(AP) – If you are looking for the best players in college football this season, pay attention to the defensive line.
A group of former blue chip prospects has bloomed into dominant defenders who will be wrecking offenses across the nation in 2018. Then in 2019, they will likely be packing the first round of the NFL draft.
Narrowing the star-studded class to six is difficult. Clemson alone has four. But here are the best of the big fellas who could be draft eligible in 2019:
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The junior has already announced he will enter next year’s draft. No need to wait. Oliver was practically NFL ready when he arrived at Houston, choosing his hometown university.
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State. Bosa’s brother, Joey, was a star for the Buckeyes from 2013-15 and ended up being the third overall pick in the draft by San Diego. He was defensive rookie of the year in 2016 and made the Pro Bowl last year. At 6-4 and 270, Nick Bosa appears to be on the same path.
Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan. Gary was the No. 1 overall recruit coming out of high school in 2016. He broke out as a sophomore last season, with 5 1/2 sacks.
Yep, all of them. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Austin Bryant all could have left school after last season.
Iron Bowl rivals
At 6-7, 306, there is no more imposing player in college football than Alabama’s Raekwon Davis, who had 10 tackles for loss last season and seems primed to be just the next in a long line of dominant defenders for Nick Saban.
Zach Allen, DE, Boston College. Allen broke out as a junior last season. He was one of two defensive linemen in the country to make at least 100 tackles.
Six more defensive lineman to watch in 2018:
Ben Banogu, DE, TCU
Greg Gaines, DT, Washington
Joe Jackson, DE, Miami
Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame