IDDP: Defensive Line
In my last article we talked about some potential leaders at the linebacker position. Who are they leading? Well the infantry, the first to every battle would have to be the defensive lineman. These guys get down and gritty in the trenches every single play. They try to add pressure on the opposing quarterback bum rushing through the offensive tackles. Some line up in the middle forming a great brick wall clogging up the hole the running back was supposed to run through. Whichever position on the line they are, these guys are fighting every play. Every defensive snap matters with how they adjust and perform on the offensive lines blocking. Here are five guys that intrigue me in the 2024 class for defensive lineman.
UCLA - Laiatu Latu
Currently my DL2 of the 2024 class.
Latu was a three-star prospect out of Carmichael, CA that originally committed to Washington. He would end up having a neck injury placing him on a medical leave. He was told he would not be able to play again. Fast forward to 2022, he officially enrolled at UCLA. He became a force for the Bruins. In his first year with them he acquired 23 solo tackles with 10.5 sacks. He is a monster receiving 54.8% of snaps. He is on pace 37.5 total tackles with 13 sacks!
Latu will bring speed and size to the next level. Currently he is listed at 6’5 265 pounds. To be honest, if you see him move you would not believe he is that size. If he does not attack straight on then he uses his hands and footwork to maneuver around opposing tackles. It is then when we see the speed. Once he gets outside it is too late for the tackles to make any adjustments because chances are he is at the quarterback.
Utah - Jonah Elliss
Currently my DL4 of the 2024 class.
Elliss was a three-star prospect out of Moscow, ID. He was a pure athlete playing both sides of the ball in high school. At Utah he has continued to grow as a dominant edge rusher. It can be argued that he is the best in the class. Each year he has gotten better and more dominant. He currently has 92% of snaps. He is on pace for what will be career highs of 28 solo tackles with 15 sacks. He had 4 total sacks his first two years at Utah! Talk about dominance!
Elliss is not afraid to get physical at the line. He can play down on the line or off the edge. Either way he has the awareness to know where the ball is at all times. He has a nice spin move where he dips, turns, pulls away, and gets his foot on the gas to attack. Elliss brings a mixture of both strength and agility that could make him a fearful edge rusher for years to come.
Rutgers - Aaron Lewis
Currently my DL9 of the 2024 class.
Lewis was a four-star prospect out of Williamstown, NJ. He has good size & strength to push through opposing linemen. He is currently tied for the team lead in sacks with 3. His pressure allows him to be the only defensive lineman on the team north of 25 tackles. He is on pace for 4.5 sacks with 43.5 total tackles. This is off 76.2% of snaps!
He has excellent quickness to attack once the ball is snapped. Lewis uses his hands at the line well. He uses a swim move to get around players. If you pay attention though he has a great IQ. Often he is seen with great awareness knowing how to counter the lineman’s block using his footwork to get around. He also tracks the ball well.
Houston - Nelson Ceaser
Currently my DL12 of the 2024 class.
Ceasar was a three-star prospect out of Missouri City, TX. He brings a high motor with endurance to go the distance. He currently leads the team with 5.5 sacks. This puts him on pace for 8 sacks with 42 total tackles. He is completing this on 64.7% of snaps.
Ceaser bullies opponents at the line. He uses his brute strength to push through the tackles sometimes with pure force at the snap. His footwork plus his speed causes disruption allowing him to find his way around the line to make the play. He tackles well, often wrapping up around the opponent ensuring that they are not going anywhere once his hands get to them.
Penn St - Demeioun Robinson
Currently my DL15 of the 2024 class.
“Chop” Robinson was a five-star prospect out of Gaithersburg, MD. He has the size of a defensive end with the speed of a linebacker. He currently has 3 sacks on the season through 7 games. He has only seen 40.9% of snaps this season. He went out with an injury against Ohio St.
Chop is a bull having teams scheme to double team him. He has the strength to push lineman back causing pressure on opposing quarterbacks making the pocket collapse. His speed allows him to have a nice spin move while maintaining balance to get around the line quickly before the blocker can adjust. He may not be the one getting the sack, but he is likely the one adding pressure opening the opportunity for a teammate to make the play.
Those are some of my favorite defensive linemen right now. If they are not on your radar I highly recommend adding them. I think each can transition well into a NFL defensive lineman.
Thank you for reading! Be sure to tune in to the Dynasty Pros Devy Show every Tuesday & Thursday to hear some of my offensive college takes. For more IDP content follow me on X @ThePPRShow
Peace & Love.