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July 3, 2011

FlaVarsity ranks the top defensive linemen in FL

The key to a great defense starts with the defensive line. If you can win the battle at the line of scrimmage, it makes everyone on your defense better. The defensive tackles free up room for the defensive ends, who free up room for the linebackers, which allows the players in the secondary to hold their ground and stay in coverage.

The defensive linemen who made the FlaVarsity Top 160 are a combination of big, strong, fast, and agile ball players. There are prospects such as Jelani Hamilton, the 6-foot-5, 250 pound end from St. Thomas Aquinas, who are extremely quick off the ball and have a variety of moves to attack the quarterback. There are also prospects such as Dalvon Stuckey, the 6-foot-4, 305 pound defensive tackle from Walton high school, who are run stoppers that fill holes and command double teams, all due to their immense size.

There are also some very underrated prospects from this defensive line class that have yet to hit their recruiting peak. Tyler Drake, the 6-foot-2, 210 pound end from St. Thomas Aquinas, led his team in sacks last year, yet only holds one scholarship offer. Jordan Hinojosa, the 6-foot-3, 270 pound tackle from Miami Central, is someone that uses his hands well and is very quick off the snap, yet he only has 3 scholarship offers.

The top prospect on the defensive line is Dante Fowler Jr., the 6-foot-3, 232 pound end. He is very explosive off the ball and is very tough to slow down off the edge. His spin move is extremely impressive and he has the athleticism and versatility to even play linebacker.

The 2012 defensive line class is very, very good. There are at least 5 names on this list that I expect to be called in the NFL Draft, a few years from now. Let's take a look at which defensive line prospects made the FlaVarsity Top 160.

Dante Fowler Jr.

Defensive End

6-foot-3 | 232 | Lakewood

Buzz: Fowler is explosive off the ball. He's very athletic and has plenty of moves to get to the quarterback. His recent injury will have no effect on his senior season or current ability.


Jelani Hamilton

Defensive End

6-foot-5 | 250 | St. Thomas Aquinas

Buzz: There are few defensive linemen with his athleticism, quickness, and size. He really has a terrific motor and plays hard all game. He's college ready now.


Leonard Williams

Defensive End

6-foot-5 | 254 | Mainland

Buzz: Williams has the potential to be a top defensive end in the country. He's big, powerful, and very athletic. He uses his hands well and is very consistent with his effort.

Schools in the mix: Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Miami, Penn State, Southern Cal

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Tyriq McCord

Defensive End

6-foot-3 | 225 | Jefferson

Buzz: McCord has terrific size and a great frame to add more weight. He has plenty of moves off the edge and is very smooth when dropping into coverage. Look for him to rise this year.

Schools in the mix: Florida, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Dante Phillips

Defensive Tackle

6-foot-6 | 268 | Venice

Buzz: Although light for a defensive tackle, Phillips is strong and powerful, which leads to his success. His athleticism will allow him to play offense line or defense line in college.


Dalvon Stuckey

Defensive Tackle

6-foot-4 | 305 | Walton

Buzz: Stuckey is a run stopping machine. He clogs the middle and forces backs to run outside. He is quick off the ball and really uses his size well.


Trent Taylor

Defensive End

6-foot-3 | 245 | Lake Gibson

Buzz: Taylor's athleticism is truly scary. He is a terrific pass rusher off the edge, but can drop back to linebacker and play in coverage with ease.


James Hamilton

Defensive Tackle

6-foot-4 | 325 | Olympia

Buzz: Hamilton has impressed this off-season. He has dominated the camps and shined in 1-on-1 drills. He has a terrific burst off the snap, which will help on both sides of the ball.


Eric Kinsey

Defensive End

6-foot-3 | 240 | Miami Northwestern

Buzz: Kinsey can and will play both defensive end and linebacker, which points to his athleticism. He also has room to add weight to his already thick frame.

Schools in the mix: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Teko Powell

Defensive Tackle

6-foot-3 | 258 | Miami Norland

Buzz: Powell has a thick frame and carries his weight well. He gets low and has good leverage against the offensive lineman. He also as a very good burst off the ball.

Schools in the mix: Florida, Florida State, Louisville, LSU, USF, Wisconsin

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Earl Moore

Defensive Tackle

6-foot-1 | 280 | Hillsborough

Buzz: Moore is very aggressive and tends to use strength and power, more than finesse. I'd like to see him add some moves, but his bull rush works well.

Schools in the mix: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Dwayne Hoilett

Defensive End

6-foot-3 | 220 | Vero Beach

Buzz: Hoilett is a DE/LB tweener, but with added weight, can be a dominant end. He has long arms and gets to the QB with ease.


Jordan Hinojosa

Defensive Tackle

6-foot-3 | 270 | Miami Central

Buzz: Hinojosa is very impressive as a pass rusher and uses his hands very well. He keeps his body low to get leverage against lineman and is more than just a big body.

Schools in the mix: Boise State, FIU, Florida State, Miami, Minnesota, West Virginia, Wisconsin

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Mike Minns

Defensive Tackle

6-foot-1 | 285 | Dwyer

Buzz: Minns has a motor that never quits. Surprisingly for a man of his size, he gives relentless effort throughout the game. His strength is also a major asset to his game.

Schools in the mix: FIU, Louisville, Miami, Marshall, Samford, West Virginia

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

Tyler Drake

Defensive End

6-foot-2 | 210 | St. Thomas Aquinas

Buzz: Drake gets overshadowed playing alongside Jelani Hamilton, but he just gets it done. He led STA in sacks last year and has an incredible burst off the ball.

Schools in the mix: Boston College, Iowa, Miami, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Stanford, Wake Forest, Wisconsin, Yale

College Decision: UNCOMMITTED

If you have any questions or comments, Tom Loy, FlaVarsity.com Recruiting Analyst, can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter - @tomloy2002.



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