We’ve taken a long look at the offense, now with just a few days between now and fall camp, we take a look at the defense. First up is the interior defensive line.
- Dominique Austin 6-4, 292, JR (4 tackles, 1 for loss)
- Mana Mikaele 6-2, 305, SR* (12 tackles, 2.5 TFL, .5 sacks)
- Sione Tuihalamaka 6-2, 275, FR*
- Jowyn Ward 6-2, 295, JR (1 tackle)
- Justin Washington 6-2, 275, FR*
- Jonathan Hollins 6-4, 280, JR*
- Chris Merrill 6-2, 285, SO*
- Willie Mobley 6-2, 277, SO
- Kirifi Taula 6-3, 280, FR
- Sani Fuimaono 6-2, 260, FR
- Aiulua Fanene 6-4, 280, FR
My Honest Assessment:
This unit has a lot of potential, but nothing is proven. The thing that I like best is the depth. Even assuming the three freshmen redshirt, the Cats have eight players who all look like they can play. This may not be the league’s best collection of defensive tackles, but it is a good, solid group who fit the style of athlete the Mike Stoops likes for his interior defensive linemen.
Mikaele is an experienced player with a nasty streak, while Austin brings some nice athleticism to the mix. Ward and Merrill are big, strong run stoppers and two of the stronger players on the team. The two big wildcards could be Willie Mobley and Jonathan Hollins. Both were big time recruits, but have not played a game in over a year. If they can shake the rust off, both could make an impact.
Did you Know?
- Sione Tuihalamaka is the brother of defensive end Apai Tuihalamaka and the brother of former linebacker Vuna Tuihalamaka.
- Willie Mobley left Ohio State two years ago and spent last year at Orange Coast Community College but did not play football.
- Jonathan Hollins is a rare JC transfer who did not play his first year after transferring from College of the Canyons. He was able to redshirt last season and still has two years of eligibility.
- Freshman Aiulua Fanene was featured on a 60 Minutes documentary about high school football in Samoa.
- Mana Mikaele did not play in 2008 because of an “administrative issue”, although he was eligible and did compete in practice.
For more on the Wildcat Defensive Tackles, go to WildcatSportsReport.com