Fall Camp Preview: Defensive Ends

WAC Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

Fresno State returns one of the top defensive ends in the WAC. Tyler Clutts leads a unit loaded with talent but it is also inexperienced. Injuries decimated the defensive ends during spring, but they are relatively healthy heading into fall camp.

Sr. Tyler Clutts (6-2, 245) is a two-time Second Team All-WAC selection. He has totaled 16 sacks in his career and should break into the Bulldogs top 10 career list this season. He is a natural leader on the field and is arguably the Bulldogs' top defender.

Clutts had a subpar junior compared to his standout sophomore year. However, he had a solid spring, and he looks a step quicker this summer. If the team is looking for leader in fall camp, it does not have to look farther than Tyler Clutts.

So. Jason Roberts (6-5, 241) played sparingly last season after sitting out 2005 as a Washington State transfer. He was expected to be the Bulldogs impact rush end last season. He is possibly the best defensive end prospect Fresno State has had under Coach Pat Hill. Nonetheless, he has not live up to his potential.

Roberts is the projected starter opposite Clutts but will have to contend with veteran Jr. Ikenna Ike (6-1, 245). The former walk on can play inside and outside. He missed spring with an injury hurting his chance of emerging as a starter. This summer he has looked healthy. Ike is still probably the best pure rusher on the team heading into camp.

Fans had unreal expectations for Fr. Chris Lewis (6-3, 250) last season. Lewis originally signed with Miami and was one of the top heavyweight wrestlers in the nation in high school. In spite of his immense physical talent, he had his trouble adjusting to the college game and redshirted.

Lewis progressed immensely during spring, but is far from the dominant force many fans expect to see. He took second team reps during spring because of Ike's injury. He was Clutts backup heading into fall camp but he has been suspended for the semester.*

So. Wilson Ramos (6-4, 270) moved to defensive tackle in spring. He played defensive end as a freshman and found himself there once again at the end of spring because of injuries. He can play both positions on the line making him versatile. Prior to injuries reducing the number of end, Ramos was taking some second team reps at both tackle and end during spring.

Ramos will likely see time at tackle and end during fall camp. But the lack of experienced depth gives him a chance to see more time at defensive end.

Jr. Michael Stuart (6-2, 245) is the third big-time transfer from a BCS school who was expected to make an impact in 2006. He was a four-star recruit out of high school who signed with USC as an outside linebacker. Despite his athleticism, he has proven to be a less than stellar college defensive end. He was slated to make the move to offense as a tight end/H-back, but he stayed at end backing up Clutts and Roberts in spring.

Stuart injured his knee during a spring scrimmage, and he has not worked this summer. His progress for fall camp is still unknown. Currently, he is third on the depth chart.

Fr. Taylor Smith (6-3, 250) is another who sat out spring because of an injury. The highly touted recruit from Buchanan (Clovis) High School is healthy this summer after redshirting last season. He has 4.7 speed. Smith should see plenty of time in the rotation during fall camp.

True freshman Chris Carter (6-2, 226) could make the biggest impact among the newcomers on defense. This summer he looks in excellent shape. He has 4.7 speed but plays much faster. He arguably has the quickest first step among the ends on the team. He must learn the defense but should adjust fine to the college game in camp.

Incoming freshman Kyle Knox (6-1, 220) can play outside linebacker and defensive end. He has excellent speed. He should fill the void left by Will Smith, who left the team prior to spring practice. Knox is expected to redshirt along with fellow true freshman Kenneth Borg (6-2, 245).

* - Fresno State Athletic Director Thomas Boeh stated to the media on July 31 that Chris Lewis has been suspended for the semester.

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