Players: DE Emmanuel Dieke (6-6/270/Jr) 28 career tackles (2.5 for loss) ... DE Izaan Cross (6-4/300/Sr) 66 (11) and 3 sacks ... NT T.J. Barnes (6-7/345/Sr) 52 tackles (3.5)
Strengths: Running out the 3-4, Tech has one of the biggest and most physical defensive lines in all of college football. Cross is the headliner of the group. He's very tough against the run and has started 31 games. Barnes is huge at the nose and is tough to move.
Weaknesses: Dieke is the only one of the group with any sacks and so this unit isn't really designed to make sacks, even though they help a lot of guys around them do it.
Players: ILB Quayshawn Nealy (6-1/230/So) 70 (3.5) and 3 interceptions ... ILB Jabril Hunt-Days (6-3/250/Fr) 19 (2) ... OLB Jeremiah Attouchu (6-3/240/Jr) 95 (16) with 9.5 sacks and 1 INT ... OLB Brandon Watts (6-2/240/Jr) 53 (5.5)
Strengths: They're very active. They make plays all over the field. Nealy is solid in the inside and can stay on the field all three downs. Attouchu is one of the best in all of college football. He's the team's top pass rusher, the most experienced linebacker, and will likely play on Sundays.
Weaknesses: Hunt-Days and Watts are first time starters so it's a relatively young group. These two are not yet proven playmakers and may get exploited at times.
Players: CB Rod Sweeting (6-0/190/Sr) 115 tackles (7) and 4 INTs ... CB Jemea Thomas (5-10/195/Jr) 73 (5) and 3 INTs ... S Isaiah Johnson (6-2/210/Jr) 143 and 4 INTs ... S Jamal Golden (6-0/190/So) 15 and 1 INT
Strengths: Sweeting is one of the best corners in the league. He is big, physical, has good cover skills, and is a playmaker. He can play run support and is tough to throw on. Johnson's one of the top safeties in all of college football. He can come down and provide quality run support and is also very skilled at finding the ball in the air.
Weaknesses: Thomas is inexperienced at the second corner spot, with just five career starts, and lacks ideal height at 5-foot-10. Golden is unproven at the second safety spot as well.