We are t-minus four days and counting from the start of Boise State spring practice on Monday (huzzah!), and among the many empty places in our hearts and souls that football will fill, spring ball will also answer a glut of open-ended questions that were left open when the final Vegas Bowl ball was tossed in December. Questions like ...
Who is going to play on the defensive line?
The sixth- and seventh-best players last year are the two most likely to start this season. Defensive tackles Mike Atkinson and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe figure to ascend the depth chart by virtue of their combined 46 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks and their combined 615 pounds of humanity. Pencil the Canadian and the Dutchman into the starting lineup. Then get out your invisible ink to start making guesses at DE.
The defensive end candidates include:
- Demarcus Lawrence - JC All-American at Kansas's Butler Community College, has Tyrone Crawford written all over him
- Tyler Horn - Last year's No. 4 defensive end, which matters now because Nos. 1-3 are gone-zo
- Kharyee Marshall - The former Next Big Thing who impressed with his speed and quickness not to mention his invisibility when viewed at profile; currently labeled an injury risk in present iterations of NCAA video games
- Nick Alexander - Redshirt junior who once went by Nicholas (that shows you how much I know about his football skills)
- Robert Ash - A crown jewel in the jeweled crown of Boise State's 2011 recruiting class, redshirted last season
- Justin Jungblut - Most often a defensive tackle, stands 6'4" and weighs 273 pounds, which is pretty good size and shape for a DE
- Samuel Ukwuachu - Redshirt freshman, weighs 215 pounds
- Darien Barrett - True freshman, weighs 215 pounds
- Sam McCaskill - True freshman from Sheldon High in Eugene
We could also see do-it-all defensive linemen like Rory Connop (Canadian) and Elliot Hoyte (British) compete at end or the Broncos could go the Ryan Winterswyk route and convert a safety to play line. Jeremy Ioane, anyone?
Who do you think will fill the two defensive end spots? How do you feel with Tjong-A-Tjoe and Atkinson in the middle? Make your picks in the comments.