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Purdue Football: Looking Ahead, Defensive Line

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Similar to wide receiver, we have some young players that will make an early impact.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

If I am counting correctly, that is 21 scholarship defensive lineman. There is obvious attention on the trenches in the last couple of classes. The players they have coming in are all very good players too, as you will see them pass up players who are on the roster already.

With there being 21 players, I do not have time to watch a bit of film on each of them, rather, I am going to base it off of rankings, seeing them at practice and watching them during the games for their prediction.

In my opinion, if Purdue can play 10 of these 21 guys, we will be in good shape, as there will always be a constant rotation there, something we lacked in the past decade is depth in the trenches, this is fixed now.

The defensive line will be an issue for our opponents, as we have a great mixture of pass rushers and run stuffers. By 2020, we may have one of the top Big Ten Defensive lines, as they grow older.

Losses:

Keiwan Jones (Graduation)

Ray Ellis (Graduation)

Conor Sweeney (Graduation)

Returnees:

Willie Lane - Redshirt Freshman, 6’3”, 245 Pounds, Career State - N/A

Prediction: Reserve at Defensive End

Chazmyn Turner - Senior, 6’5”, 270 Pounds, Career Stats - N/A

Prediction: Reserve at Defensive End

Giovanni Reviere - Redshirt Sophomore, 6’5”, 270 Pounds, Career Stats - 28 Tackles, 3 Sacks

Prediction: Starter at 3 Tech (Defensive Tackle) (Move was made in the bowl game)

Robert McWilliams - Redshirt Sophomore, 6’4”, 230 Pounds, Career Stats - 1 Tackle

Prediction: 2nd String Weakside Defensive End - We need his speed rush on the field

Kai Higgins - Senior, 6’4”, 255 Pounds, Career Stats - 31 Tackles, 1 Sack, 2 Interceptions

Prediction: Starter at Weakside Defensive End

Jeff Marks - Sophomore, 6’3”, 270 Pounds, Career Stats - 3 Tackles

Prediction: Rotation at Nose Tackle

Branson Deen - Redshirt Freshman, 6’2”, 255 Pounds, Career Stats - N/A

Prediction: Reserve at Defensive End

K.J. Stokes - Redshirt Freshman, 6’3”, 255 Pounds, Career Stats - N/A

Prediction: Reserve at Defensive End

Jack Sullivan - Redshirt Freshman, 6’5”, 260 Pounds, Career Stats - N/A

Prediction: 2nd String Strongside Defensive End

Lawrence Johnson - Redshirt Freshman, 6’3”, 305 Pounds, Career Stats - N/A

Prediction: Rotation at Nose Tackle

Lorenzo Neal Jr. - Senior, 6’3”, 315 Pounds, Career Stats - 62 Tackles, 4 Sacks

Prediction: Starting Nose Tackle

Anthony Watts - Junior, 6’4”, 300 Pounds, Career Stats - 43 Tackles, 1 Sack

Prediction: Rotation at 3-Tech (Defensive Tackle)

Allen Daniels - Sophomore, 6’2”, 310 Pounds, Career Stats - N/A

Prediction: Reserve at Defensive Tackle

Alex Criddle - Senior, 6’3”, 300 Pounds, Career Stats - 6 Tackles

Prediction: Reserve at Nose Tackle

Jack Cravaack - Redshirt Freshman, 6’5”, 230 Pounds, Career Stats - N/A

Prediction: Reserve at Defensive End

Semisi Fakasiieiki - RS Junior, 6’3”, 270 Pounds, Career Stats - 8 Tackles

Prediction: Reserve at Defensive End

Newcomers:

Sulaiman Kpaka - Freshman, 6’3”, 250 Pounds, 3* (247)

Prediction: Redshirt

Dontay Hunter - 6’4”, 240 Pounds, 3* (247)

Prediction: Redshirt

George Karlaftis - 6’5”, 270 Pounds, 5* (247)

Prediction: Starting Strongside Defensive End

Steven Faucheux - 6’4” 270 Pounds, 4* (247)

Prediction: Rotation at 3-Tech (Defensive Tackle)

So, lets break it down by position, now that all the players are listed into who I think will play and what string.

Strongside Defensive End:

  1. George Karlaftis
  2. Jack Sullivan

3-Tech (Defensive Tackle):

  1. Giovanni Reviere
  2. Anthony Watts
  3. Steven Faucheux

Nose Tackle:

  1. Lorenzo Neal Jr. (Coming off ACL surgery)
  2. Lawrence Johnson
  3. Jeff Marks

Weakside Defensive End

  1. Kai Higgins
  2. Robert McWilliams

All in all, that gives me ten guys in rotation. This should give us enough depth to keep guys fresh and ready to play a full game. Neal was asked to play a ton of snaps last year, coming off an ACL surgery, I am not sure if the big man can withstand the same % of snaps this year.

Depth is vital on the defensive line. The Big Ten is a grind and it starts up front. I am more than likely completely wrong on the rotations, but I feel confident with my starters. I really like this group and could easily seeing a couple others get into the rotation.