The Wylie Pirates have a few new faces and a few returning faces on the defensive line but should look much different in 2022.
The Pirates will have two returning players on the defensive line, along with several players battling for the final defensive end position in the new year. In the middle of the defense, Cam Draper returns. He had nine tackles, a sack and five quarterback hurries from the nose tackle position in 2021, clogging up holes and taking on multiple offensive linemen for the defense.
For head coach Jimmy Carter, Draper’s growth in the defense is one of several reasons he is optimistic the defense will improve on its mark from 2021. The team surrendered 29.1 points per game last year.
“He’s gotten a lot bigger and stronger in the offseason,” Carter said. “We’re expecting big things from him and he’s shown a lot of improvement. There were times last year as a sophomore that I thought his youth showed and he lost positioning that way and I think he’s worked at it and with more reps should see the game better.”
Jake Huckeby also returns for the Pirates, playing in four games last season. He had several big games at defensive end last season, including 25 tackles and a sack in the final three games of the regular season.
“He’s a little undersized, but he plays much bigger than his frame,” Carter said. “He works really hard and has a knack for finding the football and isn’t scared of anything.”
On the other side, Frederick “Deuce” Johnson and Dane Farley will work for snaps on the field for the Pirates. Both players were very impressive during the spring, showing increased size and explosiveness off the edge. Farley is also a tight end for the Pirates, so he will be working intermittently with the defense and not play every down. Brady Light also figures to get some snaps on the defensive line.
Overall, coach Carter likes the ability to rotate several defensive linemen on the field, taking advantage of fresh bodies in their 3-4 defensive scheme.
“Deuce played a lot of varsity and junior varsity last season, but he’s gotten so much bigger and is one of our most improved players in the spring,” Carter said. “With him and Dane working their way up, it allows us to keep our kids fresh and rotate plenty of bodies in there.”
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By Kyle Grondin • email@example.com