pair of fumbles. At the end of the season, he was named first team All-CAA and third team All-American.
One of the Tiger co-captains last season, he played a vital role in the Turnaround Tigers' drive for the CAA championship.
"Jordan Dangerfield does everything right," says Coach Fleury. "He is an absolute pleasure to coach. He loves football and he is eager to learn. He's a tremendous team leader and he always works hard."
While Dangerfield is set as a starter at free safety, the strong safety position is up for grabs. Sophomore Thomas Bradley and red-shirt freshman Walter Dunston are the leading candidates for the position.
Last season, Bradley played in 11 games and started three times. When Dangerfield was sidelined at Old Dominion and William and Mary, Bradley stepped into his spot and helped the Tigers to a pair of wins. He made 20 tackles as a red-shirt freshman.
"He gained some valuable experience last season," admits Fleury. "But that doesn't translate into automatically starting this year. He needs to keep working hard to become a better tackler. He is a very fluid athlete and a good student of the game."
Dunston has made some impressive strides during the first week of the pre-season. Coach Fleury says, "He has tremendous athleticism and this is a great opportunity for him. It would be very easy for him to concede this season and try to get ready for next year when he may have a better chance to start. But, he has a tremendous amount of desire to play this year."
Another red-shirt freshman, Jalil Gordon, has also played well. Named as the Tigers' Most Improved Defensive Player in the spring, Gordon is a smart player who keeps getting better.
The Tigers will hold their eighth practice session of the pre-season on Thursday afternoon.
Season tickets for Towson University football are on sale now by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 1-855-TU-TIGER or going online to TowsonTigers.com. Season ticket packages begin at $55 per seat.