Top 10 Defensive Tackles for 2016 College Football
10. Davon Godchaux, LSU, Jr.
Davon Godchaux was the LSU Tigers run stopper in 2015. Godchaux recorded 32 tackles (11 solo, 21 assisted), eight tackles for loss, five sacks, a pass defended, and a forced fumble. Godchaux was second on the team in sacks and fourth in tackles for loss. Godchaux’s best performance in 2015 came against Auburn where Godchaux recorded 4 tackles (2 solo, 2 assisted), two tackles for loss, two sacks, and a pass defended.
9. Jarron Jones, Notre Dame, Sr.
Jarron Jones returns to Notre Dame after missing all of the 2015 season due to injury with a lot to prove. Jones has racked up 60 tackles (33 solo, 27 assisted), 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and a pass defended. Jones totaled 6 tackles (3 solo, 3 assisted) with a tackle for loss and forced fumble in a 2014 victory over Michigan 31-0. Jones should be a force for a Notre Dame front four looking for experience to lead the way.
8. Jaleel Johnson, Iowa, Sr.
Jaleel Johnson was Honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2015 and looks to make more noise in 2015. Johnson recorded 45 total tackles (22 solo, 23 assisted), 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, a pass defended, and a fumble recovery for the Hawkeyes last season. Johnson was third on the team in sacks and fifth in tackles for loss. His best performance last season came in a 29-20 victory over Illinois where Johnson registered 6 tackles (4 solo, 2 assisted), a sack and tackle for loss. Look for Johnson to be a bigger force of production in 2016.
7. Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA, Sr.
Eddie Vanderdoes played in one game in 2015 before a season ending knee injury. In just that one game against Virginia, Vanderdoes racked up 8 tackles (6 solo, 2 assisted) and two tackles for loss in a 34-16 victory. Vanderdoes has the tools to be special for the Bruins in 2016. He’s racked up 95 tackles (60 solo, 35 assisted), 12 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries so far in his career. Look for Vanderdoes to make some noise as one of the Pac-12’s best front four in 2016.
6. Chris Wormley, Michigan, Sr.
Chris Wormley was a terror on defense for the Michigan Wolverines on defense last season earning third team All-Big Ten honors for his efforts. Wormley recorded 43 tackles (25 solo, 18 assisted), 14.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, a pass defended, and a forced fumble. Wormley was eighth in the Big Ten in tackles for loss and tenth in sacks. Wormley’s best performance of 2015 came in a 35-7 victory over Oregon State where he registered 6 tackles (4 solo, 2 assisted), three tackles for loss, and a sack. Look for Wormley to disrupt the middle in 2016 as the Wolverine’s premier tackle.
5. Montravius Adams, Auburn, Sr.
Montravius Adams was a third team All-SEC team selection for the Auburn Tigers in 2015. Adams recorded 42 tackles (15 solo, 27 assisted), three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a pass defended. His best performance was in last season’s opening game against Louisville where Adams recorded 7 tackles (3 solo, 4 assisted), 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble in a 31-24 victory. Adams was a force for the Auburn Tigers early in 2015 and returns looking to be a consistent stopper in the middle.
4. Lowell Lotulelei, Utah, Jr.
The brother of current Panthers defensive tackles Star Lotulelei, Lowell looks to be the next Loutlelei to make it in the NFL. Lotulelei saw a bit of a numbers drop in 2015 where he recorded 26 tackles (12 solo, 14 assisted), five tackles for loss, a sack, a pass defended, and a fumble recovery. Lotulelei’s best performance in 2015 came in a 34-23 victory over Washington where he recorded 2 tackles (1 solo, 1 assisted), a tackle for loss, and a sack. With a larger role on the Utah defense, look for Lotulelei to have a bigger role and a higher ceiling for production.
3. Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama, Jr.
Da’Shawn Hand looks to become a star in 2016 on a stacked Alabama defense. Hand recorded 16 tackles (7 solo, 9 assisted), 6.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks in 8 games of action for the Crimson Tide in 2015. Hand’s best performance came in the National Championship game against Clemson where he recorded 4 tackles (3 solo, 1 assisted) and two tackles for loss in a 45-40 victory. Hand was seventh on the team in tackles for loss and sixth in sacks, with more playing time available now for Hand, look for him to become a leader.
2. Carlos Watkins, Clemson, Sr.
Carlos Watkins was a first team All-ACC selection for the Clemson Tigers highly rated defense in 2015. Watkins recorded 34 tackles (18 solo, 16 assisted), 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three passes defended, and an interception, one which he returned for his first career touchdown. Watkins best performance for the Tigers in 2015 came in their 37-17 victory over Oklahoma. Watkins was responsible for four tackles (3 solo, 1 assisted), a pass defended, a sack and a tackle for loss. Watkins has the tools to be a very disruptive force in the middle for the Clemson Tigers in 2016.
1. Malik McDowell, Michigan State, Jr.
A second team All-Big Ten selection in 2015, Malik McDowell returns for the Spartans after a stellar sophomore season. McDowell recorded 41 tackles (21 solo, 20 assisted), 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception, and an interception return for a touchdown. McDowell’s best performance came against Purdue in a 24-21 victory last season where he recorded 6 tackles (5 solo, 1 assisted), 2 tackles for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble. Look for McDowell to make a whole lot more noise this season for the Spartans as they look to repeat as Big Ten champions.