The Hurricanes started spring football with nine defensive backs on scholarship -- five cornerbacks and four safeties.
At the cornerback position, the Hurricanes returned a player who started several games last season in junior Ladarius Gunter. He turned in a solid spring, but it wasn't enough to hold off the challenge from sophomore Tracy Howard.
On the other side of the field, Antonio Crawford turned in a very good spring. He was often mentioned by the coaches as one of the most improved players on that side of the football. He played a little bit last season but is expected to play a big role in 2013.
Nate Dortch may have been one of the biggest surprises of the spring. He went from redshiring last season to being listed as a co-starter following a very strong spring. He really turned his game up a notch, and is neck and neck with Crawford right now for a starting spot.
Deon Bush is the top returning safety for the Hurricanes. He started all last season, and turned in a solid spring. He's listed as one of the safety starters all by himself, and should be ready for a breakout sophomore campaign. Senior Kacy Rodgers, who started his career as a cornerback, is listed as the backup to Bush.
Senior A.J. Highsmith and sophomore Rayshawn Jenkins are listed as the co-starters at the other safety spot. Highsmith has the edge on experience but Jenkins is considered the better player with a lot more upside. It's likely only a matter of time before Jenkins wins the job but they're heading into the summer as co-starters after both turned in solid springs.
Redshirt freshman Larry Hope is the only scholarship defensive back who wasn't listed on the post-spring depth chart. He still has a ways to go, and wasn't able to generate much buzz with his play this spring.