That latter number is expected to increase this season, and the duo will begin working on that when the Indians open their season Saturday at the Georgia Dome against Brookwood as part of the Corky Kell Classic.
Other like traits Famurewa and Billingslea have include using their speed to make up for their lack of size, and making each other better by trying out-perform the other.
“They are both good kids and they both love playing football,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “They compete very hard and go after each other. It’s kind of like a brotherly thing sometimes, and that’s fun. I believe in them as football players and as people.”
The pair also have slight differences.
Famurewa, who has committed to Louisville, may be slightly faster, but he is known to take chances. He likes to go for bigger plays when given the opportunity.
Billingslea, who has received offers from Kennesaw State, Troy and Ball State, is known to be technically sound and prefers to play it safe.
“McKenzie can read body language and understand play action or if they’re trying to suck him in,” Hockman said. “Henry may get sucked in but may be able to recover because he’s fast.”
Famurewa’s breakout game last season came in McEachern’s 31-12 loss to Grayson in the Corky Kell Classic. He had five tackles for loss with some coming against two-time USA Today All-American Robert Nkemdiche, who is now at Mississippi.
Billingslea, who bounced back from a torn ACL his sophomore season, proved he was for real when he twice sacked Marietta’s Anthony Jennings, now at LSU, in McEachern’s 29-28 win.
What’s helped the two ends develop over the last two seasons is having to go up against elusive quarterbacks like former quarterback Ty Griffin, who is at Georgia Tech, and current quarterback Ty Clemons. But they said one way they’re taught to avoid missing a tackle is to not get out of position.
“If you’re going up against an elusive quarterback or a scrambling-type of guy, you have to break down and be under control,” Famurewa said. “Before they hit you with that spin move or jerk move, you have to break down and secure the tackle or set.”
Defensive line coach Bryan Minish added, “What we try to do is chest them up as best as we can. We want to be plastic on plastic as much as we can and get our head out of the way.”
But when it comes to playing the position, they can both use their speed to get off the ball and to beat most offensive linemen in 1-on-1 situations and, when they do, get into open space.
And if they should get double-teamed by offensive line, both players said they still maintain their position and let the players behind or beside them clean up the play.
Charging opposing quarterbacks won’t be the only thing the two defensive ends will be doing this season. With more teams reverting to spread offenses, they will also be assigned to chasing down, and disrupting, screen passes.
“They may put a hurting on receivers trying to run a screen,” Hockman said.