Fall Camp Preview: Defensive Line

Taking a look at the revamped Utah defensive line as they head into fall

New Coach. New Players. New Scheme? Wishful thinking. The Utes will trot out there 4 man front again this season, with a completely revamped line. Gone is all-everything DT Star Lotulelei, along with the Kruger Brothers. The defensive line wasn't as bad as it may have seemed last season, mostly due to the deficiencies of the linebackers. Now they insert a bunch of players that are mostly unproven. Want to get to a bowl game? Consistent play out of the defensive line is step number 1 from a defensive standpoint.

Defensive Ends
Hunter Dimick (R-Fr)
Dimick is coming off of a redshirt freshman year and looks poised to compete for a backup spot at one of the end positions. He's got great technique and moves really well. It's just going to be a matter of finding reps. Dimick has been through 2 spring balls and a fall camp now and is one of the smarter players on the team. How much work he's put in during the offseason will go a long ways towards determining his role.

Moses Foluahola (Fr)
Foluahola spent spring ball on the sidelines with an injury. He's a project player who won't factor much into the race for playing time in 2013.

Moana Ofahengaue (Fr)
Ofa arrived in the spring and was very impressive in camp, showing a ton of promise. Very raw, but has great physical tools that will make him a very good defensive end or outside linebacker in the future. Likely heading for a redshirt year to put on some weight and continue developing his game, the future is bright for Mo.

Nate Orchard (Jr)
Is this the year? We were waiting for it last season out of Nate Fakahafua. Now that he's Nate Orchard, will we be witness to more consistent play and more of the big plays Orchard's potential promises? He has all of the tools to be a great pass rusher, but needs to bring it every play and show that he can stop the run as well. His starting spot is safe for now, but he'll need more production to keep it.

Thretton Palamo (Sr)
All the physical tools in the world, but still waiting for the light to come on. Palamo is a physical freak, and a better understanding of the game and better instincts would make him a very good player. Now a senior, this is his last chance to prove that he can put his natural abilities to use. If nothing else, Palamo will provide depth, and some lovely, flowing hair.

Trevor Reilly (Sr)
Coming off of an ACL tear in 2012, Reilly sat out spring ball, but should be ready to go by the time fall camp starts. He's the senior defensive captain and his performance will be an integral part as to whether or not the Utes' defense will be more effective in 2013. Reilly has big play ability, can play multiple positions, and needs to pick up a minimum of seven sacks this year.

Jason Whittingham (So)
What to make of Jason Whittingham? He's making the move from linebacker to defensive end this season, trying to capitalize on his pass rushing skills. Not the most physically imposing player, he has deceptive athleticism and is an instinctual player. May take a year or so for him to be fully comfortable at the end spot, but will still see reps and push the starters for playing time.

Defensive Tackles
Tevita Bloomfield (Fr)
Bloomfield is a bit of a tweener right now, with a body that fits in between an end and a tackle. He's not quick enough to play the end spot, so the freshman will need to work on his body and develop his game with a redshirt year.

Seni Fauonuku (So)
The Human Bowling Ball is ready to make a strong push for a starting spot. Not many players his size have the 'get-off' thar Seni does as he's constantly in the backfield. Possibly another year away from securing the starting spot, we'll still see plenty of Fauonuku in the fall and throughout the season.

Latu Heimuli (Sr)
The oft-injured DT/OL is in his final year in the program. Shocking that he's still around as it seems as if Heimuli arrived ten years ago. If he can stay healthy, Latu will provide depth at the defensive tackle spot, but it's unlikely that he'll ever be the player we expected to see after his freshman year thanks to all of the medical issues.

Sese Ianu (Jr)
The incoming JC transfer arrives with a lot of hype and promise. He'll instantly be one of the strongest players on the team and fight for a starting spot next to Tenny Palepoi. Ianu has the Utah coaches drooling about what he might be able to do for the team. The biggest question? Will he make it academically.

Tenny Palepoi (Sr)
If there's one guy on the defensive line whose job is safe, it's Palepoi's. The senior was receiving significant playing time at the end of 2012 and should be ready to break out in 2013. He'll be the rock of the defensive line and the coaches expect him to lead with this play on the field.

Sam Tevi (Fr)
Tevi is an incoming freshman that the coaches are very high on. He's slotted as a DT to start, but could see some time at the end spot in 3-4 looks.

Stevie Tu'ikoluvatu (R-Fr)
The springtime hero grabbed a scholarship after coming off of a mission and was very impressive in March and April. With a full offseason of conditioning and work in the weight room, don't be surprised of Stevie T makes a push for a starting spot, and/or picks up a lot of playing time.

LT Tuipulotu (Sr)
LT hasn't done much in his career at Utah, but will enter fall camp as a co-starter at defensive tackle. A big body, he performed admirably in spring ball with plenty of reps. Not the most physically skilled player on the line, he'll make up for it with seniority and leadership, which will help increase his playing time.

Gauis Vaenuku
Vaenuku is in the same boat as Tevi. Both look physically ready to contribute, but may need a year to learn the schemes and catch up with the speed of the game.

Projected Depth Chart

Trevor Reilly
Hunter Dimick

Sese Ianu (assuming he makes it)
LT Tuipulotu

Tenny Palepoi
Seni Fauonuku

Nate Orchard
Jason Whittingham

Ute Zone Top Stories