Baxter: Rating the top defensive linemen in S.C.

March 26, 2014 

It’s time to take a look at the top defensive football players for the Class of 2015. Here are the top five ends and tackles:

DEFENSIVE ENDS

1. Michael Barnett (6-foot-4, 239 pounds) of Woodland is a four-star player who is one of the top strong-side end prospects in the country. He’s fierce as an edge rusher and is excellent against the run. Many rate him No. 2 behind Blackshear, but Barnett is a more physical player. He has more than a dozen offers nationwide from major FBS programs.

2. Shameik Blackshear (6-4, 239) of Bluffton is a four-star in the Rivals.com rankings. Blackshear has all of the physical tools and is ahead of Barnett in many rankings because he got an early jump on exposure. He is strong as an edge rusher and has improved on his strength and physicality in the past year.

3. Rasool Clemons (6-4, 200) of South Aiken is progressing in the weight room to get bigger and stronger. He has a great motor and his skill set is solid; he gets to the passer well but is not as strong on fighting off blockers. He has a huge upside and is a four-star in the rankings.

4. Bamberg-Ehrhardt’s LaSamuel Davis (6-4, 215) can play either side of the football. He is reminiscent of Rickey Sapp, who played at B-E before starring at Clemson. He’s physical and strong against the run. His offer sheet is a map of the Southeast and he is rated as a high three-star.

5. Myles White (6-4, 215) of Fort Dorchester is great at diagnosing the play, and his strength is against the run. He runs a little too far down hill at times, but recovers well. He’s one of the better front guys on the list against the run.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

1. Gage Cervenka (6-3, 265) of Emerald is ferocious against the run and can line up outside with his hand on the ground as a rusher. He’s extremely athletic and is a three-time heavyweight wrestling state champion.

2. Albert Huggins (6-2,280) of Orangeburg-Wilkinson has played end for the Bruins but is a three-tech at the next level and, potentially, a two-gap run stuffer. He’s strong, difficult to block and can shut down the run between the tackles. He is rated a four-star in the Rival.com rankings.

3. Eurndraus Bryant (6-2, 315) of Fort Dorchester is a monster in the middle of the Patriots’ defense. He can control two gaps and is extremely aggressive with his bull rush in the middle, almost always drawing two blockers who seldom succeed in stopping him.

4. Shaquille Crouch (6-3, 328) of Johnsonville is athletic for a big man and has a strong bull rush. He does not show multiple rush techniques, but has not had to at the Class A level as he dominates his opponents.

5. Paul McKiever (6-3, 270) of Batesburg-Leesville is a three-year starter; he gives the Panthers a strong presence up front and is strong against the run. He’s a good rush guy, athletic and strong.

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