Why Louisville football’s defensive line could be in for a big year

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 07: Steve Ishmael #8 of the Syracuse Orange is tackled by the Louisville Cardinals defense during the game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 07: Steve Ishmael #8 of the Syracuse Orange is tackled by the Louisville Cardinals defense during the game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Louisville football, Tabarius Peterson
LOUISVILLE, KY – NOVEMBER 17: Tabarius Peterson #98 of the Louisville Cardinals tackles Ricky Person Jr. #20 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the first quarter of the game at Cardinal Stadium on November 17, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. The Wolfpack won 52-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Weapons

Though the results were putrid in 2018, Satterfield and defensive coordinator Bryan Brown inherited a number of extremely talented players that could stand to make a big difference this season.

Additionally, the staff added a true freshman and a graduate transfer that have the skillset to make an impact right away.

G.G. Robinson

Robinson is a 6-4, 295-pound fifth-year senior that will anchor the middle of the line for the Cards. Regardless of how he fits in the staff’s mind nor if he ends up starting or coming off the bench, Robinson is a guy that has been around for a while and has the tools to clog holes up front.

Before the defense completely imploded last year, Robinson showed that he could make easy work of Western Kentucky and Indiana State’s offensive lines, making a number of athletic plays in the opposing backfield.

If the Cards are going to make some noise next season, it probably has to start with their experienced guys like Robinson to pave the way.

Ty Tyler

Tyler is Louisville’s most recent commit and potentially their most lethal pick-up in the 2019 class.

Though he is a graduate transfer and will only play one year in red and black, Tyler can not only help bridge the gap between coaching staff’s but he could make a serious impact on the defensive front.

A player with that much talent is going to be hard to keep off the field, and the coaching staff has to be drooling at the thought of getting him in as soon as possible and seeing how well he picks up on their defensive scheme.

For Louisville to have recorded 11 sacks last year, and Tyler to have nine by himself, it speaks volumes to the type of talent that he brings to the roster.

Though he is coming from a Conference USA school, Tyler still faced and played well against teams like Western Kentucky, Virginia Tech, and South Florida in 2018 alone. He will bring experience against Western, Eastern Kentucky, and North Carolina State, who are all on Louisville football’s 2019 schedule.

Tyler is a player that has the ability to make plays 1-on-1 and get into the backfield on his own. Now, with teams having to respect players of similar caliber on the Cards’s defensive front, Tyler will likely draw fewer doubles and get the chance to really go to work against the Cards’s tough 2019 slate.

Jared Goldwire

If there’s a guy that is going to push for playing time at the defensive tackle position alongside or instead of G.G. Robinson, it’s Goldwire.

The Fort Scott Community College transfer was expected to come in and be a big-time playmaker immediately last season but left with a lot to improve upon in 2019.

Still, Goldwire is a beast with a lot of the intangibles to be a great nose tackle this year for the Cards. He’s a big boy at 6-6, 290-pounds, but is a phenomenal athlete, as evidenced by this blocked kick against Western.

Though 2018 left much to be desired from Goldwire, you could say that about nearly every player on the roster. Goldwire still recorded 26 tackles last year and, like Robinson, has wheels for such a big guy. Look for him to be more of a factor in 2019.

Amonte Caban

If there’s a player the coaching staff is highest on along the defensive front line, at least publicly, it seems to be Amonte Caban.

Caban had a breakout season in 2018 after waiting patiently behind some solid linebackers in 2016 and 2017. Now as a redshirt Senior, Caban is coming off a 50 tackle year in 2018 and looking to make even more of an impact at defensive end this year.

Last season, on a defense that looked confused or lackluster often times, Caban had perhaps the best motor on the front seven. He competed every play and though the schemes seldom worked, he made 1-on-1 plays when Louisville needed it the most.

If there’s a player that just feels like a lock to be a starter on this defense, Caban is probably that guy. Look for him to continue to step up and be a veteran leader on a defense in desperate need of it in 2019.

Boosie Whitlow

A name that has come up over and over since his transfer from South Carolina two season ago, Whitlow never really found his place in Peter Sirmon or Brian Van Gorder’s defenses.

However, Whitlow may be the most talented player on Louisville football’s entire defensive front. Though he only played in three games and recorded four tackles last year, this season it feels like he is in the perfect place to become a monster on defense.

Whitlow, at 6-3, 230-pounds, is the prototypical speed edge rusher who can just beat his guy off the line with quickness and power. Though it’s hard to envision just because we haven’t seen it in game since his time at South Carolina, Whitlow could be the missing link on this defense.

Ja’Darien Boykin

Boykin has potential to be one of the more special talents to come through Louisville in a long time. The highest rated player in the Cards’s 2019 class will come in and compete for playing time right away, which will do nothing but add competition and depth to the roster.

Boykin was once committed to Miami, but flipped to the Cards late in the process for the opportunity to play right away- and it’s hard to see him not.

Even with the talent up front, Boykin will likely be the most explosive player putting his hand in the ground come 2019.

Jarrett Jackson

If you’re looking at a positive to take away from 2018, Jackson has to be one of the handful of players on this Louisville team that was able to really showcase their full potential.

Jackson feels similar to running back Hassan Hall in that when the coaching staff let him loose, he continued to progress last year and show what kind of special player he can be. This season, Jackson will certainly push for starting spot as a sophomore. The question is rather or not he fits more as an edge rusher or a defensive tackle in Brown’s system.

Tabarius Peterson

At 6-3, 250-pounds, Tabarius Peterson has the length and athleticism to be elite at the power five level and beyond. He showed during his redshirt Sophomore year that it’s going to be hard to keep him off the field.

He notched 49 tackles and two sacks in 2018 and looks to be one of the leaders on this defense heading into next season.