2007 Outlook: Defensive Line
Aug. 21, 2007
The leader at tackle is co-captain Theo Horrocks (6-3, 290, Sr.), a two-year starter and one of the most productive Commodore interior linemen in years. The all-conference caliber Horrocks goes hard every snap, and leads on and off the field. In 2006, Horrocks posted career numbers in virtually every statistical category while playing more than 90 percent of the defensive plays.
Gabe Hall (6-1, 290, Sr.) and Greg Billinger (6-3, 280, So.) will compete for the starting tackle position next to Horrocks. A beast in the weightroom, Hall has trimmed down to 290 pounds and appears ready to battle for the starting job. Hall played well for the Commodores early in the 2006 season only to become limited by injuries as the season wore on. Prehaps the Commodores' most athletic interior lineman, Billinger played as a true freshman in 2006, and should improve with each game.
Adam Smotherman (6-4, 275, R-Fr.) also sparkled in spring drills before being slowed by a leg injury, and could earn playing time in camp.
With a strong showing in camp, either David Whittington (6-2, 275, R-Jr.), Brandon Holmes (6-3, 295, R-Jr.) or Derrius Dowell (6-3, 280, R-So.) could claim a substantial reserve role. Two freshmen, Rob Ashabranner (6-2, 270) and T.J. Greenstone (6-3, 265), will get a close look in camp.
Curtis Gatewood (6-3, 245, R-Sr.) is back at defensive end after posting a superb season last year as a first year starter. Gatewood positioned himself for All-SEC consideration by displaying off-the-edge quickness and the toughness to take on 300-pound tackles as a junior. He ended the year among the league leaders in sacks and forced fumbles and had 36 solo tackles.
Across from Gatewood, Commodore coaches will look to a pair of talented redshirt sophomores, Broderick Stewart (6-5, 225) and Steven Stone (6-5, 255), as the starter. Stewart was a big-play specialist last year, contributing five sacks while Stone produced 6.5 tackles for loss among his tackles.
Other candidates at end are Teriall Brannon (6-3, 235, R-Fr.) and Kikko Logan (6-2, 236, R-Fr.). Walk-ons David Leinweber (6-5, 250, R-So.) and Sam Panke (6-2, 230, R-Fr.) also will get repetitions. The Commodores also signed freshman Theron Kadri (6-3, 230) as a prospect at end.