Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at each position group and giving our way-too-early depth chart projections. Today, we move onto the defensive tackles.
Starter - Dante Stills
It was a successful season for Dante Stills in 2020 but not the season we expected to see from him after posting 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks the year prior. Had he put up similar or better numbers this past year, Stills would have likely played his way into being drafted. Now, he's back for one more go-around and will be looked upon as one of the leaders in the WVU front seven.
2nd string - Sean Martin
The expectations for Bluefield, WV native Sean Martin are through the roof. He was recruited heavily by several Power Five schools but ultimately chose to stay in his home state after previously committing to North Carolina. Size, strength, athleticism are all there for Martin. Now, he just needs to learn to control his body movement and clean up some of his technique. Once the game slows down for him and he feels comfortable in the defense, Martin has the ability to rise to the top among Big 12 defensive linemen.
3rd string - Jalen Thornton
Thornton appeared in all ten games a year ago and made five tackles. He mainly saw time on special teams while getting some work on the defensive side of the ball from time to time. At 6'2", 275 lbs, it's hard to really tell if Thornton will stick at defensive tackle or if he will end up moving around. It's too early in his career to make any rash judgments but Thornton is not much of a pass rusher. His impact will be more appreciated in stopping the run.
4th string - Brayden Dudley
Dudley has a really good jump off the line of scrimmage and stays low, providing a strong push off the edge. He's got the closing speed to chase down a scrambling quarterback and make a quarterback's life a hard time. With the Mountaineers stacking up defensive linemen, it is hard to say where exactly he fits in when it comes to where he will line up. However, he could be one of those "positionless" defensive linemen that can play all across the defensive front. Being that he checks in at 6'3", 250-pounds, it is likely that he could make a living as an edge rusher.
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