After a stellar 2013 football season in which Devin Bass wowed many with his special teams and defensive performance after starting the season on the sidelines, 2014 was a step back. It was a tad bit disappointing given the high expectations that Ohio fans and Hustle Belt staff placed on him going into the year. (If you'll remember back, we had Bass as our 11th best MAC footballer going into last season.)
But maybe people projected a bit much on Bass. The guy is a solid corner. He finished as a second-team All-MAC corner and first team All-MAC as a kick returner in 2013, but to then put him as one of the top three DBs in the conference the following year because of this might have been a reach. 2014 saw Bass start 10 games and experience some struggles on defending deep routes. Ohio fans saw Bass get targeted on long balls consistently in some games, and a corner with as much talent as Bass has to take that personally. He totaled 33 tackles on the year and forced a fumble and picked a pass off. Based on the Marshall game alone (when Bass burst onto the scene in 2013) one might think he had better things in store.
One would also have to think that Ohio will look to to put Bass in more play-making situations as a senior. Last season, Bass attempted only five kick-returns. What sense does that make for an all-conference performer in that aspect of the game just one season before? Maybe I'm missing something. Daz'mond Patterson picked up the bulk of kick-return duties instead, accumulating 24 on the year.
Bass projected as a fourth-team All-MAC selection by Phil Steele, and that might not necessarily be too far from where I'd personally put him. Ian Wells lines up across the field from him, and the two make up a respectable 1-2 corner dynamic. This isn't to say that the Bobcats are expected to have the stingiest secondary in the conference this upcoming season. They will be tested. Bass has the capabilities of someone who can perform at the highest level among defenders in the MAC. Expect him to nab several, rather than just one interception this season. Let's see what 2015 holds for him.