Recruiting: Top Defensive Tackles

Sept. 13, 2005

CSTV Recruiting with Tom Lemming
Generation Next


By Tom Lemming

Special to


The eighth in a series of positional prospect rankings examines the top defensive ends from the recruiting class of 2006.


1. Jerald McCoy, Oklahoma City Southeast, 6-5, 300 lbs., 5.0 (40-yard dash)

It's a relatively average year for defensive tackles, but there are two dominating guys who, in any year, would be ranked near the top. McCoy is a superstar-type ballplayer. He recorded 20 sacks last year, and demands double- and triple-teams. The Oklahoma City product has the grades, the size, the attitude and the aggressiveness; simply put, he's the total package. Barring injury, he is going to be an impact player in college. He's reminiscent of Tommie Harris when he went from Killeen, Texas, to Oklahoma -- McCoy is bigger than Harris was, but he's got the same kind of motor and explosiveness and athletic ability. He's got Oklahoma, Notre Dame and just about everybody else chasing him.


2. Al Woods, Elton (La.), 6-5, 325 lbs., 5.0

The best player in Louisiana is even bigger than McCoy. He's an overall-wearing farm boy from western Louisiana who works the cows in the daytime and the quarterbacks at night. This guy is not quite the explosive player McCoy is, but he's a superior run-stuffer, so each of these two guyss does one thing better than the other. This guy is dynamite against the run -- no high school team has been able to run straight up the middle against him over the past two years. Woods is committed to Louisiana State and will be an impact player as a true freshman.


3. Corey Hobbs, Oviedo (Fla.), 6-5, 320 lbs., 5.1

When it comes to stopping the run, Hobbs is not much different than Woods. The Florida prospect is an absolute brick wall against the rushing attack, just a very aggressive ballplayer with a lion-sized heart. He may not be as fast as the other guys, but he's big and he takes up a lot of space and a lot of blockers. Hobbs is committed to Florida -- and for the next four years, the Gators have got themselves an outstanding run-stuffer.


4. Butch Lewis, Regis Jesuit (Colo.), 6-7, 280 lbs., 4.8

Lewis could be an All-American at offensive tackle and defensive tackle, though he prefers playing the latter. He is the best player from the state of Colorado. On film, he's got super-long arms and is just a real dynamic ballplayer. He looks thin at 280 pounds, but recorded 11 sacks against constant double-teaming and benches 340. He's been offered by just about everybody: USC, Georgia, Texas, Nebraska, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Colorado.


5. Jason Pinkston, Baldwin (Pa.), 6-5, 280 lbs., 4.9

Pinkston was one of the first big names to commit to Pittsburgh, whose recruiting class is shaping up to be its best in two decades. The western Pennsylvania bruiser plays off blocks well, can slip blocks, moves very well laterally and is very athletic and active. After totaling 100 tackles, 7 sacks and 10 tackles for losses, he is just what the doctor ordered for Wannstedt's new defense.


6. Kenrick Ellis, Lake Worth (Fla.), 6-4, 315, 5.0

For Ellis, his tools are as good as just about anybody's, but he needs to become more consistent and learn to play hard on every down. When he does, he could become an impact player. He's got the ability -- strength, flexibility, drive, quick hands and an aggressive style of play -- he just hasn't played as well yet. Florida, Florida State and Miami have been courting actively, though Ellis has expressed interest in USC, Tennessee, Ohio State and Auburn.


7. Joe Faifili, Granger (Utah), 6-3, 290 lbs., 4.7

Faifili is the biggest sleeper in the country. At the Salt Lake City combine, he was really impressive and opened a lot of eyes. Faifili also earned All-State mention in Hawaii. He could become a collegiate All-American at offensive guard or defensive tackle. He is relentless and, even more importantly, he's got the desire to be good. Right now, he's looking at Utah, Brigham Young, Arizona State and Arizona. Nobody else even has him listed, but that just means not enough people have been getting to Utah.


8. Ben Alexander, Hanna (S.C.), 6-1, 285 lbs., 5.0

Alexander is the prototypical nose guard. He's short, stocky, super-strong, super-quick off the ball and he loves to get down and dirty with the play. He loves to take on blockers and takes it as an insult if anybody runs past him. Alexander is a model run-stopper who immediately committed to Texas all the way from South Carolina.


9. Ricky Henry, Burke (Neb.), 6-4, 300 lbs., 5.0

Henry, one of the top two players in Nebraska, is another one of those guys that it seems nobody likes to talk about. He committed early to play for the Cornhuskers, so he didn't get nearly the amount of attention he deserved. He's big, tough, strong, excellent run-stopper. He has All-American ability at offensive guard, offensive tackle and defensive tackle.


10. Leslie Stirrups, Hillsborough (Fla.), 6-3, 290 lbs., 4.85

Stirrups is one of the more explosive players in the state of Florida, where there have been a lot of real good defensive linemen. As far as quickness and production, he was the best I'd seen. He is very effective with the bull rush and has developed a repertoire of moves that make him almost impossible to block. The Big Three -- Florida, Florida State and Miami -- are all after him.



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