Best of the Bunch-Defensive Line
Written by Curt Popejoy on 07/01/2012
What constitutes a great defensive line? In many cases, you have to divide the line in half, between defensive ends and defensive tackles and if you can get one unit to be elite, you should be happy. Winning in college football is all about matchups so if you have elite defensive ends you can exploit that matchup and force offenses to account for it. More double teams on the outside, one on ones on the inside and so the defensive tackles look unstoppable even though the talent there is more average. When I started to create my scouting list for this season, the sheer number of good and great defensive linemen in the country was impressive. Which makes trying to pick and then rank the 4 best groups all that more challenging. Love what South Carolina and TCU have going, but they just missed the cut among the very top tier of groups. You win and lose at the line of scrimmage and these groups are going to win a lot.
4. Texas-The Longhorns are one of those groups that find themselves on this list based primarily because of half of the line. For the Longhorns it's all about the ends. Senior Alex Okafor and Junior Jackson Jeffcoat are the best pair of defensive ends in the nation. And because of that teams have to show them so much attention the interior defensive line are allowed to make plays. That's not to say they aren't talented, but in comparison they are pretty average. By the end of the season however things could really change as JUCO star Brandon Moore and Sophomore Desmond Jackson will line up next to Junior Calvin Howell and could develop quickly into an elite rotation.
3. Florida State-The Seminoles are never short on defensive line talent and this year appears to be no different. Another team with bookend defensive ends Junior Brandon Jenkins and Senior Bjoern Werner that set off the rest of the line. But while these ends aren't quite at the level of the Longhorns, I happen to like the Senior tackles Everett Dawkins and Anthony McCloud as well as the young rotational players behind all 4 starters. This goup may need to carry this team early on.
2. Georgia-If there was some sort of way to rank defensive lines by the pound, the Bulldogs would be tops on the list. And you have to keep in mind Georiga only plays a 3 man line. The key to a 3-4 defensive line is the nose tackle and fortunately Georgia has 2 of them. Senior John Jenkins will get the starts and he's a 350lb mass of humanity, but behind him is super Junior Kwame Geathers. I have Geathers as a first round pick in 2013 and it will be impossible to keep him off the field. I expect to see them find ways to get these two massive young men on the field at the same time. And this is not even talking about the ends, Garrison Smith and Abry Jones, both 300 pound giants in their own right.
1. LSU-The spoils of the rich is what LSU Head Coach Les Miles enjoys with his athletes. As far as the defensive line goes, they sport 3 players, Juniors Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo on the ends and Junior Bennie Logan on the inside who are all likely first round picks in 2013 should they declare. And this is no disrespect to the 4th starter Josh Downs, a Senior who's probably a third round prospect in his own right. This group is big and fast and athletic and the most disruptive foursome in the country by a pretty good stretch. All these units are talented, but the Tigers group is just a cut above the rest, and that makes them the BEST OF THE BUNCH!
Last Edited: 07/01/2012