Top Academy Defensive Linemen

You aren't going to find the 330-pound defensive linemen that become future NFL stars on any of these rosters. However, don't let the size of these guys fool you; there are some bona fide playmakers suiting up for the military academies in 2013. Here are five that stand out.

Raw power is desired in football, but for academy defensive linemen, disrupting an opposing offensive line is the name of the game. Thwarting schemes and maneuvering around blocks will give the three academy football programs a chance to improve their fortunes in the coming autumn. Here are five players who figure to leave a substantial imprint on the 2013 season:

5. Evan Palelei (Navy) - The senior defensive end finished 2012 with 29 tackles, a tackle and a half for a loss, and half a sack. He did tie for the team lead with two forced fumbles. Palelei will be a key in improving the Midshipmen's pass rush.

4. Joseph Champaign (Air Force) - Champaign recorded 24 tackles, including three and a half for a loss last season, to go along with two sacks. After being only one of two freshmen defensive linemen to play for Air Force in 2011, he improved his totals in 2012 and should be a factor again in 2013.

3. Richard Glover (Army) - A junior defensive end, Glover recorded 27 tackles a season ago, but he made his presence felt in the backfield. His seven and a half tackles for a loss were third on the team, and his two sacks placed him second on the roster.

2. Robert Kough (Army) - This is Army's most productive returning defensive lineman in 2013. Kough had a pretty strong 2012 with 42 tackles, nine and a half for a loss, along with a sack and a half. Can Kough be even better at getting after the passer in 2013?

1. Alex Hansen (Air Force) - As impressive as Hansen's 2012 season was on an individual level, the most impressive thing may have been that he compiled it as a freshman. A total of 36 tackles, nine for a loss, plus four sacks make Hansen a candidate to be an extremely productive sophomore in 2013. Top Stories