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Positional Reviews and Previews: Defensive Line

This is series of positional reviews, which entail a look back and a look forward at each position for the Red Raiders. We'll try and take a look at who is gone, who remains and who we can look forward to playing in the not so distant future.

Season Review and Preview: Defensive Line

Who Is Leaving: Brian Jones graduated early so he's not going to be around and Tyler Yenzer is also a senior. Jones played in the first 6 games and in the Baylor game, but other than that he didn't see much time. Let's take a look at both Jones and Yenzer's careers:

  • Brian Jones
    Year Tackles Sacks TFL
    2007 5 1 2
    2006 0 0 0
    2005 4 0 0

  • Tyler Yenzer
    Year Tackles Sacks TFL
    2007 2 0 1
    2006 0 0 0
    2005 6 0 0
    2004 0 0 0

One other player, defensive end Phillip Jones, left the team before the season started.

God Speed, gentlemen.

Who Returns: This is interesting because there certainly some potential for people to lose their job.

Player Ht/Wt Year Position Tackles Sacks TFL
Brandon Williams, #84 6-5/253 Jr. DE 44 5.5 12
Colby Whitlock, #93 6-2/281 So. DT 47 2 8.5
Rajon Henley, #91 6-3/265 Jr. DT 45 4.5 7.5
Jake Ratliff, #98 6-7/247 Sr. DE 26 1 3
Daniel Howard, #53 6-3/238 Sr. DE 23 3 6
Richard Jones, #99 6-1/277 Jr. DT 19 0 .5
Sandy Riley, #46 6-0/248 Jr. DE 18 1 2.5
Clint Stoffels, #42 6-0/269 So. DT 4 1 1
Brandon Sharpe, #92 6-3/243 Sr. DE 1 0 0
Britton Barbee, #68 6-2/293 So. DT 0 0 0
Sean Estelle, #97 6-3/248 So. DE 0 0 0
Bobby Agoucha, #96 6-4/328 RS DT - - -
David Neill, #95 6-5/270 RS DL - - -
Kyle Hack, #67 6-5/260 So. DL - - -

I'm going to divide this group into Starters and Backups:

  • Starters: Of the returning starters I think that Whitlock's position is the only one that is safe. Whitlock got better as the year progressed and he didn't fade like you would expect from a freshman. Whitlock is a player. I am down a little on Williams and Ratliff. I thought that they should have had better production than they did, especially Ratliff. I won't complain too much about Williams, but there were long stretches in most games where Williams was not making his presence felt. I hope like hell he's motivated with all of the new talent coming. Henley is an excellent backup tackle, but he's not a starter. Not a knock against Henley, because I certainly think he has good utility, he's just really undersized for a DT.

  • Backups: I love Howard's and Riley's motors, but I'm afraid that with the addition of the Juco's that their time may be limited. It will be interesting to see how their playing time is distributed as I thought they were both effective in certain situations. Jones was solid, but not spectacular and Stoffels and Sharpe had little impact overall.

    I'm very excited about Neill and as I note below, he's the type of player that could play end or tackle, although I'd prefer that he play at the end position if that's where he's best suited. Even if he's added weight, I think we should want him where he's most effective. I'm not at all sure about Agoucha. I have a feeling that he's going to be a project. I have no idea about Hack. Again, I'm being literal.

Who Is Going To Be Here:

Player Ht/Wt Position
McKinner Dixon (JUCO) 6-3/275 DE
Brandon SeSay (JUCO) 6-6/273 DE
Broderick Marshall (JUCO) 6-5/280 DE
Joey Fowler 6-4/260 DE
Ryan Haliburton 6-4/234 DE
Brian Christopher 6-4/240 DE
Chris Perry 6-3/319 DT

Dividing this group into Juco's and freshmen:

  • McKinner Dixon, Brandon SeSay, and Broderick Marshall: I love, love, love the fact that Leach has recruited some talented players to play on the defensive line. All of these guys have size and speed, something that's been lacking on the defensive line for some time. You'll note that I have Dixon at defensive tackle and I'm not so sure that he belongs there, but he's got more size than Henley, by 20 pounds or so. For me, it's all about talent and not position.

  • Joey Fowler, Ryan Haliburton, Brian Christopher and Chris Perry: With the addition of Perry, this class gets so much better. I think by 2009, he's going to anchor the middle with Whitlock, which will allow Dixon to move back outside. Because of Fowler's size, he's going to be a lot like David Neill from last year. A guy who has added some weight and could play multiple positions along the line. I'll take it, so long as he can play. Christopher and Haliburton seem like projects in that they've got to probably add some weight. By the way, I would say that all of these freshmen should redshirt, especially with the addition of three talented Juco's.

Depth Chart: Keep in mind that any depth chart does include current commitments and there may be additional commitments that could change everything. In other words, we're all just guessing.

Much like the offensive line, perhaps we don't need to concern ourselves too much with position, but rather keep in mind the idea that the best players will play. I know that the defensive line is a little different than the offensive line, but the concept remains the same. The best players need to play.

Let the guessing begin:

Year Starter Backup Backup Backup
2008 Brandon SeSay, Jr. Brandon Williams, Jr Daniel Howard, Sr. Brandon Sharpe, Sr.
Colby Whitlock, So. Rajon Henley, Jr. Richard Jones, Jr. Britton Barbee, So.
McKinner Dixon, Jr. David Neill, RS Fr. Bobby Agoucha, RS Fr. Clint Stoffels, So.
Broderick Marshall, Jr. Jake Ratliff, Sr. Sandy Riley, Jr. Sean Estelle, So.
2009 Brandon SeSay, Sr. Brandon Williams, Sr. Brian Christopher, RS Fr. Ryan Haliburton, RS Fr.
Colby Whitlock, Jr. Rajon Henley, Sr. Richard Jones, Sr. Britton Barbee, Jr.
Chris Perry, So. David Neill, So. Bobby Agoucha, So. Clint Stoffels, Jr.
Broderick Marshall, Sr. McKinner Dixon, Sr. Sandy Riley, Sr. Joey Fowler, RS Fr.
2010 Brian Christopher, So. Ryan Haliburton, So.
Colby Whitlock, Sr. Bobby Agoucha, Jr. Britton Barbee, Sr.
Chris Perry, Jr. David Neill, Jr. Clint Stoffels, Sr.
Joey Fowler, So.

Prior Positional Reviews and Previews: