One of the other things that jumps out about the Hogs' depth chart is that they have a chance to be pretty good up front defensively next season. Senior end Chris Smith and junior end Trey Flowers return after combining for 26 tackles for loss a year ago, including 15.5 sacks. In the middle of that defensive line, seniors Byran Jones and Robert Thomas return. Also in the two-deep up front, keep an eye on a pair of promising redshirt freshmen at end -- Deatrich Wise Jr. and JaMichael Winston. The same goes for redshirt freshman Darius Philon at tackle.
The biggest question mark on defense is at linebacker. As defensive coordinator Chris Ash pointed out, the three starters coming out of the spring -- strongside linebacker Braylon Mitchell, middle linebacker Daunte Carr and weakside linebacker Jarrett Lake -- haven't played a whole lot previously. So this is a new start for them. Sophomore linebacker A.J. Turner was hampered this spring by a broken wrist.