This is the last in a series of positional previews for Carroll College, a run of stories that started last week and culminates with the team's season opener Thursday at Montana Tech.
The Carroll secondary features two of the defense's brightest leaders.
It will also feature two new starters this season.
Ryan Gregory and Vince DiGallonardo started for the Saints last season and both graduated. That void means Carroll has two new corners that will be seeing significantly more playing time than they did a season ago.
Saints coach and defensive coordinator Mike Van Diest said it will be a four-man unit that divides up the snaps. Going into Thursday’s opener at Montana Tech, junior transfer Ryan Beaulieu and sophomore Isazeh King have landed atop the two-deep.
“Between Ryan Beaulieu, Isazeh King, Drew Melton back from injury and Chandler Arbizzani is a senior…” Van Diest said. “Those are the four guys that will be seeing the most time at that position.”
“I think Drew Melton is in the mix right there, too,” Van Diest said. “I don’t think there’s any top two. We mixed and matched over fall camp. Sometimes it was Ryan, sometimes it was Drew, sometimes it was Isazeh. We tried to put those guys in special situations against our No. 1 and No. 2 receivers. We said, ‘Hey, you have to match up against Connor Fohn, and Farris and and Arntson and those kind of guys, and Paul Hart.’ It was a pretty competitive fall camp for them. I feel good about the top three. I think Chandler’s improved an awful lot from spring football. Even though we lost two seniors, we may have a little more depth even though we don’t have the experience in terms of game time.”
King had the most tackles out of returning corners from a season ago. He played in all 10 contests for the Saints, and registered 23 total tackles, one for a loss, a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery.
A product of Billings Skyview, Arbizzani played in six contests last season. He had nine tackles.
At 6-foot, and 190 pounds, Melton of Lewiston, Idaho, played in only two games due to an injury.
Beaulieu, the 5-11, 185-pound corner from Las Vegas, transferred in from Pima Community College, where he had 45 tackles and two interceptions over the course of 19 games in two seasons. Prior to the time at Pima Community College, he redshirted at UNLV.
Behind them, and the last line of defense, are two of the most trusted tacklers for the Saints: McBride Galt and Tucker Johnson, who both started at safety a season go.
Johnson led the team in tackling with 78 total.
Galt was fourth on the team with 62 total, adding two interceptions his name, too.
The two secondary stalwarts figure to be the heart of the pass defense, but Van Diest said Brian FauntLeRoy and Tony Madsen are worth keeping an eye on.
“Tony Madsen played a lot last year as a free safety, moved him over to behind McBride Galt,” he said. “Now backing up Tucker Johnson is Brain FauntLeRoy out of Whitefish. We redshirted Brian last year. I think he is a tremendous, tremendous athlete and that’s going to be exciting for him.”
Johnson will also be a name to watch on the special teams unit, as he’s currently slotted as the team’s punt returner. There could be others also seeing some action on punt returns, though.
First team all-conference punter Dylan Torgerson is back in the mix for the Saints after a stellar junior season -- one many thought should have culminated in an All-American award. Torgerson averaged 42.5 yards per punt, but his flexibility and pinpoint accuracy were his best attributes. Last season, Van Diest said the punter could very well average 60 yards per attempt if Saints didn’t ask him to kick in a variety of ways and limit certain returners in the conference.
Torgerson will also taking over place kicking duties after the graduation of Colter Hamel. Freshman kicker Josh Kraft out of Billings Central will be his backup.
Troy Arntson and Isazah King are slated atop the two-deep for kick returns.