It’s a good argument–is any position in the SEC more important than the defensive end? Maybe not. Here are five high school players–weakside defensive ends, specifically–who are recent SEC signees who look like they’ll fit comfortably into the conference. All seem to have the build and talent to succeed at this level—and probably beyond. They’ll need to be good to go against the strong offensive lines of the SEC.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All references to ratings come from the 247Sports.com composite ranking
1. Myles Garrett–Texas A&M
- James Martin (Arlington, Texas), 6-4/240
- The skinny: He’s big, but he’s not just a clueless hulking mass–this is a kid who knows how to play this position. He was a terror in the backfield his senior season, racking up 39 tackles for loss and 21 sacks–yes, you read that stat line correctly. Look for Garrett to be an immediate impact player on a defense that desperately needs some help.
2. Lorenzo Carter–Georgia
- Norcross (Ga.), 6-5/235
- The skinny: This was a signing day ‘cherry’ on top for Georgia’s impressive 2014 signing class. They had to keep this guy in state, it’s a matter of pride. Carter is very athletic and camps out in the oppositions’ backfield.
3. Dante Sawyer–South Carolina
- North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Ga.), 6-3/265
- The skinny: Sawyer is versatile enough to play linebacker, showing his ability to move–but he’ll most likely be at defensive end in college. His strength seems to be the intangibles of the position. He’s been coached well and it shows in how he handles every snap.
4. Justin Thornton–Auburn
- Vigor (Mobile, Ala.), 6-5/225
- The skinny: Thornton was born for this spot. He has the perfect build to develop into a monster at the position, and quarterbacks had better watch out. This is one of the gems of the already impressive Auburn class. The one thing that sticks out even more than most about Thornton is his quickness.
5. Keyon Brown–Georgia
- Hardee (Wauchula, Fla.), 6-3/230
- The skinny: Brown picked Georgia in the fall and he’s a huge pickup for the Bulldogs–especially with Lorenzo Carter also on board. “I think what makes a four-star player is they have good size and they play with a motor, and they play hard,” Brown told SDS. “Coaches always tell me they like my quickness, my motor, and my hands.”
Top 5 signees broken down by position:
- Dual-Threat Quarterbacks
- Pro-Style Quarterbacks
- Running Backs
- All-Purpose Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Tackles
- Offensive Guards
- Offensive Centers
- Weak-Side Defensive Ends
- Strong-Side Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles
- Inside Linebackers
- Outside Linebackers