Georgia Southern is looking to compete for another Sun Belt Championship this upcoming season. The first line of defense against opposing offenses is the defensive line. The Eagles ranked 49th against the run and 59th in total defense last season. Coach Kevin Peoples will begin his second season as defensive line coach and plans to make it an improvement. This upcoming season looks to have an ample supply of talent and might be the deepest position for the Eagles.
The defensive ends will be anchored down by senior, Lennie Richardson, who will provide talent and leadership for the entire defensive line. Last season, he started in 10 out of 12 games and was credited with 19 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1.0 sacks and 1.0 quarterback hurries. Opposite of Richardson will play junior Bernard Dawson. Last season, he started in all 12 games and was credited with 35 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 6.0 tackles for a loss and 2.0 pass breakups. Looking to provide a solid rotation is senior Ryan George. Last season, he played in 11 games and was credited with 12 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks for a loss. Also looking provide a solid rotation will play sophomore, Ross Alexander. Last season, he played in six games and was credited with 3.0 tackles. Alexander’s competition is junior Nardo Govan, who is making a position change from tight end to defensive end. The defensive ends are athletic and will be able to get the quarterback and shut down the run from the outside.
On the inside of the defensive line, the defensive tackle and nose tackle positions both are talented and but young. The man leading the charge at defensive tackle is junior Jamal Johnson. Last season, he played in 10 games was credited with 25 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 3.0 sacks and 1.0 blocked kicks. Also at defensive tackle will play sophomore, Darius Sapp. Last season, he played in 11 games and was credited with 10 tackles. Holding the defensive line down at nose tackle is junior standout Jay Ellison. He started all 12 games and was credited with 36 tackles, 4.0 tackles for a loss and 2.0 sacks and was named All-Sun Belt Conference Honorable Mention. Also at the defensive tackle positon will play sophomore, Ian Bush. The defensive tackles and nose tackles are big at an average weight of 296.5 pounds. But their size doesn’t impede their talent and will be looking to once again shut down the run on the inside and get after the quarterback.
The defensive line is looking healthy and ready to do battle on the front lines. With ample depth at every positon, this will provide backups who are also capable of potentially starting. Although there are some young players, they’re talented. The rotation of defensive linemen looks to be energetic, strong, fast and extremely athletic.