"When 2016 began, it looked like Miami’s defense might completely unravel because of the linebackers. The idea of starting three freshmen seemed crazy. But that’s exactly what happened, and Shaq Quarterman, Mike Pinckney and Zach McCloud proved to be a force on a defense that was among the ACC’s best. With that trio having a year of experience under their belts, its easy to see Quarterman & Co. taking another step forward in Manny Diaz’s system, and the Hurricanes appear poised to have a defense that should help them contend for a division title."
I honestly don't believe FSU has a better line than us. To me FSU has star power that underachieves for their talent level. If it wasn't for Winston and Cook who knows what they would of won. We are deeper and better coached. The only people who believe FSU has a better line than us are the writer of the article for ESPN, Kaaya, and Kaaya's Dentist. Thats about it.
I knew it was written by Adelson without even looking. She is awful and knows nothing about ACC football (other than slurping FSU) . I bet 20 dollars that if you went up to her and asked her to name Miamis new assistant head coach she'd have zero idea of what you were talking about.
Best overall: Clemson. Finally, the Tigers go into the season with their defensive line as a known commodity after several years where breaking in new starters became the norm. They did not miss a beat then, and they should not miss a beat now, with Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell all returning to give Clemson potentially the best defensive line in the country. With Austin Bryant expected to be completely healthy, Wilkins could shift back inside to play tackle, but there are plenty of options either way. Scott Pagano returns and so do Albert Huggins, Richard Yeargin and Chris Register across the defensive line, giving Clemson both talent and depth on a unit that will be expected to lead the team – especially early in the season.
Christian Wilkins returns to anchor a Clemson defensive front that could be the nation's best. Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports
Runner-up: Florida State. The Seminoles lose ACC Defensive Player of the Year DeMarcus Walker, and that is a big loss. But the Seminoles return three other starters from a unit that got better as last season went on. Derrick Nnadi (six sacks, 10 tackles for loss), Demarcus Christmas (21 tackles), Josh Sweat (seven sacks, 11.5 TFLs) and Brian Burns (9.5 sacks, 10.5 TFLs) all return, and ESPN 300 defensive end Joshua Kaindoh is in for spring. That’s a pretty heady group for starters, and depth is expected to be better this season as well. There are high expectations in Tallahassee this spring, and the returning defensive line is a big reason why.
Potential sleeper: Duke. Defensive line coach Ben Albert is widely respected for getting the most out of his players, and he had great success in Year 1 with the Blue Devils, a team that has traditionally struggled in getting after the quarterback. Duke had 29 sacks last season, the fourth-highest total in school history. With an increased emphasis on playing more physically, it only stands to reason that number will go up. Especially with all the talent Duke returns across the defensive line. Two starters are back (Marquies Price and Mike Ramsay) and so are eight other lettermen, including James Hornbuckle, Chidi Okonya and Terrell Lucas (all played as true freshmen). Duke also signed ESPN 300 prospect Drew Jordan and four other defensive linemen.
Achilles’ heel: North Carolina. Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, this position has been an Achilles’ heel over the last few years and with starters Naz Jones and Mickey Bart gone, it could continue to be in 2017. North Carolina ranked last in the ACC in rush defense and tied for 11th in sacks a year ago even with their best defensive linemen in Jones. The hope is for a completely healthy Dajaun Drennon to really emerge and make an impact this season, along with players such as Jeremiah Clarke, Malik Carney, Tomon Fox and Jalen Dalton. North Carolina did sign ESPN 300 defensive end Jake Lawler and he already has enrolled, but he suffered an injured shoulder during his senior season of high school so his availability for spring practice is uncertain. There are talented players among this group. Perhaps a change to new defensive line coach Deke Adams will jump-start this unit.
Our Top 5
1. Clemson. It’s never a good idea to overlook the Tigers’ defensive line.
2. Florida State. The most improved group over the course of 2016 returns three starters.
3. NC State. Bradley Chubb’s decision to come back to school means the Wolfpack return every starter on a defensive line that helped rank No. 2 in the ACC in rush defense and had 36 total sacks a year ago. Their performance in near-upsets against Clemson and Florida State shouldn’t be forgotten.
4. Miami. The Hurricanes made dramatic improvements on the defensive line last season and return everybody on the two-deep. That includes Chad Thomas, Kendrick Norton, Joe Jackson and Trent Harris, names that are worth remembering this offseason.
5. Wake Forest. Duke Ejiofor returns to lead a talented Demon Deacons defensive line that returns seven players from the two-deep and has been instrumental in the team’s rise. Last season, teams averaged less than 4 yards per carry on the ground, and Wake Forest had 41 total sacks. Plus, the top-rated player signed is defensive end Michael Allen Jr.
Lets see where they rank our LBer's when that comes out, Will be either 1 or 2.