GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 62 of 88

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 63 BY STACY CLARDIE O ne could characterize Purdue's defensive line as decimated, and it wouldn't be a stretch. Based on sheer snaps lost. Unofficially, the Boilermakers return only 18 percent of their total defensive line snaps from 2017. That's because starters Danny Ezechukwu, Gelen Robinson and Austin Larkin and backups Eddy Wilson and Antoine Miles ac- counted for the bulk of them, and they're gone now, after opting to leave the program (Wilson and Rob Simmons) or exhausting their eligibility (everybody else). That's a considerable gap to fill for defensive co-coor- dinators Nick Holt and Anthony Poindexter and defensive line coach Reggie Johnson. That group certainly will rely on personnel already within the program to take on more snaps — namely returning defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal and up-and-coming edge-rusher Kai Higgins — but oth- er than that? It'd seem the competition for game snaps in 2018 is wide open. And the incoming freshmen linemen know it. And they are eager for the opportunity to seize them. Whether it's Jeff Marks, who enrolled in January to participate in spring practice, or June arrivals Branson Deen, Jack Craavack, Lawrence Johnson, K.J. Stokes and Jack Sullivan. "I feel like we're going to come in and do well," Stokes said. "We're going to come in and we're going to be a help to everybody that they're losing this year because I know they're losing a lot of seniors on the defensive line and the defense, in general. I feel like the guys we have coming in our freshmen class, it really won't feel like there's a fall- off." Holt's defensive system requires wide-ranging respon- sibilities, even up front, from stand-up hybrid end/line- backer known as the "leo" who is a pass rusher primarily but also, at times, drops into coverage to the opposite end being a more traditional hand-down, hold-the-integrity- of-the-line guy to the defensive tackles being counted on not to freelance and to firmly hold the line of scrimmage. Line Change Departures could mean opportunity for rookies Robinson Ezechukwu Wilson Larkin Miles Simmons Cravaak Deen Johnson Marks Stokes Sullivan

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4