Walt Harris Football Camp: Defensive Line

The critics are always around, and the two biggest areas's for criticism for the Panthers has been the play of both the offensive and defensive lines. One needs to only look at the statistics to find proof that the defensive line play was substandard in 2003. The defensive line only accounted for 6 sacks last season as a unit.

Claude Harriott played with a nagging ankle injury and unrealistic expectations, now he has gone on to the NFL. The starting defensive ends appear to be Thomas Smith and Azzie Beagnyam. Smith often shows signs that he is on the verge of greatness. Azzie is a very athletic and under sized DE, but with the glut of linebackers in the program, the move was good to take advantage of his skills. Kyle Smith, who will be a red-shirt freshman this fall, showed a nice rush off the edge this spring and could press for time. Incoming freshman Nick Williams from Plantation, FL could see early time.

At the tackle positions, Vince Crochunis and Dan Stephens return for their final season as Panthers. Red-shirt freshman Michael Hearn looked like a potential All-American this spring. Andy Alleman, a converted defensive end, has a great motor and plays with a lot of energy. He could be in the mix at either end or tackle. Keith Hill has been a steady performer who is capable of playing inside or outside. Jake Holthaus has often been considered as one of the strongest players on the team. Now, if the weight room numbers can just carry over onto the field. Wild cards are Ron Idoko and Glenn Rivers.

Immediate incoming help is expected from Valley Forge standout Phil Tillman. Local star Craig Bokor, who reminds us of former Boston College star and current Minnesota Viking Chris Hovan, will be a welcomed addition as the Panthers search for play makers in 2004. Corey Davis, the one time high school linebacker who now weighs in excess of 300lbs, appears headed for the d-line. With his athletic ability and some work on conditioning and strength, Davis could be a good one.

Although he won't help this fall, but he's worth mentioning. DT Andre Williams (Pittsburgh Central Catholic) transferred from Wisconsin and will have to sit out the season, but could provide immediate help next season.

Below are players that attended the Walt Harris football Camp and play along the defensive line. Several of the players profiled in the offensive line camp article double as defensive lineman.

Defensive Tackle

Derrell Jones (6-2, 295, Westlake HS, MD): When you watch Derrell, it's easy to see why he is so highly regarded. He has a combination of stoutness and amazingly quick feet. Pittsburgh has made the final three for Jones, along with Syracuse and North Carolina. This would be a big get for the Panthers.

Willie Walker (6-0, 245, Aliquippa HS, PA): Looks like the Quips could make another run at a PIAA title this fall. Walker is small but extremely solid. If he can increase his speed, may have a future at LB.

Rashaad Duncan (6-2, 255, Belle Glades Central HS, FL): Duncan is coached by Sheldon Harriott, who just so happens to be the elder brother of former Panther Claude Harriott. Rashaad is a very solid kid. If he adds some weight, he could be a defensive tackle. He doesn't have the speed to be a LB.

Josh Kiner (6-1, 253, Central Dauphin East HS, PA): Came out of nowhere, but tested well. A tad bit undersized.

Defensive End

Terrico Marshall (6-3, 235, Maple Heights HS, OH): Could very well earn a Panther offer once he gets his grades in order. Very athletic kid for a defensive end, he is a destructive force off the edge.

Lyndon Gayle (6-4, 255, Akron North HS, OH): Built like a sedan, no other words can describe how solid this kid is.

James Chavis (5-11, 228, Westlake HS, MD): A bit undersized to be a DE, could be a force at OLB, and a great motor.

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