Related BCS Ranking:
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Quarterbacks
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Running Backs
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Wide Receivers
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Offensive Linemen
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Defensive Linemen
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Linebackers
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Cornerbacks
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Safeties
Finally, we get to the position the SEC is known for – fast and physical defensive linemen. It’s a permanent imprint of the SEC in the BCS era, because the conference has dominated in championship games, namely for dominant defensive linemen.
Here are the SEC’s top 10 defensive linemen during the BCS era:
1. David Pollack, DE, Georgia (2001-04)
Notable stats: 36 sacks, 58 TFL, 117 QBH, 18 PBU, 4 INTs
Skinny: Pollack may not have been the most talented D-lineman to come through the BCS era, but his motor never stopped. The two-time SEC Player of the Year was also a three-time first-team All-SEC and three-time first-team All-American. He racked up a Georgia record 36 sacks, along with 58 tackles for loss, and I can still see his 0-yard INT for TD against South Carolina.
2. Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU (2004-07)
Notable stats: 15 sacks, 27 TFL
Skinny: Dorsey was a man-beast at tackle for the Tigers. The hometown kid helped lead the Tigers to the 2007 national championship, along with winning the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Dorsey was a two-time All-SEC and first-team All-American. He won the Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy, Outland Trophy and the Lott Trophy.
3. John Henderson, DT, Tennessee (1998-2001)
Notable stats: 20.5 sacks, 165 tackles
Skinny: Big John Henderson was a consensus All-American in 2000-01, as well as a first-team All-SEC performer. Henderson won the Outland Trophy in ‘00, and his 20.5 sacks and 165 total tackles are just ridiculous for a tackle. Henderson and Albert Haynesworth were dominant.
4. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (2011-present)
Notable stats: 21 sacks, 35.5 TFL
Skinny: Clowney has more physical talent than every single player on this list, but let’s not crown him ‘the best’ yet. His 21 sacks and 35.5 tackles for loss in two seasons alone are crazy, but his ceiling is so much higher. Clowney was the SEC Freshman of the Year in ‘11 and the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore. The fans named him AT&T’s All-American Player of the Year in ‘12, and the media named him a unanimous All-American. Can he make the jump to No. 1 in 2013? I hope we get to see Clowney’s best.
5. Alex Brown, DE, Florida (1998-2001)
Notable stats: 161 tackles, 47 TFL, 33 sacks
Skinny: After being redshirted his freshman season, Brown blew into a pass rushing giant for the Gators. He was a first-team All-SEC star in 1999-01 and a first-team All-American in ‘99 and ‘01. Brown became the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2001. His illustrious career was summed up in a five-sack performance against Tennessee in 1999. ‘Brown sacked Martin again’ became an overnight sensation, after the Gators upset the No. 2-ranked Vols 23-21.
6. Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama (2008-09)
Notable stats: 51 tackles, 10.5 TFL, .5 sacks, 2 blocked FGs
Skinny: Cody was truly a mountain of a man, and he only played two years for the Tide. But he controlled the middle for Nick Saban’s defense. After being a JUCO All-American, Saban turned him into All-SEC and All-American tackle. Cody’s stats aren’t smack-you-in-the-face good, but he dominated the interior line for the Tide. He helped lead Bama to a national championship in 2009.
7. Chad Lavalais, DT, LSU (2000-03)
Notable stats: 202 tackles, 12 sacks, 10 PD
Skinny: Lavalais was the driving force behind the Tigers’ 2003 national championship and was a consensus All-American, All-SEC and National Defensive Player of the year. He appeared in nine games as a freshman and started 41 career games. Lavalais was a finalist for both the Nagurski and the Outland Trophies. He helped lead the Tigers’ defense that was first in scoring and total defense.
8. Richard Seymour, DT, Georgia (1997-2000)
Notable stats: 223 tackles, 26 TFL, 10 sacks
Skinny: Seymour is one of the most dominant D-linemen to ever play at Georgia. He filled the middle of the defensive line for four years and registered 25 career starts. Despite playing tackle, Seymour was a tackling machine, leading Georgia with 74 in 1999. He was a first-team All-American in 2000 and two-time first-team All-SEC performer in 1999 and 2000. And we know the player he blew into once he hit the NFL scene.
9. John Abraham, DE, South Carolina (1996-99)
Notable stats: 23.5 sacks
Skinny: Nicknamed ‘The Predator’, Abraham was a menace for Gamecocks’ opponents, while being on some truly bad teams. He led Carolina in sacks four years, and his game really blew up in the NFL. Clowney will pass Abraham on SC’s all-time sack list early in the season.
10. Marcus Spears, DE, LSU (2001-2004)
Notable stats: 19 sacks, 34.5 TFL
Skinny: Spears played both tight end and defensive end as a freshman before blowing into an All-American end. Spears capped his career off in grand style as the anchor for the Tigers’ No. 3-ranked defense in the nation, recording 17 tackles for loss and nine sacks as a senior.