Which kind of DT are you (or do you aspire to be)? Do you take up blocks so everyone else gets the tackles, sacks, and glory? Are you trying to guess the snap count and Clowney-slam running backs and QBs? Is your dream Saturday spent running clever stunts against turned-around offensive linemen?
Whichever space-eating, line destroying kind of big ugly you are, the Big Ten has got love for you. Mo Hurst and Tyquan Lewis are gone, but the replacing bunch ain’t so bad. To the rankings!
*Note. Check out the 2017 All-Big Ten defensive team. Almost all the D-Line honorees are defensive ends. They do the sexy things, they get the sacks and attention...and the DTs do all the dirty work.
1. Raequan Williams, Jr., MSU
Anchored the Spartan line that stuffed the run better than almost team in the nation. All this after attrition had sapped the Spartans of depth up front defensively. He’s big, he’s smart, his motor keeps going, we hear he likes the film room...Basically he does everything well. Shout out to Mike Pansiuk, Williams’ roll dog and fellow run-stuffing DT, who was in the midst of every blown up run play. This tandem is the Big Ten’s best.
2. Dre’mont Jones, Jr., Ohio State
Limited, but explosive, in 2017, his decision to return fills a massive hole on the Buckeye line. When you watch him wreck running plays and nimbly beat blocks, you’ll get that “NFL-ready” feeling.
And just when we think attrition might make the Bucks vulnerable up front, Jones decides to forego the NFL and here we are, with veteran Jones being flanked by Nick Bosa. Cool.
3. Olive Sagapolu, Sr., Wisconsin
Bigger than a house, a perfect 3-4 defensive tackle, experienced and will be the anchor for an always solid Badger D. Like a boss, used to be a cheerleader.
4. Aubrey Solomon, So., Michigan
Former five-star recruit, looks ready to anchor the line and provide explosiveness. Some freshmen look ready, some don’t, but his progression was obvious as the season wore on. Can stymie blocks with upper body power and then slither away with impressive athleticism.
Honorable Mention / Others
THUMP, optimistic on Illinois.
Our two best recruits were four stars Calvin Avery and Verdis Brown out of Texas and Florida. I expect them to start immediately.
STEW, talking Iowa:
Matt Nelson is a 6’8” 290lb DE playing DT because, 1) He’s a massive human, and 2) Iowa’s DE is stacked. He mostly plays the role of block eater.
Cedrick Lattimore (Jr.) is a bit more explosive, and will get more tackles/sacks.
There’s also Daviyon Nixon, who spent his freshman campaign dominating the JuCo ranks at Iowa Western (he didn’t qualify out of high school). During his time there, he earned an offer from ‘Bama. He joined the team in January, and he’ll certainly be in the rotation.
For the most part, the job of an Iowa DT is to eat blocks and keep the LBs clean. These guys should be very good at that.
Tell us about your interior disrupting DTs in the comments!