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2012 College Football Recruiting Rankings: DL

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- by Braden Gall (@BradenGall on twitter)

The next batch of in-coming college football All-Americans have inked their respective letters of intent. Recruiting is the life blood of the greatest sport on the planet, and, while coaching stills plays the biggest role in winning a championship, having better players can go a long way to earning a trip to the BCS.

Recruiting is an inexact science by definition. It is virtually impossible to accurately peg the mental make-up of any 17-year old child -- much less high-profile, over-coddled 17-year-old athletes. But team recruiting rankings offer the best indication of which team has the best ingredients each coach has to work with each season.

Related:Athlon's Top 25 Recruiting Classes of 2012

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Offensive Positional Rankings: QB | RB | WR/TE | OL
Defensive Positional Rankings:DL | LB | DB | ATH

The defensive line might be the most important aspect to any championship caliber football team. Certainly, the quarterback is the most vital single position, but the D-Line might be the most important unit. Just ask Tom Brady what it is like to play against the Giants defensive line. Alabama and LSU boasted the top two DLs in the nation a season ago and it led to a national championship showdown. Whether it's a 3-4 or a 4-3, ends or tackles, pass rush specialists or run stuffers, a great defensive line wins championships.

Here are the best incoming defensive linemen in the nation:

 

Name

HT

WT

Hometown

AC100

College

1.

Mario Edwards

6'4"

290

Denton, TX

No. 2

Florida State

2.

Noah Spence

6'4"

245

Harrisburg, PA

No. 4

Ohio State

3.

Arik Armstead

6'8"

280

Elk Grove, CA

No. 8

Oregon

4.

Eddie Goldman

6'4"

310

Washington, DC

No. 9

Florida State

5.

Malcom Brown

6'4"

285

Brenham, TX

No. 10

Texas

6.

Jonathan Bullard

6'3"

263

Shelby, NC

No. 11

Florida

7.

Darius Hamilton

6'4"

260

West Paterson, NJ

No. 14

Rutgers

8.

Ellis McCarthy

6'5"

326

Monrovia, CA

No. 17

UCLA

9.

Chris Casher

6'4"

240

Mobile, AL

No. 24

Florida State

10.

Adolphus Washington

6'5"

245

Cincinnati, OH

No. 27

Ohio State

11.

Channing Ward

6'4"

250

Aberdeen, MS

No. 38

Ole Miss

12.

Jonathan Taylor

6'4"

315

MIllen, GA

No. 55

Georgia

13.

Eli Harold

6'4"

215

Virginia Beach, VA

No. 57

Virginia

14.

Ondre Pipkins

6'3"

320

Kansas City, MO

No. 60

Michigan

15.

Aziz Shittu

6'3"

275

Atwater, CA

No. 63

Stanford

16.

Tommy Schutt

6'3"

300

Glen Ellyn, IL

No. 67

Ohio State

17.

Leonard Williams

6'5"

270

Daytona Beach, FL

No. 68

USC

18.

Javonte Magee

6'5"

265

San Antonio, TX

No. 69

Baylor

19.

Toshiro Davis

6'3"

220

Shreveport, LA

No. 77

Texas

20.

Se'Von Pittman

6'5"

245

Canton, OH

No. 86

Ohio State

21.

Carlos Watkins

6'4"

275

Forest City, NC

No. 89

Clemson

22.

Quay Evans

6'3"

305

Morton, MS

No. 93

Mississippi St

23.

Jarron Jones

6'6"

298

Rochester, NY

No. 101

Notre Dame

24.

Tyriq McCord

6'3"

212

Tampa, FL

No. 107

Miami

25.

Issac Gross

6'3"

270

Batesville, MS

No. 109

Ole Miss

26.

Sheldon Day

6'2"

275

Indianapolis, IN

No. 116

Notre Dame

27.

Devante Fields

6'4"

240

Arlington, TX

No. 122

TCU

28.

Dante Phillips

6'6"

270

Venice, FL

No. 129

Florida

29.

Justin Shanks

6'3"

310

Prattville, AL

No. 137

Florida State

30.

Michael Starts

6'4"

282

Waco, TX

No. 146

Texas Tech

31.

Jelani Hamilton

6'5"

262

Fort Lauderdale, FL

No. 154

Miami

32.

Alex Norman

6'4"

275

Dallas, TX

No. 155

Texas

33.

Chris Wormley

6'5"

250

Toledo, OH

No. 157

Michigan

34.

Alex Balducci

6'4"

262

Portland, OR

No. 164

Oregon

35.

Tom Strobel

6'6"

265

Mentor, OH

No. 196

Michigan

36.

Korren Kirven

6'5"

292

Lynchburg, VA

No. 198

Alabama

37.

Tyler Nero

6'2"

290

Atmore, AL

No. 201

Auburn

38.

Shaq Lawson

6'3"

240

Central, SC

No. 207

Clemson

39.

Danielle Hunter

6'5"

245

Katy, TX

No. 209

LSU

40.

Hassan Ridgeway

6'4"

255

Mansfield, TX

No. 217

Texas

41.

John Atkins

6'4"

300

Thomson, GA

No. 218

Georgia

42.

DeForest Buckner

6'7"

230

Honolulu, HI

No. 224

Oregon

43.

Gimel President

6'4"

250

Mt. Pleasant, SC

No. 226

Auburn

44.

Nick James

6'4"

330

Long Beach, MS

No. 229

Mississippi St

45.

Ryan Watson

6'3"

275

Olney, MD

No. 233

Purdue

46.

Quinteze Williams

6'5"

255

Tyrone, GA

No. 247

Florida

47.

Caleb Azubike

6'4"

250

Nashville, TN

No. 248

Vanderbilt

48.

Greg McMullen

6'5"

255

Akron, OH

No. 249

Nebraska

49.

Dalvin Tomlinson

6'2"

266

McDonough, GA

No. 251

Alabama

50.

Mario Ojenmudia

6'2"

220

Farmington Hills, MI

No. 254

Michigan

51.

Jaleel Johnson

6'4"

300

Lombard, IL

No. 262

Iowa

52.

Pio Vatuvei

6'3"

272

Patterson, CA

No. 265

Washington

53.

Faith Ekakitie

6'3"

275

Brampton, Ontario

No. 266

Iowa

54.

Mike Moore

6'4"

260

Hyattsville, MD

No. 270

Virginia

2012 Athlon Sports Positional Recruiting Rankings:

College Football 2012 Positional Recruiting Rankings: Running Backs

College Football 2012 Positional Recruiting Rankings: Linebackers

College Football 2012 Positional Recruiting Rankings: Defensive Linemen
College Football 2012 Positional Recruiting Rankings: Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
College Football 2012 Positional Recruiting Rankings: Defensive Backs
College Football 2012 Positional Recruiting Rankings: Offensive Linemen
College Football 2012 Positional Recruiting Rankings: Quarterbacks
College Football 2012 Positional Recruiting Rankings: Athletes