Defensive tackle is a really interesting position group to watch this year. Frankly it was OK in 2018 but lost two starters and a regular contributor. Will this unit be a downgrade after being decent a year ago? Is there cause for concern here?
Starter: OJ Smith & Gary Moore
Depth: Sam Renner, Royal Silver, Jamaal Teague
When OJ Smith was healthy, this pairing of him and Moore was solid. The problem is that Smith missed half of the season and this unit was left to figure things out with the likes of inexperienced players.
Moore had his best season as a senior and was quite productive playing all 13 games. Silver, Renner and true freshman Teague all contributed as part of the rotation, gaining valuable experience.
Starter: Micah Dew-Treadway & Sam Renner
Depth: Jamaal Teague, Keonte Schad, Malcolm Robinson
Freshmen: Mayan Ahanotu (rFR), DeAngelo Carter, Rashad Cheney Jr, Logan Richter,
Now the guys who played last year in reserve roles will be paired with a couple incoming players...the end result is one of the biggest question marks heading into 2019.
The big name to look for here is Micah Dew-Treadway, a graduate transfer from Notre Dame who will have two years of eligibility. He spent his first year redshirting at Notre Dame and then missed his second season due to a foot injury. In his third and fourth seasons he saw action in a total of 21 games before deciding to transfer after this past season. The real question is, how much of an impact will Treadway have with the Gophers? A very good talent out of high school who never really cracked the rotation for the Irish, will he be a steadying force in the middle of the Gopher defensive line? A big, run-stopping nose tackle would be a huge boost to the Gopher defense.
Renner has had an opposite journey to being a starting defensive tackle for the Gophers. Unranked out of high school, did not play anything but special teams while redshirting plus two years of being eligible. Was part of the DT rotation as a junior and has given himself the opportunity to start as a senior. The Maple Grove native sits at just 275 lbs and you’ll see him move along different spots of the line depending on formation.
One of the big recruiting gets of the 2018 class was Jamaal Teague. The big man played as a true freshman and will be a key guy rotating in at DT. When things start to really slow down for Teague, he very well could (should) be starting and a fixture here for the next three seasons.
One of the top rated JUCO defensive tackles, Keonte Schad, comes to the Gophers this year as well looking for the opportunity to play. Shad, like Treadway, is a big question mark and (like Teague) could find himself playing a lot more throughout the season as he gets more comfortable and settled.
After those four names there are a handful of others who may work themselves into playing time. Robinson is in his third season without having played yet. Ahanotu redshirted last season. Logan Richter seems like he committed about three classes ago and is an incoming freshman along with Carter and Cheney Jr. The latter two names are ones who could contribute as freshmen, likely to redshirt and could be very good.
Upgrade / Downgrade
So is this unit an upgrade? Depends on a few factors. Was this unit a real strength last year? And then how much production are we going to get out of Shad and Treadway?
Last year was solid and it was pretty good when OJ Smith was healthy. Losing Moore hurts as well. For me, there are too many question marks here. I think that Treadway plugs the middle and helps with stopping the run up the middle. The rest of the group...someone needs to step up and produce in a way that we don’t see at this time.
I can’t call this an upgrade, neutral at best with potential.
Defensive Tackle in 2019, an upgrade or downgrade?
This poll is closed
Upgrade - these guys are all going to be great
Neutral - new names, similar results
Downgrade - we will miss those guys from 2018