This is part three of a six part season preview of the Villanova football team, each week there will be a new post focusing on a different position group.
Defensive Line- The position group with the least turnover on the Villanova roster is undoubtedly the Defensive Line. Defensive End Tim Kukucka and Nose Tackle Phil Matusz both graduate, which means the best two Defensive Linemen from last year will need to be replaced. Sophomore Marlon Johnson likely has one of the End spots locked down, while Tamai Young, Mario Johnson, and Rakim Cox will likely compete or rotate in at the other End. If I had to nail down the weakest position on the team, it would be Defensive End, but that could change quickly if someone steps up and has a big season.
At Nose Tackle, Thomas Weaver should pick up where Matusz left off as he is the type of big run plugger that this defense necessitates. Behind Weaver, it's anyone's guess who will play the position. This year's recruiting class features Antoine Lewis, but it's very risky to place any type of hopes on a true freshman, there is also Tamai Young who could presumably shoulder some of the load.
The Defensive Line has gone from a dominant group last year to a big question mark this year. Hopefully a veteran like Thomas Weaver steps up and has a big season or Rakim Cox continues the form that made him the most improved defensive player at spring practice this year. If there isn't someone who steps up to compensate for the loss of a guy like Kukucka, this team's chances to repeat could be nought.