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The Cardinal Countdown: 27 Days Until Kickoff

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Boston College v Louisville Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

#27 Tobias Little

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-0/242

Position: Tight End

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Twitter: @bigwee27

Thoughts: I was a big Tobias fan when he rolled onto campus for no other reason than he was gonna get reps at fullback. This isn’t news to you faithful readers as I’ve professed my love for the FB position numerous times on this countdown. After taking a redshirt in 2016 Tobias got some snaps in 2017, playing in nine games and getting some carries and a catch out of the backfield to kick off his college career. At that time it looked like Tobias was going to be a weapon in the offense for seasons to come as the Cards were going to lose Lamar, Reggie, and Malik Williams that year. Then heading into 2018 Tobias tore his ACL in the fall and was lost for the season, and apparently the rest of the team took it pretty hard as they decided to fold up shop for the year as well (I kid). With a crappy 2018 behind him Tobias finally got back to 100% but was starring down a new coach, a new offense, and a scheme that didn’t really utilize the fullback position.

In 2019 Tobias transitioned in name alone to “tight end” and got some early reps. The problem was that Marshon Ford and Ean Pfeiffer were playing very well, and while I may have inappropriate dreams about Satterfield running a three tight end set it just didn’t happen that often, and surpassing Ford and Pfeiffer for significant reps was a tough ask for Little.

Tobias will face a similar challenge in 2020 as both those guys are back, but he still has a good size frame and is pushing around 240+ in the open field which can always be a problem for defenses. He can be used as a blocker and as noted above has shown he can handle the rock as well when called upon. I think Little and Isaac Martin are the next guys in line at the more traditional TE spot or mixing it up at H back, providing depth at a very important spot in the offense.

Sweet Tweet:

Let that thing hit 88 and skip right on over 2020…

***

#27 Anthony Johnson

Class: RS Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-1/206

Position: Defensive Back

Hometown: Coconut Creek, FL

Twitter: @aj_ballout

Thoughts: I spoke last year about Anthony suffering from the ‘John Smith Complex’. A complex I completely made up, but to simplify it I’m basically saying that people with common names are often overlooked for their various achievements simply because they don’t have a more memorable name. I say ‘Anthony Johnson’ and it likely doesn’t ring a bell to the common fan, but it’s time folks start to know just who AJ is and that’s a heck of a football player, and a heck of a leader.

The four star recruit out of Florida came in and took a redshirt back in 2017 but identified himself as an immediate contributor following his introduction to the program. In 2018 Johnson saw action in eleven games as a freshman and last year played in all thirteen games as a sophomore, even getting three starts against Wake, Clemson, and NC State. For those with a keen eye or the folks who went back and watched each game over and over a stupid number of times (hand raised) it was fairly obvious that some teams decided to pick on Johnson and put him to the test, and while the sophomore had a few bumps overall he played well in my opinion and took his physical presence on the outside up a notch.

Last season alone Johnson was able to register 27 tackles, 6 pass breakups, forced three fumbles, snagged an interception, and even added a QB hurry to the ol’ 2019 resume. He was creating ‘havoc’ on defense and that is what Coach Brown is looking for. What Coach Brown also needs in 2020 is leaders, and Anthony has taken some of the outside ‘noise’ as an opportunity to step up and lead. He spoke via teleconference back in June about taking on that leadership role and organizing some gatherings to show unity among the team, you can see a short clip here…

Johnson is now an upperclassman, an upperclassman with more than handful of starts and who has appeared in nearly every game he was eligible. The summer depth chart has Johnson as a starter on the outside opposite Chandler Jones and I think AJ holds onto that job when the season starts. A physical presence with a desire to lead is a coaches dream and I think Anthony Johnson will be name you’ll start to remember.

Sweet Tweet:

Rumor is the ACC will be announcing a formal schedule today around 9:00am. We should then know when Anthony, Tobias, and the rest of the Cards are looking to officially kick this thing off. If the date is pushed back (extremely likely) we’ll take a quick hiatus on the countdown and pick it back up on the ‘correct’ Day 26 in the week to come. Thanks for continuing to check this series out each day. If we can do it safely, I’m really looking forward to what the Cards have in store for us in 2020.