2013 Position Previews: Defensive Ends

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Moving outside today but remaining on the defense, we're looking at defensive ends, where Baylor returns both starters from 2012 and welcomes two high-impact transfers.

Like with the DTs yesterday, defensive end has clearly been a priority for Art Briles and his staff over the last few recruiting classes.  Through good recruiting and development, and with the benefit of a pair of high-profile transfers, Baylor's defensive end position has blossomed into one where the question isn't "What are we going to do to get talent?" but "What are we going to do with this talent?"*

*Look at this chart, then yesterday's chart, then this chart again.  Between DE and DT, we have 17 scholarship defensive linemen.  That's one-fifth of our entire scholarship allotment.  If you're mad at Art Briles and/or Phil Bennett for not prioritizing the defensive line, stop it.

Eligibility Remaining
No. Player Year Ht/Wt. Position 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
31 Chris McAllister SR 6-3/265 Defensive End
11 Terrance Lloyd
SR 6-3/245 Defensive End
2 Shawn Oakman SO (RS) 6-9/270 Defensive End
92 Jamal Palmer SO
6-3/245 Defensive End
86 Samuel Ukwuachu SO 6-4/220 Defensive End
84 Kolton Joines RS-FR 6-1/220 Defensive End
59 Peni Tagive FR 6-4/220 Defensive End
49 Brian Nance FR 6-3/250 Defensive End
56 Kevin Smith FR 6-1/240 Defensive End
57 Tanner Thrift FR 6-5/260 Defensive End
41 Harrison Miner FR 6-2/225 Defensive End

Going into 2013, the pecking order at the DE position seems pretty clear.  McAllister and Lloyd are the starters with Oakman and Palmer the backups.  That's easy enough to envision and it should work well.  All four players bring something a bit different to the position, and the most intriguing NFL prospect actually  might not be who you expect.  Though the 6-9 PSU transfer Oakman gets a lot of press, Chris McAllister has made significant strides each of the last two seasons since converting from LB.

Terrance Lloyd -- SR -- #11 -- 6-3, 245 pounds

One of two elder statesmen on Baylor's entire defensive line, Terrance Lloyd actually leads the team in starts with 30, one more than All-Everything guard Cyril Richardson.  He's seen Baylor's resurgence first-hand, starting every game in the last two years, and has been a solid, if not spectacular, member of our defensive line.

Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
*2010 Baylor Big 12 FR DB 7 6 13 2.0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
*2011 Baylor Big 12 SO DB 23 13 36 7.0 2.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
*2012 Baylor Big 12 JR DL 33 17 50 8.5 4.0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 2
Career Baylor 63 36 99 17.5 7.5 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 2
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 8/13/2013.

From where I was standing this past Saturday, Lloyd and McAllister, as part of the first team defense, were nothing less than spectacular.  Lloyd is more of a speed rusher than his partner and is therefore more susceptible to being muscled around by elite tackles.  Still, senior DEs coming off a season with >8 tackles for loss don't exactly grow on trees, and I'm confident that Lloyd will continue to improve in his final season of eligibility.

Chris McAllister -- SR -- #31 -- 6-3, 265 pounds

There are few players on this defense that make me more excited for the season than McAllister.  With competent defensive tackles by his side, McAllister is going to shine in 2013.  We haven't projected his stats yet, but when we do, you'll see just what I mean. He's got a combination of size and speed unlike anything we've seen at Baylor in a while.  I think his showing in the Holiday Bowl was just a taste of what's to come.

Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
*2010 Baylor Big 12 FR LB 26 16 42 4.5 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0
*2011 Baylor Big 12 SO LB 5 5 10 1.5 1.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
*2012 Baylor Big 12 JR DL 25 20 45 7.5 6.0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 2
Career Baylor 56 41 97 13.5 8.5 0 0 0 6 1 4 0 2

With McAllister and Lloyd flanking Javonte Magee and Beau Blackshear, Baylor may just have its best starting defensive line in years, including the time when current-NFL Phil Taylor manned the middle.  The better these guys are, the better our linebackers and safeties will be.

Shawn Oakman -- SO (RS) -- #2 -- 6-9, 270 pounds

It's not all that often you see a DE given jersey #2.  It's even less that you see the guy wearing the jersey is 6 freaking 9.  Though he's been limited the last few days in practice, including sitting out the scrimmage on Saturday, because of a hamstring injury, almost every time I read something about practice, it includes a report about how dominant Oakman has been.  That should tell you something about him, for sure, as well as the guys who have somehow remained ahead of him.  He's a monstrous human being who should, in his first year after sitting out in 2012, turn potential into reality.  Remember the hype Margus Hunt got simply for being tall?  Shawn Oakman eats Margus Hunt for breakfast.

Jamal Palmer -- SO -- #92 -- 6-3, 245 pounds

I was actually a bit surprised last season to see Palmer get as much playing time as he did in his true freshman season.  I knew the staff liked his ability off the edge, I just didn't know how much they liked him.  In the end, he actually ended up playing more than fellow frosh Javonte Magee, including in each of the last 8 games of the season.  Palmer is almost exactly the same size now that McAllister was at the same time, if not a little bigger, and the obvious hope from the coaching staff is that he will progress on a similar path, adding size and strength while retaining his speed.  This year, barring injury, he'll play with Oakman on the second team unit, backing up Lloyd and possibly coming in off the bench on obvious passing downs.

Samuel Ukwuachu -- SO (RS) -- #86 -- 6-4, 220 pounds

Like Oakman last year, Ukwuachu will have to sit out a season after transferring from Boise this summer, so he gets a blue box rather than black or red.  He won't be an option for playing time this season.  Next year, though, the talented transfer will attempt to build on a redshirt year that saw him rack up 4.5 sacks and 7 tackles for loss for Boise in 2012.  He should have the opportunity to get significant playing time with Lloyd and McAllister graduating.  220 is a bit light to play DE in the Big 12, as we've seen before, so he'll have to bulk up a bit to remain effective here.

Peni Tagive -- FR -- #59 -- 6-4, 220 pounds

The Australian Man of Mystery has arrived.  I listed Peni as a freshman because he's already 24 and I doubt they redshirt him.  There'd be no reason to, considering NCAA rules don't let anyone over 28 play, anyway.

When I saw Tagive play on Saturday, he looked like a hyper-athletic rugby player trying football for the first time, probably because that's exactly what he is.  He certainly looks the part, but acclimating to a new sport can't be easy, and we probably shouldn't expect much in his first year here.  Were I to guess, I'd say Baylor plays him mostly on special teams unless something incredible (bad or good) happens.  That way, he becomes more accustomed to the speed of the game, as well as the game itself.

Brian Nance -- FR -- #49 -- 6-3, 250 pounds

Thank the Lord, Brian Nance finally made it to campus.  The emails asking where the 2012 Army All-American was and when he'd get here had already started to wane, but now they'll stop completely.  Hopefully.  Because he spent only one semester at Hargrave, a preparatory school rather than a junior college, Nance should have full eligibility beginning this year.

It's going to be really interesting to see what Baylor does with Nance this season.  Almost immediately after he arrived, we started hearing rumors that he was totally out of shape, and people "in the know" started trying to temper expectations.  I don't know if that played a role in the later switch from LB, where he played in HS and at Hargrave, to DE, where he's listed now.  That position switch is why I have him listed as redshirting this season; I just don't know if he's going to get on the field.

Kevin Smith -- FR -- #56 -- 6-1, 240 pounds

Tanner Thrift -- FR -- #57 -- 6-5, 260 pounds

The similarities: both are freshman this season that will undoubtedly redshirt in 2013 to retain eligibility. The differences: Smith is undoubtedly a DE at Baylor in the mold of Lloyd and Palmer, while Thrift's position is much more of a question.  People I respect have said he looks more like an OT than a DE, and given my own questions about his recruitment, I wouldn't rule out a switch.  We'll see how that works out.  Smith and Thrift rotated in with the 3s this past weekend, alongside Tagive.

Kolton Joines -- RS-FR -- #84 -- 6-1, 220 pounds

Harrison Miner -- FR -- #41 -- 6-2, 225 pounds

More walk-ons!  From what I can tell, neither player has been on the roster before, so welcome to the team, gentlemen!

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You're not going to believe this, but I love the talent here.  Actually, that might be the new theme of these previews: "Look at all this talent!"  We have 9 scholarship DEs on the roster, 7 of whom will return in 2014.  At least 4 of those should have significant experience after this season.  Talented in the front and deep in the back, this is a group ready to do great things.  Could our DL soon be a strength? Let's hope.

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