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2011 Big Sky position rankings: Defensive line
Some of the best overall players in the league play defensive line, namely Sacramento State’s Zack Nash and Eastern Washington’s Renard Williams. Both are All-America candidates yet again.
From top to bottom, these guys make life difficult on everybody – offensive linemen, quarterbacks, running backs … you name it.
And this is again a deep position, one that had a slew of players up for consideration. Have a look at our list for 2011:
TOP 10 DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
1 - Zack Nash, Sr., DE, Sacramento State
Comment: Terrorized QBs to the tune of 13 sacks.
2 - Renard Williams, Sr., DT, Eastern Washington
Comment: All-American considered one of best in FCS.
3 - Isaac Bond, Sr., DE, Northern Arizona
Comment: Consistently dominant throughout career.
4 - Bryan Waldhauser, Sr., DT, Montana
Comment: Team leader simply makes plays.
5 - Zach Minter, Jr., DT, Montana State
Comment: Expect breakout year from big man in middle.
6 - Carl Sommer, Sr., DE, Portland State
Comment: Stats tell the story of major impact.
7 - Ryan Fetherston, Sr., DE, Montana
Comment: Has morphed into UM’s best pure pass rusher.
8 - Nick Hernon, Sr., DE, Northern Colorado
Comment: Pressures quarterbacks to no end.
9 - Jordan Monga, Sr., DT, Idaho State
Comment: Tied for team lead with 10 tackles for loss.
10 - Adam Segapolutele-White, Jr., DT, Weber State
Comment: Strength and quickness make him tough to block.
•All-Big Sky defensive end Christian Clark drew lots of attention from offensive linemen last season, which helped free up temmate Zack Nash. But teams realized in a hurry that Nash is the real deal. Nash enters 2011 ranked third in Sacramento State history in quarterback sacks, one of which had major ramifications for the Montana Grizzlies last year.
•Renard Williams (along with Nash) was named to a number of preseason All-America teams, and it’s no secret why. Williams has been dominant in the middle for the defending FCS champions against both the run and the pass, and is closing in on the school’s Top 10 list for career sacks.
•Since his freshman season, Isaac Bond has beendumping quarterbacks at NAU. If there’s any question about Bond’s impact, check out this nugget from the Lumberjacks’ website: Bond “has 18 career tackles for loss and 16 quarterback sacks, the second-best total since 1970 in school history.”
•If Montana’s Bryan Waldhauser is undersized,he makes up for it with sheer drive and determination. Waldhauser earned second-team all-conference honors last season, collecting 50 total tackles (8 for loss) and had a team-best five quarterback sacks for the Griz.
•Zach Minter showed some big-time flashes last season for the Bobcats, not the least of which was his 53-yardinterception return for a touchdown in a monumental 30-7 romp over Eastern Washington. With Dan Ogden graduated, 2011 figures to be a breakthrough season for big No. 96.
Carl Sommer emerged last season, and his 46 tackles were the most on Portland State’s defensive line. Sommer also led the team with 11 tackles for loss and four sacks. …. Ryan Fetherston stepped up when fellow DE Severin Campbell went down with injury. His four sacks and nine tackles for loss proved his worth. … Nick Hernonwas shut out in the sack column, but few Big Sky defensive ends get after the QB as well. Hernon had 10 1/2 tackles for loss and seven quarterback hits a year ago, not to mention 45 total tackles. … One of only a coule playmakers on Idaho State’s defense,Jordan Monga can make things happen. He had 10 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and an interception a season ago. … A mouthful for broadcasters but a handful for offensive linemen, Adam Segapolutele-White had 41 tackles from his interior position to go along with 5 1/2 tackles for loss.
NOTE: This is the sixth installment of a nine-part series in which we project the Top 10 players at each position in advance of the 2011 Big Sky Conference football season – summer transfers be damned!
The season is only six weeks away, and we’re moving right along with our annual picks of the best players at each position in the Big Sky Conference.
By Greg Rachac, The Billings Gazette http://billingsgazette.com/sports/college/blogs/catgrizinsider/article_878269f2-b7d2-11e0-9e63-001cc4c002e0.html#ixzz1URTi4bHv