1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
2011: Clowney enrolled at South Carolina as the No. 1 player in the country, and didn't disappoint. He was named SEC Freshman of the Year by the league's coaches and Freshman All-America by FoxSportsNext.com.
Credited with 36 tackles, Clowney finished eighth in the SEC with eight sacks and was the only freshman ranked in the top 10. He tied for fourth in the SEC and eighth in the country with five forced fumbles.
Against Clemson, Clowney picked up his sixth sack of the season.
What he's doing here: After just one season, Clowney is already considered one of the top defensive ends in the SEC. In any other conference, Clowney might be the best defensive end.
He'll make even more of a name for himself on the national landscape with another big season in 2012.
2. Brandon Jenkins, Florida State
2011: Jenkins was voted a preseason All-America and named to watch lists for the Lott Trophy and Bednarik Award. Jenkins saw a dip in his production.
After logging 21.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks as a sophomore, he had eight sacks during his junior season. But he was still voted second-team All-ACC.
Against Clemson, Jenkins recorded three tackles and a sack.
What he's doing here: Jenkins is sixth on the all-time Florida State sack list with 21.5. The school record is 35.5.
Had he elected to turn pro, Jenkins probably would have been selected as an outside linebacker. At 6-3, 260, Jenkins is too small to be an every down defensive end in the NFL. He's projected as a second round pick.
3. Devin Taylor, South Carolina
2011: Taylor was named honorable mention All-SEC by the Associated Press. He started every game, logged 42 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. Taylor also had an interception, two pass breakups, six quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries.
In the Clemson game, Taylor had four tackles and a sack.
What he's doing here: The 6-foot-8, 267-pound redshirt defensive end has played in 39 games over the last three seasons, 32 of which he's started. Taylor has been credited with 116 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.
Taylor is among the top 10 in South Carolina history in sacks [tied for fifth] and tackles for loss [tied for ninth].
The opposing defensive ends
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