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August 23, 2009

Preseason defensive end power rankings

MORE: RB | WR | TE | G/C | OT

We continue our preseason power rankings at each position with the defensive ends.

You can check out our post-spring practice power rankings here . We will update the power rankings each week during the regular season and release the final rankings for the season after the BCS title game.

The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.


1. Jerry Hughes, TCU (6-3/257, Sr.)
While he lacks ideal size, Hughes makes plays. He was an all-state running back in high school in the Houston area but moved to end shortly after arriving on campus. He has big-time speed off the edge, evidenced by his nation-leading 15 sacks last season. Hughes also had 19.5 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a TD.

2. Greg Hardy, Ole Miss (6-4/265, Sr.)
Injuries, a lack of focus and some off-field issues have dogged Hardy throughout his career. But when he's on his game, he's a beast. He had 8.5 sacks last season despite missing four games. He has a nice blend of speed, size and strength.

3. George Selvie, USF (6-4/250, Sr.)
Selvie struggled last season after a monster sophomore campaign in 2007. He had 5.5 sacks last season, a drop of nine from '07, but he was bothered by an ankle injury that forced him out of the majority of three games. Look for a return to form this season.

4. Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech (6-2/240, Jr.)
Worilds - known as Jason Adjepong when he signed with the Hokies - put together a big sophomore season, all the while playing through an injured shoulder. He had 62 tackles, eight sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss, 21 quarterback hurries, a blocked kick and two forced fumbles last season.

5. Carlos Dunlap, Florida (6-6/290, Jr.)
It wouldn't surprise anyone to see him atop this list at the end of the season. For the most part, Dunlap has been getting by on his freakish athletic ability. He had 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss last season, when he also blocked three punts and a field goal. He was a reserve last season, but has earned a starting spot this season and coaches are raving about his intensity.

6. Sergio Kindle, Texas (6-4/255, Sr.)
Kindle will move to end full time this season after playing linebacker. He has always had the potential but finally broke through last season with 53 tackles, 10 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback pressures.

7. Corey Wootton, Northwestern (6-7/270, Sr.)
If not for a knee injury suffered in last season's Alamo Bowl, he would rank higher on this list. He has all the measurables and started living up to his potential last season, when he had 10 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.

8. Brandon Graham, Michigan (6-2/268, Sr.)
The Wolverines' defense struggled last season, but don't blame Graham. While he lacks ideal height for the position, he is quick and strong. He had 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss last season. He has 19 career sacks and can set the school record with eight more.

9. Brandon Lang, Troy (6-4/256, Sr.)
He's following in the footsteps of former Troy standouts DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora. Lang had 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss last season, and is tough to handle coming off the edge.

10. C.J. Wilson, East Carolina (6-4/271, Sr.)
He's the leader of what could be the best defensive line outside the "Big Six" conferences. He had 70 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a blocked kick last season.

11. Rahim Alem, LSU (6-3/254, Sr.)
Alem - who was known as Al Jones until 2006 - is coming off a season in which he had eight sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. He is set to be a starter this season and should increase those numbers.

12. Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma (6-3/261, Jr.)
Beal is a key cog on what might be the nation's best defensive line. He had 8.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles last season.

13. Dexter Davis, Arizona State (6-2/255, Sr.)
While Davis doesn't have prototypical size for an end, he's still a disruptive force. He has 27.5 career sacks, including 11 last season. He has started all 38 games in his career and has 39 career tackles for loss.

14. Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh (6-6/270, Jr.)
He's poised for a breakout season - and what he has done so far is impressive, too. He had 7.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss last season, giving him 11.5 and 27, respectively, in his career. He has great speed for a 270-pounder.

15. Willie Young, N.C. State (6-4/250, Sr.)
He had 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss last season, impressive numbers but still fewer than you'd expect from someone with Young's physical tools. Young has talent but he has been inconsistent; if his production matches his talent this season, look for him to equal his career total of 12.5 sacks.

16. Cameron Heyward, Ohio State (6-6/287, Jr.)
The son of former NFL RB Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, Cameron has played end and tackle for the Buckeyes, but now looks as if he'll stay at end. He has great size, but moves better than you'd expect from a 287-pounder. He has 5.5 career sacks, and he could double that this season.

17. Alex Carrington, Arkansas State (6-5/284, Sr.)
The light went on for Carrington last season, when he had 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss en route to being named the Sun Belt's defensive player of the year. He remains a bit on the raw side but definitely has pro potential.

18. Antonio Coleman, Auburn (6-3/261, Sr.)
Coleman's speed off the edge causes problems for opposing quarterbacks. He battled injuries last season, but still had 46 tackles, six sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hurries.

19. Jermaine Cunningham, Florida (6-3/252, Sr.)
He's a bit undersized but still is a playmaker for the Gators. He's solid against the run despite his relative lack of size and is coming off a season in which he had six sacks, 10 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and four pass breakups. He and Carlos Dunlap should form quite the devastating end duo this season.

20. Tyson Alualu, California (6-3/290, Sr.)
He's a great fit in the Golden Bears' 3-4 scheme. He had 62 tackles six sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Alualu, from Honolulu, is heading into his third season as a starter.

(Rankings by Rivals.com staffers Olin Buchanan, Tom Dienhart, David Fox, Mike Huguenin and Steve Megargee.)

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