Sophomore safety T.J. McDonald was a safety-in-training last year behind departed seniors Will Harris and Taylor Mays, and the 6-foot-2, 205-pound McDonald trained well. Coach Lane Kiffin has praised McDonald often throughout spring practice.
Through 13 spring practices, he looks to be the favorite at strong safety, opposite likely free safety Jawanza Starling. The two sophomores have formed a bond in the defensive backfield and in the film room, as McDonald detailed after practice Tuesday. McDonald also talked about the overall youth in the defensive backfield and learning from Harris and Mays: