The defensive line is the backbone of what makes the SEC great, that’s the way we see it at Saturday Down South. Here’s a look at the top 5 strongside defensive ends that have a realistic chance of ending up on SEC rosters.
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the 247Sports.com composite rankings. Also, for more in-depth SDS written stories about these top prospects, click on the blue links.
- SEC schools: Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU
- The skinny: Jefferson is rated the No. 1 strongside defensive end in the nation, so you can bet he has his share of colleges change him. He’s very athletic and very intelligent, a great combination for the position. He is probably the Gators’ to lose.
2. Terry Beckner, Jr., East Saint Louis (Ill.), 6-4/270
- SEC schools: LSU, Mizzou, Tennessee, Florida
- The skinny: USC and Ohio State want Beckner too, and he is a bit closer to Big Ten country than your typical SEC target–but keep in mind, he’s very close to Mizzou’s campus, and Sheldon Richardson and Michael Sam left quite an impression on recruits when it came to how well D-linemen do with the Tigers.
3. Byron Cowart, Seffner (Fla.), 6-4/250
- SEC schools: Florida, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee
- The skinny: Cowart is considered a near lock to end up at Florida, which would be quite a dynamic duo should Jefferson (above) also end up with the Gators as many predict. Cowart is super quick, so keep an eye on that.
4. Kyle Phillips, Nashville (Tenn.), 6-4/255
- SEC schools: Tennessee, Vandy, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia
- The skinny: Phillips is highly sought after, but it’s hard to see him leaving his home state. Before the coaching change at Vandy, it appeared the Commodores had a good chance at landing this athletic end, but now Tennessee is a force to be reckoned with.
5. Jonathan Ledbetter, Tucker (Ga.), 6-5/265
- SEC schools: Committed to Alabama
- The skinny: He may be on board with the Crimson Tide, but that’s not stopping the SEC powers from trying to wrestle him away from Alabama. In-state Georgia and nearby Auburn are also trying very hard to entice him.