2016 Terps Season Preview: Defensive Ends
For the past few weeks, we have previewed each positional unit on the offensive side of the football for the Maryland Terrapins in 2016. This article continues the series by beginning to look at each positional unit on the defensive side of the football. New head coach DJ Durkin will be installing a multiple 4-3 Under scheme with defensive coordinator Andy Buh. The scheme should be similar to what we saw the team run last season in Keith Dudzinski’s first and only stint as the defensive coordinator. This article will preview the defensive ends who will be on the roster this season, while next week’s article will handle the defensive tackles.
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2016 Terps Season Preview: The Series
Running Backs: http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/2016-season-preview-running-backs/
Wide Receivers: http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/2016-terps-season-preview-wide-receivers/
Tight Ends: http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/2016-terps-season-preview-tight-ends/
Offensive Tackles: http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/2016-terps-season-preview-offensive-tackles
Offensive Guards: http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/2016-terps-season-preview-offensive-guards
Roman Braglio (Redshirt Senior)
2016 Projection: Starter (Strong-Side)
2015 Statistics: 35 tackles (5.5 for loss), 3.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Braglio came to Maryland in former head coach Randy Edsall’s 2012 recruiting class as one of the best players in the state out of the powerhouse McDonogh School. While last season was his first as a regular starter, he has seen extensive playing time in each of his first three seasons in College Park. While he is primarily a run-stopper from his strong-side defensive end position, he has enough pass-rushing ability to stay on the field in passing situations if necessary. His best performance last season came against South Florida, where he recorded 7 tackles and 2.0 sacks.
I have projected Braglio to serve as Maryland’s starting strong-side defensive end in 2016. However, when the defense uses nickel or dime formations, I expect him to come off of the field in favor of a better pass-rusher.
Jesse Aniebonam (Junior)
2016 Projection: Starter (Buck)
2015 Statistics: 23 tackles (6.5 for loss), 3.5 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
If there is one player poised for a breakout year on Maryland’s roster this season, it is Aniebonam. He has seen playing time in every game that the Terrapins have played over the past two years, and started three games last season. He will take over the primary pass-rushing duties from Yannick Ngakoue, who left early for the NFL after a stellar junior season in 2015. Durkin and Buh will be looking to feature the “Buck”, a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker whose primary job will be to wreak havoc in opposing backfields. Aniebonam will be moved all over the place for the Terrapins this season, and will be given every opportunity to showcase his abilities.
I have projected Aniebonam to serve as Maryland’s starting “Buck” in 2016. The two starting defensive end positions are some of the few “sure things” on Maryland’s roster. I cannot envision any scenario in which Braglio and Aniebonam are not starting across from each other when the season opens in September.
Chandler Burkett (Redshirt Junior)
2016 Projection: Second-Team (Strong-Side)
2015 Statistics: 7 tackles (2.5 for loss), 1.0 sack, 0 forced fumbles
Burkett came to College Park as a 3-star recruit in Edsall’s 2013 recruiting class. After redshirting during his true freshman season, he saw action in one game in 2014 and eight games last year. He is more of a pass-rusher from his strong-side defensive end position than Braglio. He had five tackles in the Terrapins’ game against Ohio State last season.
I have projected Burkett to serve as Braglio’s backup at the strong-side defensive end position in 2016. He should see some playing time, but is likely a year away from a regular starting job.
Melvin Keihn (Redshirt Sophomore)
2016 Projection: Second-Team (Buck)
2015 Statistics: None
Keihn transferred to Maryland from Virginia Tech after his true freshman season in 2014 which saw him play in all 13 of the Hokies’ games, primarily on special teams. Due to NCAA transfer regulations, he sat out last season and served a redshirt season. He is a local product, having played his high school football at The Gilman School. He was ranked as one of the best players in the state of Maryland during his senior year of high school, primarily due to his pass-rushing abilities.
I have projected Keihn to serve as Aniebonam’s backup at the “Buck” position in 2016. However, in nickel and dime situations I expect Durkin and Buh to slide Keihn across from Aniebonam in order to get both of them on the field in obvious passing situations.
Mbi Tanyi (Sophomore)
2016 Projection: Third-Team (Strong-Side)
2015 Statistics: 4 tackles (0.0 for loss), 0.0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
Tanyi was one of the first fruits of the Texas recruiting labor put in by former wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell. He came to College Park as a 3-star recruit out of Houston in Edsall’s 2015 recruiting class. He saw playing time in seven games last season, primarily on special teams. While he is listed as an outside linebacker on the team’s roster, at 6-foot-1, 280 lbs. he is clearly a defensive lineman.
I have projected Tanyi to serve as the third-string strong-side defensive end for the Terrapins in 2016. Most of his playing time will likely come on special teams again, but he will have an opportunity to compete for a starting job next year when Braglio has moved on.
Brett Kulka (Redshirt Sophomore)
2016 Projection: Third-Team (Buck)
2015 Statistics: 4 tackles (1.0 for loss), 0.0 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
Kulka is entering his third season in College Park after coming to the team as a 3-star recruit in Edsall’s 2014 recruiting class. He saw time in 11 games last season, primarily on special teams.
I have projected Kulka to serve as the third-string “Buck” for Maryland in 2016. He is a bit buried on the depth chart behind Aniebonam and Kulka, so most of his playing time will likely come on special teams again this year.
Dion Goldbourne (Freshman)
2016 Projection: Redshirt
2015 Statistics (High School): N/A
Goldbourne is one of the many Florida recruits that were added to Maryland’s 2016 recruiting class by Durkin soon after he was hired. He comes to College Park as a 2-star recruit out of Delray Beach, and was a high school teammate of fellow 2016 recruit DB Antwaine Richardson.
I have projected Goldbourne to redshirt during his true freshman season. He will need a year to get bigger and stronger before he can contribute at the “Buck” position for Durkin and Buh.
Zack is a financial analyst for a defense contractor in Washington, DC. The Owings Mills native focuses most of his efforts on Maryland Football recruiting and individual coach and player pieces; but also covers Terps Basketball. He has established relationships with Big Ten beat reporters across the conference, which he utilizes in his game previews. Now a Sr. Terps Analyst for BSL, Zack can be reached at: [email protected]