The defensive line is always a point of emphasis during football games, and this season the Tigers only bring back one starter. For a defense that struggled as a whole last year, It will be important for that player, senior Jaron Baston, to step into a leadership role.
2009 will be Baston's final year in the black and gold, but will be his second season as a starting defensive lineman. In 2008, Baston had career numbers in several different defensive categories, including 49 tackles, 8 for a loss, and one sack. He was also an honorable mention All-Big XII as voted by the coaches.
Jaron is a 6-1, 305 lb. defensive lineman who can play either interior position. Currently, Baston is listed in the nose position. He played every game during his red freshman and sophomore seasons, and started each match during his junior year.
Jaron's personality will be a key factor in forming a strong front four. During workouts and practices, you can always see him with a smile on his face, making jokes, and keeping people in a good mood. He should be a great leader both on and off the field this season.
Behind Baston sits sophomore Domonique Hamilton (6-6, 290) and redshirt freshman Jimmy Burge (6-2, 285). Hamilton appeared in 13 games in 2008, recording 18 tackles and a forced fumble. He can expect more playing time this season.
Next to Baston you can expect to see Terrell Resonno at the tackle position. Terrell is a big sophomore sitting at 6-6, 295 lbs. In 2008, Terrell earned valuable playing time behind Mizzou standout Ziggy Hood and seeing action in all 14 games. His size and strength could cause for some major mismatches this fall.
Behind Resonno will be senior Andy Maples. Maples first two years were spent in junior college at the College of the Sequoias, where he made a name for himself. After transferring to Missouri, Maples injured his foot and only saw action in two games last year. Resonno will likely see a decent amount of playing time in 09, as he continues to fight for the starting role.
At the end positions Jacquies and Aldon Smith, no relation, both had solid springs. Jacquies is a sophomore who last year as a true freshman recoded 46 tackles in 14 games. While he spent most of the season in a reserve role, he started his first game as a Tiger against Colorado, during homecoming weekend. To backup Smith is Marcus Malbrough, who also had a great spring. The redshirt freshman is 6-5, 245 lbs, quick and strong.
Aldon Smith is a redshirt freshman this season as well. While he does not necessarily have the starting job locked up, he made a strong push during spring ball, especially in the black and gold game. At 6-5, 245 lbs., coaches are very excited about Smith's potential. Also on the depth chart going for the other starting role is 6-5, 255 lb. sophomore Chris Earnhardt. In 2008, Chris registered 17 tackles in 7 games.
The D-Line is very young this year. With only one senior, many of these players are going to have to learn on the job. The entire defense will be counting on the leadership of Jaron Baston to get them through tough time when they come, and maintain team composure. I think that we can expect some problems early this season. The underclassmen will need to gain experience, but once they do, I believe that they have plenty of talent.
Position Preview: Defensive Line
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