Camp Preview: Depth of D-Line Should Anchor Defense

Camp Preview: Depth of D-Line Should Anchor Defense

KINGSTON, R.I. - The strength of the Rhode Island defense in 2019 is expected to be the defensive line, where the Rams return four players who started at least five games last season. That does not include redshirt senior Tez Wilson, who was a medical redshirt last fall but is expected to be a big part of the group this year.

Senior Brandon Ginnetti - a 2017 CAA Football Third Team selection - will be a third-year starter in the middle of the line. He has played 31 games in his career, recording 19.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 85 total tackles in his time as a Ram. Stout and physical, Ginnetti has game-changing ability and can create pressure in opposing backfields. 

Next to Ginnetti is sophomore James Makszin (Norwalk, Conn.), who took over a starting job midway through 2018 as a true freshman. He played in all 11 games last year, ending the season with 25 tackles, three sacks and one interception. Look for a big jump in his production this season. Redshirt sophomore Emil La Marca (Paramus, N.J.) and redshirt freshmen Ryan McDonough (Vero Beach, Fla.) and Dylan Brown (Tampa Bay, Fla.) figure to offer quality depth. 

Wilson represents a welcome return at defensive end after missing all of 2018. He has started 24 of the 32 games he has played for URI, and is the team's active leader with 24.5 tackles for loss. Wilson has been very productive from the end position, entering the season with 144 tackles, 8.0 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Redshirt junior Andre Bibeault (Cumberland, R.I.) and senior Keith Wells (Pittsburgh, Pa.) were key pieces to the defense a year ago. Wells started the first five games of the season before Bibeault came on for the final six games. Regardless of which one started, both saw significant playing time, as the duo combined for 74 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks. In Spring Camp, Bibeault was named the Most Improved Defensive Player by the coaching staff. Both will be major factors for the defense this year.

Several new faces will bolster the depth for Rhode Island. UMass transfer Elijah Miranda (Dorchester, Mass.) redshirted as a freshman with the Minutemen. His older brother Isaiah plays at Boston College. Another transfer is graduate senior Jim Philistin (Lake Worth, Fla.). The 6-2, 270-pounder has one season of eligibility and comes from the University of Texas-San Antonio, where he played 16 games over the last two seasons. Robert Sanfilippo (White Plains, N.Y.) played at Springfield College last year, while local product Kareem Sangare (Cumberland, R.I.) is a freshman walk-on.

Check Friday for a look at the Offensive Linemen.