There are some major question marks on defense in 2009 as well, specifically in the secondary. All 4 starters are out of eligibility, and only Astorino and Wallace are known commodities who will be back in 09. But the front 7 could be all-time PSU-great, if Maybin, Evans, and Odrick don't go the NFL Bowman is eligible for the draft as well, but he should return.
Let's take a look:
RE: Project Mayhem, hopefully
1. Aaron Maybin - very little needs to be said about him.
2. Kevion Latham - have heard good things about him, and Lattimore and Crawford could also see time.
DT: All set
1. Jared Odrick - dominant
2. Abe Koroma - solid
3. Ollie Ogbu - solid
4. Brandon Ware - He's been unblockable some times as a NG on the foreign team, but he needs to shed a few pounds to please Joe.
note: Devon Still is an x-factor here. He could play anywhere on the D-line, or he could shift to offensive tackle.
1. Maurice Evans - if he doesn't go to the draft, he could be lined up for a monster year in '09 if he keeps his head screwed on straight.
2. Jack Crawford - Impressive for a true freshman to be thrown into the fray on an LJSr. d-line.
1. Mike Mauti/Nate Stupar - these 2 seem like the logical contenders for this spot. Both played excellent on special teams, and seem primed for a spring battle. I favor Stupar, with the possibility that Mauti becomes the top backup for both OLB spots.
2. See above, also Yancich or Andrew Dailey
1. Sean Lee - His return could be huge to the PSU defense. It will have been almost 18 months since the injury when the '09 season kicks off, so he should be ready to go.
2. Josh Hull/Chris Colasanti - Given Colasanti's obvious physical gifts, he should have been playing a lot this year. What's going on with #53?
1. Big Game Bowman - Our most explosive LB since LaVar.
2. Bani Gbadyu/Yancich/Andrew Dailey - who knows how this shakes out?
CB: a potential disaster zone
1. AJ Wallace - 2009 would be a good time to start playing like a 5-star recruit.
2. Chaz Powell - it seems our need here is greater than at wideout, thus he could move back to his original position.
3. Darrell Givens - hopefully he's ready to contribute
4. Stephon Morris - he is supposedly a natural cover man, so if he's ready he could play
Knowledge Timmons also may figure in the mix here, but he's never really converted that track speed to football success
1. D'Anton Lynn - He's supposedly a natural safety, so this seems a logical spot with Scirrotto's graduation.
2. Malcolm Willis? Knowledge Timmons?
SS: a little better
1. Drew Astorino - really impressed this year, should slide in nicely
2. ??? maybe Bani sees some snaps here, in Rubin's 4th LB role? Maybe Timmons
K - Anthony Fera
P - Jeremy Boone
PR - Devon Smith
KR - Chaz Powell, Stephfon Green
In summary, you have to feel great about our chances of stopping the run. The front 7 is downright loaded. They will need to get great push on passing downs, because the secondary could be a serious adventure.