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Players We're Hyped About: Calvin Avery & Verdis Brown

The future looks bright along the defensive trenches.


Let me preface this by saying we shouldn't expect too much from either player this year.

Both Avery and Brown are at a position that's very deep and both need time to develop their skills and work with lifting coach Joey Boese to add muscle and slim down a bit.

All that being said, however, the sky’s the limit for this duo of road graders at defensive tackle. Both come in with impressive pedigrees and both are keys to what could be an intimidating defense in 2019 and beyond.

Lovie is building what he knows best. Defenses for Illinois have been pretty lousy since Vic Koenning left for greener pastures, and Lovie means business when it comes to molding that side of the ball in his own image.

To that end, his recruiting of defensive linemen and defensive backs has been largely impressive to date, and Calvin Avery and Verdis Brown are key cogs for future defenses to build upon.

Both bring a skill set unique to their positions. Avery is a mountain of a man who penetrates gaps and disrupts backfields. He needs to drop some weight, but he could be lethal as both a pass rusher and run stuffer in Lovie's Tampa 2. Think Ian Scott when the Bears were intimidating offenses in the mid 2000's.

Verdis Brown has a bit more length and agility than Avery, and could be an ideal 3-technique pass rusher similar to someone like Tommie Harris. While probably not as dominant a force as Harris was at OU, Brown has the kind of defensive rusher profile that makes D-line coaches swoon. Austin Clark will have lots of fun mixing and matching Brown with his compatriots.

For now, though, it's about redshirting both to get better long term. Man, though, it'll be exciting to watch these two behemoths wreak havoc on the opposition's offensive line.