Ball State Season Preview: Defensive Line

A position-by-position breakdown of the Ball State football team as it prepares for the 2015 season.

If the old adage of “there is strength in numbers” holds true, then the Ball State Football Defensive Line Unit (or Squad as they like to be referred to) should be rock solid this year. When looking at the sheer volume of players available, the Cardinals have multiple options and can do several different things with the front 4, but most of the players are either untested, or unproven.

At the end spot, the Cardinals welcome back 1 starter and a pair of reserves that garnered playing time from a year ago along with a high-profile transfer that could be the pass rushing star the Cardinals are in dire need of. Back are 5th year Sr. and second year starter Michael Ayers who has added even more weight to his frame and now tips the scales at 6-1 252 along with key reserves from a year ago in speed rusher Anthony Winbush (6-1 228) and human Swiss-army knife Osa Igbinosun (6-2 255).

Add to the mix this season though is former Cincinnati DE Josh Posley. After two less than stellar seasons in the Queen City, Posley (6-1 252), left for greener pastures and more PT in Muncie. He has shown flashes that he could be a force in both the spring game and in practice this fall. Look for big things from the talented Jr.

In the middle, the Cardinals return two starters and three experienced players along with some JUCO help.

Back to man a starting spot is Sr. Darnell Smith, the undersized, but quick Smith is only 5-11 275, but has had success as a pass rusher in the middle registering 4 sacks a season ago. The other starter from a year ago, Keenan Noel, is also undersized at 6-1 270 and has been moved to reserve duty and will also see time at DE in certain situations. Also back are So. Kevin Willis (6-2 305), Jr. Carlutorbantu Zaramo (6-3 290 – missed last season with a knee injury) and Sr. Julian Jackson (6-1 298). Also factoring in will be JUCO transfer John Whitman (6-1 298).

There is serious depth in the Squad, which is a good thing. It means competition in practice and a fresh body after every few plays to keep the pressure on the opposing offense.

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