Oklahoma's defense experienced a big turnaround in 2013 and the defensive line deserves just as much credit for it as any other unit on this side of the ball. The Sooners will boast one of the best defensive end duos in the Big Twelve this fall and possibly the best tackle/nose guard in the conference. When it comes to the defensive line this spring, and really into the fall, the only concern seems to be health.
Senior Defensive End Geneo Grissom (6-4/257) - Played in all 13 games of 2013 with five starts. Recorded 40 total tackles, 9 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Had a huge game in the Sugar Bowl with 2.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, a pass break up and scored a defensive touchdown, it was his second defensive touchdown on the season.
Junior Defensive End Charles Tapper (6-4/269) - Played in all 13 games of 2013 with twelve starts. Recorded 51 total tackles, 9 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Was named First Team All-Big 12 by the coaches.
Junior Defensive Tackle/Nose Guard Jordan Phillips (6-6/341) - Suffered a season-ending back injury in Oklahoma's win at Notre Dame. Played in, and started, four games in 2013. Recorded seven tackles and 1.5 sacks.
In The Rotation
Its no secret that the Sooners like to rotate their linemen and they will have a near abundance of experienced depth heading into their 2014 spring drills.
Senior Defensive End/Tackle Chuka Ndulue (6-3/280) - Played in twelve games in 2013 with nine starts. Rotates inside and outside on the line depending on the situation. Recorded 42 total tackles last season with five tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Sophomore Defensive Tackle Jordan Wade (6-4/312) - Filled in for Jordan Phillips after the Notre Dame game. Played in twelve of the thirteen games last season with eight starts.
Senior Defensive Tackle Torrea Peterson (6-3/309) - Drew just one start in 2013 but played in seven games.
Names To Watch
Senior Defensive End Rashod Favors (6-1/259) - Played in twelve games in 2013 but didn't record any stats. Should get a strong look in his final spring at Oklahoma as the Sooners will need to continue to provide quality depth.
Sophomore Defensive End Matt Dimon (6-2/264) - Honestly, with the talented upperclassmen that are ahead of him, Dimon's breakout year is most likely set for 2015. He did see action in twelve games last season and blocked a punt against Kansas.
Sophomore Defensive End Mike Onuoha (6-5/249) - Like Dimon, Onuoha is just passing the time until he works his way on the field as a starter. Saw limited action in 2013 (4 games) but will see a ton of work this spring as his development becomes a stronger priority.
Senior Defensive Tackle Quincy Russell (6-4/320) - After arriving to Norman with a lot of fanfare in the summer he only saw action in two games last fall. He could develop into the first player off the bench to spell Phillips or he could spend the entire season on the bench. This spring is huge for Russell!
Synopsis - Much like their offensive counterparts, the defensive line is pretty much set. The focus for the OU coaching staff will be to keep guys healthy and to develop quality depth. There are no real position battles with this group, and for that reason I wouldn't expect to see a whole lot from the starters in the spring.