2014 Defensive Ends Emerging

Defensive ends typically emerge later in the process, when their bodies mature. But that hasn't stopped a number of 2014 defensive ends from showing up on the radar early.

The 2014 class is the exception to that rule. From Derick Roberson and Solomon Thomas near the very top of the in-state rankings to guys like Jake McMillon of Abilene, the state might have as many as 10 or so legitimate defensive ends already emerging as guys to take a look at.

It all starts with Roberson and Thomas, the two elites. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Roberson is the speed end that everybody looks for. He's lightning off the edge, and excels at getting a lineman leaning one way, then punishing that lean by blowing by him for a sack or a hurry. Thomas is significantly bigger, weighing 255 pounds at last count. He has the body type to develop into an every-down end, the kind who is tough to run on, then harasses the quarterback on passing downs.

But while those two are the heads of class, this is a group that's much deeper. Players like Dequone Shaw of Dallas Roosevelt and Victor Evans of Dallas Skyline have 6-4-plus frames, and are excellent pass-rushers, but need to add weight. McMillon is similar in size to Roberson, but doesn't quite flash like Roberson does. Sekou Clark of Denton Ryan splits the difference a bit between Roberson/McMillon and Shaw/Evans. He isn't quite as long as the latter prospects, or as big as the former, but at 6-3 215, and with good athleticism, Clark is another player to watch.

And keep an eye on two sleepers (at this point): Josh Malin of Cibolo Steele and Corey Hayes of San Antonio Brandeis. Malin is another big-time prospect to come through a Class 5A program that went to the state title game in each of the last two years. At 6-6 240, his frame is elite for the position. And Hays played as a sophomore at 6-3 202, but appeared much bigger than that in person earlier this week. Hayes already has excellent speed. While neither of those two are typically mentioned with the others in this article, they're highly mobile guys who could jump a lot of those players eventually.

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