Football Camp Report #5: The Defensive Line

Patrick McGee

Aug. 24, 2011

Bronx, N.Y. - Photo Gallery - Practice | Photo Gallery - Defensive Line

Now that the offense has been covered it's time to start looking at the 2011 Fordham defense in our continuing series of the 2011 Football Rams, starting with the defensive line.

The defensive line was an integral part of the 2010 Fordham defense, a unit that was third against the rush in the Patriot League, 41st among all NCAA FCS teams, allowing 136.5 yards/game. The Rams were also the third best league team in opponent first downs/game, allowing 20.2 per game.

The line returns two starters: senior Patrick McGee and sophomore Justin Yancey, along with a number of other players who stepped in at various times last year for the Rams.

Last year, McGee appeared in eight games for the Rams as a junior, starting six at defensive tackle. He recorded eight total tackles, four solo, including 1.5 for loss and one sack.

Yancey had a thriving freshman season, seeing action in all eleven games, starting eight at nose guard. He led all freshmen and all defensive linemen with 41 total tackles, 28 solo. Included in his 41 tackles were a team-high 10.5 for loss, tying him for third in the Patriot League in tackles for loss/game (0.95) and he also tied for 13th in sacks/game (0.27) in the league. Yancey also had three sacks, second best on the squad, along with one interception and one blocked kick. He closed out season with a season-high six tackles, including two solo and one for loss, against Colgate, and he had five stops, including four solo and one sack, in the win at Bucknell.

Other players returning this year who saw action last year include seniors Andy Okonkwo and Thomas Lloyd, juniors Matthew Sconiers, John LaSure and William DeLuca and sophomore George Apostolopoulos.

Andy Okonkwo

Okonkwo, appeared in nine games for the Rams as a junior, starting four on the defensive line where he recorded 15 total tackles, including ten solo and one for loss. His top game was a six-tackle performance, which included four solo, in the season finale versus Colgate.

Lloyd missed part of last season with an injury but still managed to play in six games on the defensive line for the Rams, starting two. He finished the year with five total tackles, two solo, with one sack and recorded three tackles with one sack at Lehigh.

Sconiers, who appeared in eight games as a sophomore for the Rams, starting five on the defensive line, finished the year with 13 total tackles, eight solo. He also had one tackle for loss and one pass deflection. Sconiers made three tackles, one solo, against Assumption and had two solo stops at Holy Cross.

LaSure saw action in six games as a sophomore, starting four on the defensive line for the Rams. He finished the year with five assisted tackles, four of those coming in the season finale with Colgate.

Apostolopoulos and DeLuca did not see varsity action last year. Both appeared in with the junior varsity with Apostolopoulos making three tackles, two solo, against the Army JV while also recovering a fumble and returning it 50 yards to set up a Fordham touchdown. DeLuca made two tackles, one solo, in a 14-14 tie with the Princeton JV.

One freshman is also battling for time on the defensive line. De'Andre Slate, a graduate of Lincoln Way East High School in Frankfort, Illinois, was named Honorable Mention All-State in the Illinois Coaches Poll as well as First Team All-Area and First Team All-Southwest Suburban All-Conference. He had 66 tackles including eight sacks and 16 for loss along with three forced fumbles as a senior.

Notes - Today was team picture day as the Rams lined up in the stands at Jack Coffey Field for the annual team photo. After the team photo, the seniors stuck around and took the photo to be used on the cover of the final home game program. The freshman also had their individual photos snapped in front of the Seven Blocks of Granite monument.

- A pair of Rams changed their uniform numbers today with Alex Locker switching from 99 to 71 since he moved from the defensive line to the offensive line and Slate taking over the 99 that Locker vacated in place of his former number of 98.