Beginning the 2013 season, the Defensive Line is one of the Cardinal’s deepest positions on the grid iron. Toss in a few youngsters with huge upside coupled with a handful of veterans, and there is a boatload of promise for this unit.
At the Defenside End positions with Marcus Smith and Lorenzo Mauldin you have a couple of guys with legitimate pro potential forcing the opposing offense to consistently account for their whereabouts. In Smith’s 13 games played in 2012 and Mauldin’s 11, the two combined for 9.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss and 51 total tackles while chipping in three forced fumbles and an interception. Backing up these two are junior Deiontrez Mount and sophomore Sheldon Rankins with Linebacker turned End redshirt freshman Nick Dawson. Mount could be poised to have a breakout season similar to Mauldin’s 2012.
At tackle there comes a bit of a suprise beneath the top. After amassing 48 tackles and a pair of sacks, juniors Brandon Dunn and Jermaine Brooks hold the two top spots at tackle. First off the bench ahead of a pair of seasoned veterans is redshirt freshman Pedro Sibiea. Coming in as a 3-star prospect Sibiea took the redshirt season to bulk up to over 300 lbs and build his frame to that of a collegiate run stopper. After a strong spring Pedro now sits ahead of senior Roy Philon who who saw action in all 13 games last season and junior BJ Dubose who participated in seven matchups. For Sibiea to have eclipsed these two veterans with rich talent on the depth it chart should be a very telling sign of what this young man has to offer this program. His development is one to keep a close eye on. Sophomore DeAngelo Brown played some significant minutes as a true freshman last season and may be counted on through 2013 as well.
A handful of insanely talented freshman are likely to receive redhirts in Finesse Middleton (3-Star), Stacy Thomas (4-Star), De’Asian Richardson (3-Star), and Kyle Shortridge (3-Star).