Cameron Elisara and a player to be named later are going to be manning the inside of the UW defensive line this season. Elisara is a work out warrior, but that hasn't translated into immediate success for the third year player. This is the year the coaches look, and need for him to have a break out season.
Deshon Matthews moved over from DE this Spring to help out, and he did a good job, but he is pretty undersized for the position. Kirton is big enough, but can he make up for lost time after switching over from TE this past Spring? Tyrone Duncan played some for the first time this spring but didn't make a move, and O'Connor probably won't play a down in 2008.
What all this means is three true frosh are going to get a chance to play right away at UW. Taamu is a 340 pound man beast who has nose tackle all written over him. Kelemente is the guy I like the best, incredible body, good speed, size, and strength. Noble is a 300 pounder that may need more time to develop, but will get his shot at the rotation if ready this year.
DT Elisara So
DT Matthews So
DT Kirton Sr
DT Duncan RS
DT O'Connor Sr
DT Taamu Fr
DT Kelemente Fr
DT Noble Fr
Over at DE things are a lot clearer with Daniel Teo Nesheim, and Darion Jones. Teo Nesheim is an all league player who could go early to the NFL. Jones is a journeyman who has bided his time to earn his position. Both of these kids had excellent springs.
Backing them up will be Kelani Aldrich who may need another year of fattening up before he is ready to go, and Nick Wood who really didn't impress much this Spring. Wood seems more suited for inside, but because of numbers shifted outside. The coaches would love to move Matthews back to DE if a suitable partner can be found for Elisara.
Everette Thompson could really use a RS year, but numbers and need are most likely going to get him early playing time. Thompson is a talent, but you always like to RS your linemen.
Chris Stevens will see time as a stunting DE as usual this season as Washington tries to mask its inexperience in the DL with help from a deep LB corp.
DE Teo Nesheim
The future is now for the defensive line, and that means all four DL recruits are going to be thrown into the fire this Fall to see if they can play immediately. How well the new guys do will go along way in determining if the Washington defense will improve in 2008.
The only job that is locked down going into camp is Teo Nesheim's, everyone else, including Elisara is going to have to scramble for the a starting job. That means staying healthy, picking things up fast, getting to the QB, and taking up some space.
I think most of us were impressed by how well the defense played in the Spring game, but take it with a grain of salt, they pretty much knew what was coming next, and UW was using very little of their offense.
We are young, talented and fairly deep at DT looking towards the future, but we need to bring in a couple of stud DE's for the future.
Look for UW to recruit at least one DT, and a couple of DE's if they can.
I think Thompson, Kelemente, Noble, and Taamu have a bright future, but think about Ceasar Rayford for a minute. Wouldn't we all of liked him in purple and gold for one more season rather than playing on th epractice squad for the BC Lions? When you play linemen early you run the risk of not getting the use of their full potential and development.