Then and Now: The Defensive Line | Syracusefan.com

Then and Now: The Defensive Line

SWC75

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I decided that now that we have completed the football season, I’d look back at what I said in my season preview and talk about how things worked out. I’ll focus on the players and my discussion of various departments of the team.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Then:

Last year the defense began a comeback. The young tackles who were in the 270 pound range and getting pushed around by 300+ offensive linemen in 2011 were beginning to grow up. Jay Bromley, the best of them, is now up to 6-4, 290 pounds. And he has plenty of big friends. Eric Crume is 6-0, 325. Zian Jones is 6-4 315. Ryan Sloan is 6-2, 330. And here comes former Iowa Hawkeye John Raymon 6-5 319. And we could have had more: Davon Walls was 6-5 310 but elected to join end Markus Pierce-Brewster in burglarizing an apartment and getting thrown off the team. But the big loss was Wayne Williams, the biggest guy of all at 6-5 335. He was our #1 rated recruit. One poster on our board said he was one of a couple of near 300 pounders trying to block Williams in a high school game and they couldn’t handle him at all. But grades pancaked Williams, who will spend a year in prep school. Hopefully he’ll be part of the picture next season. But even without Williams and Walls, we’ve got some big boys up front again. Nobody is going to run on us this year, at least not up the middle. And the ends and linebackers should have room to roam.

Pierce-Brewster had been a highly-rated junior college transfer who was expected to become a star defensive end to replace Chandler Jones. His first year was somewhat disappointing but we still had high hopes for him when he decided breaking the law was more important than a possible NFL career. Since we also lost the other defensive end, Brandon Sharpe, this created a considerable vacuum in a very important unit of the team. The defensive ends are the “edge rushers” who put pressure on the backfield. Without that, we have to blitz linebackers and defensive backs to get pressure on the backfield, which can leave us vulnerable to passes and break-away runs. So Ron Thompson, the big tight end prospect was shifted over to be a defensive end. The good news is that he was considered a big prospect on that side of the ball as well.

We are not bereft at the position. Robert Welch made some plays as a reserve last year and people have been impressed with him in practice. But they are raving about Isaiah Johnson, a big kid, 6-5 291, (huge for a DE- Welch is 6-3 259, Thompson 6-4, 256) with quickness for his size. There’s also Micah Robinson, also pretty big at 6-4 273. Isaiah Johnson….Micah Robinson…. Don’t their names sound like defensive ends?

I don’t think we have any lack of talent at defensive end, just proven experience. I think maybe we will be just fine at this position. I’m also thinking about all those times in my summary of the schedule that I said a team had lost a lot of guys at a position and were therefore questionable. Those teams might also be “just fine”, too.

Now:

Jay Bromley had a great senior year. He reminded me of Art Jones who is now playing for the Ravens and has a Super Bowl ring. He’s gone. So is Zian Jones, who gave us some good service in two years after transferring from junior college. I don’t expect to see Walls again. John Raymond tore up a knee against Georgia Tech and it looked so bad we might not see him at all next year. We will get Eric Crume and the oft-injured Ryan Sloan back. I assume Wayne Williams will finally show up, although there is a story that he’s ballonne3d up to 400 pounds. Marcus Coleman is a name I’ve heard but he is listed as a nose tackle but at 6-1 266 he seems a bit overmatched in the land of the 300 pounders. The other players on the roster listed as “DT” or “NT” are names I’ve not heard and they are smaller than Coleman. All that wonderful depth in big men we had accumulated has vanished. We are starting over here and It could be 2011 all over again. But Crume and Sloan could tide us over until we build this area up again. This is another area where we hope to hear some favorable recruiting news soon. Other than Williams, there isn’t an interior defensive lineman listed on our commits. I wouldn’t be surprised is they don’t go the junior college route again to get someone who can play immediately.

Another possibility is that one of the defensive ends could move over. Isaiah, “Zeke” Johnson was listed as a defensive tackle when he was recruited and he’s big for an end, (I’ve seen him listed from 270 to 291). He had a good freshman year as did Ron Thompson. Robert Welch and Micah Robinson have another year of eligibility and played well this year as well. There’s talk linebacker Luke Arcinega could see time at defensive end. A back-up, Josh Manley, transferred. Recruit Chris Slayton has a 3 star rating. We seem to have some options in this area which was such a question mark going into last season.
 

NC'cusefan

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How is Sloan doing? Was he injured this past season too? I saw him get in a play or two and he looked good but obviously behind a top of the line starter. He played at the same HS I did (many many years later) and was quite a force.
 

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