Summer Standouts: Assessing the top DLs on the camp circuit
Now that the summer camps have wound down, Rivals.com is taking a position-by-position look at the summer standouts. After taking stock of the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, it's time to evaluate the defensive linemen.
Note: Players are listed in alphabetical order, not by star ranking.
• DT Caleb Brantley, Crescent City, Fla.: Brantley played well at both the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge and The Opening and possesses as much upside as anyone on this list. However, he also gave up on too many reps. He showed that he's immensely talented, but the Florida commit needs to improve his focus entering his senior season.
• DE Andrew Brown, Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith: Brown is impressive at most of the events he attends, and the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge was no exception. Brown made his case not only as the best defensive tackle in the 2014 class, but perhaps as the best in the nation.
• DE Keyon Brown, Wauchula (Fla.) Hardee: Brown's game revolves around his speed off the edge, and he showcased his quickness at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge in Dallas. Given his versatility, Brown could develop into a force to be reckoned with on either the strong or the weak side.
• DE Da'Shawn Hand, Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior: Hand is already ranked as one of the top players in the 2014 class, and he certainly didn't hurt that reputation at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge and The Opening. He was banged up a bit in Oregon, but he still displayed elite athleticism and was dominant at times against older competition. Hand was also very impressive at the Chesapeake Bowl tryout camp.
• DE Frank Herron, Memphis (Tenn.) Central: Herron stood out at LSU's camp, but he really turned heads with his performance at The Opening. A powerful edge rusher with the frame to defend the run, Herron was one of the top three defensive linemen at one of the summer's biggest events.
• DT Darius Latham, Indianapolis (Ind.) North Central: Though tabbed as an offensive lineman by some scouts, Latham showed off his defensive potential at The Opening. He's tall and a bit upright, and he needs to learn to stay low. But Latham is also quick and powerful and has a very high ceiling.
• DE Carl Lawson, Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton: Lawson was so dominant at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge that there was some speculation he could contend for the No. 1 defensive end ranking in the country. But his disappointing effort at the Opening, in which he saw limited reps and was sent home for poor behavior, introduced an element of doubt to an otherwise spotless summer.
• DE Dee Liner, Muscle Shoals, Ala.: Liner attended the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, and he showed off an uncommon level of toughness. He was limited on Day 2 with an injury, but he continued to play and battle with top-tier competition. He may not have greatly improved his stock, but he reinforced what we already knew: Liner is an elite athlete with a phenomenal motor.
• DE Malik McDowell, Detroit (Mich.) Loyola: McDowell is a massive prospect for an underclassman with sky-high potential. He's already hard to handle coming off the line. When he gains experience and betters his balance in the trenches, he could be dominant.
• DT Peyton Newell, Hiawatha, Kan. (2014): Newell demonstrated why he's received so many early offers at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge. He wowed scouts with his standout combination of power, quickness and technique.
• DT A'Shawn Robinson, Fort Worth (Texas) Arlington Heights: Robinson was dominant at The Opening and proved he belongs in the discussion of the top defensive tackles in the country. His consistent explosiveness off the snap was routinely fun to watch.
• DT Elisha Shaw, Atlanta (Ga.) Tucker (2014): Shaw is a monster defensive tackle, checking in at 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds. He showed good pad level for a taller prospect and boasts potential as an offensive lineman if defensive tackle doesn't work out.
• DT Travonte Valentine, Palm Bay (Fla.) Bayside: A Florida commit, Valentine dominated the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge. His size and imposing stature overwhelmed a strong group of competitors.
• DE DeMarcus Walker, Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood: Walker worked as a defensive tackle at The Opening, showing off his excellent use of hands and quickness. There has been talk that he doesn't possess the size to be an interior lineman, but Walker proved he can play as a big end or as a defensive tackle and have success.
• DE Andrew Williams, McDonough (Ga.) Eagle's Landing: Blessed with a coveted frame, Williams was a standout at Florida's Friday Night Lights. He boasts a good first step, good hands and plenty of room to fill out.
• DE Gerald Willis III, New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr: Already a 260-pound presence, Willis has the speed and athleticism to remain an outside rusher even if he gains 20 additional pounds. He simply dominated at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge.
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