The Bearcats had one of the worst defenses I’ve seen in person last year, but because of injury a lot of the young guys got to get valuable experience. If the Bearcats can stay healthy this may be one of the strongest units on the team.
We are going to start with the interior of this group. This part of the team is very strong and will be able to rotate throughout the game with no problem staying fresh throughout the season. They have a fearsome foursome of Cortez Broughton, Lyndon Johnson, Sione Tongamoa and Alex Pace. Pace, Tongamoa and Johnson are seniors so the young guys will have to use their playing time wisely. These four will be the heartbeat of the line in the middle. This is a talented bunch and should improve from last year. Broughton lead this group in tackles with 28, Tongamoa led them in sacks with 3 and Pace led them with tackles for loss with 5.5.
Hakeem Allonce, Chris Burton, Chris Ferguson, Keith Minor, Beau Harmon and Norman Oglesby will fill out the rest of the defensive tackles. Allonce and Minor will probably see a few snaps on a consistent basis.
The defensive ends take a hit as Silverberry Mouhon has used up his eligibility so who will be the main pass rusher this season? I’m banking on sophomore defensive end Landon Brazile to be that guy he showed flashes last season as a freshman.
Fellow sophomores Marquise Copeland and Kimoni Fitz will be in the mix to make plays also. They both saw significant playing time last season, like Brazile. Junior Mark Wilson will see the field on a consistent basis also.
Joel Dublanko, Caleb Ashworth, Curtis Brooks, Michael Pitts, Elijah Ponder and Bryan Wright round up the group at defensive end, depending on how Higher Ground goes for Dublanko, Brooks, Pitts and Ponder will see if a redshirt is applied to any of the true freshman.
For as experienced the defensive tackles are the defensive ends are young, but the plus is a lot of the sophomores played a lot last season, can they make the jump in 2016?