South Carolina Football 2011: Analyzing the Gamecocks' Defensive Tackles

Alex RobertsCorrespondent IJune 22, 2011

South Carolina Football 2011: Analyzing the Gamecocks' Defensive Tackles

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    COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 9:  Defensive tackle Travian Robertson #42 of the South Carolina Gamecocks tackles quarterback Greg McElroy of the Alabama Crimson Tide October 9, 2010 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Al Messerschmi
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Phew. I am almost finished with my position by position analysis of every player on the South Carolina post-spring depth chart and incoming impact freshmen. 

    While I am relieved that this project is almost over, there are a few areas to go. Corners, safeties, linebackers, and of course, the defensive tackles. 

    These guys are strong.  While not as flashy as South Carolina's defensive ends, these workmen-like powerhouses will fuel the defense and make running and passing a nightmare for the Gamecocks' opponents. 

    For more information on South Carolina's players, please check out:

    Defensive Ends

    Tight Ends

    Offensive Line

    Wide Receivers

    Running Backs and Fullbacks

    Quarterbacks

    Full Post-Spring Depth Chart

Travian Robertson

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 298 lbs.

    Year: Fifth-year senior

    Pros: Tough, strong, excellent against the run, able to pass rush

    Cons: He lacks NFL caliber size, but he is a really good player. 

     

    Travian Robertson is a player who is vastly underrated.  He is an excellent run-stopping force, and capable of putting pressure on a quarterback. 

    He is a charismatic leader of the defense, and as solid a human being as you can find.  He works hard, and has been a dedicated Gamecock.  He may lack the prototypical size to play in the NFL, but I wouldn't put it past him to see him playing on Sundays. 

Aldrick Fordham

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 273 lbs.

    Year: Junior

    Pros: Versatile, quick, excellent wrap up tackler

    Cons: Size, ability to come off larger tackles

     

    Alderick Fordham can play in many places on the field.  He can be a solid linebacker, as well as a defensive end.  This season, he is listed as the co-starter at defensive tackle.  He can rush the quarterback, and has a consistent form tackle that can bring down running backs. 

    However, he can get bogged down against good tackles, and he is rather small for a defensive tackle.  However, he will play all up and down the line, so he will have plenty of positive plays this year.

Byron Jerideau

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    Byron is Number 82
    Byron is Number 82Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 315 lbs.

    Year: Redshirt Junior

    Pros: Size, strength, run stuffing

    Cons: Speed, pass-rushing, pursuit

     

    Byron Jerideau (Number 70 in the photo) is a run stuffing specialist in the mold of Vince Wilfork.  He has huge size, and is able to fill holes allowing the linebackers to make plays.  I look for Jerideau to play mostly in obvious running situations, and to be a very successful run stopper.  He would make an excellent nose tackle for a 3-4 defense. 

Kelcy Quarles

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 271 lbs.

    Year: Freshman

    Pros: Athletic, powerful, fast, leadership

    Cons: Experience at the SEC level

     

    As a freshman, Kelcy Quarles has already proven himself to be a leader on and off the field.  One of the big recruiters of Marcus Lattimore last year, Quarles had to go to Fork Union Military in order to be academically eligible. 

    The head coach of Fork Union called him a "man-beast" who needed to be double teamed. 

    Kelcy will be a major force on the line, and a potential star. 

J.T. Surratt

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 308 lbs.

    Year: Redshirt Freshman

    Pros: Quickness, explosiveness, Athleticism, size

    Cons: Consistency, coming off of surgery

     

    J.T. Surratt has some hype surrounding him by the Carolina faithful.  He was only a two-star prospect by Rivals, but he was responsible for 37 sacks his last two years of high school.  He is a freakish athlete who is very quick and explosive for a 300+ pound defensive tackle. 

    He has solid girth, and should add depth to a great set of linemen. 

Corey Robinson

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 333 lbs.

    Year: Redshirt Freshman

    Pros: Size, Strength

    Cons: Learning a new position (was a left tackle)

     

    Corey Robinson is a mountain of a man.  He is quite possibly the biggest player on the team, and is learning a new position.  If he can get the fundamentals of being a defensive lineman down, his size and athleticism could add another dimension to this powerful group.   

Phillip Dukes

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 295 lbs.

    Year: Incoming Freshman

    Pros: Athletic, aggressive, quickness, size

    Cons: Questions about his ability to come off the line at the SEC level

     

    Philip Dukes was ranked as a top 10 defensive tackle by Rivals in 2011.  He has all the raw talent in the world necessary to compete at a very high level.  He is extremely athletic, and the only question will be how he handles the speed and pressure of playing in the SEC, a question for all incoming freshmen. 

Gerald Dixon Jr.

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 280 lbs.

    Year: Incoming Freshman

    Pros: Tough, strong, pass rushing ability

    Cons: Size, pressure to live up to the Dixon name, association with Jadeveon Clowney

     

    Interestingly enough, when Jerald Dixon Jr. and his brother Gerald Dixon committed to South Carolina, many Carolina fans knew that Jadeveon Clowney was in the bag.  These guys are very close to him, and it will be interesting to see how that relationship works out. 

    He may need to redshirt, unlike his brother and Clowney, to add a bit more raw bulk so he can play defensive tackle.  However, he could be used as a versatile lineman. 

Deon Green

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 270 lbs.

    Year: Incoming Freshman

    Pros: Quickness, Agility, tackling ability

    Cons: Size, strength, looks like an SEC linebacker upon first glance

     

    Another player who has some potential coming in, Deon Green ran a 4.44 shuttle, which is extraordinarily fast for a lineman.  However, he came into the Army All-American game weighing 253, and has added close to 20 pounds on his frame. He may not be that fast any more.

    He looks a bit like a linebacker, and could be an extremely nasty one at that.  The coaches will figure out what is best for this talented athlete, who I predict will redshirt in 2011. 

Overall: B+

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    Overall, this is a solid, powerful group of players.  There are a few questions, but not many.  Then there is the Melvin Ingram factor. He could possibly go back to defensive tackle, if Clowney is ready for a starting role alongside Devin Taylor.  If he comes back over, it adds an even greater dimension to a great group. 

    With a potential starting four of Devin Taylor, Melvin Ingram, Travian Robertson, and Jadevon Clowney, this could be an explosive and deep group.