UTSA football: evaluating the defensive line

Sixth in a position-by-position series on the 2022 UTSA Roadrunners after spring training.

Who’s back: Brandon Matterson, senior; Brandon Brown, sophomore; Asyrus Simon, junior; Trumane Bell, senior red shirt; Lamonte McDougle, senior redshirt; Christian Clayton, junior red shirt; Redshirt freshman Ronald Triplette; Jaden Jones, a redshirt sophomore; Walker Baty, second in red shirt.

Who has left : Jaylon Haynes, Lorenzo Dantzler.

Signatories 2022: Zach Causey, Chace Davis, Tai Leonard.

What to expect: The Roadrunners prided themselves on the depth of their three-man defensive front last season, rotating eight or nine players to stay fresh in the trenches.

Even with the departure of the unit’s two most consistent stalwarts and leaders in Haynes and Dantzler, coach Jeff Traylor believes the group can incorporate new pieces to maintain a similar approach.

“I promised those kids when I recruited them that I was going to play against them and we’ve done that since we’ve been here,” Traylor said. “Now we’ve lost a ton of really good leaders and that’s where we need to strengthen.”

Matterson, a Brandeis product returning for an additional year of eligibility in 2022, said he’s looking to step into one of those leadership roles, dedicating himself to a new mindset of moving past mistakes and moving forward. full speed.

He had 76 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 2½ sacks and a pair of forced fumbles over four years, appearing as a rotational piece in 2018 and 2019 before becoming a starter in most of the past two seasons.

“His potential is through the roof,” Traylor said. “He could be a game-changer if he committed to doing it all the time. And he has done so so far.

Brown, a sophomore who entered the program last year as a transfer from Tulane, will try to fill Haynes’ shoes in the middle of the defensive line after stepping into a starting role during the second half of last season.

Earning the nickname “Little Bull” as a nod to Haynes’ nickname “Bull”, Brown had 23 tackles with three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles last year. He provides the D-line group with a central anchor against the run at 305 pounds and said he’s looking to expand his game to become more of a passing thrower in 2022.

“I was getting my feet wet,” Brown said. “This year, I’m really looking to make a name for myself and I’m getting into it.”

Simon appears to have the inside lane on the third starting spot, slipping into a bigger role last season with 26 tackles and three tackles for loss.

After missing time in his first season due to an irregular heartbeat – a condition that needs monitoring but hasn’t become a problem in recent months, Simon said – the junior plans to become a leader this season.

Traylor said Simon’s communication skills and desire to lead make him a natural in the role.

“Asyrus is just different,” Traylor said. “He is very mature. He is very intelligent.

Bell, a senior who ranked second on the team with five sacks in 2021 after leading the Roadrunners with 4½ sacks in 2020, could end up playing multiple roles in the UTSA defense.

The lightest defensive lineman on the roster at 255 pounds, Bell also worked as an outside linebacker throughout the spring, which allowed him to potentially play with the line group on passes while sliding to linebacker. in racing situations.

Redshirt junior Clayton and redshirt senior McDougle, who previously played in Washington state and West Virginia before arriving at UTSA last year, were also regulars in the rotation until 2021.

The remaining spots on the depth chart will likely be filled by developing young players such as redshirt sophomore Baty and redshirt freshman Triplette or transfers JUCO Causey and Davis.

Projected depth chart

defensive end

1.Brandon Matterson

2. Christian Clayton

3. Zach Causey

4. Chace Davis

Nose guard

1.Brandon Brown

2. Lamonte McDougle

3. Walker Baty

defensive end

1. Asyrus Simon

2. Trumane Bell

3. Ronald Triplet

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Twitter: @GregLuca

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