At first glance, the safety position may look different in 2016 as three-year starter Michael Mudoh graduated after moving up to second place on the school's all-time tackles list.
Although low on numbers, the cupboard is not bare. Tulsa has seven safeties in camp, including three with considerable playing time at safety and one returning starter.
"I feel good about our safeties, and I think they'll continue to get better," said Head Coach Philip Montgomery.
At strong safety, the Defensive MVP of the 2015 Camping World Independence Bowl, Jeremy Brady (5-10, 197), started 10 games and tallied 71 tackles, three pass break-ups and two interceptions a year ago. McKinley Whitfield (6-4, 212), who totaled 21 tackles in 13 games as a true freshman in 2015, is pushing Brady for playing time.
Red-shirt freshman Cristian Williams (6-0, 176) has done well in preseason camp, while junior walk-on Gage Murphy (6-0, 203), who saw action on special teams last year, adds depth as well to the position.
"We have some guys that have really played well for us at safety this camp," said Head Coach Philip Montgomery. "Jeremy, our senior leader back there, has done a great job, and McKinley is behind him and pushing extremely hard from a competitive standpoint and making plays. McKinley can also come in on a lot of different situations. Christian is doing well."
Jordan Mitchell (6-2, 187) came out of spring drills as the starter at free safety, and newcomerManny Bunch (6-2, 191), who enrolled at mid-semester after completing his senior season at Roland High School a semester early, has enjoyed a solid camp.
"This is the best that I've seen Jordan Mitchell play and the most aggressive that I've seen him play, and he's doing a much better job communicating," said Montgomery. "Manny Bunch has really come on since the spring. I think he's pushing that No. 1 spot really hard. He has great length and speed, he just has to learn the position and the little things."