Defensive Line
MSU Office of Visual Media

Bears Position Preview: Defensive Line

August 01, 2017

Bears Preseason Preview: Defensive Line 
Letterwinners returning/lost: 9/3
Starters returning/lost: 4/0

•    In the Bears' 11 games last fall, the MSU defensive line combined to record 156 tackles, 32.0 stops for losses and 15.0 of the Bears' 17.0 sacks on the year.
•    With four veterans back (Colby Isbell, Cecil Bratton E.J. Sutton and Tony Jones) who made five or more starts in 2016, as well as another who made two starts (Skyler Hulse) last fall, the Bears' defensive line represents one of its strongest and deepest position groups.
•    Isbell led the group in tackles for the second straight year, finishing with 33 stops,12.0 TFLs and 6.5 sacks, ranking sixth in the MVFC in each of the latter categories.
•    Bratton, who has 27 career starts at defensive tackle, logged 16 total tackles last season.
•    Jones will bring a string of 19 consecutive starts into the 2017 season, including nine at left end for defensive line coach Chris Morton last fall. The senior made 22 tackles and a career-best 2.0 sacks in 2016.
•    Sutton drew five starts at defensive tackle last season, totaling 9.0 stops and 2.0 TFLs for a loss of 11 yards, including 1.0 sack.
•    Hulse turned in career highs for total tackles (12), TFLs (2.5), sacks (1.0) last year, while also logging a team-best 2.0 fumble recoveries.
•    Tristan Crowder produced a breakthrough rookie campaign last fall, finishing with the second-best tackle total (25) among all MSU defensive linemen in 2016, as well as 2.0 sacks and 2.0 QB hurries. 
•    Taiwo Oluwafunmila logged significant playing time on the Bears' defensive line in 2015 before sitting out last year due to injury; returning lettermen Colin Bess and Chris Cacciarelli will also push for playing time while providing depth up front for Morton and the MSU defense.
•    Several talented newcomers, including redshirt freshmen Eric Johnson, Claudio Martin, Darrius Montgomery and Walter Watson, as well as true freshman Edd Becton, will also look to make an impact this fall with the Bears.
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