CARBONDALE — SIU defensive back Jeremy Chinn was selected as one of 10 FCS players that could be drafted into the NFL next year, according to Athlon Sports.
Chinn, a 6-foot-3, 212-pound senior, had the second-most tackles on the squad last season (55) despite missing the last two games of the 2018 season with an injury. Chinn started seven games at safety, but moved over to cornerback after the Salukis lost six defensive backs to season-ending injuries. A first team all-conference selection, Chinn forced two fumbles, blocked a field goal attempt, and led SIU in interceptions (three) and pass breakups (nine).
The Fishers, Indiana native was the first Saluki defensive back in seven years to earn first team all-conference honors.
Illinois State running back James Robinson and South Dakota State linebacker Christian Rozeboom were also part of the 10-man group of FCS prospects that could be drafted. Robinson led the Missouri Valley Football Conference in rushing with 1,290 yards last season (6.3 yards a carry) with 12 touchdowns. Rozeboom had 105 stops for the Jackrabbits last season.
Chinn is one of eight returning starters on defense for new coordinator Jason Petrino. Junior defensive end Anthony Knighton, a second team all-conference pick last season that was third in the MVFC in sacks (8.5) and fourth in tackles for loss (13.5), returns with 15.0 career sacks. Junior linebacker Bryce Notree, an honorable mention all-conference pick, led SIU with 78 tackles last season.
SIU went 2-9 overall and 1-7 in the MVFC in coach Nick Hill's third season despite winning its first game on the road at Murray State. the Salukis finished last in the MVFC in scoring defense (39.2 points allowed per game), pass defense (254.9 yards a game allowed) and eighth in rushing defense (228.5 yards allowed per game) during league play. SIU lost five games by seven points or less, including three by three points.
Opponents averaged a school-record 40.7 points per game for the season and rushed for 31 touchdowns, the most in 21 years. Injuries played a big part, as SIU lost its top-five defensive backs to season-ending injuries, and the group struggled to get in sync.