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2009 Football Preview - Defensive Line

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GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
     Defensive Line: Despite losing three of four starters from last season’s defensive line, the Broncos expect a smooth transition with a group of familiar young faces stepping into significant playing time in 2009. The standards have been set high, however, as the Broncos are coming off a dominating defensive performance in 2008.

      The Bronco front line will be led by junior defensive end Ryan Winterswyk (6-4, 260). He was named First-Team All-WAC in 2008, as well as Boise State’s co-Most Valuable Defensive Player. As a sophomore Winterswyk recorded 40 tackles with 11.5 tackles for loss. He also recorded 4.5 sacks, six pass breakups and forced two fumbles.

      Sophomore Shea McCellin (6-3, 262) will likely compete for playing time with Winterswyk after seeing time in 10 games as a freshman. McClellin has 14 tackles and three forced fumbles on the season before suffering an injury against Idaho.

      At the other defensive end position, sophomores Jarrell Root (6-3, 243) and Byron Hout (6-1, 241) are expected to fight for the starting spot. Root recorded nine tackles and one pass breakup last season before suffering a season ending injury against Utah State. Hout saw more playing time as the season progressed last year, playing in 10 games. He finished the year with 27 tackles and four sacks. He also had his first career interception in the Poinsettia Bowl, which was returned 62 yards.

      Sophomores Billy Winn (6-4, 279) and Chase Baker (6-1, 293) enter the season as the front runners to start at both defensive tackle positions, after playing significant minutes in 2008. Winn played in all 13 games as a freshman and recorded 26 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss. Baker finished his freshman campaign with six tackles, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery in 10 games.

      Adding depth at the defensive tackle position will be sophomore J.P. Nisby (6-1, 302) and freshman Michael Atkinson (6-0, 324). Nisby recorded eight tackles in seven games last season. Atkinson redshirt last year for the Broncos. He was named Defensive Scout Player of the Year.