D-Line profile: Mountaineers look to wreak havoc in opposing backfields


Lynette Files

Junior defensive lineman Demetrius Taylor jumps defends a pass in App State’s 42-7 win over East Tennessee State on Aug. 31.

Zack Antrum, Senior Reporter

Linemen are some of the most underappreciated yet most important players in football. Whether they are on offense or defense, they are active during every play and a single mistake can change the game in the blink of an eye. 

For the Mountaineers, mistakes are not something they have to worry about from their defensive linemen. 

A big reason why App State’s defense was ranked No. 4 in the country in points allowed was because of the defensive line’s ability to pressure the opposing quarterback and stop the other team’s run game. 

“I inherited a hard-working group, and these young men, they love the game and play hard. I think it’s an honor for me to be able to put my spin on it and help these guys continue to grow as young men and players,” App State defensive line coach Anwar Stewart told AppStateSports.com.

The line is led by junior Elijah Diarrassouba, who started all 13 games for the Mountaineers last season. He finished the season with 15 tackles, including a sack on the first play of last year’s Sun Belt Championship game. 

“We’re family. There’s no other word for it,” Diarrassouba said. “We hold each other to high expectations and high standards.” 

Juniors Demetrius Taylor, Caleb Spurlin and Tommy Dawkins look to fill in the gaps Chris Willis, who is out for the season due to injury, leaves open. Taylor has the most experience behind Diarrassouba with 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles in 25 career games.