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TCU Position Preview: Defensive Line

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A very deep defensive line is a major strength for TCU’s defense in 2016.

NCAA Football: Peach Bowl-Mississippi vs Texas Christian Kevin D. Liles-USA TODAY Sports

TCU’s defense is expected to be dominant in 2016 thanks to a lot of returning talent, plus an injection of new blood to bolster the depth chart. The defensive line is no exception, as the Frogs see a wealth of talent, both young and old, filling up the depth chart. Here’s how the chart stacked up at the end of spring practice.

String Left End Tackle Tackle Right End
1st String Josh Carraway Aaron Curry Breylin Mitchell Mat Boesen OR
2nd String Tipa Galeai L.J. Collier Joseph Broadnax James McFarland

2015 First Team All-Big 12 defensive end Josh Carraway anchors one end of the line, looking to improve on his nine sacks from a season ago. 2015 was a “growing up” year for Carraway, who saw his playing time increase dramatically, especially with the injury to James McFarland. Carraway was far and away the most effective end for TCU in 2015, but he also had a tendency to take unnecessary penalties, which put TCU’s defense in tough situations from time to time. For Carraway, 2016 should be about eliminating the mental mistakes while continuing to be a sack machine.

Fortunately for Carraway, the guy set to play across from him is a beast in his own right. James McFarland missed all of the 2015 season due to a broken toe, suffered over the summer. McFarland used his redshirt in 2015, which allowed him to come back to TCU this year.

McFarland has been an integral part of TCU’s rotation at defensive end ever since stepping foot on campus in 2012. As a freshman, McFarland appeared in all 13 games, and he didn’t miss a game until 2015. He has 64 tackles, 17.5 TFL, and 10.5 sacks for his career.

Mat Boesen, a transfer from Long Beach City College (and before that, Boise State) will push McFarland for playing time on the right side of the line. Boesen is a terrific pass rusher, and he will absolutely find himself on the field as a rotation guy this fall.

Other defensive ends who should be seen regularly include Tipa Galeai, who saw a good amount of playing time as a true freshman in 2015, freshman Isaiah Chambers, and redshirt freshman Semaj Thomas.

The middle of the line will be anchored by senior Aaron Curry. Who starts beside him is the big question right now, but it might be a name that’s not on the chart above. Freshman Ross Blacklock is an absolute monster of a human being, and his raw ability may be enough to see him get some starts early in the season.

Behind Curry and Blacklock are a whole host of tackles, including Chris Bradley, L.J. Collier, Joseph Broadnax, and Breylin Mitchell, all of whom should see a lot of time on the field as a part of a very deep rotation.

The defensive line is just one of three very stacked units for TCU’s defense, and if they play like they’re capable, they’ll be an absolute nightmare for opposing offenses.