Carson-Newman Football Position Previews: The Defensive Line

VIDEO: Dan Redding Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – This is the final part in an eight-part series breaking down all of Carson-Newman football's positions for 2019.  Dan Redding joins this installment to analyze the defensive line.

Carson-Newman's defensive line is a mix of all-conference returners and fresh faces. The interior of the defensive line is set with the return of senior all-SAC players in Brian Bembry and Montel Presley.  However, the end and fox positions will be fresh faces after the graduation of Jordan Pryce and Ross Pryor. 

Last year, Bembry brought home All-SAC second team honors for a second straight year.  Bembry was a wrecking crew up front for the Eagles. He led C-N in sacks with five and ranked third on the team with eight stops behind the line of scrimmage.  He finished the year with 32 tackles. He had a season-high seven tackles against Lenoir-Rhyne.  He also had a multi-sack effort against the Bears. He forced a fumble against Limestone. 

Presley earned first team All-SAC accolades on the defensive line for a second straight season.   Presley turned in 36 tackles, 5.5 for loss and a sack.  Presley's best game came against Lenoir-Rhyne when he made seven stops against the Bears.  He also topped five tackles against Newberry and Catawba. He blocked a kick against Tusculum (10/27). 

"They've really matured and have got it all together now," Redding said. "It's a lot of fun to watch kids develop as they go. Montel has transformed himself.  He's in great shape and runs as well as he ever has.  Brian is, of course, the anchor.  To have two guys in the middle that you can count on for everything is everything, that's not just on the field.  They are great team leaders and examples.

Jacob Varney and Dodge City Community College transfer Rodshon Williams add depth at the spots on the interior. 

On one edge, Wycleff Phanor has moved into a starting role. Appeared in 10 games for Carson-Newman as a reserve defensive lineman. He had eight tackles and a tackle for loss on the year.  He had multiple tackles against Catawba (9/29) and Virginia-Lynchburg (10/20).  He also registered his only tackle for loss on the year against the Dragons. 

"Wycleff has gained some weight and gotten stronger," Redding said. "He's got a great gait.  He's really opened that up and it's given him a nice edge that allows him to cover a lot of ground."

Freshman Justin Triplet will provide a presence at that spot as well.  Triplet starred for Eric Godfree at Parkview High School. He racked up 33 stops and two sacks as a senior on the defensive line.  Triplett earned the Parkview Coaches Award, the Gwinnett County Kevin Maloof Award and was named to the all-region first team his senior year. Triplet also played baseball for the Panthers.

At fox, freshman Nicklas Owens and converted linebacker Jimmy Mera are in the mix.  Mera appeared in all 11 games of his freshman season for the Eagles. Mera registered eight tackles. Half of thos stops came against Virginia-Lynchburg (10/20). 

Owens was a team captain and defensive MVP for Keith Henderson and Buckhorn High School, Owens was the Bucks leading tackler as a senior with 100 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.  He also registered two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries a pair of pass break ups and a sack. He earned all-region honors at the conclusion of his senior season and helped the Bucks register as the fifth-stingiest defense in Alabama.

"Nick is a very smart player," Redding said. "He's caught onto the defense and understands all the checks.  He puts himself in a good position to make plays.  He makes intelligent plays."  

Finally, Trayzel Jureidini-Wyche appeared in five games as a freshman for Carson-Newman. The defensive lineman registered five tackles with 1.5 sacks.  The bulk of his numbers came against Virginia-Lynchburg (10/20) when he had four tackles and a sack.  Jureidini-Wyche also competed for Carson-Newman's track and field team. He was an all-region selection in the discus from the USTFCCCA.

Carson-Newman opens the season Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. inside Burke-Tarr Stadium against West Florida.  The game will be broadcast on the Eagle Sports Network on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), The Mountain 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at  Coverage starts one hour prior to kickoff with the AEC Tailgate Show. 

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