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Top 5 SEC Freshman Defensive Linemen

Look at last year’s matchups between Alabama and LSU.

You’ll find dominant defensive line play, as you will again this year when the two teams play in Baton Rouge, La., on Nov. 3.

The rest of the SEC has already noticed, and they’re trying to catch up.

Here’s a look at the top five true freshman defensive lineman in the SEC.

1. Dante Fowler, Jr. – Florida

He made a quick impression this fall despite a late start because of academic concerns. He could be the best pass rusher in this class. Fowler (6-3, 277) will be used early and often in Gainesville, as he showed on Saturday that he can make help this Florida defense. Watch him grow in the Gators’ program. He’ll be a star.

2. Jonathan Bullard – Florida

It’s scary to think Florida could have the top two linemen in the 2012 class. But it’s true. Like Fowler, Bullard had an academic scare before he was cleared to join the Gators. How much Bullard will be counted on early is tough to tell, but he will play this year and should be a big part of Florida’s future. Bullard (6-3, 271) has great size and should be a perfect fit in Will Muschamp’s defense.

3. Quay Evans – Mississippi State

He looks like an SEC-ready defensive tackle right now. Those players aren’t easy to find. Evans (6-2, 312) will play often this season. With that size and the ability to move, how could the Bulldogs keep him off the field? Evans was an important in-state signee for Mississippi State. And he isn’t the only freshman defensive tackle who’s impressed. Watch out for Nick James, too.

4. Channing Ward – Ole Miss

First-year coach Hugh Freeze was glad to see Ward receive his clearance in Mid-August. Ward still has some catching up to do, but he should be able to help the Rebels this fall. Ward (6-4, 256) will need to add weight during his career but looks good as a true freshman. Ward, along with freshmen defensive tackle Issac Gross and safety Trae Elston, should provide a nice nucleus to begin Freeze’s tenure in Oxford.

5. Korren Kirven – Alabama

He could be the next great lineman in Nick Saban’s dominant defensive system. Let’s see how Kirven (6-5, 292) is used on Alabama’s defensive line, which has plenty of depth but will need Kirven to be a standout in the future. How strong is Alabama’s recruiting right now? As soon as the Crimson Tide decided to made a late push to land Kirven, he quickly chose Alabama over Virginia Tech and Tennessee. It will pay off for Alabama.

Be sure to keep up with recruiting from across the SEC on MrSEC.com’s Recruiting Page.

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UF Not Finishing Fast

Florida will have a highly-ranked signing class when the smoke clears.  You can be sure of that.  So there’s no need to weep and wail in the Sunshine State today.  But the Gators could have had The Best Class In America with a strong finish today.  To date, that’s not happened.

First, the Gators lost out on Valdosta linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons who chose Georgia.  In-state cornerback Tracy Howard followed by selecting Miami.  Then old nemesis Lane Kiffin snuck into the Sunshine State and made off with two of the state’s top players, both of whom were considering the Gators — receiver Nelson Agholor and defensive tackle Leonard Williams.

Florida did convince defensive end Dante Fowler to flip-flop from Tallahassee to Gainesville and — as noted above — UF will still wind up with a primo class.  But, oh, it could have been so much more.

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Dante Fowler Dumps FSU For Florida

Another last-minute flip-flop in the SEC today.  Will Muschamp and Florida have turned defensive end prospect Dante Fowler, Jr.  The player initially committed to the Seminoles, but he inked with the Gators today.

It’s always good to get a last minute flip, but to steal one from a rival… that’s got to be sweet for Gator Nation.

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