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- FANOCYS - 06-07-2003 10:03 AM

2003 Position Report: Defensive Line
Large amounts of talent and experience return for Cyclones up front on defense.



April 17, 2003

You can almost chart the improvement in Iowa State's ability to stop the run in concert with the development of seniors Jordan Carstens and Tyson Smith. Carstens, once a 228-pound walk-on, is now a two-time all-Big 12 tackle who checks in at 6-5, 303. A first-team academic All-American, he will start the season as one of the Big 12's best interior linemen. As a junior, Carstens made 103 tackles, including 13 behind the line of scrimmage. He also tallied five sacks. The Bagley, Iowa, native has 232 career tackles and could finish his career as one of the top three tacklers among interior linemen in school history.

A 2003 bowl-bound Iowa State would need a big season from senior rush end Tyson Smith. Smith came on strong last season, ranking third on the team with 104 tackles. He was the team co-leader with six sacks and caught 11 opponents behind the line of scrimmage for 28 yards. Senior Shaheed Richardson and sophomore Cephus Johnson start spring ball backing up Carstens and Smith, respectively.

DEFENSIVE LINE
DE 91 **Tim TeBrink, 6-3, 284, Jr.# OR
95 Beau Klaffke, 6-3, 262, Fr.#

NG 66 *Nick Leaders, 6-2, 290, So.
96 Brent Nelson, 6-3, 290, Jr.#
DT 92 ***Jordan Carstens, 6-5, 303, Sr.#
56 Shaheed Richardson, 6-4, 267, Sr.
RE 1 ***Tyson Smith, 6-2, 242, Sr.
43 *Cephus Johnson, 6-2, 245, So.#



If the present of the Iowa State defense is Carstens and Smith. The future is now with nose guard Nick Leaders. The younger brother of teammate Andy Leaders and son of all-Big 12 Cyclone defender Mike Leaders, Nick Leaders was phenomenal last season as a true freshman. McCarney elected not to redshirt Nick. It was the right move, right away. In his first college game against third-ranked Florida State, Leaders made seven tackles, four of them solo in a game that went down to the last play. Tabbed as the Cyclones' top newcomer last season, he was named a first-team freshman All-American by collegefootballnews.com Finishing the season with 75 tackles with nine stops behind the line of scrimmage and five sacks, he's already a defensive anchor, along with Carstens and Smith. Brent Nelson starts spring ball backing up Leaders.

Defensive end Tim TeBrink was recruited without a position. McCarney signed him because he was a hard-nosed competitor. TeBrink has found a home at end, where he had 49 tackles last season. Redshirt freshman Beau Klaffke will get his first taste of college play this fall.


Mac on the defensive line:
"This group reminds me much of the Insight.com Bowl defensive line, where we had a number of players on defense that had proven that they could play winning football in the Big 12. Those kids stayed healthy, they stayed motivated, they stayed together and we ended up having an outstanding year with nine victories.

"Our defense this year starts with Jordan Carstens, there's no doubt about it. He's a 305-pounder that can run, and he's established himself as one of the best players in the Big 12. He's one of the best students in the Big 12, he's an academic All-American. If he can stay healthy, I think he can be one of the best defensive linemen in all of college football. I don't say that often about anyone, but I really feel that strong about him. Tyson Smith has the potential to be a dominant football player. We're hoping that with more size and strength, and with his experience, he can take it to the next level and be an All-Big 12 player for us in his senior year.


Nick Leaders started as a true freshman in 2002, something that not many freshman do in the Big 12 Conference.


"Nick Leaders has put on about 20 pounds since the (Humanitarian) bowl game. He's up to about 290 pounds now. We started him as a true freshman in this league, and who are we kidding? He started, and didn't just survive, he played some really good football in one of the most physical conferences in college football. Tim TeBrink and Beau Klaffke, a redshirt freshman, will battle it out at the other defensive end position. Corey Smith and Rashaad Rasberry will be looked at as ends for depth. Brent Nelson, Caleb Van Cleave we'll look over at nose, with Jared Otto, Shaheed Richardson, Klayton Shoals at tackle to back up Carstens. And then Cephus Johnson, Landon Schrage and Wade Boehm will be looking at some time at rush end. Richardson has been on the field in short yardage, Nelson has been on the field a little bit, TeBrink has a lot of experience at a few positions, we want to put him at end and leave him there. Cephus Johnson is one of the best looking kids on the team physically, he's almost 245 pounds, and he really needs to step it up for our defense and I think he's ready to do it."


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