Review of 2007 Recruiting: Defensive Tackles
|This is Joe Barksdale. Notice that the maize isn’t quite maize enough and the blue is more of a purple.|
Will Johnson, Sr.
Terrance Taylor, Jr.
Marques Slocum, So.
John Ferrara, RS Fr.
Jason Kates, RS Fr.
High school: Montreal (Quebec) Vieux School
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #34 DT
Other notable offers: Illinois
Scoop: Sagesse played in six games as a true freshman in 2007 but didn’t accrue any statistics. As a sophomore in 2008, Sagesse made 3 tackles as a backup defensive tackle, mostly in goal-line situations. Then in 2009 he made 8 tackles and 2 tackles for loss in a backup role. He made 5 tackles and 1 tackle for loss as a senior in 2010. He went undrafted by the NFL in the 2011 NFL Draft but was picked in the 4th round (#25 overall) by the Montreal Alouettes in the 2011 Canadian Football League draft. He played for the Alouettes in 2011 and the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2012, but he has not played in the CFL since then.
High school: Detroit (MI) Cass Tech
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #6 DT, #67 overall
Other notable offers: Florida State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC
Scoop: Barksdale was a backup right offensive tackle as a true freshman in 2007 and played in every game that year, some on special teams. After that he became the starter at right tackle for the 2008 and 2009 seasons and flipped to the left side in 2010, running his streak of consecutive starts to 39 over his final three seasons. As a senior in 2010, he was named Second Team All-SEC. He was chosen in the 3rd round (#92 overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2011 NFL Draft, but the Raiders released him before his second year. The St. Louis Rams picked him up prior to the 2012 season and he has started ten games for them over the past couple years.
High school: Bloomington (IL) Central Catholic
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #11 DT
Other notable offers: Ohio State, Wisconsin
Scoop: As a true freshman in 2007, Brent made 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and .5 sacks as a backup defensive tackle. He became a part-time starter in 2008 and made 34 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery. Then as a junior in 2009, he tallied 29 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery as a full-time starter. Brent was declared academically ineligible for the 2010 season, which caused him to enter the NFL’s supplemental draft, where he was taken in the 7th round by the Dallas Cowboys. He made 44 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble for the Cowboys before getting into some serious legal trouble in 2012 when he got drunk and flipped his car with teammate Jerry Brown in the passenger seat. Brown was killed in the accident. The accident and Brent’s treatment afterward caused quite a stir, and he “retired” after failing multiple drug tests while awaiting trial. In January 2014 he was convicted of manslaughter, for which he was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation.
High school: Simi Valley (CA) Royal
Ratings: Rivals 3-star, #38 DT
Oregon Humboldt State
Other notable offers: Ole Miss, Washington State
Scoop: Celotto was a backup as a true freshman and made 16 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss in 2007, including 4 stops in the Ducks’ win over Michigan that year. As a sophomore in 2008, he made 10 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. Slowed by injuries, Celotto left Oregon before the 2009 season and ended up at Humboldt State University. He made 1 tackle in 2011 in an injury-shortened season and received a sixth year of eligibility for 2012. As a sixth year senior, he made 14 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 pass breakups, and 1 blocked kick but could only participate in six games. He went undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft and appears to have completed his football career.
High school: Gardena (CA) Junipero Serra
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #3 DT, #48 overall
Other notable offers: Miami, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA
Scoop: Harris redshirted as a freshman in 2007. In 2008 he was a backup defensive tackle and blocking tight end, making 1 tackle in limited time before missing several late games for academic reasons. As a redshirt sophomore in 2009, he became a key backup and made 14 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and .5 sacks. He finally became a starter in 2010 and finished the year with 35 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 pass breakup. Then as a fifth year senior in 2011, he had 22 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and 6 pass deflections. He went undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft and has played for the Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins, last appearing in 2012 for the Titans and making 3 tackles total. He is not currently on an NFL roster.
High school: Lutcher (LA) Lutcher
Ratings: Rivals 4-star, #22 DT
Tennessee Louisiana Tech Texas Southern
Other notable offers: Nebraska, Ole Miss
Scoop: Melancon signed with Tennessee out of high school but failed to qualify academically. He then enrolled at Louisiana Tech, where he took a redshirt for the 2007 season and also sat out 2008 due to academic ineligibility. He got into some off-the-field trouble in the off-season and was dismissed by then head coach Derek Dooley. Melancon transferred to Texas Southern, playing nine games in 2009 and five more in 2010. In that 2009 season, he made 31 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 1 interception that he returned 26 yards for a touchdown. Then in 2010 he made 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. He went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft and his career appears to be finished.
Recruiting defensive tackles is always an iffy proposition, because some players have lots of size and some natural quickness but don’t have the technique to be successful. It’s also tough for any player to carry that much bulk and stay injury-free. When 300+ pounders are diving at your legs and you’re 300 lbs. yourself, you never know what can happen. This class had a mish-mash of talent, and looking through the whole list of defensive tackles from the 2007 class, it didn’t seem to have a ton of depth. Sagesse turned into a decent player and may have been more if not for some shoddy defensive coordinating, although defensive line coach Bruce Tall did okay with what he had.
Biggest miss: Joseph Barksdale. This one is obvious. Barksdale attended Cass Tech – before it became a pipeline to Michigan – and was right in Michigan’s back yard, but they couldn’t reel him in. He started off as a defensive tackle at LSU but almost immediately switched to offense, which worked out well for him. Even if he had made the same move at Michigan, the Wolverines could have used him on the offensive line during that stretch of time.
Biggest bust: Josh Brent. Brent had a decent college career and the beginnings of a promising NFL run, but the college portion was cut short by bad grades and the pro portion was cut short by terrible life decisions. And by the way, 180 days of jail is way too short for someone who chooses to drink and drive, resulting in a death.
Best in class: I would like to say Nick Fairley, but he’s a moron, too. I can’t bust on Josh Brent and then say Nick Fairley was a real gem. Let me just say that I was angry when the Detroit Lions drafted Fairley #13 overall, and I still am. I guess I’ll have to go with Devon Still, the former Penn State defensive tackle who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. Still hasn’t done much in the NFL (21 tackles, .5 sacks), but he was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year and an All-American in 2011, earning himself a 2nd round pick.