#52 Russell Tialavea: 6-3, 286 Sr. NT - Tialavea has slimmed down, shedding some fat while at the same time adding some muscle as he hopes to regain the form he had before his ACL injury. He wasn't able to recover that form last year, but he has had a good and solid spring this year. He missed virtually no practice time and saw all of his reps with the first-team defense.
Tialavea's contribution is a big one this coming year, as he'll look to demand the double- and triple-teams that migrated over to Jan Jorgensen and others last year, hampering the productiveness of the defensive front as a whole. With the lost weight and added muscle, Tialavea looked to have the same burst off the snap this spring that he showed pre-injury, which will benefit the entire defense tremendously.
#53 Austin Nielson: 6-3, 233 Jr. LB - Nielson is adding depth to the inside linebacker position while competing for a spot on the roster for the coming season.
#54 Sean Dyhre: 5-11, 212 Fr. LB – Dyhre, like a lot of other linebackers on the roster, is adding depth and looking for a spot on the roster come fall.
#55 Solomone Kafu: 6-2, 309 Fr. OL - Kafu made the switch over to offensive line this spring and has seen most of his reps with the second-team at both center and offensive guard. He is set to leave for a mission after spring and will have his feet wet upon his return.
#56 McKay Frandsen: 6-3, 223 Fr. LB - Frandsen is adding depth and looking for a spot on the final roster this coming season.
#57 Matt Putnam: 6-6, 267 So. DE - Putnam added about 20 pounds of muscle, which he hopes will serve him better in becoming an every-down defensive end instead of a pass-rushing specialist. So far so good, as Putnam impressed this spring while playing with the second-team defense. Putnam's upside is large and he'll play a role within the defensive line rotation this coming fall to be sure.
#58 Jeff Bell: 6-0, 218 Sr. LB - Bell has been a solid practice player for many years now and will fulfill the same role this year while adding quality depth to the inside linebacker position. He will also look to get in on some kick coverage teams.
#59 Chase Hansen: 6-3, 207 So. LB - Like many others, Hansen is adding depth to the linebacker position while trying to secure a spot for himself on the roster come fall.
#59 Jon Pace: 6-2, 213 Sr. DS - Pace will again resume his role as deep-snapper for the Cougars this coming season.
#60 Terence Brown: 6-3, 351 So. OL - Brown has been very steady this spring, seeing every rep at right guard with the first-team offensive line. He is a very talented player and is the odds-on favorite to start at right guard this coming year, when he should prove to be one of the better offensive linemen on the team.
#62 Marco Thorson: 6-3, 310 Fr. OL - Thorson has been a mainstay on the second-team offensive line this spring. He recently returned from his mission, but looks to be someone that will legitimately compete for a spot on the two-deep roster this coming season at one of the offensive guard positions.
#63 Jesse Taufi: 6-4, 302 Jr. OL - Taufi has logged time playing right tackle with the twos and left guard with the one during this past spring. He missed the last week of practice due to a minor injury, but should be all but a lock for the two-deep roster come fall - if not start at the left guard position where he's battling with Jason Speredon.
#64 R.J. Willing: 6-5, 310 Sr. OL - Willing has seen every rep at the starting center position this spring. Short of a major drop-off of play or an incoming freshman replacing him, Willing will start at center this coming year. He is very seasoned with some good playing experience and should do a fine job anchoring the center of the Cougar offensive front.
#67 Nate Hartung: 6-2, 345 So. OL - I was honestly surprised to read Hartung's weight on the roster, as he looks to be a lot slimmer than his reported weight. Hartung has really worked hard to drop his weight and it's helped his play. He has been a mainstay with the second-team playing at both the guard and center positions.
#70 Matt Reynolds: 6-6, 320 So. OL - Reynolds has quietly gone about his business this spring, seeing every rep with the first-team offensive line at the left tackle position. He is the lone returning starter on the offensive line this year and is widely considered to be the best offensive lineman currently in the program.
#71 Rick Wolfley: 6-3, 352 Jr. NT - Wolfley has been seeing reps as the primary backup nose tackle to Tialavea. Wolfley will work as a run-stuffer again this year while relieving Tialavea at times throughout each game, which is necessary for the extremely demanding nose tackle position.
#72 Nick Alletto: 6-6, 318 Jr. OL - Alletto added some needed weight and muscle and it paid off as he worked as the starting right tackle throughout spring up until his knee injury. He is expected to be back and is as strong of a candidate as any to start at right tackle this coming season. Alletto has paid his dues while waiting patiently for his turn to start, and he looks to be the starter this year opposite Reynolds at right tackle.
#73 Jason Speredon: 6-5, 305 Jr. OL - Speredon had a very productive spring, logging most of his time as the starting left guard. Taufi subbed in for him at times, but most of the reps belonged to Speredon. Speredon also filled in at right tackle with the ones this past week while both Taufi and Alletto sat out due to minor injuries. Speredon is a shoe-in to break the two-deep and is currently the odds-on favorite to start at left guard.
#75 Stetson Tenney: 6-5, 295 Fr. OL - Tenney is a very valuable walk-on and is a player that could challenge for a spot on the two-deep roster at the offensive tackle position. Tenney logged time all spring with the second-team offense and looks to have some potential.