D-Line U ?
(Photo Credit: John Reed, USA TODAY Sports)
Football is back with a BANG! What an incredible come-from-behind win over a highly ranked Oregon team. I think plenty has been said and written about this instant classic since last Saturday, so I’m going to take a look at something else that caught my eye in the college football stratosphere. I recently read an article called Position U on the ESPN website that was published July 23, 2019. We’ve all heard claims by programs as being “Quarterback U” or “Running Back U” so on and so forth. This latest listing ranked the top 10 programs in each of 8 categories, one of which seemed to forget about Auburn football: defensive Line. They have their metrics in place for ranking and inclusion, but, still, how was Auburn overlooked in this category? Let’s take a closer look.
Here’s a link to the article if you want to see what Auburn is up against: HERE
Each program listed in the top 10 of the defensive line category includes anywhere from 7 to 13 players or so. I’m going to list 12 players with three that are still active at Auburn. I will also hold to the metric of only listing players who were active from 1998 (BCS & CFP era) to present. Here’s my list for discussion:
Jay (Jeremiah) Ratliff (00-04)
Reggie Torbor (04)
Quentin Groves (04-07)
Sen’Derrick Marks (06-08)
Antonio Coleman (06-09)
Nick Fairley (09-10)
Dee Ford (09-13)
Carl Lawson (13-15)
Dontavius Russell (16-19)
Derrick Brown (16-Present)
Markaviest “Big Kat” Bryant (17-Present)
Nick Coe (17-Present)
With this year’s D-line being absolutely loaded, it’s hard to imagine that Auburn hasn’t solidified itself as one of the top programs to claim some stake to “Defensive Line U.” While I would love to see Auburn ranked in each category listed by ESPN, I questioned this one category the most.
I’ll leave you with one last tidbit: In a June 20, 2019 article in Bleacher Report, the 10 best D-lines for the 2019 college football season are ranked. Guess who came in at #10? No, not Auburn, we came in at #8 (that’s another gripe of mine, but I digress—Tulane! Tulane came in at #10. While the article acknowledges that there a “few dozen teams with better defensive lines that Tulane,” we cannot discount that this week is just as important for Auburn as last week. We simply cannot let our guard down.
Link to Bleacher Report article: HERE