A Smothering Presence: How Israel Mukuama’s Size Could Lead To Big Things For The Gamecock Secondary

A quick google search sends a clear statistical message: defensive backs are typically much shorter than the receivers that they match up against.

With the average NFL receiver being noted as 6’2″, the comparative size of DB’s, at 5’11”, seems like quite the discrepancy. 

Despite this apparent limitation, talented secondary players continue to defy the odds and be productive.

It appears that the best of the best have a rabid combination of athleticism and sheer will to dominate their assignment. This might explain why size is seemingly irrelevant.

However, even so, one has to wonder if a little more height wouldn’t hurt. 

According to USA Today, 2018’s best defensive back was Greedy Williams of LSU.

If you watched any film of him, it is clear that the title is well deserved. Perhaps what helped him at the position the most, is also the one thing that sets him apart from the majority of other defensive backs: his height.

At six feet, two inches tall, Greedy Williams was rarely, if ever, the smaller guy in a match up.

Combine his natural size with smooth hip rotation and overall quickness, and you have a guy who can afford to play more than a little greedy. 

So, if a little extra height helped give way to the accolades and productivity that Greedy Williams secured in 2018, what would have been the result if he had been even taller, but with almost as much athleticism and quickness? 

Let me introduce you to the Gamecock’s own Israel Mukuamu.

At six feet, four inches tall, Mukuamu has an enormous advantage. His size and strength can effectively suffocate receivers, while his quickness allows him to keep them contained.

Like Williams, he can match up well with bigger receivers, while still having the agility and strength to overpower smaller guys. 

Sophomore Jaycee Horn, who received SEC All-Freshman Team honors, spoke of Mukuamu recently and said, “He’s 6’5″ with cleats on. That’s crazy. He’s 6’5” lining up in front of a receiver. When he gets off the line it’s almost like he smothers a receiver.” 

Considering the name Horn has made for himself, it’s safe to say that his opinion of his fellow corner matters.

But, in case you’re still undecided, Horn isn’t the only who thinks that Mukuamu can be special.

Gamecock great Stephon Gilmore shared a tweet that said, “South Carolina Gamecocks let them 2 corners play press all game and send that rush I promise you they won’t get open lol. 7 and 24”

That’s a lot of confidence in 2 young corners, especially coming from a pro-bowler. However, it seems that the praise is warranted. 

After looking at the way that Greedy Williams used his size as an advantage, and then hearing from Horn and Gilmore about the lock-down potential of Mukuamu, it’s safe to assume that the Louisiana native could be heading for a monster of a breakout season.

After the defensive woes of 2018, I’m sure that I won’t be the only person happy to see it. 

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