Last week, we finished up the offensive prospects currently on the table with wide receivers. There are a TON of options out there right now, but as most teams will probably take 2 or 3, those will disappear quickly. And, with those commits, we'll discover new ones. Isn't recruiting great? What's that? It causes you months of unnecessary stress and heartbreak that you cope with by eating copious amounts of DQ Blizzards? I fail to see the problem here.
Anyway, let's jump into the defense. Who's on the board right now? Or the great question, what will we need on the D-line from the 2017 class? Fortunately, we purged most of the players this year. We only lose Elliot Hoyte and Sam McCaskill. I say only simply due to the sheer numbers we lost this year. Hoyte has been with the program for a long time and has done a lot of great things, so has McCaskill. But only losing two next season will be just terrific. So who will replace them? Let's take a look.
DE T.J. Mauga, Fallon, Nevada (Churchill County) 6'5" 260lbs
TJ has some great film and a menacing name to go along with it. It sounds like he would be gladiatorial champion that no one could ever beat or something, but I digress. He has solid film, great fundamentals, and a high motor. He's been a defensive varsity player for 3 years now with his best season being his junior year. He had 87 tackles, 75 of them solo. He also had 10 sacks. Numbers don't lie, and those numbers are absurd. I see him moving inside to DT seeing as he is already at 250lbs. Check out his film.
DT Marlon Tuipulotu, Independence, Oregon (Central) 6'2" 280lbs
WOW. This was my first thought when watching his film. I want him here and I don't care how it happens. Marlon is very quick for his size. His first step is lethal. He's also very strong, brushing would-be blockers aside. The evidence? His 13 sacks he had last season. He also had 78 total tackles, 48 of them solo. He also had 2 interceptions that he returned for 66 total yards. Yeah I wouldn't want to tackle him either. Of course he has offers from pretty much everywhere, but how could he not with tape like this? See for yourself.
DT Kurtis Brown, Bakersfield, CA (Liberty) 6'3" 260lbs
Kurtis has great patience. He acts when he needs to, but feels out the play as it happens to put himself in the right place at the right time. He's an imposing figure for sure, and while he isn't the fastest, he has good intuition and quickness. His stats were solid from last year: 96 total tackles, 66 solo and 6 sacks. Solid work out of California.
DE Brock Hershberger, Henderson, NV (Green Valley) 6'3" 225lbs
Brock has some solid stats. They aren't eye-popping, but I like what I see. 75 total tackles, 41 solo, with 4 sacks. What stands out to me is his film. Brock is a tenacious defender, never giving up on a play. There are many plays on his film where he is seemingly outside of the play, out of position to make a play on the ball. He consistently puts himself back into the play and inevitably is involved in the tackle. I love that kind of drive and determination.
DT Jordan Talafili, Veradale, WA (Central Valley) 6'3" 290lbs
Man alive Jordan is fun to watch. He does not care if there is a player in front of him. He will run them over or throw them to the side, literally. In his highlights, he even lines up at fullback, which really wasn't fair to the other team. He completely destroys 2 players. He blows up multiple double teams. MaxPreps doesn't have any full season stats for him, but I have to imagine he has all of the stats. A lot of them, to be sure. Check out his film.
DE, Javaris Steward, Pomona, CA (Pomona) 6'2" 220lbs
While Javaris' stats are on the modest side, he is only listed as playing in 6 games last year. In those 6 games, he had 31 total tackles, 14 of them solo, and 6 sacks. Actually pretty solid for a 6-game performance. Steward is currently a UCLA commit, but there is A LOT of time still left before LOI day. He's definitely in the STUD mold for us, but listed as a DE and a LB on recruiting sites. He's way too fast for most OL to deal with without holding. He would be disruptive for sure.
DE, Langi Tuifua, South Jordan, UT (Bingham) 6'2" 205lbs
Though Tuifua is currently an Oregon commit, I figured I would leave him on the list just because. He had 79 total tackles last season, 35 of them solo, and 4 sacks. He's got a great balance of speed, skill, strength, and patience. He's fast enough to bull rush the QB when needed, but patient enough to watch the play develop and attack at the right time.
DE, Travis Yates, Orange, CA (Lutheran) 6'3 260lbs
Travis is another nicely rounded player. He has good patience, nice speed, and he likes to hit. He shows a lot of emotion, which can be good and bad. Good as it can motivate the rest of the team, but bad if it gets out of control. His numbers are good, with 50 total tackles, 25 solo and 2 sacks.
That's a pretty decent amount of defensive big guys so far. Some are TECHNICALLY off the table, but blah blah blah. A lot can happen in the next 11 months, so let's see if it does! Tune in next week when we continue with the defense and check in on linebackers! GO BRONCOS!