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Vanderbilt Football 2023 Position Preview: Star

The first of two hybrid positions on the defense.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve reached the first of two hybrid positions on the Vanderbilt defense, and don’t worry, I get the “Star” and “Anchor” position confused all the time, too.

The Star position in Clark Lea’s defense is the edge rusher, a guy who depending on the formation might be a defensive end and might be an outside linebacker.

Aeneas DiCosmo, redshirt senior: DiCosmo might have one of the most Anchor of Gold names in history, and he also might be the starter at the Star position. The 6’3”, 247-pound DiCosmo played four seasons at Stanford, appearing in just four games in 2019 and two in 2020 before playing in 23 over the last two seasons and making 26 tackles last season. He’s easily the most experienced player at this spot.

Miles Capers, redshirt sophomore: The 6’4”, 227-pound Capers was expected to be the starter last season; instead, he missed the entire season after suffering an injury in fall camp. Assuming he’s healthy, expect him to play a lot in 2023.

BJ Diakite, sophomore: The 6’4”, 222-pound Diakite took advantage of Capers’ absence to get on the field for nine games as a true freshman, and while he seemed pretty raw, he did manage a rather productive season in limited playing time with 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

Jailen Ruth, freshman: At 6’3” and 200 pounds, Ruth probably isn’t big enough to play yet, but Vanderbilt probably won’t need him to. He notched 49 sacks over his high school career.

Evan Herrmann, freshman: The 6’6”, 200-pound Herrmann has good projection, as a guy with good length and athleticism who mostly played tight end in high school in addition to playing basketball and running track. He’s a good prospect down the road but won’t play much — if at all — as a true freshman.