2012 College Football Postion Rankings: Top 5 Defensive Lineman: They are often forgotten and overlooked, but defensive linemen are the backbone of any strong defensive unit. Winning the battle up front makes life easier for every other player. From creating gaps for linebackers to run through to hurrying quarterbacks and forcing bad throws, a dominant defensive line can make an otherwise mediocre defense into an elite unit. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the top defensive lineman in the college game this season.
2012 College Football Postion Rankings: Top 5 Defensive Lineman
1. Sam Montgomery, Defensive End, LSU Tigers
He is only a junior, but Montgomery is the total package at the defensive end position. He had 49 tackles and nine sacks last season, and his role will only expand now that Michael Brockers is in the NFL. Montgomery’s physical tools are certainly impressive, but his attention to detail and his technique are what make him truly dangerous. He has multiple rush moves and can play in any defensive package, allowing him to make a constant impact throughout a game.
2. John Jenkins, Defensive Tackle, Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia plays a 3-4 base defense in order to allow its athletic linebackers to rush the passer and be in position to make big plays. However, any good 3-4 system requires a dominant nose tackle, and that is exactly what Jenkins is for the Bulldogs. It takes a village to block the 350-pound human bowling ball, and the constant double teams he draws open things up for everyone else on the defensive unit. Jenkins role will never allow him to pile up impressive statistics, but he is one of the best in the country up front.
3. Brandon Jenkins, Defensive End, Florida State Seminoles
Jenkins is the best true edge rusher in the country right now. He has a freaky combination of strength and speed, and he uses to relentlessly pressure the pocket and makes plays in the backfield. Over the past two seasons, Jenkins has record 21.5 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss. It was a bit of shock that Jenkins didn’t jump to the NFL after his second straight productive season, but now that he’s back on a loaded Florida State defensive front, the senior will be giving opposing quarterbacks nightmares all year.
4. Kawaan Short, Defensive Tackle, Purdue Boilermakers
Short does a lot more than an average defensive tackle. Yes, he takes up space in the middle and stops the run, but his explosiveness allows him to be a playmaker in the backfield, as well. Last year, Short finished with 6.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. His ability to stop the run and rush the passer makes him an impact defender on every down. There just aren’t many defensive tackles that have the physical gifts to make as many big plays as Short.
5. William Gholston, Defensive End, Michigan State Spartans
His freakish athleticism allows Gholston to basically be another linebacker on the field for the Spartans. He had 70 total tackles last season, including 17 tackles for loss. With Jerel Worthy now in the NFL, Gholston’s role will only increase this season. He has the combination of size and speed to be a great edge rusher, and the overall athleticism to make big plays whenever he is on the field. Gholston has as much potential as any defensive end in the country.
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