Seniors Mike Hughes Jr. and Jason Fao will be counted on to lead the defensive linemen in 2017.
UNLV adds depth to the defensive front heading into the season.
Veteran football coach Tony Samuel was hired in 2016 to oversee the UNLV defensive line. Samuel came to Las Vegas after spending the previous season at Georgia State, where he helped produce a significant improvement on defense for the Panthers, who went to the first bowl game in program history. In fact, Georgia State led the nation both in improvement for rushing yards allowed per game, a full 122.3 yards less than the previous season. Samuel boasts 16 years of head coaching experience: eight with New Mexico State (1997-2004) and eight with Southeast Missouri State (2006-13). Samuel earned his first head coaching opportunity after an 11-year stint coaching the outside linebackers and rush ends at Nebraska, his alma mater, under legendary head coach Tom Osborne. During Samuel’s 11 seasons at Nebraska, the Cornhuskers won back-to-back national titles in 1994 and 1995, captured seven Big Eight/Big 12 Conference championships, averaged 10 wins per year and played in 11 bowl games. He mentored six first team All-Americans and 12 future National Football League players, including first-round draft picks Broderick Thomas (1989), Mike Croel (1991), Trev Alberts (1994) and Grant Wistrom (1998). He began his coaching career by spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Western Michigan (1982-83) and then two years at Stanford (1984-85), tutoring the defensive line at both schools. He also served one year (2005) as ends coach at Purdue. Samuel played four years at Nebraska and was a member of Osborne’s first recruiting class. He was a two-year starter at defensive end, played in four bowl games. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Nebraska in 1981. A native of Trinidad, West Indies, Samuel moved to New Jersey at the age of 10. He and his wife, Diane, have four children and two grandchildren.
Coaching Experience: 2016-SA UNLV -- defensive line 2015 Georgia State -- defensive line 2014 Georgia State -- outside linebackers 2006-13 Southeast Missouri State -- head coach 2005 Purdue -- defensive ends 1997-2004 New Mexico State -- head coach 1986-96 Nebraska -- defensive ends/outside linebackers 1984-85 Stanford -- defensive line 1982-83 Western Michigan -- defensive line