The offensive and defensive lines have been a focus in Mike London’s first two full recruiting classes as Virginia’s head coach. Ten players, including six incoming freshmen this season and four 2012 class recruits, are designated to play on the defensive line, which of course now features four starters as compared to Al Groh’s three-man front. Getting the numbers right in terms of defensive line depth has been one of the key recruiting objectives in London’s first two classes, and the staff certainly appears to be getting the job done in that department. TheSabre.com takes a closer look it its “Strategy Session.”
“The change from the 3-4 to the 4-3 requires that you have at least three deep in the position. Four down linemen. That’s at least 12 scholarship guys,” London said. “With a few walk-ons that could bring you to 16 plus. Injuries, etc., are unknown variables in the course of the season.”
Eight of the 10 defensive linemen project at least initially at defensive end, though TheSabre.com Editor Kris Wright reports that three incoming freshmen – Rob Burns , Vincent Croce , and Marco Jones – saw at least some action inside at tackle early in fall training camp. Working players out at multiple positions isn’t atypical when they first arrive in a program as part of the slotting process, though it seems likely at least one of the freshmen defensive ends will move inside. Numbers-wise, it’s reasonable to expect a few ends (not necessarily newcomers) to move inside. As the 2012 season scholarship breakdown stands now, 14 players are designated for defensive end to only six defensive tackles.
2012 Season Defensive Line Projection (Scholarship Players Only)
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