The defensive tackles are a really young group, but there is some promising talent there. Their goal this offseason is apparently to lose some weight so we can be quicker up front. But more importantly, we have to replace Will Pericak, a great Buffalo and a guy who played in and started 49 consecutive games, more than any defensive player in CU history. His experience, health, consistency and motor are going to be missed. But again, there are some players that look like they might be able to do the job. Let's get to it!
Nate Bonsu, Sr - We can rebuild him, we can make him faster, stronger...yada yada yada, I know. Very cliche. Bonsu has been through all kinds of injuries since getting on the field and flashing some good play as a true freshman. He's been up in weight and down in weight, so hopefully they find his sweet spot and he can be quick enough to do some damage inside this year. We don't need him to be out there for every single play, but as the lone upperclassman of the group, it would be great if he could stay on the field pretty consistently. I like him as a 1 technique, but we'll see how they use him in the new defense.
Tyler Henington, So - Yep, we're already to the sophomores. I wasn't kidding, this is a young unit. Henington is a player that I think we'll be seeing a lot of the rest of his time here. He committed to us early as an in-state kid in a huge defensive line class, and was kind of forgotten about before the 2012 season. Then he comes in and plays in more games and logs the 2nd most plays and tackles of the freshmen D-Linemen. I think he can make some noise as a part of a solid defensive tackle rotation as a 3-technique, bothering guards and slipping blocks. He's listed as a #2 right now, but I feel like they're going to be doing plenty of substituting inside to keep guys fresh, quick and active. He'll get his chances this year even if he isn't a starter.
Justin Solis, So - He's got some quickness for a big guy, which bodes well for his abilities once he drops a couple of pounds. He's big and strong and I think he has the potential to be a VERY good and disruptive DT at some point down the road as a 1-technique. I'm a big fan of his and I'll be very excited to see what he looks like the summer. And like Henington and Tupou (who is up next), this is their first full offseason, which has me feeling very good about the trajectory of this unit.
Josh Tupou, So - Tupou probably had the best rookie season of these three guys. He can get into the backfield, chase guys down on the backside of plays, and yet there are still a bunch of things he can improve on. That is exciting. He, like Henington, seems like his natural position is the 3-technique, especially if he drops some weight and that makes him quicker. We have a young but exciting trio of guys inside that all have a season under their belts, and Tupou could be the best of the bunch. Good news, CU fans.
John Tuso, So - Haven't seen much of him outside of a brief appearance in 1 game last year.
Kory Rasmussen, RFr - The 4th DT in the exciting, 2012 class of defensive linemen. Rasmussen redshirted last year, but was pretty darn good as a High Schooler in Hawaii. I'm excited to get a look at him this offseason and to see where he fits in.
De'Jon Wilson, RFr - Phil noted this when the spring depth chart first came out, but it's odd that they have Wilson practicing at DT. And then we find out that he isn't currently practicing with the team and is figuring some things out, so it may not matter where they have him slotted. Hopefully he is able to rejoin the team because he was a pretty exciting prospect that looked like he could be a very good pass-rusher for us. And if that's from a DT spot instead of as a defensive end, so be it, as long as he's able to start practicing again. Hopefully he gets everything sorted out
This is a talented group that has only begun to realize their potential. As guys like Solis and Tupou lighten up and (hopefully) get even quicker, these guys could legitimately be a strength for us on Saturdays. Bonsu, the lone upperclassman, has been through a lot as a Buffalo, so hopefully he can use his final season to have an impact and set these young players on the right track. Again, I'm excited about the group we have here, and I have a feeling we're going to see either Solis or Tupou leave for the NFL a year early. Especially under the tutelage of Jim Jeffcoat, our defensive line coach. I cannot wait to see how these guys look in August.
The defensive tackles combine for more than 15 sacks in 2013
Next we take a look at the wide receivers