Top DEs, picks 1-5

After compiling my list of the top five Tennessee defensive ends of the two-platoon era (since 1964) I couldn't help but notice that four of them played during the past 11 years. Either Phillip Fulmer has done a great job recruiting defensive ends or I've allowed my fresher memories to overpower my older memories.

Regardless, even the younger Vol fans should recognize four of the five names on this list.

5. PARYS HARALSON: A three-year starter and two-time captain, Haralson was a fixture at left end in 2003, ‘04 and ‘05. He recently concluded his career ranking fifth on UT's all-time list in sacks (21), second in quarterback hurries (44) and third in total tackles for loss (46.5). Though undersized at 6-2 and 248 pounds, Haralson was chosen in Round 5 of the recent NFL Draft.

4. WILL OVERSTREET: Another three-year starter, Overstreet held down the right end job in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He recorded more quarterback hurries (49) than anyone in school history, and his 17 hurries in 2000 tied for fifth place on the single-season list. Voted a team captain as a senior, he was a third-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2002. Overstreet saw a promising pro career cut short by injuries after just two seasons, however.

3. MIKE COFER: Remarkably agile for his size, Cofer sandwiched two years starting at right end ('80 and '82) around a year at outside linebacker ('81). A team captain as a senior, he was tabbed in Round 3 of the 1983 NFL Draft. Cofer went on to enjoy 10 distinguished seasons with the Detroit Lions.

2. SHAUN ELLIS: The starting left end in '98 and '99, Ellis' 1999 stats featured 19.5 total tackles for loss (including 8.5 sacks), the fifth-best total in school history. His 32 quarterback hurries ranks fifth on the career list in that category, as well. Selected by the New York Jets in Round 1 of the 2000 NFL Draft, he is soon to begin his seventh season with the team.

1. LEONARD LITTLE: Tennessee's starting left end in '95 and '96, Little split time between end and middle linebacker as a senior in '97. In '95 he set single-season school records that still stand in tackles for loss with 14 and in total tackles for loss (counting sacks) with 25. He ranks first in career tackles for loss (53) and second in career sacks (28) behind Reggie White. Yet another senior captain, he was a third-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 1998. Little is soon to begin his ninth season in the NFL.


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