The Auburn defensive line could have had a completely different look in 2019. Had Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson not returned to the Plains for their senior seasons, itís not worth speculating how it would have affected the Tigers but it would have. But with the two players back, Auburn now blends veteran experience with several newcomers for what should be a solid group.
Brownís impact at defensive tackle is unquestionable. He is arguably one of the best in the country and recorded 48 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks a season ago. But what Brown also brings is a veteran presence to the position, which is important after the Tigers lost departing Dontavius Russell.
Now with Brown back at one DT spot, it allows juniors Tyrone Truesdell and Daquan Newkirk, sophomore Coynis Miller Jr. and other underclassmen a chance to learn and grow through the veteran player. Truesdell is expected to start alongside Brown, with Miller being his reserve and Newkirk filling in for Brown.
The Tigers are loaded at defensive end, with Davidson leading the position and Big Kat Bryant bringing upperclassman experience to his reserve role. Davidsonís return after recording 46 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss, last year not only adds a solid presence on the end of the line, it also provides depth. Bryant returns for his junior year after recording 18 tackles, 4 for loss, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown in 2018.
Some newcomers to keep an eye on are four-star recruits Charles Moore and Jaren Handy, both of whom participated in spring practice.
With the end and tackle positions mostly loaded down with proven talent, itís only fitting to have several familiar names returning for the prolific Buck position. The depth chart is expected to look the same as in 2018, with redshirt junior Nick Coe returning from a 2018 season that included 27 tackles, including 13 for loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. Behind Coe is T.D. Moultry, who as a sophomore had 11 tackles, 2.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
The Tigers defensive line has been a staple to the defense for several years. Itís been a blessing or curse depending on productivity. In 2019, the Tigers return a handful of players that contributed to a line last year that entering the season was considered one of the best in the nation. To have the experience that the line has returning, it is pivotal for the success of the defense that the big guys in the trenches play well.
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