College football’s top 7 future defense power rankings
College football can be cyclical, and the pendulum swung back toward defense in 2021.
Georgia won its first national title in 41 years behind a historically good defense that produced eight picks in last month`s NFL draft, including a record five in the first round. The Big 12, long both celebrated and mocked for its inflated points and yards totals, became a defense-driven league, and featured two top10 scoring defenses (Baylor and Oklahoma State) in its championship game. Teams with historically strong defenses, such as Utah and Iowa, reached their respective conference championship games. Clemson had its worst offense since 2010 but still won 10 games behind a defense that ranked second nationally in points allowed (14.8 PPG) and third in yards per play allowed (4.44).
A good defense can lead the team to the title or hide warts. Now that we’ve considered future power rankings for quarterbacks and offenses, it’s time to apply the crystal ball to the top 25 defenses, especially college football. These rankings evaluate 2022, 2023, and 2024 seasons and take into account current rosters, new hires and transfers, and potential NFL withdrawals. Coaching changes are also a factor, as several prominent coordinators and defensively inclined head coaches have changed their addresses since the last Defense Future Power Ranking was announced in 2021.
The defensive Layers list contains slightly more types than the other lists. Georgia and other annual CFP candidates get the value of their money, but this list highlights a different subset of the program.
Let’s get started.
1. Clemson Tigers
2021 future defense ranking: 1
Tigers Scouts: Clemson leads the rankings for the second year in a row in close quarters competition for the top spot. The unit loses two outstanding cornerbacks (Mario Goodrich and Andrew Booth Jr.), linebacker flagships (James Skullski, Byron Specter), and longtime coordinator Brent Venables. Nevertheless, the outlook remains very promising. Clemson’s defensive line will continue to be a strength during the CFP era, especially during 2022 when All America contestants Brian Bressy, Tyler Davis, and Miles Murphy are all back. The line was further boosted when Xavier Thomas, a two-time third-team AllACC selection, returned to the final season. Finally, there is a depth of veterans with senior K.J. Henry and Justin Mascol a combined 7 sacks and 15 quarterback pressure last season. Tackle Luke Orholo in 2021 lost 42 tackles, and 8 tackles and needs to continue to play more time with his classmates Etino Saruben, 2nd grade Peyton Page and more. Wesgoodwin, the 1st-year defensive coordinator of
, oversees the redesigned linebacker team, while Trenton Simpson recorded the team’s best 6 sacks after starting 12 games in 2021. , I’ll be back for at least another year. The dynamic sophomore Barrett Carter should play a much bigger role, and junior Keith Magwire could replace Skullski. Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson’s top-ranked new employee and ESPN’s seventh overall in the 2021 class, will be a major factor in the coming years, with junior Terry Venables (33 tackles in 2021). Is back in Nickel. The secondary has short-term problems that go beyond safety. Andrew Mukba of the 2021 ACC Defense Blue Key of the Year. Clemson is looking for Landen Zanders or Jarin Phillips to appear in other safety spots. ) Includes the start of 2021), 2nd grade Nate Wiggins, Junior Fred Davis, Junior Malcolm Green, and Nickel should also look at the time. The two top defensive new hires in the 2022 class at Clemson are Jeadyn Lukus (ESPN’s # 35 new hire nationwide) and Toriano Pride’s cornerback.
2. Georgia Bulldogs
2021 future defense ranking: 2
Bulldog Reconnaissance: I was tempted by the sheer number of defensive stars leaving Athens, but it was difficult to get Georgia forward. The bulldog is back with some outstanding players such as tackle Jaylen Carter, cornerback Kelee Ringo, safety Christopher Smith, and linebacker Nolan Smith. Combined with good recruitment and awaiting play, Georgia should be good at defense by 2024. The immediate priority is to reload Front 7 such as Carter, Smith, Senior Fullback Robert Beer Junior Juniors Sionlog, Nazil Stackhouse, Warren Brinson, and more. Trammel Walt Hour. Georgia may also aim to speed up talented young players like newcomers Mykel Williams and Bear Alexander, two of ESPN’s top five tackle prospects in the 2022 class. Smith and Beer (Team High 6.5 Sack in 2021) will lead a group of external linebackers this fall, with sophomore Chaz Chambris and Junior MJ Sherman adding depth. Georgia also adds Jalon Walker and Marvin Jones Jr., two of ESPN’s top seven new external linebackers in 2022. starter. Junior Tresmen Marshall and sophomore Smarmondon Jr., and Georgia’s top recruits (11th in the nation) in 2021 will also play a bigger role. Chavian Sorey Junior Georgia’s secondary was a weakness of last year’s unit and lost Lewis Cine. Intercept Officer Delion Kendrick et al. Ringo and Smith form a solid foundation with the safety of Dan Jackson and William Poole, who started six times in 2021. Deep Peace is essential as 2nd-grade cornerback Kamari Lassiter, 2nd-grade safety David Daniel Sisavanh and others compete for a bigger role. Georgia has added an outstanding group of new DB hires in 2022, including ESPN’s five-star Malaki Starks and Jaheim Singletary, a national top 25 candidate. The team already has a commitment to 2023 from the top 100 prospects Justin let, Marcus Washington, and Gabriel Harris.
3. Texas A&M Aggies
2021 future defense ranking: 4
Aggie’s Scout: After rising 16 points in last year’s rankings, Texas A & M has risen by only one, but there is a chance to rise further. Aggies fans will probably be disappointed if their team doesn’t break that ranking for the next year or two. Few teams have a chance to overtake Georgia and Clemson in defense, but Texas A & M is positioned after the historic 2022 class. The team has arguably signed the most impressive defensive line group to date, including ESPN’s Top 2 tackles (Walter Nolen and Gabe Brownlow Dindy) and Top 2 Ends (Lebbeus Overton and Shemar Stewart). This class also includes two of ESPN’s top three safety outlooks at Cornerback Denver Harris, ESPN’s 25th overall new hire in class, and ESPN at Bryce Anderson and Jacoby Mathews. Not all elites score points and some may switch, but Texas A & M has formed a great group to defend until 2024. The biggest imminent difficulty could be the last, with Aggie’s loss of All-American End Demarvin Lille and Edgerusher Michael Clemmons and Tyreisonson. Second-grade Fadir Diggs should play a bigger role last year behind Clemons. Also, newcomers Anthony Lucas and Tunmise Adeleye both stood out in the spring training. The tackle spot should be solid with junior McKinley Jackson and Isaiah Lakes. The
The secondary is doing well with senior safety Demani Richardson, a three-year starter with 172 career tackles, leading the group. He will participate in the team’s lead-return tackle, Junior Safety Antonio Johnson (79). Second-grade Tyreek Chappell was the cornerback answer for many years, and junior cornerback Jaylon Jones started all 12 games in 2021. Second grade Deuce Harmon will continue to appear in the cornerback, with many newcomers such as Harris, Anderson and Smoke Bouie arriving soon. .. Texas A & M is looking for more from the group, but sophomore Edgerrin Cooper and senior Andre White Jr. will lead the linebackers after combining 115 tackles last season. Aggie’s 2023 recruitment is off to a good start with Cornerback Jabon Thomas, Endant Anthony James, and other teams.
4. Alabama Crimson Tide
2021 future defense ranking: 3
Scouting the Tide: Alabama`s countrywide identify the route in 2022 probable hinges on the protection creating a small to mild leap in the back of a skilled the front seven. The outlook after 2023 receives a piece murky, as Alabama will lose numerous standouts, maximum extensively doors linebacker Will Anderson Jr., who gathered 17. five sacks and 34. five tackles for loss at some stage in a breakout 2021 season. But recruiting stays very strong, as Alabama signed five-famous persons shielding give up Jeremiah Alexander, ESPN’s pinnacle inner linebacker prospect Shawn Murphy and different standouts withinside the 2022 class. The quick-time period forecast is excellent. Anderson, a valid Heisman Trophy contender, leads the front seven along with senior linemen DJ Dale and Byron Young, senior linebacker Henry To’o To’o and sophomore linebacker Dallas Turner, who had 8. five sacks final season and could play thru as a minimum 2023. Alabama has proper intensity inclusive of senior give-up Justin Eboigbe, and the improvement of non-seniors inclusive of linemen Tim Smith and Jamil Burroughs, and linebacker Chris Braswell, is really well worth monitoring. Alabama’s 2022 recruiting haul has to fill gaps in 2023 and 2024 with Alexander, Murphy, 370-pound lineman Jaheim Oatis and others.
The secondary additionally seems stable withinside the quick time period as LSU cornerback switch Eli Ricks joins the group, as a minimum for one season. Kool-Aid McKinstry emerged as a starter at cornerback past due in his freshman season and completed with 26 tackles. Senior Khyree Jackson is a veteran option, however, Alabama has to function with lots of opposition the following few seasons, particularly if Tre’Quon Fegans and different younger gamers emerge. Veteran safeties DeMarcco Hellams and Jordan Battle will stabilize the protection spot this fall, and junior Brian Branch returns on the famous person function after recording a team-excessive 9 by skip breakups in 2021. But Alabama will try and construct more intensity in the course of its secondary with non-seniors inclusive of Malachi Moore. Coach Nick Saban and his body of workers additionally should appear to the switch portal for a few extra help.
5. Wisconsin Badgers
2021 future defense ranking: 9
Badger Reconnaissance: Wisconsin Defense is one of the most consistently elite units since it began monitoring future power rankings. Badgers are probably underestimated given their performance since 2014. It is the 3rd place in the whole country (17.1 PPG) in the permitted points and the 5th place (4.76) in the yard per permitted game. Current play-caller Jim Leonhard has taken his defenses to new heights since his appointment in 2017, but staffing and coordinator changes haven’t affected Wisconsin. “There are standards,” Paul Christo told me this spring. Wisconsin hopes to lose two talented linebackers Leo Chenal and Jack Sanborn, allowing AllBigTen junior Nick Herbig and others to limit drop-offs. Harbach led Wisconsin with a sack (9), forcing him to fumble twice and finishing second with a tackle (14.5) after Chenal. He leads an external linebacker group, including Senior C.J. Getz heard, but others need to show up. The internal linebacker group is further dependent on 2nd grade Jordan Turner, Junior Tatum Grass, Junior Maema Njongmeta and Spencer Lytle, and 2nd grade Jake Chainy. The
The defensive line can be reloaded for years and will get a Senior Nose Tackle Key Anubenton for another year with senior end Isayama Rens. In 2023, the unit can be lifted by sophomore James Thompson Jr. and junior end Rodas Johnson. Second-grade safety Hunter Waller could become a perennial flagship after a strong spring and 17 tackles as a rookie. Travian Blaylock’s ACL damage was stabbed, but senior safety officer John Torchio secured the team’s lead with three pass cuts in 2021. However, Wisconsin lacks experience playing in this position. Badgers have added Jayshaw (UCLA), Justin Clark (Toledo) and Cedric Dot Jr. (Kentucky), who are active in cornerback transfer portals and have started 25 games for Wildcats. Wisconsin needs to speed up non-seniors like Semar Melvin, as all three will retire in 2023 and there will be veteran holdover Alexander Smith. Most of Wisconsin’s recent recruiting splashes have come in the front seven.
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2021 future defense ranking: 11
Scouting the Irish: Since Notre Dame hired defensive coordinator Mike Elko before the 2017 season, the unit has ranked ninth nationally in points allowed (19.4 PPG) and in the top 20 for most major categories. The past three play callers Elko, Clark Lea, and Marcus Freeman have become head coaches, with Freeman fast-tracking into the Notre Dame job after only one season as DC. He and former Miami and Temple coach Al Golden will oversee a defense that loses standout Kyle Hamilton and veteran linemen Kurt Hinish and Myron TagovailoaAmosa, but returns a good group at all three levels. The line received a nice postseason boost as sacks leader Isaiah Foskey returns for one more season, alongside senior end Justin Ademilola, promising junior end Rylie Mills and veteran tackles Jayson Ademilola, Howard Cross III, Jacob Lacey and Harvard transfer Chris Smith, a first-team AllIvy League selection in 2021. The development of nonseniors such as Mills, Nana OsafoMensah, Tyson Ford, and Jason Onye will be significant for 2023 and 2024. Notre Dame also has commitments from ESPN’s highest-rated defensive end, Keon Keeley, the 23rd general new employee in the 2023 class, and two other ESPN 300 line new employees (Brenan Vernon and Boubacar Traore). I am. The
linebacker will be of great help under Freeman, a former Ohio State University linebacker who has extensively taught his position. JD Bertrand, who led Notre Dame with 101 tackles last season, has two years left, as does Marist Ruefau, who returned after Jack Kaiser (starting eight times in 2021) and a serious ankle injury. The talented junior Jordan Botello is celebrating a big year after showing lightning in 2021. Hamilton is irreplaceable, but Notre Dame added a large chunk in 2020 via the transfer portal of Northwestern University’s all-American Brandon Joseph. Joseph and veteran DJs Brown and Houston Griffith have stabilized their positions until 2022, while Ramon Henderson has a few seasons left. Cornerbacks are also well-predicted as Tariq Bracy returns to the final season with junior Cam Hart and Clarence Lewis, who combined a 20-pass separation in his career. The secondary depth after 2023 is worth a look, especially given that the University of Notre Dame is promoting strong recruitment under Freeman.
7. Iowa Hawkeyes
2021 future defense ranking: 13
Hawkeye Reconnaissance: Can I Start Calling Iowa Rokey DBU? Coordinator Phil Parker and his group aren’t the type to ask about the label, but have produced five Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year in the award’s 12-year history, including four since 2015. , Cornerback Riley Moss is back to lead the defensive back in Iowa. This helped the team reach the Big Ten Championship Game last fall. Moss, Senior Safety Kaebon Meriwether, and Junior Cornerback Jarmari Harris are the major secondary holdouts that have lost star power but have a reloading history. Harris could connect with Moss in four intercepts last season and become the next star in junior high school. In Iowa, other non-seniors will be needed earlier this season, including Junior Safety Quinsulte and Sebastian Castro, and sophomore cornerback Cooper Dejan. Freshman safety, Xavier Nwankpa is Iowa’s most acclaimed newcomer in 2022 (ESPN’s 9th safety, 155th overall outlook). The
linebacker is arguably Iowa’s greatest immediate strength. Seniors Jack Campbell and Seth Benson could both be candidates for national honor after recording 248 tackles, three intercepts, 8.5 tackle losses, and 14 quarterback pressure last season. .. Junior Jestin Jacobs is likely to start with them this fall, and he and his fellow non-senior Castro, Jay Higgins and Kyler Fisher should headline the group in 2023. The progress of young linebackers like Karson Sharr and Jaden Harrell is very important. Iowa’s front 4 is also noticeable, and all veterans such as Logan Lee, Noah Shannon, Joe Evans, and John Wagoner are back. However, Lee is the only non-senior. Iowa will continue to play a bigger role in search of runner-ups such as Lucas Van Ness and Yahya Black, and runner-up Deonte Craig. Following Nwankpa, the second most recruited recruit in Iowa in 2022 is the defensive end, including the ESPN300 Picker Long Braves.