Georgia’s Top Schools for Defensive Linemen

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For decades, Georgia High School Football has been the home for outstanding defensive linemen, consistently proving that the state produces some of the best defensive linemen in the nation. The talent displayed by defensive linemen is seen on every football field on Friday nights across the state. Below, I will list 10 of the state’s top programs when it comes to defensive linemen. The criteria that was considered in making this list varied program to program. For example, some of the programs made the list based on specific moments of unprecedented success on the defensive line for their respective programs, while others were measured by more recent trends.

This list is not perfect.

1. Grayson – The Rams place at the top of the list with several NFL defensive lineman in the past 15 years. A large part of the Rams winning state championships in 2011 and 2016 was due to the trend of producing dominant defensive lines. Most recently, former five-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, a 2013 graduate who played at Mississippi, has epitomized Grayson’s success with its defensive line. Following a three-year stint in Oxford, he declared for the NFL Draft in 2016 and was selected in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals. In 2019, he signed with the Miami Dolphins. Reaching back, four-star Lorenzo Washington, a 2004 graduate, played at Alabama and then signed with the Cowboys in 2010. He has played for the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Detroit Lions. Quanterus Smith, a 2008 graduate, played at Western Kentucky and then the Denver Broncos. Other notable Grayson defensive lineman include three-star Shawn Green (c/o 2010, Georgia Tech, DT), three-star Jack Banda (c/o 2013, Arizona WDE), three-star Justin Young (c/o 2015, Georgia SDE) and four-star Kevin Harris (c/o 2019, Alabama, DL/LB).

2. Cedar Grove – Lately, the Saints, who won the Class AAA state championship in 2015, 2018 and 2019, have steadily produced quality linemen on the defensive side, which has been a massive part of the success in the past four seasons. Recently, Cedar Grove’s most successful lineman is Brandon Greene, a former four-star recruit who graduated in 2012 and then played at Alabama. He was signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and currently plays for the Carolina Panthers. Antwuan Jackson Jr., a 2015 graduate, was named to the AJC Super 11 team and played at Ohio State after transferring from Auburn. The trend of producing lineman at Cedar Grove includes four-star Bryson Allen-Williams (c/o 2014, South Carolina, DL/OLB), DeAngelo Malone (c/o 2017, Western Kentucky), three-star Dante Walker (c/o 2019, Western Kentucky, WDE), three-star Rashad Cheney (c/o 2019, Minnesota, DT) and most recently three-star Alvin Williams (c/o 2020, Colorado, WDE).

3. McEachern – The Indians have had success with their defensive line in the recent years. Four-star recruit Ted Laurent, a 2007 graduate, played at Mississippi and then the Edmonton Eskimos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In 2014, he was awarded the Lew Hayman Trophy for being named the most outstanding Canadian player in the East Division. More notable lineman include former four-star recruit Darius English (c/o 2012, South Carolina WDE), three-star Henry Famurewa (c/o 2014, Louisville DL/OLB), four-star Julian Rochester (c/o 2016, Georgia DT), Andrew Tarver (c/o 2016, Florida International, DT), three-star Michael Fairbanks (c/o 2018, University of Alabama-Birmingham SDE) and most recently, four-star Jamil Burroughs (c/o 2020, Alabama DT).

4. Buford – Buford has won 12 state championships since taking its first title in 1978. The Wolves won four-straight championships from 2007-2010 and three in a row from 2012-2014 before winning last season in Class AAAAA. Looking back through Buford’s defensive lineman history, several players stand out beginning with former five-star recruit Omar Hunter, a 2008 graduate who played defensive tackle at Florida. The Wolves continued with four-star Kolton Houston (c/o 2010, Georgia OT/DL), Kurt Freitag (c/o 2012, Alabama, DL/TE), three-star Mikey Bart (c/o 2013, UNC, SDE), three-star Shug Frazier (c/o 2016, NC State DT), three-star Dallas Lee (c/o 2009, Georgia DL/OG), three-star Rick LeGrant (c/o 2012), three-star Quay Picou (c/o 2015, Tennessee DT), three-star Jalar Holley (c/o 2019, Miami DT), and most recently three-star Jackson Powell (c/o 2020, Army WDE).

5. Hillgrove – Recent success of one top-tier defensive lineman brings Hillgrove into the top 10. Former three-star recruit Bradley Chubb, a 2014 graduate, played at NC State and blossomed into a star defensive end while in Raleigh. He was named first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC during his senior season. He won the 2017 Hendricks Award for the best defensive end and the 2017 ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. Chubb was selected as the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. Recently, five-star recruit Myles Murphy, a 2020 graduate, signed with Clemson as a strongside defensive end.

6. Colquitt County – Colquitt County won back-to-back state championships in 2014-2015 and a large part of that success was its defensive line. The Packers have produced several notable linemen over the past several seasons beginning with three-star Cameron Erving, a 2010 graduate who played college ball at Florida State. He was drafted as the 19th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. In 2017, he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs where he won his first Super Bowl when the Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV. More successful Packer defensive linemen include three-star Dee Walker (c/o 2016, Arkansas OLB/DL) and three-star Ja’Quain Blakeley (c/o 2016, Tennessee SDE).

7. North Gwinnett – The Bulldogs won the 2017 state championship against Colquitt County and a big part of silencing the Packers during that victory was their successful defensive front. The Bulldogs have produced three-star Anree Saint-Amour (c/o 2015, Georgia Tech WDE), four-star Dante Sawyer (c/o 2015, South Carolina WDE), four-star Jared Ivey (c/o 2020, Georgia Tech WDE) and three-star Chuck Smith (c/o 2020, Wofford commit SDE) in the past six seasons.

8. Marist – The recent success by Marist at the defensive lineman position is undeniable. The War Eagles have produced three-star Greg Taboada (c/o 2013, Stanford DL/TE), four-star Kendall Baker (c/o 2014, Georgia, DL/OG), three-star Kenneth Brinson (c/o 2015, Army WDE), four-star John Fitzpatrick (c/o 2018, UGA DL/OG), Ryan Mannelly (c/o 2018, Penn DL) and Jalen Clark (c/o 2019) in the past seven seasons.

9. Rome – The Wolves’ back-to-back state titles in 2016 and 2017 were fueled by offensive and defensive fronts that smothered opponents and opened running lanes for budding back four-star Jamious Griffin, now at Georgia Tech. On the defensive side of the line, the Wolve’s recent success was  highlighted by five-star Adam Anderson (c/o 2018 UGA DL/OLB), three-star Jamarcus Chatham (c/o 2018, FSU), three-star Ja’Quon Griffin (c/o 2018, Georgia Tech DT) and Rayquan Jones (c/o 2020, Coastal Carolina DT).

10. Westlake – Westlake climbed in the top 10 led by four-star defensive tackle Kiante Tripp, a 2006 graduate who played at the University of Georgia and then Cleveland Browns. The Lions continued with three-star Daquan Hawkins-Muckle (c/o 2015, UGA DT), three-star Christion Abercrombie (c/o 2016, Tennessee State OLB/DL), four-star Jaden Hunter (c/o 2017, Western Kentucky DL/ILB) and Mac Petit (c/o 2018, DL, Norfolk State).


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