FAU Football: Previewing the defensive line

The defensive line currently has 10 players competing for starting reps.


Eston Parker III

University Press stock photo of defensive lineman Evan Anderson.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

With the Owls’ season-opener being less than three months away, the UP will evaluate each position group on the roster. Today, we will look at the defensive line. 

The defensive line is the frontline of the defense, responsible for stopping the run and rushing the quarterback.

The Owls’ defensive line should be one of the most dominant groups on the team, as they are returning multiple starters in sophomores Evan Anderson and Decarius Hawthorne. 

Anderson finished last season leading the defensive line with a total of 42 tackles, along with a sack and a fumble recovery. 

Hawthorne, who stood out in the spring game with his five tackles and two sacks, will likely take on the spot next to Anderson.

Redshirt sophomore Latrell Jean should be a solid first option in rotation after a productive 2021 season, when he recorded 10 tackles and a sack. Coming next would be sophomore Jaden Wheeler, who had 22 tackles and a forced fumble as a freshman last year. 

Also returning will be redshirt junior Tre Jackson and redshirt sophomore Deondrick Harper. Both saw limited playing time last season, only appearing in three games each. 

The defensive line also gained new talent this offseason in graduate transfers Keem Green and Jake Holaday along with incoming freshman Kareem Wilson, who will all be competing for a spot on the depth chart. 

Green recently transferred from the University of South Carolina, where he had four tackles in his only season with the Gamecocks.

Holaday, who transferred from Wheaton College in January, had 44 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and a forced fumble in 2021, in addition to earning CCIW first team All-Conference honors. 

Wilson, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound two-star recruit, made 49 tackles and five sacks in his senior season at Gulliver Prep in Miami. 

With two game-proven starters and plenty of talent in rotation, the defensive line should be a strength for new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. 

Cameron Priester is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron.