Rivals Rankings Week: Breaking down the DL rankings
The final prospect rankings of the 2019 have been released and Rivals.com continues its release with a position-by-position look at how things shook out. Here, we examine the headlines on a group of talented defensive linemen that will shape the college football landscape for the next few years.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Monday: Top 10 revealed
Thursday: Position rankings released
TEAMS WITH TOP SIGNEES: Oregon, South Carolina, Alabama
The three defensive line positions have a variety of flavor at the top, with No. 1 weakside defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux heading to Oregon, top strongside defensive end Zacch Pickens heading to South Carolina and No. 1 strongside defensive end Antonio Alfano headed to Alabama.
The Tide are no strangers to landing elite defensive linemen, and it’s highly likely that Alfano will be counted on to step in and see the field early after a number of Tide linemen head to the NFL. Landing a top defensive lineman is nothing new for South Carolina either, as the Palmetto State seems to churn out elite linemen on a yearly basis, the most famous of which was former No. 1 overall player Jadeveon Clowney. Oregon hasn’t been in this position in quite a while, adding a five-star defensive lineman for the first time since Haloti Ngata signed with the school in 2002.
PROSPECT TO WATCH: Ishmael Sopsher
There aren’t many elite linemen still on the market, and while Sopsher took a tumble in the rankings after struggling at the Under Armour Game in Orlando he’s still a priority for several schools, including Oregon and LSU. Most think he will stay in state and play for the Tigers, but he is a package deal with his older brother, Rodney, an unranked junior college player, and the Ducks just offered him as well. Alabama, Texas A&M and Ole Miss are also in the hunt for Sopsher, who will let his recruitment play out all the away until Signing Day. The school that lands him could make a major move in the Rivals.com team rankings.
TEAM TO WATCH: Alabama
A lot could change between now and signing day for the Tide, who also find themselves in a fight to keep commitment Khris Bogle in the fold. Bogle announced his commitment to Alabama at the All-American Bowl on Jan. 5, but he hasn’t closed the door on his recruitment. Bogle has renewed interest in Miami since the hire of Manny Diaz, and Florida is also very much in the mix. Alabama’s recent coaching turnover also hasn’t helped matters and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Bogle end up elsewhere. With Sophsher also still in play, the Tide aren’t going to have a quiet run up until Signing Day.