At the safety position, you're looking for a fast, smart athlete that can read the offense and then stop it within seconds. Safeties are called "safety" for a reason; they're meant to plug any holes caused by a break in the first or second levels of the defense.
Tony Annese is the definition of a true safety.
The son of a former Chippewa defensive back, Annese played a pivotal position in Dan Enos' old 4-2-5 defensive scheme, essentially quarterbacking the defense. Once he was given an opportunity to shine, Annese showed a propensity for the big moment, with a 36-yard return for a touchdown vs. hated rival Western Michigan to win that game on the road in his first start.
Annese found ways to get involved in big defensive plays last season, and often broke up passes or brought the receiver down with his aggressive tackling style. Annese led CMU with 10 pass breakups and was second in tackles recorded, with 74 total stops (49 solos,) including an 8 tackle performance vs. Syracuse and a 9 tackle gmae vs. Western Kentucky, which included a super-weird fumble return that sparked the Chippewas' comeback rally in the Bahamas Bowl. He was also a primary ballhawk on defense, with three interceptions on the year, although he did not return any of those three. His redshirt sophomore season was good enough to earn him Third Team All-MAC Honors, and with a lot of holes to fill for the Chippewas, especially on defense with Brandon Greer getting himself dismissed from the CMU football program, Annese's leadership will be more valuable than ever.
Here are some highlights from Annese's performance vs. Kansas last season. *Them hits tho*