2006 VU position overview: Defensive ends

The Vanderbilt defensive line has a new coach. Rick Logo brings knowledge and a fresh start to an embattled unit. Defensive ends are critical in getting pressure on quarterbacks during passing situations. How do Vanderbilt's defensive ends stack up for 2006? Read on to find out.

LOSSES

David Carter, Herdley Harrison.

THE SKINNY

The defensive end and the defensive line in general has been an area of concern since coach Bobby Johnson's arrival in Nashville. Last season an end (Herdley Harrison) made a key tackle very late in the Tennessee game to help seal that victory, so there is hope. However, Harrison has graduated and must be replaced. David Carter, who was a projected starter, also departed the program in June and made matters worse. Despite the concerns, young talent is budding in this unit. New defensive line coach Rick Logo arrived in the spring and seemed to breath some fresh air into the embattled position.

THE MEN

Chris Booker (6-4, 252 SR): Vanderbilt's returning sack leader from 2005. Started 11 games in 2005. Had 30 tackles, 5.5 tackles for losses, 3 sacks, 4 quarterback hurries and 2 passes broken up.

Broderick Stewart (6-5, 230 FR*): Redshirted during 2005 season. Had 9 sacks as senior in high school. Selected First Team All-State (Georgia). Showed promise during the spring game, garnering 2 sacks.

Curtis Gatewood (6-3, 242 JR): With the loss of David Carter, Gatewood could move into one of the starting positions. He's a former linebacker who was moved to defensive line for 2005 season. Finished with 22 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. Had 9 tackles during 2004 season.

Steven Stone (6-5, 255 FR*): Redshirted during 2005 season. Stone bulked up during the spring and figures to see quality playing time during the upcoming season. As a high school senior had 87 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Also blocked 2 kicks.

David Whittington (6-2, 255 SO*): Moved from fullback to defensive end during the spring. Started Wake Forest game during 2005 opener.

David Leinweber (6-5, 250 SO): walk on who could earn playing time.

THE FUTURE

Teriall Brannon (6-2, 230 FR): As a senior had 15 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 10 deflected passes. Also caught 21 passes as a tight end.

Austin Newton (6-3, 215 FR): As a senior at Union Grove high school had 15 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, and 2 fumble recoveries. Named to All-Region team.

REMARKS

Veteran Chris Booker is a bright spot for this unit. Curtis Gatewood has great speed and should pick up right where Herdley Harrison left off. Stone and Stewart have the ability to play quality minutes. The upcoming talent looks good. Despite the concerns, this unit should be able to hold its on.


Chris Booker grabs the legs of a Gator runner as Ralph McKenzie arrives to help. (VM/Stan Jones)

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