clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Top 2019 Pac-12 defensive linemen: Utah has the two top defensive linemen in the conference

Ranking the Top 12 Pac-12 defensive linemen going into 2019.

NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Northwestern vs Utah Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Bradlee Anae Sr. DE Utah - The Utes scored big when Anae came back for his senior season. He’ll be a frontrunner for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He’s got the size and strength to hold up against the run and still heat off the edge, with 26 tackles for-loss in his career and 16.5 sacks.
  2. Leki Fotu Sr. DT Utah - A 6’5 325 monster who can stuff the runner better than anyone in the conference and another player who turned down the NFL for one more year. He also showed the ability to make plays in the backfield in 2018 with seven tackles for-loss and 3.5 sacks.
  3. Christian Rector Sr. DE USC - Rector has killed it for the Trojans the past three seasons and is now benefiting from true defensive tackles breaking out inside for USC, allowing him to play more on the edge. He excels inside and on the edge and 20.5 tackles for-loss and 12 sacks in his career.
  4. Mustafa Johnson Jr. DE Colorado - The JC transfer was quietly dominant in 2018 and, like Rector can play inside and outside. He had more than 50 tackles, 15.5 for-loss and 7.5 sacks last season.
  5. John Penisini Sr. DT Utah - The third part of Utah’s amazing trio of defensive linemen is an underrated senior. He’s got great size (6’2 315) and strength inside and makes a lot of plays, with 38 tackles last year, seven for-loss.
  6. Luc Bequette Sr. DE Cal - One of the reasons Cal’s defense was so good in 2018 was the revelation of this 6’2 300 athlete who can play all over the line. He had 47 tackles, 6.5 for-loss and five sacks in 2018.
  7. Levi Onwuzurike Jr. DT Washington - He might be the best defensive tackle at getting into the backfield and should get more of a spotlight with Greg Gaines off to the NFL. He had more than 30 tackles and 6.5 for-loss and three sacks in 2018.
  8. Jay Tufele So. DT USC - The talented Trojan started to come into his own in 2018 and it still feels like he hasn’t put it all together. He’s 6’3 310 and one of the most-powerful players in the conference who could be an All-American by the time he’s done at USC.
  9. Tevin Paul Jr. DE Cal - Paul could be categorized as a linebacker, but he’s 6’4 270 and more of a DE in a lot of ways. He was deadly in 2018 with 44 tackles, 11 for-loss and two sacks. He brings power and speed off the edge.
  10. Jordon Scott Jr. DT Oregon - He’s a 6’1 330 bulldog that’s a stout run stuffer with a lot of power. He’s not a pass rusher, but an immovable object that makes it very hard to run up on the middle on the Ducks.
  11. Marlon Tuipulotu So. DT USC - The talented young linemen started to put it together last year, finishing with more than 30 tackles, 5.5 for-loss, and 4.5 sacks. He can hold up strong against the run, but also rush the passer.
  12. Jovan Swann Jr. DE Stanford - One of the bright spots of Stanford’s struggling defensive line was the emergence of the ultra-talented Swann. He has the talent to be first-team All-Pac-12 and finished 2018 with 6.5 tackles for-loss and four sacks.