football

Signing day analysis: Defensive line

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(Editor's note: For six years, Dave Childers
has provided a position by position analysis beginning the day after National
Signing Day. In an eight part series, he breaks down the class for
RebelSports.net. A look has been provided for quarterbacks, tight ends running
backs, wide receivers, linebackers, the offensive line, and defensive backs (see
links below) and today the series concludes with a look at the defensive line.
The skinny …  The loss of several key
defensive linemen made finding quality replacements a priority for the 2010
signing class and Ole Miss hauled in a bumper crop.  The defensive line
play has been a major strength for the team over the last three seasons, and the
thought among fans may have been that the departure of key linemen, like Greg
Hardy, Marcus Tillman, and Emmanuel Stephens, would result it the line becoming
an area of concern for next season, but Houston Nutt, Terry Price and Tyrone Nix
made sure on signing day that the Rebels will be in good shape next fall.
While the loss of Hardy, Tillman and Stephen
will be felt, the Rebels return a nice mixture of returning talent, inbound high
school prospects, and a key junior college signee.  The inside (defensive
tackle) looks strong with Ted Laurent, Jerrell Powe, and Lawon Scott all
returning for their senior seasons, and defensive end has one solid piece in
place with senior Kentrell Lockett.  There are young players, with varying
degrees of experience, who will compete for playing time, like Gerald Rivers
(6-foot-5, 230 pounds and physically similar to Lockett), Justin Smith and Corey Gaines.  Beyond that, the inbound players will get a look with two or
three, or even more, getting a chance to win a spot in the rotation.  With
the Rebels looking for an end to replace Tillman, two key candidates will be
Wayne Dorsey, a junior college transfer, and Carlos Thompson, who may need to
put on a few pounds between now and the fall, but may be the crown jewel in the
signing class who can impact immediately.  Miami native Delvin Jones,
another Rivals250 star, may have the ability to impact immediately, but must
first get his academics in order.  There will be less pressure on the
Madison Central duo of Bryon Bennett and Carlton Martin and also Mike Thomas, a
2009 signee who attended Hargrave Military Academy last fall, to impact if they
are slotted to play inside. 
The Rebels had a great signing class when it
comes to the defensive line, but will need to add even more prospects in 2011 to
offset the loss of the four key seniors (Lockett, Laurent, Scott and Powe).
The ones that got away ...  Ole Miss
would have loved to have had Mississippi State signee Kaleb Eulls, and made a
late push to get the longtime Bulldog commitment on campus for a visit, but it
didn't work out.  Just how good was the Ole Miss class when it came to
getting their targets?  The Rebels probably could have landed James Carmon
(Mississippi State), Ivan Robinson (Texas A&M) and Byran Jones (Arkansas) - all
four star recruits - as well as three star Jeremiah Jackson (Arkansas), had they
pushed for them, but was limited in numbers and didn't exceed the six new
players they wanted to sign.   
Overall assessment ...  The Rebels lost
some key impact players along the defensive line after last season, but did a
great job of re-loading with the addition of six new prospects.  For the
last few years, Hardy's loss has been dreaded by many Ole Miss fans, but in
reality, he stayed injured and missed so much action last fall that his loss
will not be as much of an impact as it once looked. Perhaps the bigger loss was
Tillman, who has been a consistent and an impact performer for years. 
Stephens was a contributor on the two deep and perhaps underrated, but the
talent and numbers are there to offset his departure.  Like several other
positions, Nutt and his assistants have managed the roster to the point where
there's a nice blend of senior leadership, players who have been in the program
a year or two, and inbound prospects where not only does next season look
promising, but also the next few seasons.
Grade: A
The signees…
Bryon Bennett, DL, 6-2, 250, Madison Central (HS), MS. A
SuperPrep All-American ... Named to the PrepStar and
SuperPrep preseason All-America teams ... Earned first team
All-Metro and All-State honors from The Clarion-Ledger and was
a first team Class 6A All-State pick by the Mississippi Association of
Coaches as a senior ... Rated the No. 38 defensive end in the nation by
ESPN.com ... Listed No. 9 on The Clarion-Ledger's
Top 10 Most Wanted list ... Ranked the No. 11 player in Mississippi and the No.
33 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com ... Rated the
No. 5 player in the state and the No. 56 defensive lineman in the nation by
SuperPrep ... Listed as the No. 9 player in Mississippi and the
No. 37 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com ... Ranked
the No. 9 player in Mississippi by The Sun Herald ... Helped
lead Madison Central to the 6A state semi-final game as a senior ...
Participated in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic as a senior ... Rated
the No. 12 player in Mississippi by the Mississippi Press ...
Recorded 73 tackles and 10.5 QB sacks as a senior ... Posted 72 tackles and 13
sacks as a junior ... Coached in high school by Bobby Hall.
Delvin Jones, DL, 6-3, 230, Miami (Palmetto HS), FL. Named to the
PrepStar preseason All-America team ... Earned SuperPrep
All-Region honors and was rated the No. 40 player in Florida ... Rated as the
No. 32 player in Florida and the No. 32 defensive end in the nation by
Scout.com ... Listed as the No. 25 defensive end in the country by
ESPN.com ... Earned second team All-Dade honors from the
Miami Herald as a junior and senior ... Participated in the
Broward vs. Dade All-Star Game ... Recorded 66 tackles and 16 QB sacks as a
senior ... Posted 68 tackles and 14 QB sacks as a junior ... Coached in high
school by Larry Coffey.
Carlton Martin, DL, 6-2, 270, Madison Central (HS), MS. A SuperPrep
All-American ... Named to the PrepStar preseason All-America
team ... Selected to the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team ...
Earned first team All-Metro and All-State honors from The Clarion-Ledger
and was a first team Class 6A All-State pick by the Mississippi
Association of Coaches as a senior ... Ranked the No. 6 player in
Mississippi and the No 24 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com
... Rated the No. 8 player in the state and the No. 40 DL in the nation by
SuperPrep ... Listed as the No. 7 player in Mississippi and the
No 22 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com ... Rated as
the No. 29 defensive end in the country by ESPN.com ... Helped
lead Madison to the 6A state semi-final game as a senior ... Totaled 76 tackles
and five QB sacks as a senior ... Posted 56 tackles and seven sacks as a junior
... Coached in high school by Bobby Hall.
Carlos Thompson, DE, 6-5, 220, Hollandale (HS), MS. A U.S. Army
and SuperPrep All-American ... Named to the PrepStar
and SuperPrep preseason All-America teams ... Earned first team
All-State honors from The Clarion-Ledger and second team
All-State honors from the Mississippi Association of Coaches as
a senior ... Named to The Clarion-Ledger's Dandy Dozen team and
rated the No. 2 on its Top 10 Most Wanted list ... Rated the No. 3 player in the
state and the No. 32 DL in the nation by SuperPrep ... Ranked
the No. 4 player in Mississippi, the No. 9 defensive end and the No. 175 player
overall in the nation by Rivals.com ... Listed as the No. 4
player in Mississippi and the No. 17 defensive tackle and No. 137 player overall
in the country by Scout.com ... Ranked the No. 3 player in
Mississippi by The Sun Herald ... Rated as the No. 41 defensive
end in the country by ESPN.com ... Totaled 71 tackles and 15 QB
sacks as a senior ... Posted 115 tackles and 10 sacks as a junior ... Coached in
high school by his father, Carlos Thompson.
Wayne Dorsey, DE, 6-8, 250, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College,
Perkinston, MS.  Dorsey was named the No. 1 junior college recruit in the nation
by Scout.com and the No.15 JUCO player in the nation by Rivals.com this season.
Dorsey led the Bulldogs with 10.0 sacks as a freshman and earned second team
preseason All-America honors heading into the 2009 season. A two-sport star at
Southwestern High School in Baltimore, Dorsey earned second team All-City honors
in basketball from the Baltimore Sun in 2006 after averaging 15 points and 13
rebounds a game as a senior.
2009 Signee - Enrolled in January
Mike Thomas,   DT, 6-4, 245, Mobile, Ala. (St. Paul's Episcopal) --
(Note:  Thomas attended Hargrave Military Academy last fall). A PrepStar and SuperPrep All-Region
selection ... Rated the No. 24 player in Alabama by SuperPrep ...
Ranked the No. 47 DE in the nation by Rivals.com,
No. 76 by Scout.com and No. 88 by ESPN Posted
110 tackles, 17 TFLs, and 8.5 QB sacks as a junior ... Helped lead St. Paul's to
the Class 5A state championship as a junior ... Coached in high school by Mike
Bates. 
Post-signing day analysis: Quarterbacks |
Tight Ends |
Running backs |
Wide receivers |Linebackers
|
Offensive line |
Defensive backs
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