This is the eighth part of my position by position breakdown of the 2007 roster.
The strength of the defense will be the linebackers. But there is plenty of upside on the defensive line. BC has good depth and a few playmakers who could be All Conference.
BC is in the unique position of sending out a deep, young yet experienced line. Larkin and Raji are Seniors and Brace and Willette are Juniors but everyone else on the two deep is an underclassman and the sophmores all have significant playing time under their belts. Take a look.
Austin Giles – played in all 13 games
Nick Rossi – played in 2 games
Jim Ramella – played in 12 games in 2005. Medical Redshirt in 2006
Allan Smith – played in all 13 games
Brendan Deska – played in 9 games
Alex Albright – played in all 13 games
Brady Smith – played in 12 games
With Spaz coming back, I think you’ll see a continuous rotation on the defensive line. Last year all of the above guys saw the field. This helps keep guys fresh and allows BC to put pressure on the opposing QB with less blitzing.
DT – BJ Raji, SR, 6’1, 325lbs
DT – Ron Brace, JR, 6’3, 325lbs
DE – Nick Larkin, SR, 6’4, 241
DE – strong>Allan Smith, SO, 6’2, 237lbs
DE – Jim Ramella, SO, 6’4, 247lbs
DE – Austin Giles, SO, 6’3, 291lbs
DE – Alex Albright, SO, 6’5, 235lbs
DT – Jerry Willette, JR, 6’5, 282lbs
DT – Nick Rossi, SO, 6’6, 294lbs
DT – Brendan Deska, SO, 6’5, 250lbs
DT – Thomas Claiborne, FR, 6’3, 330lbs
DE – Corey Eason, FR, 6’5, 247lbs
DT - Damik Scafe, FR, 6’3, 305lbs
Raji is the most significant player of the front line. He is very agile and quick for his size. He was guilty for taking a play or two off last year. Hopefully his slimmed down frame will give him the needed endurance. His partner at DT is Ron Brace. Another heavyweight who has slimmed down, Brace should be productive this year. Larkin is a steady performer but has never really had a breakout game or season. He’s dependable and will hopefully improve his pass rushing this year. Ramella is back after a long recovery from shoulder problems. He showed good football IQ as a true freshman in 2005. If he can regain his form he should be a very good player this year. Alex Albright was one of the surprises last year. I expect continued improvement from him. Allan Smith had a good offseason and has put on a little more weight this year. Brady Smith started at times last year but also had the occasional detour into the coaching doghouse. He'll be one of the player who benefits from a new position coach. Willette is serviceable and improved as the season progressed last year. Rossi and Deska will probably see more sideline than field this year. Claiborne seemed very heavy last year. Hopefully he has some mobility. Scafe is another guy who may or may not play. Eason was a highly sought after recruit. I don’t know if he will redshirt.
If even half the super sophomores get better this unit will kick ass this year. Raji seems motivated to prove he is an NFL tackle. Brace and Larkin are steady performers. I think this might be our best defensive line since 2004.