November 25, 2008

2010 Spotlight: Defensive Line

Pete Carroll prides himself on running a pro-style defense, in terms of both scheme and personnel. Historically, great defenses put great pressure on the quarterback.

Last season, the New York Giants pulled off a tremendous upset in the Super Bowl because of their superior defensive line, which almost single-handedly shut down the greatest statistical offense the league had ever seen. This season, the Tennessee Titans have jumped out to the best record in the league on the strength of their defensive line, considered the best in the league. The importance of a strong defensive line has tangibly extended to the college game over the last decade. In fact, every national champion since 2001 Miami has had at least one All-American on the defensive line, and there's no other position where that applies.

To say early returns on the Trojans 2008 defensive line class are positive would be an understatement. Malik Jackson, Jurrell Casey, and Armond Armstead are already major factors in the rotation, often outshining their fellow upperclassmen. With that foundation in place, USC's staff is looking to add another banner group from the 2009 class, led by the dominant Walnut (Calif.) Mt. SAC defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo.

With the graduation of three senior pass rushers, re-stocking the defensive end position is vital. In addition to Los Angeles (Calif.) Jordan athlete James Boyd, the Trojans staff has targeted the duo of Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista defensive end Devon Kennard and San Francisco (Calif.) Sacred Heart Cathedral defensive end Kevin Greene as top priorities.

However, as the scouting cliche goes, a football team can never have too many quality pass rushers, and that's a philosophy that USC will be taking into recruiting yet again. When discussing the top juniors on defense in the state, at any position, the list begins with Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde defensive end Ronald Powell.

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