Texas A&M football: Projecting the 2019 defensive line depth chart

(Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The 2018 season saw excellent play from the Texas A&M football defensive line, but three of the four starters are gone. Here’s how they will replace them.

The turnaround by the defense no doubt made a world of difference in Jimbo Fisher’s first year as the head coach for Texas A&M football. Defensive coordinator Mike Elko was easily one of the best hires in the country last offseason.

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The defense went from allowing 30.7 (87th) points per game in 2017 to 25.3 (47th) points per game in 2018. They went from allowing 408.5 (78th) total yards per game in 2017 to 348.4 (32nd) total yards per game in 2018. Most of that difference in yards and points was thanks to a stout run defense, which went from 170.8 (70th) yards allowed per game in 2017 to 95.2 (3rd) yards allowed per game on the ground.

The problem? The defensive line is losing three of its four starters from the 2018 season. Daylon Mack came on as a monster in his senior season and has been dominating the pre-draft circuit so far; Kingsley Keke was excellent in his senior year as well and earned an invite to the Senior Bowl; and Landis Durham was a pass rushing specialist who led the SEC in sacks as a junior.

That sounds like cause for concern, but I’m here to tell you the Aggies will be just fine. Let’s take a look at the two-deep defensive line.

Defensive tackle: Justin Madubuike, DeMarvin Leal

Madubuike is coming back and he was instrumental in Elko’s first year. He could get some attention as an All American and is living up to his recruiting hype. He came to the Aggies as the No. 56 overall player in the 2016 class and was dominant in spring practices before finally seeing the field in 2018.

Leal is a monster from the 2019 class who is already on campus and could become a starter before too long. He can play either inside or outside so Elko and his staff could bring him on the field in pass rushing situations initially. He dominated his peers at the All American Bowl.

Nose tackle: Jayden Peevy, TD Moton

Not much of a surprise here. Despite Leal coming on campus a semester early, Peevy has extensive experience and the spot next to Madubuike is his to lose. Moton similarly got in the rotation last year and should in 2019 as well.

Strong side defensive end: Michael Clemons, Bobby Brown

Michael Clemons was lost for most of the 2018 season, which actually allowed Daylon to be inserted into the starting lineup and solidify the dominant front four for the Ags in 2018, but when Clemons was healthy he was apparently unblockable in practice. He should definitely start if healthy.

Bobby Brown earned some playing time as a true freshman and should see his reps increase in 2019. He also has a chance to start. He was a 4-star, Top 200 recruit from the 2018 class.

Weak defensive end: Tyree Johnson, Max Wright

Tyree Johnson earned heaps of praise from Jimbo Fisher when Clemons went out and Johnson was called upon for depth in the 2018 season. He should slide into the spot vacated by Landis Durham.

Max Wright tore his ACL in 2017 so 2018 was spent recovering from that. The 4-star, Top 200 recruit from the 2018 class should be fully recovered by this spring so we’ll get a chance to see what he can do.

Next. Projecting the 2019 QB depth chart. dark

Jeff Shull is the Site Expert for the Gig Em Gazette on FanSided. Follow him on Twitter, and be sure to follow the Gig Em Gazette on Facebook and Twitter.