Top players by position: Five of Georgia’s top 16 seniors man the defensive line

BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

Five of the top 16 senior recruits in Georgia are what GHSF Daily labels as defensive linemen, according to 247Sports’ Composite Ratings.

They are No. 4 Brenton Cox of Stockbridge, No. 8 Adam Anderson of Rome, No. 10 Robert Cooper of South Gwinnett, No. 15 Azeez Ojulari of Marietta and No. 16 Justin Mascoll of South Gwinnett.

Anderson is the consensus No. 2 OLB prospect nationally, but he’s an edge pass-rusher at Rome, and he’s likely to play the same role in the SEC next year.

Here are our Top 10 defensive linemen based mainly on high school production, although their status as recruits counts for a little, too.

*Adam Anderson, Rome (6-5, 230): Anderson had about 30 tackles for losses last season and helped lead Rome to its first state title. Anderson has committed to Georgia, then LSU, and now is trending back to Georgia. Rome coach John Reid calls Anderson “a defensive end hybrid.”

*Robert Cooper, South Gwinnett (6-2, 375): Cooper, the consensus No. 5 defensive tackle nationally, is committed to Florida State after completing a first-team all-state season in 2016. Georgia has probably never seen a player so good for his size. He had 62 tackles, 17 stops for losses and six sacks last season and helped 8-4 South Gwinnett to its first winning season in four years.

*Brenton Cox, Stockbridge (6-5, 240): Cox, the Region 4-AAAAA defensive player of the year and first-team all-state, is committed to Ohio State. In 2016, he had 18 sacks and another eight tackles for losses on a team that went 13-1. He’s rated the consensus No. 2 strongside DE prospect nationally.

*Thurman Geathers, North Cobb (6-3, 220): Geathers was a first-team all-state performer (GSWA, GACA) last season, when he had 15 sacks, 10 other stops for losses, and 24 QB pressures. Geathers is committed to Louisville.

*Luke Johns, Southeast Whitfield (6-5, 235): Johns – a Georgia Tech commit – had 87 tackles, 18 for losses, last season. He was first-team all-region in 6-AAAA.

*Darnell Jefferies, Newton (6-3, 275): Jefferies had 76 tackles with two sacks last season, when he was first-team all-region in 8-AAAAAAA. He’s rated the consensus No. 30 defensive tackle nationally. He is committed to Clemson.

*Justin Mascoll, South Gwinnett (6-4, 235): Mascoll made first-team all-state along with teammate Cooper last season. He had 68 tackles with eight sacks, nine others for losses, and 14 QB pressures. Rated the consensus No. 7 weakside DE prospect nationally, Mascoll has committed to Clemson.

*Azeez Ojulari, Marietta (6-4, 225): Ojulari, rated the No. 6 weakside defensive end nationally (up several spots from early summer), reportedly favors Alabama and Georgia. He had 91 tackles – 17 for losses – in just 10 games last season. Ojulari had seven additional sacks and forced two fumbles. He was first-team all-region in 3-AAAAAAA.

*Tobe Umerah, Stratford Academy (6-2, 220): Umerah, the consensus No. 25 weakside prospect nationally, has committed to Stanford. He had 44 solo tackles and 42 assists with 12 stops for losses last season, when he was named first-team all-state and all-Middle Georgia and the Region 7-A defensive player of the year.

*Dante Walker, Riverdale (6-3, 240): The only junior on the list, Walker had a big sophomore season for 6-5 Riverdale. He had 80 tackles, eight sacks and 13 other tackles for losses and forced five fumbles. He’s rated the No. 11 strongside defensive end nationally among juniors. His recruiting remains wide open.

Coming Tuesday: Linebackers

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