Top Five Defensive Tackles

LonghornDigest.com is taking a look at the top players across the Lone Star State. Here are the defensive tackles.

1) Justin Manning, Dallas Kimball

For my money, the best defensive lineman in the state. Manning has uncanny jump off the ball, and he uses his hands so well that offensive linemen are finished off before they're even out of their stance. Manning's issues are two-fold: does he have the frame to become a bigger tackle? Probably not. But the bigger issue is his inability to stay healthy. If he can stay healthy, there aren't many, if any, better defensive tackles in the country.


2) A'Shawn Robinson, Arlington Heights (Texas)

Robinson, on the other hand, has excellent size. And while he isn't as cat-quick as Manning is, nor is he as polished, Robinson might be among the state's top five players because of the way his mobility and size causes problems for the offense. But his best fit might be as a mauling offensive guard, with Robinson potentially serving as the best offensive lineman in the state as well.


3) Isaiah Golden, Carthage (Texas A&M)

Potentially a top-10 prospect in-state, Golden might have been the top tackle in several other years. He has great size already at 6-3 300, but is also a high-level athlete. At times on his film, he even plays some defensive end, and he has clips of himself running down the quarterback from that position. Wherever he's lined up at, he's awfully tough to block.


4) Vincent Taylor, San Antonio Madison

Taylor showed up with a blinding flash as a sophomore, almost single-handedly shutting down Cibolo Steele's offense (with top running back Malcolm Brown) in the season's first game. That Taylor hasn't lived up to that on a game-by-game basis isn't shocking, but he has been awfully good. And now Taylor has added size to get to about 270 pounds. He's another potential 3-4 end, but it's more likely that he's a 6-4 290-pound defensive tackle by the time it's all said and done.


5) Ben Hughes, Waco University

Hughes has excellent size at about 310 pounds, and he can be pretty quick off the ball as well. He doesn't necessarily shoot the gap well, and he needs to learn to use his hands better. But if you're looking for a big body who can fire out of his stance and create contact, you can teach him the other things. Hughes does a great job of wrapping up when tackling too, making sure he doesn't blow his opportunities.


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