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Vanderbilt Football 2022 Position Preview: Edge

Wherein Tom makes an attempt at understanding a modern defensive position.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Missouri at Vanderbilt Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you thought me trying to figure out how to divide up the offensive line was hilarious, now let me take a crack at the defense.

The “edge” position is, from best I can understand it, a guy who’s a defensive end in some formations and a linebacker in others, but in all formations his job is to kill the quarterback. Versatility is the name of the game in Clark Lea’s defense and while most of the guys fall into a “traditional” position group, I’m just gonna break out the four guys listed on the roster as “DE/LB” into a single position group for the preview.

The Incumbent

Michael Owusu, sixth-year senior: Yep, that’s right: a guy on the Josh Henderson plan. The 6’5”, 232-pound Owusu spent four years in the program seeming like a guy with a lot of upside but never really translating that into results on the field, and then he finally broke out last season with 43 total tackles, five for loss. And then he decided to take advantage of the COVID year (having already used a redshirt year in 2017) to come back for a sixth year. We can only hope that he buries a three-quarter-court chest pass against Florida and then steals a fan’s popcorn on the way to the locker room.

The Prospects

Miles Capers, redshirt freshman: Capers played in four games last season, with Clark Lea wisely preserving a redshirt year for a guy who wasn’t obviously someone who needed to be on the field, and he made three total tackles. I don’t have much else to write, but he’s a decent prospect at 6’5” and 235 pounds.

Darren Agu, freshman: Agu, with a listed hometown of London, England, was originally committed to Notre Dame, if that tells you anything about the kind of prospect we’re dealing with here. At 6’6” and 240 pounds, and as one of the top prospects in Vanderbilt’s 2022 recruiting class, I would bet on him getting on the field sooner rather than later.

BJ Diakite, freshman: More on the “linebacker” side of things at 6’3” and 215 pounds, Diakite is from Pinson Valley High School in Alabama, the same high school that gave us another long, wiry linebacker/edge rusher a few years ago: Zach Cunningham. He’s also a guy who decommitted during the “EVERYBODY PANIC” portion of the 2022 recruiting cycle, only to end up back in the fold when he realized that Clark Lea is going to be at Vanderbilt a lot longer than Geoff Collins is going to be at Georgia Tech.