Allen Bailey, 6-3, 270, SO
Gavin Hardin, 6-4, 240, FR
Courtney Harris, 6-3, 260, JR
Eric Moncur, 6-2, 260, SR
Adewale Ojomo, 6-4, 240, rFR
Marcus Robinson, 6-2, 225, FR
Andrew Smith, 6-3, 230, FR
Steven Wesley, 6-3, 235, SO
Antonio Dixon, 6-3, 330, SR
Marcus Forston, 6-3, 300, FR
Dwayne Hendricks, 6-4, 275, SR
Joe Joseph, 6-3, 290, JR
Jeremy Lewis, 6-3, 300, FR
Micanor Regis, 6-3, 310, FR
Josh Holmes, 6-2, 270, SO
Chaz Washington, 6-4, 320, SO
After losing Calais Campbell following the 2007 season, the Hurricanes will be looking for the next difference maker at this position heading into the 2008 season. There's not a lot of depth because of injuries and inexperience. But it looks like the Canes will go into the season with seven defensive ends competing for playing time.
Leading the way is senior Eric Moncur. A steady performer his entire career here, Moncur finished his junior season with 31 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. While some believe he made a bigger impact than Campbell last season, Moncur hasn't been able to put together a big time season just yet. He came close last season and seems destined for a banner senior season. The Canes could really use it from him.
Starting opposite Moncur will likely be Allen Bailey, a sophomore sensation that showed a lot of promise in the spring after getting moved from linebacker, where he played his freshman season. After growing out of the linebacker position, Bailey flourished as a defensive end in the spring and while an injury will hold him out most of fall camp, Bailey is expected to make a big impact for the Hurricanes this season. Not having Bailey fully healthy for the start of fall camp will enable some of the younger players to gain some experience and it'll give them a chance to impress the coaches. Steven Wesley redshirted in 2006 and then played just a little bit last season, registering just three tackles all season. Now a third year player, Wesley will have a good opportunity in fall camp to showcase his skills. Adewale Ojomo redshirted for the Hurricanes last season and will look to provide a spark with his pass-rushing abilities. The only other defensive end on the roster with any experience is Courtney Harris and he's expected to miss the entire 2008 season with an injury. He finished his junior season with 10 tackles and a half sack.
The lack of depth will also give a couple of incoming freshmen a good opportunity. Marcus Robinson, Andrew Smith, and Gavin Hardin are impressive prospects who will have a chance to showcase their skills early on. Both Robinson and Hardin played rush linebacker in high school and will play with their hands down at Miami. Robinson had over 30 sacks over his final two seasons at Homestead High and Hardin is also impressive at getting after the quarterback. They both still need to bulk up some to become forces in the running game but both have tremendous edge pass-rushing abilities. Smith wasn't as heavily recruited as the other two but has some nice skills to work with.
In an ideal situation, Moncur will put it all together and has a big year and Bailey will make a big splash in his first season as a probable starter. Wesley and Ojomo will need to step up, especially early on, while it'll be interesting to see how Robinson, Smith, and Hardin adjust to the college game.
If there isn't a whole lot of proven depth at end, it's probably even less at tackle heading into fall camp. Only three players will start fall camp with experience inside and two of those guys have been career backups. Teraz McCray and Vegas Franklin were two of the most underrated players on Miami's entire team last season and not having them around this season will force the younger players to step up.
Antonio Dixon is the most proven and experienced one of the group coming back. He's battled weight issues ever since he started at Miami and after a 12-tackle, 2-sack season a year ago, Dixon is being counted upon to put together a strong senior season. He's more of a run-stuffer than a pass-rusher and if's able to give the Canes a strong presence up the middle, that'll be huge. Joe Joseph and Dwayne Hendricks combined for 22 tackles and one sack a season ago and will both compete for one of the starting spots.
The key guy to watch here is true freshman Marcus Forston. Perhaps the most talented interior defensive lineman the Hurricanes have signed in years, Forston enrolled in school early and went through spring drills and many people believe he'll end up in the starting lineup for the Hurricanes early in the season. Jeremy Lewis and Micanor Regis are two other true freshmen who will be given an opportunity. Chaz Washington will be going into his third season as a Hurricane but he didn't play at all as a redshirt freshman last season, while sophomore Josh Holmes played sparingly in a couple games. He didn't have any tackles and is now injured and his status going into the season is still not known.
Getting Dixon to step up and be a major clog in the middle would be huge. Hopefully the Hendricks/Joseph combination can give the Canes some production and be sure to keep an eye on Forston, who could end up being the best of the bunch by season's end.