It's no secret that a lot has changed from 2021 to 2022 when looking at the Arizona State Sun Devils football team. On the defensive side of the ball, several key pieces from last year have departed from the program for various reasons, leaving a lot of new faces pressed to take over starting roles.
The defensive line, on the other hand, will have quite a bit of continuity from 2021 going into 2022.
While the departures of Tyler Johnson and D.J. Davidson to the NFL and Jermayne Lole to Louisville via the NCAA Transfer Portal are major losses to the unit, the amount of stability returning is substantial.
Michael Matus returns as the most seasoned starter on the line and captains a unit with a great blend of youth and veteran presence. Matus recorded a career-best 28 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss in 2021.
Across from him is Travez Moore entering his second season with Arizona State. Moore made his presence felt in 2021 before tearing his ACL. Moore had racked up one sack and 2.5 tackles for loss in three games. He returns this season with mighty high expectations for himself.
Anthonie Cooper and Joe Moore will also fight for playing time off the edge. Cooper finished 2021 third on the team in sacks with 3.5, while Moore recorded 1.5 sacks in five games. Gharin Stansbury, who recorded two tackles and a sack in two games last year, will also figure to be a part of the rotation.
The interior of the defensive line will be the biggest strength of the unit. Incoming transfer Nesta Jade Silvera will push veteran Tautala Pesefea Jr. for reps at nose tackle. Meanwhile, a rotation of Omarr Norman-Lott, B.J. Green, who paced the Sun Devils in sacks in 2021 with five, and freshman Robby Harrison gives the interior some major depth and healthy competition.
With so many different players with different skill sets present on this defensive line, it's hard to envision a scenario where the unit isn't one of the biggest strengths of the entire team. The group will certainly need to play up to their potential with a defensive secondary that is retooling across the board.
If this defensive line proves to be what we believe it can be, the Sun Devils will have as stout a front-seven as you'll find in college football for the 2022 season.