What We Saw: There are a lot of question marks going into fall camp as 3 starters and some depth departed from the Ball State defensive line group. On the bright side, there are experienced players back and lots of talent to work with after spring practice showed several players ready to step in.
The lone regular returning starter is edge rusher/DE Anthony Winbush. The talented 5th year senior brings a ton of speed and athleticism on the edge and he showed no signs of slowing in spring practice, putting constant pressure on the Cardinal QBs.
Joining Winbush on the outside are several players who will vie for starting and playing time. Probable starter on the opposite side of the line is Sr. Brian Whitaker. The 6-3 243 former JUCO transfer has good size and athleticism. Also working into playing time are R-So Sean Hammonds, a big, strong edge setter, Akeem Hutchinson, a stout and strong beast at DE and James Jennette, a athletic edge guy that spent most of the spring in the backfield.
In the middle, returning seniors and regulars Kevin Willis and John Swisher. Willis is a big, strong and experienced run clogger who is set for a big senior season. Swisher, who moves into the starting role this season, is a warrior inside who brings a high motor. Joining them are undersized but athletic DTs Frank Burton (R-Fr), Chris Crumb (So), Fred Schroeder (R-Jr), Kenny Knight (R-So) and Kyle Williams (greyshirt Fr). Crumb brings the most experience to the group, but both Schroeder and Knight have gotten snaps in the past.
Projected Depth Chart: The only absolute in the group is Winbush, a 3 year starter, who returns for his senior campaign. Other projected starters are Whitaker, Willis and Swisher. The second group is anyone’s guess and will prove to be a battle until the first game.
What Happens When The New Class Arrives: The Ball State staff brought in three players who will provide depth to the defensive line, we expect at least two to see time. On the outside, Jordan Williams and Christian Albright are two good looking talents that will help in the future and may push for playing time right away. Zach Haynes, a versatile talent, is capable of playing inside or out and should provide depth.