Our series on the best of the SEC continues. With College Football under a normal season and underway soon, the hype continues to increase. The SEC is, once again, loaded with high-caliber talent that has potential for the NFL. In this 2021 College Football season, the SEC has several dominant defensive linemen that are highly efficient in pass rushing and stopping the run. These are players that will be some of the most reliable defenders for their respective teams. Here are the top five defensive linemen of the SEC this 2021 College Football season.
The Best SEC Defensive Linemen for the 2021 Season
DeMarvin Leal – defensive end/tackle (Jr.) – Texas A&M
Of all the top SEC defensive linemen this season, Leal is easily the top defensive linemen. Leal has been a stellar defender for the Aggies. In the past two seasons, Leal has accumulated 75 total tackles, 32 solo tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, one interception, and three pass breakups. This past season for the Aggies, Leal accounted for 37 total tackles, 18 solo tackles, seven tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, one interception, three pass deflections, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Leal has ranked by several NFL Mock Drafts as a first-round selection with the potential of a top-ten pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Leal has superior athleticism, strength, agility, and aggressiveness to be a consistent rusher in the opposing backfield as a defensive tackle.
Kingsley Enagbare – defensive end (Sr.) – South Carolina
One of the most dominant and most experienced edge rushers in the SEC is Gamecocks defensive end Kingsley Enagbare. In the latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft by Pro Football Network, Kingsley is the 28th selection by the Detroit Lions. Enagbare is a highly athletic and patient edge rusher, who can play strong-side or weak-side defensive end. In the last three seasons, Enagbare accumulated 77 total tackles, 44 solo tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, two pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. In eight games this past season, Enagbare accounted for 30 total tackles, 16 solo tackles, seven tackles for loss, six sacks, and two forced fumbles. He will be the defensive captain for the Gamecocks defense this season as he is also a first-team all-conference.
Jordan Davis – nose tackle (Sr.) – Georgia
Bulldogs nose tackle Jordan Davis has been a long-time contributor and starter for one of the best defenses in the nation for several seasons. Davis has been a freshman all-American in 2018 and a second-team All-SEC selection in 2020. This preseason, Davis was named a first-team All-SEC selection for the first time in his career. In his three seasons at Georgia, Davis accumulated 58 total tackles, 20 solo tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks. In seven games last season, Davis accounted for 16 total tackles, seven solo tackles, one tackle for loss, and one sack. At 6-6, 330 pounds, Davis is one of the biggest defensive linemen in the SEC. He is also mobile and elusive in the trenches by getting off blocks from the offensive linemen. He is also able to create pressure against the opposing quarterback consistently.
Zachary Carter – defensive end (rSr.) – Florida
The Florida Gators have developed many NFL-caliber defensive linemen, especially at the edge rusher. Carter is on the verge of becoming another high pick for the Gators at the defensive line. Carter is a preseason first-team All-SEC defensive linemen this season. Last season was Carter’s best season as a Gator. He accounted for 35 total tackles, 14 solo tackles, nine tackles for loss, five sacks, two pass deflections, and one fumble recovery. Carter has seen his role change as a defensive lineman for the Gators. He will be the starting defensive end for the Gators after playing the last four as a defensive tackle. Carter’s speed and agility will be much more effective getting to the backfield more consistently.
Ali Gaye – defensive end (Sr.) – LSU
In just one season with the Tigers, Gaye has proven himself to be a valuable playmaker in the SEC. 247Sports rated Gaye as the number two strong-side defensive end of all junior college athletes in the 2020 Recruiting Class. Last season for the Tigers, Gaye accounted for 32 total tackles, 19 solo tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, six pass breakups, one interception, and one forced fumble. He accounted for the sixth-most tackles for loss in the SEC last season. His six pass breakups tied for the ninth-most in the SEC and the most from a defensive lineman. Gaye was a player that didn’t gather a lot of attraction during the preseason last year. This preseason, Gaye is a first-team all-SEC selection as he looks to end his collegiate career strong.