Season Preview: Defensive Tackles

Despite the loss of first round draft pick Damione Lewis, the Hurricanes appear to be even deeper and more talented along the defensive front than a year ago.

Coach: Greg Mark

The Starters: William Joseph (6-5, 297, JR) and Matt Walters (6-5, 273, JR)

The Backups: Vince Wilfork (6-2, 323, FR), Santonio Thomas (6-4, 296, SO), Larry Anderson (6-4, 257, SO), Orien Harris (6-4, 290, FR), and Kyle Morgan (6-5, 250, FR)

The Good Stuff: Joseph is entering his third season as a starter on UM's defensive line. However, he only has 10 games under his belt at tackle. With a full offseason of work, Joseph has the ability to really break onto the national scene this season. He had 40 tackles, 12 hurries, and three sacks as a sophomore. Those numbers of hurries and sacks should double this season. Walters had a very productive spring. Wilfork brings a huge, physical presence in the middle that will allow him to play early and often, especially against power running teams such as Penn State and Washington. This will be the first time since 1989 where the Canes have four interior tackles that can rotate throughout an entire game.

Potential Worries: Walters has never started a game and he's a bit undersized as a junior. Teams will likely try to exploit that, which is where Wilfork comes into play. However, Vince is a true freshman and you can't expect a whole lot at this level from someome that age. If they work well as a tandem, this group could be exceptional.

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