Green Wave 2020 Positional Preview: Defensive Line

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Patrick Johnson
(Photo: Parker Waters)

Green Wave defensive line features 13 returners and four freshmen

NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane Green Wave defensive line returns 197 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss from the 2019 season. The line led the way for the defense last season and the 2019 squad features 13 returners and four freshmen. The up-front unit is poised to have an incredible 2020 season.

• All four starters rerturn for the Green Wave in 2020, including seniors Cam Sample, De’Andre Williams and Patrick Johnson. Jeffery Johnson also returns for his senior season.
• Patrick Johnson led the way for the line last season with a team-best four sacks.
• Patrick Johnson also added 8.5 tackles for loss and 35 total tackles. He earned Second Team All-American Athletic Conference recognition for the second straight year last season. If he earns All-AAC honors for a third straight season, the Chattanooga, Tennessee, native will be the third player in program history to earn the honor three times.
• The senior defensive end was tabbed as Preseason First Team All-AAC by Phil Steele and named to the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Top 250 list prior to the season.
• Williams ranked fourth on the team and second among returners with 59 tackles last season. He also registered 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
• Sample logged 44 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and one fumble recovery in 2019. He was named Preseason Second Team All-AAC by Steele. The Snellville, Georgia, native earned also earned a spot on the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl Top 250 list prior to the season.
• Jeffery Johnson will look to build off a season where he recorded 29 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and one fumble recovery.
• Redshirt-junior Torri Singletary, juniors Alfred Thomas and Davon Wright, redshirt-sophomores Carlos Hatcher and Noah Seiden and redshirt-freshmen Armoni Dixon, Eric Hicks and Caleb Thomas round out the returners.
• Four newcomers will join the line this season – Angelo Anderson, Brandon Brown, Adonis Friloux and Noah Taliancich.
• The Olive and Blue only lost Mike Hinton from the unit.
• Defensive line coach Byron Dawson is entering his first season with the Green Wave. He previously spent 15 seasons as the head coach/defensive coordinator/defensive line coach at Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana.
• Dawson led the Eagles to the 2016 Louisiana 5A Division 1 State Championship. Dawson’s team was named the No. 1 team in the state of Louisiana and the No. 48 team in the nation after the 2016 season. Following the 2016 season, Dawson was selected as the USA Today Louisiana Coach of the Year.

• In 2019, Tulane’s defensive line held opponents to a 39.5 percent third down conversion rate, which ranked fourth in the American Athletic Conference.
• The defensive line accounted for 40.5 percent of the team’s total sacks and 25 percent of all tackles made by Tulane last season.

“We just want to be able to do our job and fit in as far as being a dominant force on our team. Also we want to we want to control the line of scrimmage. That is always a key for a good defensive front. We want to pressure the quarterback with four, and we want to be able to dominate the line of scrimmage on the run.”

“Cam Sample is a young man that plays at a high level. He is a high character kid. He is a kid that has really bought into Coach Fritz’s culture here about team first. He is really just playing with a high motor. He is very coachable and he listens. He is a great leader for the unit.”

Tulane is set to kickoff the season in Mobile, Alabama, against South Alabama on Saturday, September 12. The Green Wave are coming off a record setting 2019 campaign that was highlighted by a win in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl to give Tulane back-to-back bowl victories for the first time in program history. The Green Wave captured the AutoNation Cure Bowl in 2018.

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