Last year the Wildcat defense got a pleasant surprise in the form of Ricky Elmore who led the Pac-10 in sacks despite injuries to fellow starter Brooks Reed. How do the Wildcat defensive ends stack up this year?
- Brooks Reed 6-3, 255, SR* (23 tackles, 5.0 tfl, 2.0 sacks)
- Ricky Elmore 6-5, 250, SR* (44 tackles, 11.5 tfl, 10.5 sacks)
- Apai Tuihalamaka 6-3, 258, JR* (3 tackles, 1.0 tfl)
- D’Aundre Reed 6-4, 258, SR* (17 tackles, 2.5 tfl/sacks)
- Mohammed Usman 6-2, 240, JR
- Dan Pettinato 6-4, 235, FR
- C.J. Parish 6-2, 235, SR (3 tackles)
My Honest Assessment:
If Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore are healthy, this group has no problems. The two of them are as good an end duo as you will find in the league. Tuihalamaka and D’Aundre Reed are very nice rotation players, but I am not sure they can play a bigger role if either of the starters go down for a significant time. Those four mean the Cats bring back their top four ends from a year ago, including two players who can contend for All-Conference honors. Elmore led the Pac-10 in sacks, and when healthy Brooks Reed is as good as any pass rusher in the league.
D’Aundre Reed and Apai Tuihalamaka are both experience players who are capable back-ups and the defensive staff is intrigued with getting all four top ends on the field at the same time.
The Cats will need those for to play well, because unless Usman is ready to go, they have no depth behind that. While Parish is intriguing, it is hard to imagine that he will be an impact player.
Did You Know:
- Three of the top six ends are seniors.
- Pettinato is the only underclassman at end.
- Usman played one year at the University of Houston before moving on to Navarro Community College.
- Reed is one of three scholarship players from Tucson. Defensive backs Adam Hall and Josh Robbins are the others.
- The Cats will utilize the “Cheetah Formation” that puts four defensive ends on the field at the same time.
For more on the Wildcats’ defensive ends, check out WildcatSportsReport.com.