Power Ranking Top 10 DT Recruits in Class of 2015

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystMarch 6, 2014

Power Ranking Top 10 DT Recruits in Class of 2015

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    Texas star Daylon Mack
    Texas star Daylon MackCredit: 247Sports

    Defensive tackle talent arguably runs deeper than any other position in the 2015 recruiting class. Versatility and toughness shine through on the game tapes of many premier prospects.

    We cut the list down to 10 top recruits, recognizing reaction time, strength and short-area quickness. Here's a look at the best of the bunch through three high school seasons.

10. Adam McLean

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    Size: 6'1", 282 pounds

    School: Quince Orchard High School (Bethesda, Md.)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    Adam McLean transferred to Quince Orchard after attending Avalon High School (Gaithersburg, Va.) through his sophomore season. He tallied 47 tackles and seven sacks during a 10-win campaign, per GoUpstate.com.

     

    Scouting Report

    McLean won't make blockers miss up front, but he is stout enough to stand them up and identify his gap. Once he senses daylight, his pursuit is impressive and disruptive.

    He displays solid lateral movement but remains somewhat stiff in the hips. McLean may be best suited at the 3-technique.

     

    Recruitment Status

    Maryland aims to keep McLean at home, while Penn State continues to pursue and hosted him for a February junior day. USC, Ohio State, Nebraska and Michigan State are all strong contenders.

9. Shy Tuttle

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    Size: 6'3", 315 pounds

    School: North Davidson High School (Lexington, N.C.)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    Shy Tuttle totaled 73 tackles for Knights. He added five blocked passes and also returned an interception for a touchdown.

     

    Scouting Report

    Tuttle swallows up running backs on attempts up the middle, overpowering offensive linemen. He explodes into the backfield with burst but doesn't bring quick-trigger agility to the field.

    His pass-rushing skills are impressive for a player of his stature. He tends to disrupt the quarterback's passing window by putting his hands up and swatting at the football.

     

    Recruitment Status

    North Carolina has persistently recruited Tuttle, who may be the team's top in-state target. He attended the Tar Heels' basketball game against Duke in February. Beyond state borders, Stanford, Texas, Alabama and Clemson are coming hard at the talented defender.

8. Christian Wilkins

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    Size: 6'4", 290 pounds

    School: Suffield Academy (Suffield, Conn.)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    Christian Wilkins helped lead the Tigers to an undefeated fall. He finished second on the team with 57 tackles and added seven sacks, per MaxPreps

     

    Scouting Report

    Wilkins can fill a variety of roles at the next level. He's large enough to set up shop as an interior anchor, playing nose tackle.

    However, his ability to penetrate the pocket presents opportunities near the line's exterior. He keeps his legs churning and eyes on the target throughout a play, pummeling his target with an explosive collision upon contact.

     

    Recruitment Status

    The majority of Wilkins' offers arrived after his sophomore season, including Florida State, Stanford, Ohio State and North Carolina. Notre Dame joined the race in late February.

7. Jacob Daniel

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    Size: 6'4", 310 pounds

    School: Clovis North High School (Clovis, Calif.)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    The Broncos advanced to the Central California championship game with Jacob Daniel supplying dominant play up front.

     

    Scouting Report

    He predominately lines up at nose tackle in high school but projects favorably as a 3-technique at the next level. Daniel controls initial contact with strong first-step tendencies and powerful hands.

    Issues arise after the snap, when he tends to lose bend in his knees and doesn't take full advantage of an impressive wingspan. He displays a polished swim move and works his way into gaps without hesitation.

    He wraps up when it's time to finish off an effort and bowls over ball-carriers.

     

    Recruitment Status

    Daniel decommitted from Washington in December, setting the stage for recent offers from Notre Dame, Arizona State, Ole Miss and Alabama. There's a strong chance he follows former Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian to USC.

6. Tim Settle

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    Size: 6'3.5", 305 pounds

    School: Stonewall Jackson High School (Manassas, Va.)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    Tim Settle helped the Raiders reach state quarterfinal action. He compiled 92 tackles and four sacks, according to SportsTalkSC.com.

     

    Scouting Report

    Settle probably won't want to carry more weight, as he is already right around where he needs to be at the next level. He sheds blockers with explosiveness and effective lateral footwork.

    His technique is tight, and he uses a strong base to fuel a powerful upper body. He is tenacious in his pursuit, but added patience at the point of attack would allow him to better monitor a play's development in the backfield.

     

    Recruitment Status

    He spent February junior days at West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Settle tops the in-state recruiting board at Virginia while fielding significant interest from Ohio State, Alabama and Florida State.

5. Rasheem Green

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    Size: 6'5", 275 pounds

    School: Junipero Serra High School (Gardena, Calif.)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    Rasheem Green shined on the star-studded Southern California title contender. He finished the season with 57 tackles and a team-high 14 sacks, per MaxPreps.

     

    Scouting Report

    Green wreaks havoc in high school as an end in the Cavaliers' 3-4 defensive scheme. He should slide inside in the future, using his ability to pivot and pursue against guards.

    He may not be able to consistently handle offensive tackles with long reach because his length isn't a strong suit, but the 3-technique seems like an ideal landing spot. He gives maximum effort and maintains proper balance amid the chaotic trenches.

     

    Recruitment Status

    USC and UCLA are locked in a battle for the local standout. Green has also garnered offers from LSU, Florida, Stanford and Alabama.

4. Daron Payne

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    Size: 6'2", 316 pounds

    School: Shades Valley High School (Birmingham, Ala.)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    Daron Payne helped propel the Mounties to a 10-win season. He secured 65 tackles and two sacks, according to AL.com.

     

    Scouting Report

    In terms of raw strength, Payne may command more respect than any defensive prospect in America. He regularly draws double- and triple-team containment but fights his way through with ferocity and tireless leg movement.

    He remains raw in several capacities, including pad level. He won't be able to rely on strength alone in college, so his focus must shift toward technique, and that starts with staying low. 

     

    Recruitment Status

    It's going to be hard for Payne to leave his state with Auburn and Alabama both chasing him. Georgia, Clemson and Florida State are hoping he heads elsewhere.

3. Albert Huggins

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    Size: 6'3", 279 pounds

    School: Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School (Orangeburg, S.C.)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    Albert Huggins came up big for the Bruins on the way to a playoff berth. He compiled 65 tackles and 11 sacks, according to The Times and Democrat.

     

    Scouting Report

    Huggins has top-end speed for an interior defender, which gives him a major advantage against lumbering offensive linemen. He makes quick work of blockers, using a strong first step to set up his course toward the football.

    His explosiveness shows up against the pass, as he provides a serious rush up the middle. Huggins has the frame to tack on another 20 pounds and remain an impact pocket disruptor.

     

    Recruitment Status

    South Carolina and Clemson are engaged in another turf war for Huggins. He is also very much on the radar for Georgia, Ole Miss and LSU.

2. Daylon Mack

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    Size: 6'2", 310 pounds

    School: Gladewater High School (Gladewater, Texas)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    Daylon Mack bolstered the Bears defensive attack by bullying opponents throughout a breakout campaign. He registered a career-high 97 tackles, including 36 for loss, and six sacks.

     

    Scouting Report

    Mack is an athletic specimen. He possesses a level of speed that allows him to take handoffs in the offensive backfield (yes, he lines up at fullback) and chase down opponents along the perimeter.

    His pad level is predominately on point and complements a strong bull rush that obliterates the backfield. He makes so many plays behind the line of scrimmage due to a powerful lower body that knocks linemen backward off the snap.

    He doesn't hold back when it's time to unleash hits, which is evidenced by eight forced fumbles in 2013.

     

    Recruitment Status

    Mack committed to Texas A&M in December. Since then, he's received offers from Stanford, Auburn and Ohio State. He spent time on campus with the Tigers in February.

1. Trent Thompson

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    Size: 6'4", 292 pounds

    School: Westover High School (Albany, Ga.)

     

    Junior Season Highlights

    Trent Thompson helped push the Patriots into the second round of postseason play. He totaled 83 tackles and 12 sacks.

     

    Scouting Report

    Thompson is the total package at defensive tackle, where he shows the explosion of an inside linebacker at nearly 300 pounds. His knee bend is excellent, as he maintains low pad level and avoids presenting himself as a large target for offensive linemen.

    He is violent inside and shoves his way through double-team efforts. Once he finds room to work and the running back is in his sights, it's lights out.

    He is an effective pass-rusher as well. He will improve in that capacity once he masters a series of finesse moves.

     

    Recruitment Status

    Thompson attended recent junior days at Auburn and Alabama. Georgia and Florida State have been involved with his recruitment, while Ohio State, Penn State and Louisville extended offers in February.

     

    All prospect information and statistics courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.