Projected top players by position: Defensive line talent strong as usual

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

(Jason Getz / AJC)

(Jason Getz / AJC)

It’s expected that Georgia will have some of the nation’s top defensive linemen.

This season, Aubrey Solomon of Lee County, Malik Herring of Mary Persons and M.J. Webb of Morgan County are each among the top 10 players at their positions nationally in recruiting circles, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Our series on the 10 best Georgia high school players at each position continues with the defensive men in the trenches.

*Michael Allen, Lanier (6-4, 220): Allen is a great pass rusher who had eight sacks and 12 QB hurries last season and another 15 tackles for losses.That was while sharing the line with all-class player of the year Derrick Brown.Allen is the consensus No. 37 prospect in Georgia. His reported leaders are Georgia, Tennessee and Wake Forest.

*Malik Herring, Mary Persons (6-5, 245): Herring is rated the No. 4 strongside defensive end nationally, and No. 98 player overall,He had 10 sacks and 24 other losses (for a total of 144 negative yards) for an 11-1 team last season and was first-team all-state. He’s also a pretty good tight end. His reported leaders are Alabama, Clemson and Georgia.

*Jaden Hunter, Westlake (6-3, 220): Hunter played linebacker and rush end last season. He was credited with 20 tackles for losses, five sacks and 19 QB hurries on a team that made the Class AAAAAA quarterfinals. He’s rated the No. 16 prospect in Georgia and No. 11 outside-linebacker prospect nationally. Hunter has committed to Georgia, where his father, Brice Hunter, once played at wide receiver.

*Emmanuel McNeil, Central Gwinnett (6-3, 220): McNeil was a big-play player for the Knights last season. He had eight sacks and 20 other tackles for losses. McNeil is a top-50 overall prospect in Georgia and has offers from Alabama, Florida and others.

*Justin Mascoll, South Gwinnett (6-4, 210): Mascoll is the top-rated weakside defensive end nationally in the class of 2018. As a sophomore, Mascoll had 62 tackles, eight sacks and five other stops for losses and was the only underclass defensive lineman to make all-county teams in Gwinnett.

*Aubrey Solomon, Lee County (6-3, 305): Solomon had 13 tackles for losses, eight sacks, nine QB hurries and nine “big hits” last season.Solomon is rated the No. 11 prospect in Georgia, the top defensive tackle, and the No. 6 DT nationally. He is committed to Michigan.

*Aaron Sterling, Stephenson (6-2, 260): Sterling recorded 24 sacks and 34 stops behind the line in 2015 and was first-team all-state. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns.Given his stats, it’s surprising he’s only the No. 40 Georgia prospect this season, but the undersized Sterling is good enough to get an Alabama offer, which he accepted.

*Tyrone Truesdell, Laney (6-4, 330): Truesdell was first-team all-Region 3-AAA last season. He’s rated the No. 35 prospect in Georgia. His reported leaders are Auburn, Florida and South Carolina.

*M.J. Webb, Morgan County (6-5, 230): Webb was the Region 8-AAA defensive player of the year last season. He’s the No. 26 prospect in Georgia. His top choices appear to be South Carolina and Auburn.

*Devonte Wyatt, Towers (6-4, 300): Wyatt had seven sacks and 10 other tackles for losses in just 10 games for Towers. Keep in mind he’s a 300-pounder, and he runs a reported 4.6 in the 40 and is rated as a defensive end. Wyatt is committed to South Carolina, although Georgia is not giving up and considers Wyatt and Solomon to be the best defensive tackles in the state. Wyatt is rated the No. 70 prospect in Georgia.

Coming Tuesday: Linebackers

How they rank

Here are how Georgia’s senior defensive linemen have been rated in the top 10 nationally as recruits at their positions since 2013, when DE Robert Nkemdiche was rated the No. 1 recruit at any position.

Defensive tackle

2017 – 6. Aubrey Solomon, Lee County (Michigan)

2016 – 4. Derrick Brown, Lanier (Auburn); 7. Antwuan Jackson, Cedar Grove (Auburn)

2015 – 1. Trenton Thompson, Westover (Georgia)

2014 – None

2013 – 3. Montravius Adams, Dooly County (Auburn). 6. Kelsey Griffin, Mill Creek (South Carolina)

Strongside defensive end

2017 – 4. Malik Herring, Mary Persons (undecided); 8. M.J. Webb, Morgan County (undecided)

2016 – None

2015 – Jonathan Ledbetter, Tucker (Georgia)

2014 – None

2013 – 1. Robert Nkemdiche, Grayson (Ole Miss); 9. Isaac Rochell, ELCA (Notre Dame)

Weakside defensive end

2017 – None*

2016 – 2. Antonneous Clayton, Dooly County (Florida); 10. Chauncey Manac, Clinch County (Georgia)

2015 – 4. Arden Key, Hapeville Charter (LSU); 5. Natrez Patrick, Mays (Georgia); Mekhi Brown, Carver-Columbus (Alabama); 8. D’Andre Walker, Hughes (Georgia); 9. Chauncey Rivers, Stephenson (Georgia)

2014 – 2. Lorenzo Carter, Norcross (Georgia)

2013 – 1. Carl Lawson, Milton (Auburn)

*Robert Beal, who played for Norcross last season, is No. 2. He transferred to IMG Academy in Florida.

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