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Arizona’s top high school football players: Meet the state’s best defensive linemen/edge rushers

Who are the top defensive linemen/edge rushers in Arizona this season?

We’re taking a position-by-position look at some of the top players in Arizona high school football. This list focuses on the defensive linemen and edge rushers. 

There are hundreds of standout football players in Arizona and these lists are not intended to be comprehensive! Let us know about any other defensive linemen/edge rushers you think should be added.

Note: All statistics and information through Oct. 4


JJ Brutus, jr., American Leadership Academy West Foothills

Brutus has been a game-wrecker for American Leadership Academy West Foothills at the Class 3A level. The junior is leading the state in sacks with 15 and has registered 58 total tackles and 23 quarterback hurries this season. 

Noah Carter, sr., Centennial

Carter has seen time at defensive end, outside linebacker, wide receiver and even quarterback during his Centennial career. A four-star prospect, Carter will be an edge rusher in college for Washington. He has six sacks this season. 

Tony Cumberland, so., Desert Mountain

The top-ranked sophomore in Arizona, Cumberland recently committed to Oregon. The five-star phenom creates chaos from the defensive end position.

Bleu Dantzler, jr., Basha

A rising junior, Dantzler makes life difficult on opposing quarterbacks. He is a three-star prospect who holds an offer from SMU.

Cayden Gibson, sr., Arizona College Prep

Gibson tallied 18.5 sacks last year and is terrorizing opposing quarterbacks again this season. The senior is averaging nearly 10 tackles per game and has 17.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

Raevonta Hill, jr., Browne

Hill has recorded at least one sack in every game for Browne this season. The junior has 56 total tackles (14.5 for loss) and eight sacks.

Jordan Howard, sr., Basha

Howard missed the first half of the season due to injury, but the senior standout recently returned to the lineup for Basha and recorded a sack against Brophy College Prep. The three-star Central Michigan commit plays well opposite teammate Bleu Dantzler.

Jaxson Jones, sr., Yuma Catholic

A 247Sports composite four-star prospect, Jones had 17 sacks during his junior season. The Oregon commit also plays basketball for Yuma Catholic and nearly averaged a double-double last winter. He has nine sacks this season.

Devan Kennedy, sr., Brophy College Prep

The son of former NFL defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, Devan Kennedy is a disruptive force up front for Brophy College Prep. The three-star recruit is committed to Iowa.

Garrett Martin, jr., Saguaro

Martin is an imposing junior defensive lineman at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. He is a three-star recruit whose Division I offers include Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon.

Blake Moore, jr., Mohave

A standout for Class 3A power Mohave, Moore has 31 total tackles (11 for loss), seven sacks and eight quarterback hurries this season. The junior has also recovered three fumbles and has forced five over the past two years.

Mardale Rowe, sr., Brophy College Prep

Rowe is a ferocious edge rusher who has registered 38 career tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks and 24 quarterback hurries during his time at Brophy College Prep. The three-star prospect creates a dominant one-two punch up front with Devan Kennedy. Rowe holds more than a dozen Division I offers, including Arizona, Colorado and Oregon.

Elijah Rushing, sr., Salpointe Catholic

The top-rated senior in Arizona, Rushing is the nation’s No. 8 overall recruit in the 247Sports class of 2024 rankings. The five-star Arizona commit has six sacks and 31 quarterback hurries this season.

Tristen Sanchez, sr., Morenci

One of the most productive defensive linemen in Arizona, Sanchez had 23.5 sacks and 27 quarterback hurries during his junior season. He has seven more sacks this year and is sitting on 46.5 for his career with 84 tackles for loss.

Keegan Shank, sr., Chaparral

Shank is a standout defensive lineman who excels as a run stuffer and pass rusher. The three-star recruit is committed to Colorado State.

Dean Vincent, jr., Pinnacle

Vincent has blossomed into one of the premier pass rushers in the stacked Class 6A Northeast Valley. The junior is sitting on 10 sacks this season to go with 49 total tackles and 14 quarterback hurries.

Deshawn Warner, sr., Desert Edge

Warner uses his athleticism to get after opposing quarterbacks. The senior, who has eight sacks this season, is a three-star prospect who committed to Kansas over the summer.

Keona Wilhite, sr., Salpointe Catholic

Wilhite is a versatile defensive player who can stop the run and rush the passer opposite Elijah Rushing. A three-star prospect, Wilhite recently decommitted from Arizona and holds offers from Arizona State, Oregon State and UCLA, among others.

Ryan Willey, sr., Verrado

A four-year varsity player, Willey has 51 total tackles (14 for loss), nine sacks, 19 quarterback hurries and a scoop-and-score this season for Verrado. Willey also competes in track and field as a thrower.

Ramar Williams, sr., Eastmark

Williams had 71 total tackles (14 for loss), 6.5 sacks and 18 quarterback hits a season ago as Eastmark earned the Class 3A state title. The Arizona State commit already has five sacks this season. 

-- Bob Lundeberg | @sblivesports