Armed Forces Bowl Breakdown: DL

Taylor Thompson

SMU boasts two monster defensive ends in 6-foot-6 first-team all-conference junior Taylor Thompson and 6-foot-8 "Tower of Power" Margus Hunt, as well as productive nose tackle Marquis Frazier (who leads the trio in stops). Get more info on those players, as well as the goods on Army's defensive front.

Marquis Frazier may not get the amount of press that his high-profile LB teammates receive, but the 6-foot-3, 298-pounder has done a bang-up job at the nose, especially in light of the fact that he previously played defensive end.


Marquis Frazier
Frazier ranked seventh in tackles for SMU this season, recording 44 stops, 6.5 TFL, and 3 sacks. He's consistently surprised opposing offensive linemen with cat-like quickness up the middle, and he'll get a chance to overpower Army's undersized offensive line tomorrow.

You can't miss the Mustangs' bookend defensive ends. Taylor Thompson (6-6, 280) and Margus Hunt (6-8, 275) have tremendous height and the pair of juniors have played well all season for the Ponies. Thompson, a first-team All-Conference selection, is 10th on the squad with 32 tackles, while Hunt is 8th with 44.

Hunt is one of the most prolific "kick blockers" in NCAA history, and he evidently passed on some tips and expertise to 6-foot-4 fellow DE Kevin Grenier, who blocked three this fall. Grenier played in all 13 games and came up with several huge plays, including 4.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks.

Thompson, despite his large size, is surprisingly nimble and light on his feet, and he's very aggressive, pursuing the football with a vengeance.


Josh McNary
Army head coach Rich Ellerson is known as the "Architect of the Double Eagle Flex defense," a scheme that is predicated on confusing the offense with unorthodox positioning and widespread shifts prior to the snap.

The defensive ends - Josh McNary, Jarrett Mackey, and Marcus Hilton - often line up a yard off the line of scrimmage.

Mackey is fourth on the team with 45 tackles, including 6.5 TFL. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder from Georgia is also second with four sacks.

McNary, who played his prep football at Clear Lake HS in Houston, ranks sixth with 43 stops and he leads the team with 12 TFL and 9.5 sacks. Last year, Mackey set a school record with 12.5 sacks and is ranked by one NFL draft publication as the No. 34 OLB (he's 6-2, 230) in the country.

Nose tackle Mike Gann doesn't have a ton of tackles (27), but he's made them count - with eight coming behind the line of scrimmage.

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