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Minnesota Football: Spring Position Previews - Defensive Line

Lack of depth may be an issue for the Gophers’ defensive line

Minnesota v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

With spring football practice underway at Minnesota, we’ll be breaking down each position group in the lead-up to the spring game at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 22.

2023 Defensive Line Roster

Returning Starter(s): Kyler Baugh and Jalen Logan-Redding
Other Returners: Danny Striggow, Jah Joyner, Darnell Jefferies, Logan Richter, Lucas Finnessy, Deven Eastern, Luther McCoy, Jacob Schuster, Hayden Schwartz, and Anthony Smith
Spring Enrollees: Chris Collins
Fall Enrollees: Karter Menz, Martin Owusu, and Theorin Randle

Out the Door: De’Angelo Carter, Thomas Rush, Lorenza Surgers, Gage Keys, Austin Booker, and Trey Bixby

Spring Defensive Line Preview

The Gophers were set to return both starting defensive tackles from last season before De’Angelo Carter made the surprise decision to enter the transfer portal last month. Former Houston Baptist transfer Kyler Baugh is a safe bet to start at nose tackle for the second straight season, though he’ll likely rotate with redshirt senior Logan Richter throughout the season. The three-technique defensive tackle position vacated by Carter will be a competition between former Clemson transfer Darnell Jefferies and redshirt sophomore Deven Eastern.

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackles Jacob Schuster and Luther McCoy may also see more snaps this spring, but Eastern has been working the most with the first-team defense.

Minnesota is set at defensive end with Jalen Logan-Redding and Jah Joyner both returning. But rush end is a much different story. Danny Striggow is the de facto starter after serving as Thomas Rush’s primary back-up last season. The coaching staff brought in North Carolina transfer Chris Collins to help him out, but Collins has been banged up this spring. Lucas Finnessy is likely out for the year as he recovers from a knee injury he suffered last season against Iowa.

So the lack of depth at rush end is certainly a concern, especially as the Gophers attempt to breathe life into what was a lackluster pass rush a season ago. We’ll see what new defensive line coach Winston DeLattiboudere can do to develop a more disruptive defensive front.

NEXT: Linebacker