It’s just a tad over three months until Charleston Southern hits Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome — 95 days to be exact. In honor of the 90s, we take a look at the defensive line starting with No. 99 — Nate Tanguay. He’ll be a junior next fall and at 6-foot-4 and around 290 pounds has the physical ability to control the line of scrimmage. I think he’s an All-American candidate. He’s also athletic and one play I’ll refer to is the FCS national title game when he ran down Jacksonville quarterback Eli Jenkins who was running horizontal toward the sideline and probably thought he would get by the bigger Tanguay. It didn’t happen the Gamecocks had to punt the ball.
On the outside of Tanguay is No. 96 Greg Menard and No. 97 Brad Ambrosius. Menard came into his own last season as a pass rushing threat leading the team with 10.0 quarterback sacks. At one time a question mark if he would be big enough at the FCS level, he dispelled that notion with his high motor and quickness. Ambrosius, a senior, played as a true freshman and it took awhile before he consistently made a difference. He was one of the players who turned it up after quarterback Carson Wentz went down against South Dakota.
The Bison coaches expect continued improvement from No. 94 Stanley Jones for his sophomore season and the Tuszka brothers, No. 93 and junior Jarrod and No. 91 and redshirt freshman Derrek, continue to push for more reps. I think the guy to look out for is No. 95 Caleb Butler, a defensive end at 6-3, 243 pounds but was at times strong enough to be used in a pass rushing role on the inside. Butler is one of those walkon guys like departed senior Brian Schaetz who have that natural strength and when put to good use in the offseason conditioning program makes for a pretty good football player.
There’s a lot of depth in the defensive line coming back and when you have that, you have a chance. Defensive tackle Grant Morgan, No. 90, is entering his fourth year in the program. And the Bison expect interior tackle and No. 98 Connor Hubbs to develop into a player.