Spring Preview: The Defensive Line

Spring Preview: The Defensive Line

Paul Austria
The Run Down

At the beginning of the 2017 season, UM’s defensive line was thought to be the deepest part of the roster, hands down, no doubt about it, as there were plenty of players to rotate in and out to maintain fresh legs. Then-Defensive Line coach Craig Kuligowski took heed of this group and made them a scary force for any team to deal with. The team was at least two-deep at every position on the line, but oh how the tides have turned. With the departure of three seniors, two juniors to the NFL Draft, and one transfer, it is suddenly an opportunistic shot for a few players to not only earn more playing time, but get valuable time to jump start their career with the team.


Defensive Tackle

Projected Starters: SR Gerald Willis and FR Nesta Silvera

With the losses of RJ McIntosh, Kendrick Norton, and senior Anthony Moten, the team has their work cut out for them in replacing their production and impact. McIntosh’s athleticism was a living nightmare for every offensive line to deal with this season, not even from just the plethora of moves RJ offered but he also added seven passes deflected. No more McIntosh and Norton equals a huge opportunity for both Gerald Willis and Nesta Silvera. Willis has had a very interesting career in Miami since transferring from Florida in 2015. Willis was expected to add to the depth on the line in 2017 but sat out due to unknown circumstances. He did however remain in school and according to many reports, has been completely destroying it as a member of the scout team. He played sparingly in 2016 but if all stays well, he should be a shoe-in for one of the starting slots. In addition, Miami added highly-touted DT Nesta Silvera from American Heritage. Known for his bull-rushing prowess, Silvera had been committed to Miami for about a year before officially signing and he proved he was no fluke after an outstanding performance at the Under Armour All-American game. The 6’2”, 300 lb. Silvera will arrive on campus in the summer and is expected to make a huge push for the second spot. Jon Ford, the sophomore from Fort Lauderdale, played in spurts last season but he definitely has the size and strength to make a much bigger impact this season. Junior Pat Bethel will absolutely be in the rotation, with Tyreic Martin in the mix as well.


Defensive End

Projected Starters: SR Demetrius Jackson & JR Joseph Jackson

Like the situation at defensive tackle, there is a slightly positive outlook at defensive end. Chad Thomas was a late bloomer in his Hurricane career and started to wreak havoc during his senior season, as he was tied for the team-lead this past season with 12.5 tackles for loss. The team also loses Trent Harris to graduation, who led the team with 8.5 sacks. But nevertheless, Miami’s worries are minimal as they do have a pair of exciting guys next in line. Senior Demetrius Jackson suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss the last four games of last season and finished with 7.5 tackles for loss. Everyone knew Joe Jackson’s name by the time he stepped on campus as a true freshman, and now with less players involved in the rotation, big ol’ Joe will get a lot more opportunities to build on the 14 sacks he’s had in his two seasons at Miami. Another name to keep an eye on that could break out this year is sophomore Jonathan Garvin. As a true freshman, Garvin had five tackles, but three of those tackles were sacks and on two of those sacks, he forced fumbles. Scott Patchan will be in the mix for playing time, while early enrollee Gregory Rosseau will most likely be redshirted as he is being given time to add weight.
 

Comments (90)

We desperately need this unit to stay healthy. There is talent there just not a ton of depth behind the starters.

Imo Rousseau is going to play a role next season. There is not enough depth behind the starting de’s to not play this kid.
 
Thanks for the write up. Nesta played in the Army All American game. I doubt we redshirt Rosseau because we need depth. He's already added good weight with plenty of time to add more. It would be great for Nesta to be so dominant that he can start, but I would expect that to start the season at least we would see Bethel or Ford starting with Nesta no doubt getting plenty of playing time.
 
I disagree that Rousseau will be redshirted. He needs to baptized by fire this year because we're likely losing both Jacksons to the draft. He just needs big off season to put on some weight.
 
Far too thin on the DL.

We desperately needed a JUCO DT and a JUCO DE in last year's class.

Not as much experience as you'd like.

Hopefully we stay healthy - and still magically find a high quality DL with experience soon to add to the mix.
 
As much as I love Nesta and think he is going to eventually be an All-American at some point of his career at Miami, I hope we don't have to depend on him to be a starter this year. A True Freshman starting on a good D-Line is rare.

Also, it is to my understanding that Willis and Nesta will be playing the same position (3 technique), while Ford and Miller will hold down the 1 technique DT spot.
 
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As much as I love Nesta and think he is going to eventually be an All-American at some point of his career at Miami, I hope we don't have to depend on him to be a starter this year. A True Freshman starting on a good D-Line is rare.

Also, it is to my understanding that Willis and Nesta will be playing the same position (3 technique), while Ford and Miller will hold down the 1 technique DR spot.
Look for Tito to jump in there and get a lot of reps. I’m not sure any true freshmans will start the season in the two deep at DT unless Willis Willises.
 
Nesta will get situational snaps as a penetrating disruptive DT. He’s not stepping into the Norton role opposite Willis.
If he was an EE, probably could expect a little more. Starting in the summer will take time for him to adjust.
 
Nesta will get situational snaps as a penetrating disruptive DT. He’s not stepping into the Norton role opposite Willis.
Exactly. Richt and Diaz have stated that they see Willis as the prototypical 3 technique. They brought him in to be more of a McIntosh than a Norton.
 
Demetrius Jackson needs to stay healthy. He’s plenty capable of having a huge season.

Time for Joe Jackson to put it all together as well.
 
We aren’t starting a freshman who won’t even be participating in Spring at DT
 
That's all there is? Why couldn't there be more DL recruited in the 2018 class? This seems to have been an ongoing weakness in our recruiting for years. Isn't there a DL transfer or Junior college transfer in the class?

If that's all there is, we're in big trouble come next season. There must be more than what was highlighted. There must be.
 
I doubt Nesta is starting and too little mention of bethel, who probably will be the starter.

Rousseau will play. As will Miller.
 
I think that's a big stretch with Nesta. I think he is third man in behind Willis and ford.
I completely agree. With new faces, people always forget about the guys that have been in the program developing and waiting for their opportunity. I don't think Nesta starts, but will be in the rotation. I think it's Willis and either Ford or Bethel as starters. Nesta will battle Martin for that 4th spot in the rotation.
 

2020 Commits

RB
5'9"
195
Deerfield Beach, FL
OT
6'6"
330
Orange Park, FL
WR
6'1"
195
Bradenton, FL
QB
6'4"
210
Glastonbury, CT
DT
6'3"
290
Hollywood, FL
RB
5'11"
205
Miami, FL
S
6'2"
180
Hialeah, FL
WR
6'0"
185
Trussville, AL
DE
6'4"
240
Orange Park, FL
DE
6'3"
265
Miami, FL

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2019 Schedule

08/24
Florida
Orlando, FL
L 24 - 20
09/07
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC
L 28 - 25
09/14
Bethune-Cookman
Miami Gardens, FL
W 63 - 0
09/21
Central Michigan
Miami Gardens, FL
W 17 - 12
10/05
Virginia Tech
Miami Gardens, FL
L 42 - 35
10/11
Virginia
Miami Gardens, FL
W 17 - 9
10/19
Georgia Tech
Miami Gardens, FL
L 28 - 21
10/26
Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA
W 16 - 12
11/02
Florida State
Tallahassee, FL
W 27 - 10
11/09
Louisville
Miami Gardens, FL
W 52 - 27
11/23
FIU
Miami, FL
L 30 - 24
11/30
Duke
Durham, NC
L 27 - 17
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