Probable Starters: E.J. Wilson (#92), ???
Key Reserves: Darius Massenburg (#98), Greg Elleby (#95), Darius Powell (#40), Quinton Coples (#90)
Now we’re getting to where games are won: at the line of scrimmage. On defense, end is the position with the biggest question marks (just ahead of strongside linebacker) after the departure of Hilee Taylor. Wilson has proven himself going into his third season in the DE rotation. In 2007 he had 44 tackles and 9.5 sacks flanking Taylor. His starting place is secure.
The battle for the other spot is very much open-ended. The next four guys on the depth chart are a freshman (Coples) and three sophomores who all got time last year, but combined for just 18 tackles. If the decision is made purely on 2007 statistics, the advantage goes to Massenburg, who had 11 tackles, 1TFL, and 3 QB hurries. But there is very little to separate any of these players.
Outlook: There really isn’t much more to say here. Wilson will be solid for the Heels on one end, but there is very little to indicate what will happen with the other DE position and the bench until September rolls around. The battle at this position should go well into training camp and even into the season.