Best of the best: Defense

The Rivals.com recruiting experts have broken down countless hours of film and racked up plenty of frequent flyer miles to see the top prospects compete in games and at events across the country to come up with the most extensive and accurate prospect rankings and evaluations you will find. In the process of evaluating overall talent, several prospects gained notice for their mastery of specific skills.

Here are our postseason rankings for defensive players in a number of different categories.

For the offensive rankings, click here.

QUICKEST

1. Marcus Forston, Miami (Fla.) NorthwesternSigned with MiamiWas in the opposing backfield all week at U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices.

2. DeAngelo Tyson, Statesboro, Ga.Signed with GeorgiaShowed off his speed all week in practice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

3. Corey Liuget, Hialeah, Fla.Signed with IllinoisWas the most athletic defensive lineman at Offense-Defense All-American Bowl practices.

4. Stacey McGee, Muskogee, Okla.Signed with OklahomaGets off the ball fast and doesn't slow down when making moves.

5. Chancey Aghayere, Garland, TexasSigned with LSUPlays defensive end but his body structure will allow him to excel as a pass rusher on the inside.

STRONGEST

1. Marcus Forston, Miami (Fla.) NorthwesternSigned with MiamiHad no problem moving offensive lineman out of his way all season.

2. Mike Martin, Novi (Mich.) Detroit Catholic CentralSigned with MichiganMartin boasts a 420-pound bench press max.

3. Brandon Thompson, Thomasville, Ga.Signed with ClemsonHe had a tremendous bull rush at the Under Armour practices.

4. Omar Hunter, Buford, Ga.Signed with FloridaWhen technique didn't work, he flat out ran over offensive lineman all season.

5. Jarvis Humphrey, Cedar Hill, TexasSigned with TexasHumphrey is another bull-rush expert who excelled at the Under Armour practices.

BEST ATHLETE

1. Marcus Forston, Miami (Fla.) NorthwesternSigned with MiamiHe excelled as a pass rusher and a run stopper at U.S. Army All-American practices.

2. Corey Liuget, Hialeah, Fla.Signed with IllinoisHe actually returned kicks for his high school team.

3. Chancey Aghayere, Garland, TexasSigned with LSUHe displayed a quick first step and was great in pursuit at the U.S. Army All-American practices.

4. Garrett Goebel, Lombard (Ill.) MontiniSigned with Ohio StateAccomplished wrestler who uses agility well.

5. Lawrence Guy, Las Vegas (Nev.) WesternSigned with Arizona StateHas very light feet and showed them off at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

BEST RUN STUFFER

1. Stacey McGee, Muskogee, Okla.Signed with OklahomaHe is very strong at the point of attack despite raw technique.

2. Omar Hunter, Buford, Ga.Signed with FloridaAt 6-feet, 320 pounds, he is impossible to move.

3. Jarvis Humphrey, Cedar Hill, TexasSigned with TexasIt is almost impossible for offensive lineman to get under his pads.

4. Marcus Forston, Miami (Fla.) NorthwesternSigned with MiamiHe is very powerful and manhandles most offensive lineman.

5. Jurrell Casey, Long Beach (Calif.) PolySigned with USCHe helped Long Beach Poly only give up one rushing touchdown all season.

BEST PASS RUSHER

1. Marcus Forston, Miami (Fla.) NorthwesternSigned with MiamiRecorded 21 sacks in the highest classification in Florida.

2. Corey Liuget, Hialeah, Fla.Signed with IllinoisHas speed to burn as a defensive lineman.

3. Stacey McGee, Muskogee, Okla.Signed with OklahomaHis highlights show off one of the best swim moves in the country.

4. Omar Hunter, Buford, Ga.Signed with FloridaHas great technique and can be overpowering.

5. Lawrence Guy, Las Vegas (Nev.) WesternSigned with Arizona StateHas tremendous pursuit speed for a big man.

STRONGEST

1. DaQuan Bowers, Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-EhrhardtSigned with ClemsonHe was pushing around offensive tackles like paper dolls at Under Armour practice.

2. Ethan Johnson, Portland (Ore.) LincolnSigned with Notre DameHe was injured his senior year but showed great strength as a junior.

3. Nick Perry, Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther KingSigned with USCPerry flashed power despite playing out of position at U.S. Army All American Bowl.

4. Chase Clement, Thibodaux (La.) E.D. WhiteSigned with LSUHe is very strong when he engages linemen.

5. Kavario Middleton, Lakewood (Wash.) LakesSigned with WashingtonHe uses his massive size to have his way with offensive lineman.

BEST AGAINST THE RUN

1. Tony Jerod, DeSoto, TexasSigned with Texas A&MVery active with excellent instincts against the run.

2. DaQuan Bowers, Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-EhrhardtSigned with ClemsonHe is nearly impossible to move and has excellent pursuit speed.

3. Nathan Williams, Washington Court House (Ohio) Miami TraceSigned with Ohio StateHis linebacker skills coupled with his athleticism make him ideal for playing the run.

4. Michael Williams, Reform (Ala.) Pickens CountySigned with AlabamaSheds blocks well and keeps his feet.

5. Chase Clement, Thibodaux (La.) E. D. WhiteSigned with LSUKeeps blockers off by using his hands well and gets good push upfield.

BEST PASS RUSHER

1. R.J. Washington, Keller (Texas) Fossil RidgeSigned with OklahomaHe was the quickest off the edge at the U.S. Army All-American practices.

2. DaQuan Bowers, Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-EhrhardtSigned with ClemsonHe can either run around the offensive lineman or push them out of his way.

3. Nick Perry, Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther KingSigned with USCHe uses his strength to get offensive linemen off balance.

4. Tyler Westphal, Menasha (Wisc.)Signed with WisconsinAt Under Armour practices he used his long arms to get around the offensive lineman.

5. Toby Jackson, Griffin, Ga.Signed with GeorgiaMany in Georgia thought he was the most dominant player in the state.

QUICKEST FIRST STEP

1. R.J. Washington, Keller (Texas) Fossil RidgeSigned with OklahomaHe comes off the edge like a track star.

2. Cornelius Washington, Waynesboro (Ga.) Burke CountySigned with GeorgiaThis regional 100-meter champ can fly coming from his defensive end position.

3. Chaz Sutton, Savannah (Ga.) JenkinsSigned with South CarolinaNot only did this speed rusher have three sacks in the GACA North South All-Star Game, he was also a running back in high school.

4. Datone Jones, Compton, Calif.Signed with UCLAHe had 43 tackles for a loss as a senior because he gets into backfield so fast.

5. Quinton Coples, Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military AcademySigned with North CarolinaLong and rangy, he gets off the ball with a long first stride.

BEST INSTINCTS

1. Etienne Sabino, Miami (Fla.) Dr. KropSigned with Ohio StateThis student of the game made more than 150 tackles this season.

2. Sean Spence, Miami (Fla.) NorthwesternSigned with MiamiHe proved all week at Under Armour that he could play the pass or run and was seldom, if ever, out of position.

3. Nigel Bradham, Crawfordville (Fla.) WakullaSigned with Florida StateHis ability to read the run or pass led to 147 tackles and 12 sacks this season.

4. Michael Mauti, Mandeville, La.Signed with Penn StateSeems to always know where the ball is going.

5. Mike Zordich, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal MooneySigned with Penn StateHeady player has natural instincts at linebacker.

BEST RUN STOPPER

1. Jerrell Harris, Gadsden (Ala.) Gadsden CitySigned with AlabamaHe punished his own running backs all week at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.

2. Shayne Hale, Monroeville (Pa.) GatewaySigned with PittsburghBest moving forward and is strong at first contact. He could even play defensive end.

3. Darius Fleming, Chicago (Ill.) St. RitaSigned with Notre DameGood size and long frame allows him to make more plays.

4. Uona Kavienga, Los Angeles (Calif.) LeuzingerSigned with USCAt Under Armour he was smacking his own running backs around even when they were not in pads.

5. Brendan Beal, Bethlehem (Pa.) LibertySigned with FloridaLoves contact and was a battering ram during U.S. Army All-American Bowl week.

BEST CLOSING SPEED

1. Arthur Brown, Wichita (Kan.) Wichita EastSigned with MiamiHe showed off his speed chasing down Sam McGuffie from behind in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

2. William Green, Hoover (Ala.) Spain ParkSigned with FloridaHe was catching plays from the backside all week at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.

3. Ryan Baker, Blountstown, Fla.Signed with LSUDefinitely one of the fastest linebackers in the class. His play is reminiscent of Derrick Brooks.

4. Lerentee McCray, Dunnellon, Fla.Signed with FloridaHe was also very impressive live chasing the ball sideline to sideline.

5. Marcus Robinson, Homestead, Fla.Signed with MiamiTook direct angles and closed well during U.S. Army All-American Bowl week.

BEST ATHLETE

1. Nigel Bradham, Crawfordville (Fla.) WakullaSigned with Florida StateHe was the winner of the EAS Speed and Strength award over some of the other great players in the nation.

2. Marcus Dowtin, Fork Union (Va.) Fork Union Military AcademySigned with GeorgiaDidn't have an impressive week at the Offense-Defense bowl, but he was the leading tackler and rusher for his high school two years in a row.

3. Arthur Brown, Wichita (Kan.) Wichita EastSigned with MiamiWas a two-way standout on his high school team for four years.

4. Lerentee McCray, Dunnellon, Fla.Signed with FloridaThe leading tackler for his high school team also returned kicks and played tailback.

5. Brandon Beachum, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal MooneySigned with Penn StateHe was the leading rusher and one of the top tacklers on his state finalist team.

FASTEST

1. D.J. Monroe, Angleton, TexasSigned with TexasWon the Texas 4A 100-meters as a sophomore.

2. Patrick Johnson, Pompano Beach (Fla.) ElySigned with LSURan a sub-4.4 at USC Camp.

3. Boubacar Cissoko, Detroit (Mich.) Cass TechSigned with MichiganHas great backpedal and impressive closing speed.

4. Brandon Harris, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. WashingtonSigned with MiamiHe helped his team to a 4A state football title and was also part of the 2007 state track title.

5. T.J. Bryant, Tallahassee (Fla.) LincolnSigned with USCHe has run 38.02 for 300 meters.

BEST BALL SKILLS

1. Patrick Johnson, Pompano Beach (Fla.) ElySigned with LSUHe had stellar showings against great competition at USC's camp and Florida's Friday Night Lights.

2. Brandon Harris, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. WashingtonSigned with MiamiHe not only had nine interceptions the last two seasons but made 57 catches at receiver.

3. Janoris Jenkins, Pahokee, Fla.Signed with FloridaShowed off great hands at Under Armour All-American Bowl practices.

4. Brandon Taylor, Franklinton, La.Signed with LSUWas a threat on offensive and defense in high school.

5. Brandon Boykin, Fayetteville (Ga.) Fayette CountySigned with GeorgiaNot only had five picks but also took every snap at quarterback and stars at point guard in basketball.

BEST COVERAGE SPEED

1. Alonzo Lawrence, Lucedale (Miss.) George CountySigned with AlabamaShut down DeAndre Brown in Alabama-Mississippi All-Star practices and Julio Jones in the game.

2. Patrick Johnson, Pompano Beach (Fla.) ElySigned with LSUShowed off his skills camp after camp.

3. Brandon Harris, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. WashingtonSigned with MiamiDid an excellent job covering A.J. Green, Aldarius Johnson and D.J. Grant during Under Armour practices.

4. Boubacar Cissoko, Detroit (Mich.) Cass TechSigned with MichiganHad a great week covering DeAndre Brown, Brice Butler and DeVier Posey at U.S. Army All-American practices.

5. Janoris Jenkins, Pahokee, Fla.Signed with FloridaDid a great job all week at Under Armour covering Joshua Jarboe, Daryl Stonum, and Julio Jones.

MOST PHYSICAL

1. Patrick Johnson, Pompano Beach (Fla.) ElySigned with LSUAt 6-foot-1, 193 he makes it very hard for receivers to get off the line of scrimmage.

2. Janoris Jenkins, Pahokee, Fla.Signed with FloridaI saw him up close knock Joshua Jarboe to the ground off at the line of scrimmage.

3. Alonzo Lawrence, Lucedale (Miss.) George CountySigned with AlabamaGreat size -- 6-foot-1, 195 -- allows him to match up with large receivers.

4. Travis Howard, Miami (FL) Dr. KropSigned with Ohio StateAnother tall corner at 6-feet, he made 72 tackles and was named all-state.

5. Aaron Hester, Compton (Calif.) DominguezSigned with UCLABig corner had a whopping 89 tackles.

BEST ATHLETE

1. Alonzo Lawrence, Lucedale (Miss.) George CountySigned with AlabamaHe's easily one of the best corners in this class and he caught 30 passes and returned five kickoffs for TD's.

2. Brandon Harris, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. WashingtonSigned with MiamiStarred on both sides of the ball for state champions and excels in track and field.

3. D.J. Monroe, Angleton, TexasSigned with TexasRunning back was also a demon as a punt and kickoff returner. He showed great cover skills on special teams at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

4. Charles Whitlock, Chester, S.C.Signed with South CarolinaHe was the star quarterback on a state title team and excelled at defensive back at the Under Armour game.

5. Brandon Boykin, Fayetteville (Ga.) Fayette CountySigned with GeorgiaLed his school to its first undefeated season and can dunk a basketball with ease at 5-foot-9.

FASTEST

1. Spencer Adams, Matthews (N.C.) ButlerSigned with ClemsonHe showed great speed at Under Armour, even working out at corner against the taller receivers. He is ranked second nationally in the 110-meter hurdles.

2. Aaron Williams, Round Rock (Texas) McNeilSigned with TexasHe displayed incredible speed and coverage skills at the U.S. Army All-American practice.

3. Joseph Ibiloye, Garland (Texas) South GarlandSigned with OklahomaHe is a speed demon on special teams and can make a big hit from out of nowhere.

4. C.J. Holton, Crawfordville (Fla.) WakullaSigned with MiamiHas the size of a linebacker and really accelerates when making tackles at the line of scrimmage.

5. Rahim Moore, Los Angeles (Calif.) DorseySigned with UCLAHad a great week of practice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, especially making big hits on passes thrown over the middle.

BEST BALL SKILLS

1. Aaron Williams, Round Rock (Texas) McNeilSigned with TexasA safety with cornerback skills which were on displaye at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices.

2. Vaughn Telemaque, Long Beach (Calif.) PolySigned with MiamiHe made three amazing interceptions in the Pac 5 championship game victory.

3. Jamoris Slaughter, Stone Mountain (Ga.) TuckerSigned with Notre DameHe had eight interceptions and 16 pass breakups in his junior and senior year combined.

4. Okechuckwu Okoroha, Greenbelt (Md.) Eleanor RooseveltSigned with Boston CollegeHe had four picks in limited action as a senior.

5. Dee Finley, Auburn, Ala.Signed with FloridaHe had an incredible 14 interceptions in his junior and senior season combined.

BEST COVERAGE SKILLS

1. Aaron Williams, Round Rock (Texas) McNeilSigned with TexasIt has been debated whether he is a tall corner or a free safety with incredible coverage skills.

2. Vaughn Telemaque, Long Beach (Calif.) PolySigned with MiamiThis safety is so athletic he may be used as a big corner at the next level.

3. Spencer Adams, Matthews (N.C.) ButlerSigned with ClemsonAt the Under Armour practices he was used as a corner against the taller receivers and looked very good.

4. Charles Mitchell, Clarksdale, Miss.Signed with Mississippi StateHis performance at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic proved he could be a cover corner.

5. C.J. Holton, Crawfordville (Fla.) WakullaSigned with MiamiHe really excelled at picking up backs out of the backfield his senior season.

HARDEST HITTER

1. Ramon Buchanan, Melbourne (Fla.) Palm BaySigned with MiamiHe displayed the ability to roam sideline to sideline and make the big hit at the Under Armour practices.

2. Rahim Moore, Los Angeles (Calif.) DorseySigned with UCLAHe laid crushing blow after crushing blow on his teammates at the U.S. Army All-American practices and then did it in the game.

3. Joseph Ibiloye, Garland (Texas) South GarlandSigned with OklahomaGame against Rockwell showed he is a linebacker playing safety.

4. Dee Finley, Auburn, Ala.Signed with FloridaThis safety is the size of a linebacker and hits like one.

5. C.J. Holton, Crawfordville (Fla.) WakullaSigned with MiamiHe is another safety that could be a hard-hitting linebacker at the next level.

FASTEST

1. Lamaar Thomas, Fort Washington (Md.) FriendlySigned with Ohio StateHe won the state 100-meter title.

2. Derrick Hall, Beaumont (Texas) CentralSigned with Texas A&MRan the anchor leg for the 4x100 district champions.

3. Will Hill, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's PrepSigned with FloridaHe displayed blazing speed as a punt returner at the Under Armour practices.

4. A.J. Alexander, Altoona, Pa.Signed with Florida StateWas fourth in the state 100-meters as a sophomore.

5. Davon Johnson, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. WashingtonSigned with MiamiThis state title track team member ran an electronic-timed 4.48 at the Miami Nike Combine.

MOST ATHLETIC

1. Will Hill, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's PrepSigned with FloridaLooked very good playing safety, wide receiver, running back, punt returner and kick returner at Under Armour practices.

2. E.J. Abrams-Ward, Thomasville, N.C.Signed with TennesseeThis great football player is a high-flying dunking machine on the basketball court.

3. Mark Barron, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul'sSigned with AlabamaHe has the athleticism to play running back, linebacker or safety at Alabama.

4. Derrick Hall, Beaumont (Texas) CentralSigned with Texas A&MHall can play running back, defensive back and return kicks. He is also one of the state's top track stars.

5. Dyrell Roberts, Smithfield, Va.Signed with Virginia TechThis three-sport star also excels at basketball and track and field.

BEST BALL SKILLS

1. Will Hill, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's PrepSigned with FloridaHe looked natural catching passes and kicks at the Under Armour practices. Look for Florida to use him on offense.

2. Burton Scott, Prichard (Ala.) VigorSigned with AlabamaLooked very natural with the ball in his hands while working at receiver and punt returner during Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic and Under Armour practices .

3. Davon Johnson, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. WashingtonSigned with MiamiThis potential two-way star has incredible hands he showed off during a state title run.

4. D.J. Shoemate, Anaheim (Calif.) ServiteSigned with USCPlayed mostly running back his senior year and excelled at catching the ball out of the backfield.

5. Deangelo Peterson, Baton Rouge (La.) Desire Street AcademySigned with LSUThis two-way star led his team to the state semifinals catching 39 passes for 675 yards and 10 TDs. He also recorded 104 tackles, four sacks and four picks.

BEST JUMBO ATHLETE

1. Richard Samuel, Cartersville (Ga.) CassSigned with GeorgiaThis two-way standout rushed for 1,429 yards and 24 TD's while accumulating 82 tackles.

2. Jarmon Fortson, Columbus (Ga.) CarverSigned with Florida StateThis giant receiver caught 55 passes for 991 yards and 13 TD's, yet many schools recruited him as a linebacker.

3. Mark Barron, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul'sSigned with AlabamaHe excelled as a running back, wide receiver and linebacker.

4. E.J. Abrams-Ward, Thomasville, N.C.Signed with TennesseeThis 6-foot-5 athlete is being recruited as a linebacker, wide receiver and quarterback at the next level.

5. Chris Harper, Wichita (Kan.) NorthwestSigned with OregonThis dual-threat quarterback ran for 600 yards and passed for 950 yards as a senior. Colleges were recruiting him as a running back, quarterback and linebacker.

STRONGEST LEG

1. Caleb Sturgis, Saint Augustine, Fla.Signed with FloridaHit a 51-yarder in the state championship game and hit booming kickoffs at the Under Armour practices.

2. Kevin Harper, Mentor, OhioSigned with PittsburghHit a state record 62-yarder and had 50 touchbacks.

3. Justin Sorensen, South Jordan (Utah) BinghamSigned with BYUThis state champion power lifter had 81 touchbacks as a junior and looked great at the U.S. Army All-American practices.

4. Randy Bullock, Klein, TexasCommitted to Texas A&MHe hit the second-longest field goal in Houston Area history and made All-Area First Team as a junior.

5. Drew Alleman, Scott (La.) AcadianaWalking on at LSUHis kickoffs were eight yards deep in the state championship game and his booming punts had more than four-second hang times.

MOST ACCURATE

1. Quinn Sharp, Mansfield (Texas) Mansfield SummitSigned with Oklahoma StateHe displayed a very accurate leg during the Offense-Defense practices in Ft. Lauderdale.

2. Chris Philpott, Atlanta (Ga.) St Pius X SchoolSigned with LouisvilleHe was 12-of-15 as a senior with longs of 49, 50 and 51.

3. Carson Wiggs, Grand Prairie (Texas) South Grand PrairieSigned with PurdueHe had a great week of practice at Under Armour and looked natural kicking the ball off the ground.

4. Blair Walsh, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Cardinal GibbonsSigned with GeorgiaHe finished his senior season making 14-of-22, including two 59-yarders.

5. Jeff Locke, Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain RidgeSigned with UCLAHe was 100 percent on extra point attempts during his high school career.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.