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Duke Football: Defensive Line Preview

Photo by Chris Summerville
Pictured: Marquies Price / Photo by Chris Summerville

The start of the 2016 college football season is fast approaching. Its time to take a look at what to expect from the Blue Devils on the gridiron this fall

The defensive line has long been viewed as the weakest link on the Duke Football team.  While the unit has continued to get better, they weren’t terrible last year, they just haven’t been able to be the disruptive force you like to see.  This year should bring an increase in production for the defensive line for couple of reasons.

The first being new DL coach Ben Albert.  Boston College hasn’t fielded a truly competitive team in quite a few seasons, but their defense has still ranked near the top of the ACC and their toughness an technique up front had a lot to do with that.  Ben Albert was one of the architects for that tough defense and his impact should be felt immediately in Durham.

AJ Wolf is the veteran leader for the group and an unquestioned starter at the DT position.  Redshirt junior Mike Ramsay saw a lot of action last fall and could be in line to start this season, but will get plenty of competition from Rs-sophomore Edgar Cerenord.  Cerenord and Quaven Ferguson both weigh in at over 300 pounds and bring a lot of size and strength to the position that has needed it for quite some time.  Both of these young men will see the field this fall, its just a question of how much.  Sophomore Brandon Boyce should compete for time in the middle of the line as well, but he won’t be seen in game action until week four.  It was announced this week that Boyce and safety Phillip Carter are suspended for the first three games of the season.

The defensive end position is a little more open coming into the fall.  Marquies Price seems a lock to start at one end.  At 6-6 and 245 pounds, Price has the size and athleticism of a prototypical defensive end.  Price got some quality playing time last season and should be ready to be the man this fall.  The other end is wide open.  Former walk on Danny Boyle was listed as the starter on the post spring depth chart.  He will be competing for playing time with juniors Dominic McDonald and Allen Jackson, but the name to keep an eye will be Trevon McSwain.  McSwain’s size will make him a tough mathup at defensive end.

2016 could be the year we start to see the production on the defensive line start to catch up with the increase in talent that we know is there.  It would be a huge plus for the defense to see the d line get into the opposing teams backfield.

Check out our other preseason position previews:

Special Teams
Offensive Line
Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Linebackers
Wide Receivers & Tight Ends
Secondary