William Clarke, West Virginia: Clarke (6-6, 271) was a three-year starter. As a senior, he was named second-team all-Big 12. Among his 49 tackles were a team-high 17 for losses and six sacks. He entered the season with just 12 TFLs and 3.5 sacks. He performed well at the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. He's a criminology major who will pursue his master's in forensics. "I'll probably be the tallest and largest forensic scientist out there on the crime scene.
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina: Early entrant. Clowney (6-5, 274) never got close to duplicating his unbelievable 2012 campaign. As a sophomore, he finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy race with 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for losses. He was the first sophomore to win the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end. In 2013, he managed three sacks and 11.5 TFLs. Still, he joined Warren Muir and George Rogers as the only Gamecocks to earn first-team All-America honors in two seasons. Clowney finished his Gamecocks career with 47.0 tackles for loss, second in Carolina history, and 24.0 sacks, the school's third-best mark. He certainly lived up to his billing as South Carolina's Mr. Football coming out of high school. "he's just got a lot of God-given talent," a former coach said.
Scott Crichton, Oregon State: Early entrant. Crighton (6-3, 275) was second-team all-Pac 12 in 2013 after posting 19.5 tackles for losses. He finished his three seasons with 22.5 sacks and 51 tackles for losses, figures that rank fourth and third, respectively, in school history. He set the OSU record with 10 forced fumbles. He was recruited as a tight end and is a family man and natural athlete. "Sis, I'm going to be in the NFL someday," he once told his sister.
Kony Ealy, Missouri: Early entrant. Ealy (6-5, 275) played a mean second-fiddle to Michael Sam, finishing the season with 9.5 sacks, 14.5 tackles for losses, six passes broken up, three forced fumbles and a team-high 14 quarterback hits. Two of the forced fumbles came in the SEC Championship Game. He was second-team all-SEC in 2013. He arrived on campus at 207 pounds and became bigger, faster and more mature during his career. "My first couple years here, I was just running like a chicken with his head cut off," Ealy said.
Kasim Edebali, Boston College: Edebali (6-3, 246) was second-team all-ACC as a senior with team-high totals of 9.5 sacks, 14 tackles for losses and three forced fumbles. He was a three-year starter but had just 1.5 sacks and 7.5 TFLs from 2009 through 2011. Edebali was born in Germany and fell in love with football while watching games on TV. He eventually played on Germany's U-19 team before moving to the United States for his final two years of high school. The bigger challenge than football? Learning English.
I.K. Enemkpall, Louisiana Tech: Enemkpall (6-1, 272) compiled 47 total tackles, including 11 for losses and 5.5 sacks to earn first-team all-Conference USA honors and first-team all-Louisiana. He was one of two defensive linemen in the nation to post multiple interceptions in 2013. His parents were born in Nigeria, with his father coming to the United States first to pursue a college education. Ikemefuna Chinedum Enemkpali's first name means "let my struggles not be in vain." He went to Nigeria for the first time as a high school senior. "It was different. The experience was really humbling, seeing all of the things we take for granted here. It just put things into perspective, seeing how much I can help my cousins with the resources I have in the States. I can actually make a difference. I like knowing where my roots are and where it all started."
Dee Ford, Auburn: Ford (6-2, 243) went from role-player to standout during a senior season that saw him finish second in the SEC with 10.5 sacks. Ford had a big Senior Bowl, earning Defensive MVP honors with sacks, and hopes to continue his strong offseason at the Combine. "I'm not nervous at all," Ford said Tuesday on the NFL Network. "I'm prepared, I already know I'm trying to go there and shock the world. That's something I've been preparing for, for a long time. I feel like if you're not prepared then you're nervous, but I'm prepared." Ford hits all the right notes off the field. He plays piano at church and sang in the family's gospel band.
James Gayle, Virginia Tech: Gayle (6-4, 255) was a three-year starter, earning all-ACC accolades all three seasons. He was a third-team choice as a senior, with six sacks, 10.5 tackles for losses and a team-high 33 hurries. For his career, he had 22 sacks. An uncle, Shaun Gayle, played for the Bears for 12 seasons.
Gayle talks a good game, too. "It's part of the game. This is a violent sport. We're not horses running around the track. We're not animals and you just go out there and do this. It's going to be emotional."
Taylor Hart, Oregon: Hart (6-6, 287) finished fourth on the team with 75 tackles, including 3.5 sacks and 6.5 for losses, and added three forced fumbles. The three-year starter earned all-conference attention each season, including as a second-teamer as a junior and senior. He missed the Senior Bowl with a broken foot sustained during his offseason training. He's not sure how much the injury will impact his Combine.
Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: Jeffcoat (6-4, 250) had a monster senior season. Not only was he a first-team All-American, but he was the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year and the winner of the Ted Hendricks Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive end. Jeffcoat led the team in tackles (86), TFLs (22), sacks (13.0) and quarterback pressures (19), and tied for first in fumbles recovered (three). He was the only FBS lineman to lead his team in tackles. He had at least one sack in 18 of his final 26 games, and he leaves Texas ranked second in school history with 60 tackles for losses. Jeffcoat certainly has the bloodlines. His father, Jim, played for the Cowboys and Bills for 15 seasons. His twin sister, Jacqueline plays basketball for Texas State. "I watched his film," Jackson said. "He was fast and aggressive and I strived to be like him." Jeffcoat fought through his share of adversity.