Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
SDE Starter: Julien Obioha
Backup: Polo Manukainiu
DT Starter: Alonzo Williams
Backup: Justin Manning
NG Starter: Kirby Ennis
Backup: Isaiah Golden
WDE Starter: Brandon Alexander
Backup: Tyrone Taylor
The Aggies will lose Spencer Nealy and Damontre Moore from the 2012 defensive line. Nealy graduated, and Moore declared early for the NFL draft, where he is expected to be a first-round selection.
Julien Obioha started 12 games in 2013, but his current status is up in the air because of an apparent back injury that kept him out of the Cotton Bowl. If he is unable to recover from the injury, expect Alonzo Williams to start over at strong-side defensive end, like he did in the Cotton Bowl.
Polo Manukainiu redshirted during the 2012 season. At 6'5", 260 lbs, he should be able to help the Aggies at defensive end in 2013. Expect him to see extensive playing time at DE when the Ags go to an odd-man front.
If Williams does not play defensive end, then expect him to start at defensive tackle in 2013. During the offseason, he should be able to get his weight up to around 280 lbs, which is big enough to start on the interior in the SEC.
Incoming freshman Justin Manning has the size and speed to play immediately when he arrives in Aggieland. The 6'2", 285-pound recruit is one of the top-rated defensive tackles in the nation, per Rivals.
Kirby Ennis started at nose tackle in 2012. He had 24 tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack. He should be a leader on the 2013 defensive line.
Incoming freshman Isaiah Golden should back up Ennis. At 6'2", 305 lbs with great strength, he should be fine in the SEC as a freshman. Do not be surprised to see incoming freshman Hardreck Walker compete for playing time on the interior in 2013 as well.
Brandon Alexander is the prototypical 4-3 defensive end. He is 6'6", 240 lbs and should start for the Ags on the weak side in 2013. He spent much of 2012 in the coaches' dog house but evidently made encouraging strides in the weight room.
Tyrone Taylor redshirted in 2012 and should be ready to contribute this season. With a year in the weight room, Taylor should be up around 6'3" and 240 lbs, enabling him to help the Ags in pass-rushing situations.
Jordan Points is a member of the 2013 recruiting class and an early enrollee. If he can add some good weight to his 6'4" frame, he may see some time at defensive tackle or strong-side DE this season.