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Position Preview: Defensive Line

Defensive Line
Van BergenGallimoreKates


At Defensive end, Brandon Graham will hope to follow a less circuitous version of the Lamarr Woodley career path. The high school linebacker will likely never play that position in college, instead staying at defensive end his whole career. Graham has lost weight in the offseason, helping him maintain his speed, though he has battled minor injuries in training camp. The other side will be manned by Tim Jamison, a speedy penetrator who has been injured much of his career, which has kept him out of the starting lineup until now. He was widely considered the starter opposite Woodley last year until a freak ankle injury forced him to sit out and then take a backup role. The redshirt junior looks to finally put together a healthy season.

Backing up those two are a slew of unknowns in redshirt freshmen Greg Banks and Adam Patterson, after the dismissal of James McKinney. They will both be counted on to provide rest for the starters, as there will likely be more rotation this year to give experience to a wider range of players. True freshman Ryan Van Bergen is talented, but may sit out a year to get ready for the college game. LB Shawn Crable will step in on some passing downs.

Defensive tackle Terrance Taylor is the only returner along the defensive line, but he is a good one. Playing the nose position, he is a space-eater rather than a penetrator. He is a likely all-conference candidate. Next to him will be Will Johnson, who steps into a starting role after being a key reserve the past two years. In action last year, he impressed, and was only kept off the field by the exceptional players ahead of him.

Johnny Ferrara will back up the DTs, though he needs to work on his game fitness to be a true factor. The story is similar with Jason Kates. Freshman Marques Slocum will also factor in, as he is ineligible to redshirt after his bizarre academic sojourn to become a Wolverine (Slocum has been dinged up in fall camp with a shoulder injury, but he shouldn't be sidelined too long). There is also a chance that he could be moved to offense down the road, as he was a VHT offensive tackle as a recruit. Slocum is in good shape, and is a strong player, in the style of a shorter Alan Branch. True freshman Renaldo Sagesse will almost definitely redshirt, as Canadian recruits typically do as he will need to assimilate into the culture a bit, and learn the game as it is played here. Brett Gallimore has been shuffled around during his career, and won't likely be a factor anywhere.

With depth lacking on the edges, but strong in the middle, this unit earns a 7.5/10

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“Position Preview: Defensive Line”