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July 25, 2007

Category rankings: Defensive ends


The Rivals.com recruiting experts have broken down countless hours of film and racked up plenty of frequent flyer miles to see the top prospects compete at events across the country to come up with the most extensive and accurate prospect rankings and evaluations you will find. In the process of evaluating overall talent, several prospects gained notice for their mastery of specific skills.

We rank the top five defensive end prospects in four categories. DaQuan Bowers checks in at each category and is definitely one defensive end you must account for on every play.

DE rankings: Strongest | Best against the run | Best pass rusher | Quickest first step

Strongest
Jeremy Crabtree's take: I thought R.J. Washington should be a little higher. His game is all about strength and speed. Bowers, Clement, Washington, Lewis and Perry are all good picks here. I think Perry is one of the nation's best kept secrets.

Mike Farrell's take: Bowers was a unanimous selection as the strongest defensive end in the country and Chase Clement isn't far behind.

JC Shurburtt's take: This group is able to overpower potential blockers and make plays. Bowers, Clement and Washington all three play with a great deal of strength.

  • Vote: Who is the strongest?
  • 1. DaQuan Bowers, 6-4, 267, Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-Ehrhardt Bowers highlights
    2. Chase Clement, 6-5, 240, Thibodaux (La.) E. D. White Clement highlights
    3. R.J. Washington, 6-3, 245, Keller (Texas) Fossil Ridge Washington highlights
    4. Brandon Lewis, 6-3, 260, Pleasant Grove (Ala.) Lewis highlights
    5. Nick Perry, 6-4, 220, Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther King Perry highlights
    Best Against the Run
    Crabtree's take: Darius Fleming is going to be very good against the run in Notre Dame's defense. He just is able to stalk you down no matter where you're at and destroy you. Ethan Johnson is another guy I think that was really, really strong against the run. And guess what, he's going to Notre Dame as well.

    Farrell's take: Darius Fleming projects as a linebacker in Notre Dame's 3-4 defense and his ability against the run will be a huge help.

    Shurburtt's take: Fleming takes great angles and has great instincts when playing the run. That is probably why some are mentioning him as a possible outside linebacker in college.

  • Vote: Who is the best against the run?
  • 1. Darius Fleming, 6-3, 230, Chicago (Ill.) St. Rita Fleming highlights
    2. DaQuan Bowers, 6-4, 267, Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-Ehrhardt Bowers highlights
    3. Chancey Aghayere, 6-4, 244, Garland (Texas) Aghayere highlights
    4. Ethan Johnson, 6-4, 266, Portland (Ore.) Lincoln Johnson highlights
    5. Michael Williams, 6-6, 240, Reform (Ala.) Pickens County Williams highlights
    Best Pass Rusher
    Crabtree's take: It's hard for me to imagine that there's a better pass rusher than Washington. He is so fast when it comes to that first step and that definitely is something that I see as being his biggest strength. I thought Bowers would be a little higher on this list.

    Farrell's take: This is a quick group of pass rushers this year with a nice mix of guys who already have good size and others who have plenty of growing to do.

    Shurburtt's take: Green comes off the edge well and has a variety of moves to get to the quarterback. Washington also is special in this regard. I like Okine a lot, but there are better pass rushers. I have to question that one.

  • Vote: Who is the best pass rusher?
  • 1. William Green, 6-2, 276, Hoover (Ala.) Spain Park Green highlights
    2. R.J. Washington, 6-3, 245, Keller (Texas) Fossil Ridge Washington highlights
    3. Earl Okine, 6-6, 235, Gainesville (Fla.) Okine highlights
    4. Robert Quinn, 6-5, 245, North Charleston (S.C.) Fort Dorchester Quinn highlights
    5. DaQuan Bowers, 6-4, 267, Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-Ehrhardt Bowers highlights
    Quickest First Step
    Crabtree's take: See the comment above about Washington. I like William Green no question, but man it's hard to imagine somebody that's faster off the line than Washington. I also thought Bowers would have been higher in this category. Overall it's still a very solid and strong group.

    Farrell's take: Green is a freak off the edge, there's no one faster in the country and he reminds me a lot of Ricky Sapp from last year.

    Shurburtt's take: Having a quick first step is key to being a good pass rusher, so it's no surprise that the top two are identical. However, I would personally flip-flop Washington and Green in this category. I just think Washington is a little bit better in this department.

  • Vote: Who has the quickest first step?
  • 1. William Green, 6-2, 276, Hoover (Ala.) Spain Park Green highlights
    2. R.J. Washington, 6-3, 245, Keller (Texas) Fossil Ridge Washington highlights
    3. Toby Jackson, 6-4, 244, Griffin (Ga.) Jackson highlights
    4. DaQuan Bowers, 6-4, 267, Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-Ehrhardt Bowers highlights
    5. Michael Williams, 6-6, 240, Reform (Ala.) Pickens County Williams highlights



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