Breaking Down: Defensive Line

Breaking down the Red Wolves by position. Today looking up front at the defensive line.

The Breakdown:
Position Starter Backup
DEFENSIVE END Chris Stone – 6'3 245 RSo John Gandy – 6'0 245 Sr
DEFENSIVE TACKLE Amos Draper – 6'3 280 RSr Darius Dunaway – 6'5 260 RSr
NOSE TACKLE Ryan Carrethers – 6'2 320 RSr Dexter Blackmon – 6'4 285 Sr
DEFENSIVE TACKLE Eddie Porter – 6'3 240 Sr Chris Odom – 6'4 235 Fr

The Numbers:
Carrethers has played in every game during his time at Arkansas State after red-shirting his first year. He has started the last 19 games. Carrethers has 103 career tackles – 68 of which came last season.

Draper has played in every game while at A-State. The former Freshman All-American has amassed 65 tackles during his time with 18.5 tackles for loss.

Porter finished 2012 with 34 tackles at 2.5 sacks. Stone added 36 tackles last season had 3 pass knock downs and even had an interception.

The Analysis:
The A-State defensive line used essentially just even players during the 2012 season. Five of those players return – Carrethers, Draper, Porter, Stone and Blackmon.

Carrethers is the bell cow. A prototypical nose tackle, the Nashville, TN product is on the Outland Trophy and Bednarik Award watch lists. Carrethers ability to demand double teams is what has allowed the linebackers attack the running backs unabated. Carrethers has also proven that he can be an excellent run stopper himself.

Draper has been a player that has proven he can beat his man and get to the backfield. Draper and Blackmon combined with Carrethers give the Red Wolves three very good interior linemen.

Blackmon had flashes last fall and then looked like a force in the spring and this fall. Some folks look at a lack of sacks as a lack of pass rush but ASU faced a number of teams in the Sun Belt that run a fast paced passing attack that throws a lot of bubble screens or swing passes.

ASU has very athletic defensive ends in Stone and Porter. Both were in their first year on the defense and should be even better this year not having to think before they react. I expect that both will be causing problems in the backfield for opponents.

The question with this defensive line is really just the depth. Can Gandy and Dunaway step up their game in their senior seasons and give ASU at least 7 guys to rotate on defense again? Gandy was a JC All-American and should be ready to play a significant role for ASU this season. Expect true freshman Odom to grow as a backup this season.

This group becomes truly dominant if RJr Markel Owens and RFr Darius Rosser push the interior lineman for playing time as well.