Countdown to Kickoff: 24 Days...
Depth Chart Speculation
Emmanuel Dieke (R-Sr)
Christopher Crenshaw (R-Sr)
|Anthony Williams (R-Jr)
|Kevin Robbins Jr (Fr)
|Jeremiah Attaochu (Sr)
|Tyler Stargel (R-Fr)
Rod Chungong (R-Fr)
Chaz Cheeks (R-So)
Nick Menocal (Jr)
In year 1 of our reversion to the 4-3, some of our DEs will be in somewhat unfamiliar territory -- however, their responsibilities will be simplified from those of their "Jack" OLB days and should be easier for them to manage play-to-play. We all know what we're going to get from Jeremiah Attaochu. 10 sacks seems like a good starting point, with anything past that being a big bonus.
Behind Attaochu are some very talented guys, Tyler Stargel and Rod Chungong (proverbial "pledge brothers" of the football team). Both figure to provide Attaochu solid backup options, and while redshirting last year they each tempted Paul Johnson with burning the redshirts based on ability alone. From what I understand, even after Attaochu leaves at the end of the season, we'll be just fine at Weakside Defensive End.
The other side is where questions arise. The two main guys at this point are fifth-year seniors Emmanuel Dieke and Chris Crenshaw. Dieke was a high 3-star prospect in high school with a lot of reputable offers, where Crenshaw was less celebrated but also a solid prospect. Neither has really panned out thus far. Crenshaw has a total of 16 tackles and 2 sacks over 3 non-redshirt years, while Dieke's got 44 tackles and 4 sacks. Then you consider that the guy backing them up is Anthony Williams, of 4-star acclaim and 10 more BCS-level offers. Why is he backing them up then? In two non-redshirt seasons, he's recorded all of 9 tackles and no sacks.
The moral of the story here is that these players are positioned where they are on the SDE depth chart largely because nobody's ever stepped up and really made waves on the defensive line. The talent is there, but nobody has stepped up and grabbed opportunities.
It should be mentioned that there's one more guy who we haven't talked about -- Kevin Robbins, Jr. A true freshman, he's of a football pedigree (dad played at Michigan State) and he was high school teammates with Darius Commissiong up in the highly-competitive DC leagues. Besides exhibiting good skills and athleticism in high school, he's been pretty busy this summer, bulking up to the 260lbs range. Keep an eye on Kevin Robbins this fall -- since nobody's jumped up and seized opportunity yet, he just might.
The WDE position will be a strength for Tech at all times, even when Jerry's resting. You very well could see more than one of those guys win an All-ACC honor over the course of their careers. (Remember, Attaochu has only ever been honorable mention for All-ACC teams.) Question marks will arise with the SDE position, where nobody has a stronghold on the position, and it's hard to think anyone really should have a hold on it at this point. This may be the single most open race on the team (except for WR), and the results could become very interesting.
How are you feeling about our defensive ends? Will the transition from a 3-4 scheme cause problems? Who do you look for to have a breakout season? Who do you think really seizes that SDE spot?