2024 Defensive Line Discussion

Discussion in 'Football Talk' started by OSUBasketballJunkie, Dec 31, 2023.

  1. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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  2. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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  3. OSUBasketballJunkie

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    DE: JACK SAWYER, JT TUIMOLOAU
    Sawyer and Tuimoloau were both projected as potential early-round picks if they entered the 2024 NFL draft. Instead, both decided to stay at Ohio State for their senior seasons, giving the Buckeyes a tandem of senior defensive ends that should be the best in the country if they can consistently play up to their potential.

    While Tuimoloau and Sawyer haven’t yet had quite the careers they were expected to have when they signed with Ohio State as the No. 4 and No. 5 overall prospects in the 2021 class, both of them have shown they are capable of playing at an All-American level. Sawyer was dominant down the stretch of the 2023 season, recording 7.5 tackles for loss with 4.5 sacks in Ohio State’s final three games alone, while Tuimoloau made some of the biggest plays of Ohio State’s biggest wins of the year against Notre Dame and Penn State.

    If both of them can put it all together and play at that level throughout the 2024 season, Ohio State’s edge rush will be fearsome.
     
  4. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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    DT: TYLEIK WILLIAMS, TY HAMILTON
    Williams was already one of the best defensive tackles in college football this past season, earning second-team All-American honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation after a highly disruptive year in which he recorded 53 total tackles with 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and five pass breakups and recovered a fumble for a touchdown.

    Like Sawyer and Tuimoloau, Williams could have been an early-round NFL draft pick but chose to stay at Ohio State for his senior season instead, giving OSU a standout trio of returning starters on the defensive line.

    Hamilton started six games at nose tackle this past season and was a solid run stopper throughout the year. He quietly emerged as more of an impact player in the second half of the season, recording 22 total tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss in OSU’s final seven games of 2023. If Hamilton can build upon that, we could see him have a similar fifth-year senior season breakout as his older brother DaVon, who emerged as a major difference-maker on Ohio State’s interior defensive line in 2019 and ended up becoming a third-round 2020 NFL draft pick.
     
  5. OSUBasketballJunkie

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    DEFENSIVE ENDS (8)
    Returning Starters: Jack Sawyer, JT Tuimoloau
    Other Returners: Caden Curry, Kenyatta Jackson Jr., Mitchell Melton, Joshua Mickens
    Newcomers: Eddrick Houston (Freshman), Dominic Kirks (Freshman)
    Departures: Omari Abor

    Ohio State returns its top five defensive ends from last season and adds a five-star freshman in Houston, putting the Buckeyes in great shape at this position.

    Sawyer and Tuimoloau could be college football’s top defensive end pairing after both opted to return for their senior seasons. Curry and Jackson would have been in line to take over as starters if JT and Jack had left and could still see their roles increase as rotational defensive ends in their third years.

    Melton has flashed in limited action and gives Jim Knowles the option of reintegrating the Jack position into the defense if he believes it can be an effective changeup. Houston is certainly capable of making an immediate impact if given the opportunity, and the late addition of Kirks to the 2024 recruiting class brings Ohio State back up to its target number of eight scholarship DEs.


    DEFENSIVE TACKLES (8)
    Returning Starters: Tyleik Williams, Ty Hamilton
    Other Returners: Hero Kanu, Kayden McDonald, Tywone Malone, Jason Moore, Will Smith Jr.
    Newcomers: Eric Mensah (Freshman)
    Departures: Mike Hall, Jaden McKenzie

    Even with Hall’s early departure to the NFL draft, Ohio State returns two defensive tackles who started at least six games last year in Williams and Hamilton. Williams was already one of the best defensive tackles in college football in 2023 while Hamilton gives the Buckeyes another reliable starter alongside him.

    Kanu and McDonald both showed flashes this past season that could make them candidates to play bigger roles in the defensive tackle rotation in 2024. Ohio State will also hope to get more out of Malone in his second year as a Buckeye after transferring in from Ole Miss last summer. Moore could be another second-year Buckeye to watch at the position after redshirting as a freshman.

    Like at defensive end, Ohio State is right at its target number of scholarship players at defensive tackle with eight currently on the 2024 roster.

    [​IMG]
    The returns of Tyleik Williams and Ty Hamilton give Ohio State two proven veterans to lead its defensive tackle unit.
     
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  6. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Proud to be a Buckeye Staff Member

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  8. OSUBasketballJunkie

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    DEFENSIVE END
    1. Jack Sawyer
    2. Caden Curry
    3. Eddrick Houston

    DEFENSIVE END
    1. JT Tuimoloau
    2. Kenyatta Jackson Jr.
    3. Mitchell Melton

    Sawyer and Tuimoloau return as clear-cut starters at defensive ends while Curry and Jackson remain at Ohio State as their top backups, making it easy to project the DE two-deep entering spring.

    Houston could also push for early playing time in the rotation as a five-star talent, but the high-quality returning veterans at the position will likely keep Houston out of the two-deep as a freshman. Melton’s chances of earning more playing time could hinge on whether Jim Knowles decides to reintroduce the Jack position into the defense in 2024, though Melton showed some flashes in limited playing time as a traditional defensive end in 2023.

    DEFENSIVE TACKLE (3-TECH)
    1. Tyleik Williams
    2. Hero Kanu
    3. Tywone Malone

    DEFENSIVE TACKLE (NOSE)
    1. Ty Hamilton
    2. Kayden McDonald
    3. Jason Moore

    Williams is the clear-cut starter at 3-technique after playing the vast majority of snaps there in 2023, while Hamilton should slide in as the starting nose tackle after splitting snaps with Mike Hall at that position last season.

    They’ll likely play the majority of snaps, but Kanu and McDonald both looked like strong candidates to earn more snaps in the 2024 rotation as they performed well when opportunities came their way in 2023. Malone could also be a candidate to play a bigger role in his second year as a Buckeye, though he played a smaller role than expected in his first year at Ohio State after transferring in from Ole Miss.

    Moore, the only other returning scholarship defensive tackle who played any snaps last season, is the likeliest candidate to round out the two-deep.

    [​IMG]
    Ty Hamilton is poised to be a full-time starting defensive tackle in 2024 after splitting starts with Mike Hall last season. (Photo: Barbara J. Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY Network)
     
  9. TexasBuckeye

    TexasBuckeye Well-Known Member

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    If JT starts out meh…avg. I see Jackson and Curry taking his snaps. Sawyer started ssslllow but finished strong. Houston will steal snaps.
    Go Bucks
     
  10. OSUBasketballJunkie

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  11. OSUBasketballJunkie

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  12. OSUBasketballJunkie

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  13. OSUBasketballJunkie

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  15. OSUBasketballJunkie

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  16. OSUBasketballJunkie

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    • With some bumps and bruises at defensive tackle, it's important for the second group of players to step up this spring, Day said. "It's one of the focuses I would say, spotlight is right there seeing who those guys are that are going to step up."
    • On whether Kayden McDonald and Hero Kanu are ready for an opportunity on the interior: "They're definitely talented enough. ... We'll know because we have a good offensive line and they're gonna challenge each other every day."
     
  17. OSUBasketballJunkie

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  19. OSUBasketballJunkie

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    • On the defensive line: "They were in the backfield a bunch. ... You can see the quickness with some of the interior guys, with Kayden you've seen the quickness. ... You've seen Mitchell Melton get in the backfield."
     
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