Well we have been discussing about this possibility for a while and it looks like it's happening. Nate Chandler is moving over to defensive tackle per Chris Foster in the LA Times:
The Bruins, thin at defensive tackle, will move tight end Nate Chandler to defense. Chandler, 6 feet 5 and 270 pounds last season, has played position roulette before. He was moved to offensive tackle in spring of 2008, but moved back after tight end Logan Pauslen was injured in the season opener that September.
David Carter is the Bruins’ player to see significant playing team at defensive tackle last season. Two top recruits, Cassius Marsh (Westlake Village Oaks Christian) and Sealii Epenesa (Honolulu Iolani), are slated for playing time in the fall.
First of all huge props to Chandler for the sacrifices he has made in last two years as he switched back and forth between different positions. I cannot imagine that being easy yet we never heard him really complain about it either in public or in the background. He has been the consummate team player through all of this.
Now I really hope this shift will pay off for him. He will get immediate playing time and I also think he not only has the physical frame to play this position, he also has that aggressive, nasty mindset that could make him a solid contributor in our front-7. With Chandler, Dantone Jones, Carter (who is listed at 6-5 290 and is on pace to gain more weight per recent article on BRO), Marsh, Chandler, Epenesa and of course Owa, it could be very interesting up front. Chandler was not the only the one who was involved in our roster shuffle today.Coaches also made some moves to shore up the LB depth chart by "moving strong safety Glenn Love to an outside linebacker spot." Foster also reported that Taniela Maka, a pretty highly recruit from last year's class is on track to make it in by this spring. Here is what I have as a very rough projection on what our depth chart could look like next Fall.
|40 Akeem Ayers (6-4, 252, Jr.*)||43 Steve Sloan (6-4, 231, Jr.*)||Taniela Maka (6-1, 225, Fr*)
|Glenn Love, 6-4, 210, Jr)
||Todd Golper (6-0, 222, Fr*)||
Isaiah Bowens (6-1, 232, Fr*)
|Josh Shirley (6'2, 220, Fr)
Patrick Larimore (6-3, 247, So*)
||Aramide Olaniyan (6'2, 200, Fr)
|Sean Westgate (5-11, 205, Jr)||Jordan Zumwalt (6-4, 217, Fr)
Foster mentioned that Larimore and Sloane will be competing for the Mike spot. I had heard from couple of close observers of practice that Todd Golper had been looking pretty good with the scout team. So I have him at the 2 spot.
As for Maka, I have heard that he is a very talented athlete and solid hitter. His numbers in the chart above are from more than year ago. So I am guessing that has changed. He was listed as a MLB out of high school. Perhaps that's where he will get his shot but I have him at Will spot for now. Really excited to see what Bowens can do this spring and hearing feedback on Love in his new position.
As for the incoming freshmen I think despite all the talent they have to offer there is a good chance they could get redshirted. Perhaps Shirley will be ready to step up right away. I think Aramide, Jordan and Eric Kendricks will benefit from redshirting in their freshmen season.
Again the depth chart above is just a very rough projection on my part. I would love to hear your guys thoughts on it because there might be other factors I am not taking into account. One thing for sure, despite how young this unit looks on paper, we haven't had this kind of talent in our depth chart for a while. For reference see how it looked just two years ago.
Overall, really excited about the move of Chandler to DT. Can't wait to hear the reports from all the BNers who are going to be out there this spring and taking notes. We have less than 37 days to go.