On the opposite end of the spectrum from their offensive counterparts, the defensive line returns each starter from a year ago along with an impressive amount of depth. The line features a plethora of talent, including a pair of impressive graduate transfers including a former 4-star recruit.
DE - Brandon Crawford, Sr., 6-2, 275
Crawford was the only true freshman to see regular action during the bowl season of 2013 and is the one of the few members of the team that played in the bowl. Crawford has played all along the defensive line, both inside and out, but found his niche in Brian Borland's defense when he made the move to end and was allowed to be a disruptive force. Crawford has a powerful motor and can drive offensive linemen back at the point of attack. He's not the flashiest pass rusher on the line but he can make things happen when given the opportunity. Look for Crawford to be the season long starter at one of the defensive end spots.
DT - Max Perisse, Sr., 6-3, 285
Perisse will be entering his second full time season starting at defensive tackle for the Bulls. He started all 12 games last season and had 26 tackles on the season. Perisse is another high motor guy that can be effective against the run. He's not the best pass rusher, but UB doesn't need him to be. Look for Perisse to be a full season starter at defensive tackle and take on run stuffing duties up the middle.
NT - Chris Ford, Jr., 6-3, 315
Ford is a near-textbook definition of a nose tackle that can eat up blockers and make plays in the run game. He's a mammoth of a man and can anchor the defensive attack by eating up the A-gap blocks allowing the linebackers behind him to makes plays on the ball in both the run game and pass game. He stepped into the starting role last season and showed his potential. Look for Ford to take a step up and improve his interior pass rush and anchor the UB run defense.
DE - Demone Harris, Jr., 6-4, 272
Harris is a former walk on from Bishop Timon in Buffalo that has developed nicely into a starting defensive end. Harris originally didn't play football until late in his high school career and came to UB as an extremely raw prospect. Luckily, he has filled out his frame and is picking up technique quickly. Harris was highly productive in his first season, registering 22 tackles, 4.5 for loss with 1.5 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. Harris' ceiling is as high as anyone on the UB roster and he could make a big leap forward in year 2 as a starter at defensive end.
Key Reserves/Names to Watch
Charles Harris, So., 6-4, 260
One of the several true freshmen to make an instant impact on Brian Borland's defense, Harris will be used as a pure pass rusher this season, while being groomed to take over for Brandon Crawford after he graduates. Harris pitched in 13 tackles, 3.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks last season. With a season under his belt and another year in the strength program look for Harris to be one of UB's top options as a pass rushing defensive end in the rotation.
Justin Brandon, So., 6-1, 305
Another one of the true freshmen that saw time on the defensive line last season, Brandon is not the run-stuffing type of defensive tackle like Chris Ford, but rather a dangerous pass rusher up the middle. Brandon's size reminds me of former Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald: short and stocky but lightning quick off the snap and able to get up field quickly. Brandon will be a key rotational player behind Max Perisse and Chris Ford to provide a quick pass rusher to complement their run stuffing abilities.
Duke Hwang, So., 6-1, 291
Hwang, another WNY native from Williamsville, NY is another that played last season as a true freshman. Hwang has bulked up a bit and looks to be a consistent contributor in the rotation. Like Justin Brandon, Hwang can get off the ball quickly making him an effective pass rusher up the middle.
Torey Hendrick, Sr., 6-2, 235
After coming to UB last season, Hendrick sat out and is now ready to play. He was once committed to Iowa coming out of the JUCO ranks but a paperwork SNAFU left him at ASA College before coming to UB. Hendrick will be used purely as a pass rusher. He was one of the premier pass rushers in JUCO and was a 3-star recruit when he committed to Iowa. Henrick can get after the quarterback, which is something UB desperately needs.
Remaine Douglas, Sr., 6-3, 303
Douglas was a late addition to the team as a graduate transfer from Louisiana Lafayette. Douglas didn't blow up the stat sheet while in Lafayette, but according to Mark Gaughan, he has been one of the more impressive names on the defensive line throughout camp. Douglas is a big body with experience that can contribute along the interior of the UB defensive line immediately in the rotation.
Wes Scott, Jr., 6-4, 276
Scott is another transfer into the program from Mt. San Jacinto College after having a productive time in the JUCO ranks. Scott has been another name that's impressed throughout camp and will likely see time in the UB rotation at defensive end.
Randy Anyanwu, R-So., 6-3, 250
A converted linebacker to defensive end, Anyanwu appeared in 11 games as a reserve. Anyanwu had 1.5 sacks and made some strides in the pass rush department. He'll likely be used as a situational pass rusher in the defensive line rotation.
Joe Keels, Sr., 6-3, 270
Another late addition in the offseason for Coach Leipold, Keels transferred to UB from Nebraska. Keels was once a 4-star recruit coming out of the JUCO ranks and was one of the most dominant pass rushers in the nation while at that level. Keels dealt with several injuries last season and into camp so it remains to be seen if he will be healthy enough to contribute. If he's able to stay healthy he could be a potential steal and a dangerous pass rusher off the edge.
Myles Nicholas, R-So., 6-2, 265
Nicholas is yet another WNY native on the UB defensive line, he made the move to defensive end after being recruited as a linebacker. He played in the season opener versus Albany last season but missed the remainder due to injury. It remains to be seen how Nicholas will perform and where he will fall in the defensive line rotation. At best he could be a situational pass rusher playing significant snaps or could see few snaps a game due to the names in front of him.
Corey Henderson, R-So., 6-2, 288
Henderson is another big body at the disposal of Brian Borland and another converted linebacker. Henderson made one tackle after appearing in one game last season. He'll likely see some time as a reserve lineman.
Jake Khoury, R-So., 6-1, 295
Khoury was primarily a special teamer last season and is a former top ranked wrestler in high school. Khoury has the size to be a penetrating defensive tackle but he'll likely see more time on special teams
Christian Gonzalez, R-Fr., 6-3, 305
Gonzalez was a redshirt last season and has bounced around between the offensive and defensive lines and he'll be on the defensive line this season. He's a big body that could find a spot along the interior of the line.
Joe Tutela, R-Fr., 6-1, 295
Tutela is a walk on that may not see much time outside of special teams this season,
Jake Fuzak, Fr., 6-5, 275
With the depth on the defensive line, Coach Leipold only brought in one recruit and he stayed local in Fuzak. Fuzak is a former trench trophy winner (beating out teammate Evin Ksiearczyk) and has great size to play at any spot along the defensive line. He'll likely be redshirted and compete for playing time next season.