Nebraska Football: Previewing the '14 Defensive Line

Valentine stepped up in '13 - Eric Francis

Our Spring preview continues by taking a look at the people on the Defensive Line this coming season.

We're taking a look at the Nebraska roster as they head through the Spring Practice portion of the season. If you've missed anything so far, go here and you'll find all of the Offensive previews.

Departing:

Thad Randle - Graduation
Avery Moss - Breaking the law
Jay Guy - Mutual decision between the team and the player
Tobi Okuyemi - See Jay Guy
Brodrick Nickens - Graduation
Walker Ashburn - Medical disqualification
Jason Ankrah - Graduation
Donovan Vestal - Medical disqualification

Currently on roster:

Defensive Tackle ('13 stats)
Maliek Collins - Sophomore, played in 11 games,1 sack, 12 total tackles.
Aaron Curry - Junior, started every B1G game, 2 sacks, 26 total tackles.
Kevin Maurice - Sophomore, 6 games played, 2 total tackles
Vincent Valentine - Sophomore. 6 starts last year, 1 sack, 21 total tackles
Kevin Williams - Junior, lost for the year with a knee injury.

Defensive Ends ('13 stats)
Jordan Ackerman - Redshirt Freshman.
Ross Dzuris - Sophmore, has not played a game in his career
Jack Gangwish - Junior, has not played a game in his career.
Randy Gregory - Junior, 66 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, 1 interception. All B1G.
Joe Keels - Mid-year enrollee from Highland CC in Kansas
Greg McMullen - Sophomore, 11 games played, 16 total tackles, 1 sack.
A.J. Natter - Redshirt Freshman.

Other Defensive Linemen: ('13 stats)

Garret Johns - Sophomore, has not appeared in a game
Logan Rath - Sophomore, sat out the '13 season after transferring from South Dakota State

Last season:

It was an interesting time for the Defensive Line last season. In the '13 season, it was obvious that this was the weak point of the entire Blackshirt Defense, and quite possibly the entire Nebraska Football team. Thad Randle, the SR Defensive Linemen, played as much as he could with two knees that seemed to be injured the whole time. Plus, with Cameron Meredith playing much bigger than he did in his younger years in Lincoln, Baker Steinkuhler graduation, and Chase Rome going AWOL on the team, there wasn't much in the interior. At Defensive Ends, Eric Martin seemed to be the only consistent rusher.

ENTER THE 2014 CYCLE!

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Not only did Randy Gregory come invigorate a much needed pass rusher into the Huskers wheelhouse, Randle finally had the depth on his side and behind his spot, which was much missed in '12. Valentine started slowly, and Kevin Maurice added great depth. Collins and Curry got better through the year, helping the Huskers give up 40 less yards a game in 2013 and obtaining 5 more sacks in the season.

On the outsides, Avery Moss was a grand compliment to Gregory on the opposite side, however because of Avery's self-induced ban from campus till New Year's Day 2015, players like McMullen, Keels and Natter will get the reps that Moss would have gotten. There is help coming in the beginning of the season in Peyton Newell, Mick Stoltenberg and DeAndre Wills to help both depth and push everyone for the cream of the crop to rise to make the DL much better.

With no one on the scholarship part of the DL a Senior this coming year, there's going to be some expectations for this whole group to only get better.

Projected Depth Chart at end of Spring:

DT - Valentine, Curry, Williams, Maurice
DE - Gregory, Keels, McMullen, Natter

August Newcomers:

Peyton Newell
Mick Stoltenberg
DeAndre Wills
Sedrick King

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