Gridiron on the Plains: Depth Chartin’ on the Defensive Line

We analyze each position group and the two-deep, including the incoming freshmen. We start with the defensive line that returns a ton of talent, but hasn’t proven much.

Photo via Charles Henry @ Flickr.

Weakside Defensive End Nose Tackle Defensive Tackle Strongside Defensive End
Pete Robertson
SR (6-3/238)
Rika Levi
SR (6-2/339)
Keland McElrath
SR (6-4/307)
Branden Jackson
SR (6-4/269)
Zach Barnes
SO (6-2/230)
Anthony Smith
JR (6-0/335)
Demetrious Alston
SR (6-3/272)
Andre Ross
SR (6-2/245)
Kris Williams
JR (6-1/228)
Marcus Smith
SR (6-3/309)
Breiden Fehoko
FR (6-3/290)
Gary Moore
SO (6-5/224)
Lonzell Gilmore
FR (6-4/220)
Broderick Washington
FR (6-2/290)
Josh Outlaw
SO (6-4/309)
Amari Brumfield
Donte Phillips
JR (6-2/288)
Talor Nunez
SO (6-4/263)

Best Competition?

Depending on how things shake out, the competition at defensive tackle is pretty terrific and this group goes four deep. Just as an aside, Phillips apparently hurt his shoulder and may not be able to play again. The best thing about maybe this spot is that Texas Tech has four guys that can all play and I’ve mentioned this before that Alston has a redshirt available, so technically, he could sit out this year and maybe play at defensive end next year for Jackson. That seems like a pretty good match. If Alston doesn’t do that, then you’ve got four guys that will all be fighting for a spot at defensive tackle. I should also add that Marcus Smith has a redshirt available too.

Freshman Impact?

Pretty obvious here that Fehoko is probably on the fast-track to having some impact this next year. I’m thinking that Broderick Washington has to push past Smith & Smith, but that may not be too tough. I know that Mike Smith wants a bit more from Marcus and Anthony looked okay during the spring game. Not a world-beater, but he could be a rotation guy for sure. I’m also thinking that Gilmore could be the next great pass rusher for this team. I think that Barnes is strictly a speed guy and I think that Gilmore could eventually add some size to his frame.

Expectations for 2015?

I”ve mentioned before that my expectations for this group is to just be marginally better, and with the help of some more rangy linebackers, that’s a real possibility. I’m actually really happy with the starters and I think this group will surprise some people. I think the weaknesses are lack of depth at nose tackle, although I could envision McElrath flipping to nose tackle and you’ve still got plenty of depth there to at tackle to do some work. I’m also not real enthused about the depth at WDE and SDE. Because Robertson and Jackson have played so much, we haven’t seen their back-ups all that much. I focused quite a bit on Barnes during the spring game and there’s not much finesse to his game, just go. Maybe that will work. Ross was injured during the spring, but I’m penciling him in as a second team and we’ll have to see what happens with Moore figuring it out and getting on the field and taking on 300 pound tackles.


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