The 2021 Aztec Spring Football Roster is out.
Below is a list of the seniors from 2020, who are also listed on the 2021 roster. SDSU should be very happy with the list of players running it back next season.
Returning 2020 Seniors
#34 Greg Bell RB
SDSU’s best offensive player a year ago returns. If he can stay injury-free, he is poised to have a dominating season.
#24 Segun Olubi LB/S
An undersized linebacker in 2020, Olubi is listed as a LB/S for Spring Ball so it looks like he will a chance to replace Dwayne Johnson at the Aztec position.
#9 Tayler Hawkins CB
Starter at CB, who returns to bolster the secondary.
#18 Trenton Thompson S
Returning starter as the Warrior safety and an excellent Special Teams contributor.
#38 Andrew Aleki LB
Returning starter at LB.
#56 Dominic Gudino C
Returning team captain. He was listed as the starter at center in 2020, but injuries prevented him from playing in 2020. He could stay at center or slide over to guard.
#76 Zachary Thomas T
A returning starter on the OL. Next to Bell, he is the most impactful returning player.
#91 Kahi Neves DE
Began the year as a starter. A hand injury and the emergence of Jonah Tavai cost him his spot as the starter, but he was an effective player in the defensive line rotation.
#52 Jalil Lecky DE
Another returning player on the defensive line who contributed last season.
#84 Sefo Mailangi DE
Yet another defensive lineman who contributed last season is returning.
1. The main holes looked to be filled.
The team was supposed to be young in the secondary and the offensive line next season, but with the players returning, the positions are far more experienced than what was projected before the season.
The secondary will still need to replace three starters, but that is far easier to do than replacing five. Expecting a new player to come close to replacing Tariq Thompson, Darren Hall, and Dwayne Johnson is a tall task, but Hawkins and Trenton Thompson have played a lot of football and should bridge the gap a little easier.
The offensive line is still losing two players, but Gudino’s return should help inside of the line. Thomas’ return at tackle impacts the outside. As the starting right tackle last season, he could stay there and guard the blindside should left-handed quarterback Jalen Mayden win the starting role or slide to left tackle if someone else wins the job.
2. Kids want to play for Brady Hoke
Three of the players returning are at the defensive line, a position group that Hoke works closely with. It is yet another example of what is already known: Hoke is a player’s coach, who athletes love to play for. The defensive line was dominant last year and is returning every player from last season’s rotation.
3. Expectations will be high for 2021
The looming questions surrounding the quarterback position will be the focal point of spring camp, but this team is deep, experienced, and talented at every other position. There are now 33 seniors listed on the roster. There were 22 last year. If the team is able to find a good quarterback, the sky is the limit for this team.
This will be the second season under the new coaching staff. The brotherhood formed by working together through the challenges of 2020 should make the team’s chemistry strong. Add in the motivation of missing out on a bowl game for the first time in a decade, and this should be a motivated, hungry team.