Texas A&M spring football countdown: DTs
With the offensive side of the ball covered, it’s time to head over to the defensive side of the ball. We’ll start by looking at the defensive tackles, the strength of Texas A&M’s defense in 2018. The loss of Daylon Mack will be a blow to this unit without question, however, the Aggies still have a lot of talent at the position and I wouldn’t expect the drop off to be too drastic.
Justin Madubuike had a strong 2018 campaign and I expect him to be the leader of the defensive line in 2019. Justin is extremely explosive on the snap of the ball. Most of the season was spent at 3 technique and while Madubuike could play at the nose if necessary, I believe that A&M will keep him at 3 in order to maximize the use of his quickness inside. The rest of the defensive line will likely be built around the soon to be junior.
Jayden Peevy is the defensive lineman with the most experience after Madubuike. The 6’6 300-pound defensive tackle is a mountain of an athlete who commands double teams because of his size. Peevy struggles with playing high at times but has quick hands that often make up for it. His ability to occupy two defenders will help the A&M linebacking corps by limiting the options of opposing running backs. While his height isn’t necessarily an advantage in the interior of the line, I still expect him to be Daylon Mack’s replacement at the nose.
According to Jimbo Fisher, freshman defensive end Bobby Brown is up to nearly 330 pounds. While Fisher says he expects Brown to work both inside and outside, I’m expecting this means we’ll get much more of Brown on the inside. Last fall at the open practice, Brown was one of the guys that immediately jumped out to me because of his pure strength. He’s not the fastest athlete meaning the transition inside will likely be good for him. With a little fine tuning on his hand placement, Brown will become an absolute weapon with his natural strength.
Mohammed Diallo was another guy I found extremely intriguing at that open practice. The JUCO transfer didn’t see much action in 2018 other than appearing in one contest but that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how new he is to the game of football. Diallo is about as raw a prospect as A&M has on their roster right now but his athleticism is immediately apparent. It will be interesting to see what kind of progress Diallo has made this spring. If he has started to figure out how to play the game, he could be an important contributor this fall.
TD Moton and Josh Rogers are a couple of experienced guys further down on the depth chart who haven’t seen the field much at A&M. They have been bodies who provide depth, however, and in the SEC, depth can be the difference between winning and losing a game. You’d like to see both guys improve even more in the spring, but Moton is a guy I think you might see contribute situationally. He’s quick for the position and could see some playing time on passing downs if his hands have improved.
Finally, Derick Hunter comes into the program as an early enrollee. Like Bobby Brown he is a naturally strong athlete, however, he looks to have a little more quickness than Brown. On film, Hunter struggles with pad level at times, however, I expect him to improve in that area this spring. The extra semester often serves the big guys in the trenches well and I expect it will help get Hunter ready to be a contributor come fall. While Texas A&M will certainly miss Daylon Mack in 2019, I don’t expect this unit will suffer too much considering the talent still left on the roster. It will be interesting to see what Elijah Robinson does with the defensive tackles this spring.