It’s not exactly a secret: the defensive line is one of, if not the, most important parts of your defense. Without a pass rush, there’s no pressure, and the quarterback has all day to make his throws. Without solid run support, offensive linemen are free to release to the second level of the defense, and running backs have free reign to make as many cuts as necessary.
Sometimes, it’s a little difficult for the smaller schools to find quality defensive linemen. Recruiting is an inexact science, and becomes exponentially more inexact once we get down to the players of the world who are big and strong, but not complete physical freaks like 4 and 5 star recruits.
Eastern Michigan is set up front for now, at least according to OurLads.com. Though, if the Eagles do get into trouble injury-wise, they can call on two Texans that they’re grooming for the future: converted Hebron linebacker Clay Holford and former Colleyville Heritage defensive end Maxx Crosby.
Crosby is a bullish defensive end, strong at the point of attack with a solid takeoff. His ability to set an edge is arguably up there with top defensive ends, he’s excellent at taking on blocks and bending them to his will. His strengths in the run game will definitely have him pushing the depth chart in years to come, and might see him get some playing time against ODU today.
Holford is different, he’s a converted linebacker, and he carries that over into his defensive end game. Let’s be honest: Holford is a load, a hard hitting middle linebacker that carries that aggression over to his new position at true DE, opposite Crosby on the second team. One of the two will likely inherit senior Pat O’Connor’s spot next year, but both will undoubtedly be in the rotation in the years to come.
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