2012 Preseason Player Rankings - Def. Ends
Texas DE Alex Okafor
Texas DE Alex Okafor
Posted Aug 22, 2012

CFN's Top 30 Players of 2012 By Position - Defensive Ends

Preview 2012

Player Rankings - DEs

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Note: This isn't a ranking of the top pro prospects.

2012 CFN Preseason Player Rankings  
Preview 2012 | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
Tight Ends | Offensive Tackles | Offensive Guards | Centers 

Defensive Ends | Defensive Tackles | Linebackers
Cornerbacks | Safeties | Punters | Placekickers | Returners 
1. Brandon Jenkins, Sr. Florida State
After finishing the past two seasons on the All-ACC squad, Jenkins has his sights set on even more prestigious company in his final year in Tallahassee. Not just a top All-America candidate, he has the potential to be the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and could be a top ten pick in the 2013 NFL Draft if he plays up to his sky-high expectations. The 6-3, 260-pounder is one of the nation's premier pass rushers, explosive off the snap, and refusing to quit until the whistle blows. Ideally built to circle around the edge, he's great at using his long and closing speed to whip opposing tackles – when he gets a line on a quarterback, it's over. Despite seeing frequent double-teams, Jenkins has racked up 33.5 stops for loss and 21.5 sacks over the past two seasons making 41 tackles with eight sacks last year.

2. Sam Montgomery, Jr. LSU
The Tigers are known for cranking out top-flight tackles, and the star of stars on this year's great defensive line is Montgomery, a 6-4, 245-pound pass rushing terror who led the team with nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss with 49 tackles. There was some question about whether or not he'd be able to hold up after suffering a season-ending knee injury as a freshman, but he was just as speedy and just as great around the corner. Ultra-consistent with a great frame and the room to get a little bit bigger, he's in a salary drive and should be a first-round draft pick if and when he chooses to come out early.

3. Alex Okafor, Sr. Texas
It doesn't matter where Okafor lines up. He produces inside or out, starting every game last year at defensive end after moving over from the inside. The 6-4, 260-pound senior made 30 tackles with 2.5 sacks moving around in 2010, but last year he dominated on the outside making 50 tackles, seven sacks and 11 quarterback hurries with 12.5 tackles for loss. While he's not necessarily a speed rusher, he has a quick first step and is always working and hustling to make things happen. He's a consistent leader who should do even more and should ramp up the sack totals a bit.

4. Corey Lemonier, Jr. Auburn
The Auburn defensive front had to undergo a major overhaul, and the hope was that Lemonier was going to step up his play and become a star making 17 tackles with two sacks in the national title year. After mostly being known for making a few key stops in the BCS championship, he turned into a pass rushing star making 48 tackles with 9.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. The Tigers were blown away by Georgia, but Lemonier was phenomenal with two sacks and two forced fumbles, and he rocked Florida by camping out in the backfield. He came up with a steady, disruptive year even when he was keyed on spreading out 15 quarterback hurries and lots and lots of big plays. At a bulked up 6-4 and 240 pounds, he's poised and ready to be dominant.

5. Jackson Jeffcoat, Jr. Texas
A superstar recruit for a team that always gets superstar recruits, and the crown jewel of the 2010 class, he was decent as a freshman turning into a nice special teamer while waiting for his turn on the outside. Last year he got the job on the end and he showed what he could do earning second team All-Big 12 honors with a team-leading 7.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and 54 tackles. However, it took a little while gong the first six games without a sack. And then he was turned loose and there wasn't a better, more productive end in college football over the second half of the season coming up with at least one sack in each of the last seven games game except for the win over Texas A&M.   double teamed.

6. Jadeveon Clowney, Soph. South Carolina
7. Stansly Maponga, Jr. TCU
8. Jamie Collins, Sr. Southern Miss
9. William Gholston, Jr. Michigan State
10. Devin Taylor, Sr. South Carolina
11. Roosevelt Nix, Jr. Kent State
12. Barkevious Mingo, Jr. LSU
13. Dion Jordan, Sr. Oregon
14. Travis Johnson, Sr. San Jose State
15. John Simon, Sr. Ohio State
16. Joe Vellano, Sr. Maryland
17. Damontre Moore, Jr. Texas A&M
18. Michael Buchanan, Sr. Illinois
19. Kapron Lewis-Moore, Sr. Notre Dame
20. Trevardo Williams, Sr. UConn
21. Bjoern Werner, Jr. Florida State
22. Malliciah Goodman, Sr. Clemson
23. Ryne Giddins, Jr. USF
24. Quanterus Smith, Sr. WKU
25. Anthony Chickillo, Soph. Miami
26. Tremayne Scott, Sr. Ohio
27. Walter Stewart, Sr. Cincinnati
28. Tourek Williams, Sr. FIU
29. Troy Davis, Sr. UCF
30. Abry Jones, Sr. Georgia