One of the stronger positions on the defensive side of the football heading into 2010 for the Big 12 Conference is defensive end. Leading the way at defensive end for the Big 12 will be players like Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal and Nebraska's Pierre Allen. Here's the complete ranking list for defensive end.
Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal is one of the top returning defensive ends in the country. Over the last two years Beal has been named All-Big 12 twice and he was a third-team All-American after putting up 11 quarterback sacks a year ago. Over the last two years Beal has a combined 19 ½ quarterback sacks, 34 ½ tackles for loss, seven pass break-ups and six forced fumbles.
2. Sam Acho, Texas, 6-3, 260, Sr.
Texas defensive end Sam Acho is a fourth-year player for the Longhorns that's started 14 games and has played in 38 over his career under head coach Mack Brown. Over the last three years Acho has a combined 89 tackles, 14 ½ quarterback sacks, 20 tackles for loss, 26 quarterback hurries, seven pass break-ups, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. As a junior, Acho was a semifinalist for the Lott Trophy.
3. Pierre Allen, Nebraska, 6-5, 265, Sr.
Without Ndamukong Suh and Barry Turner on Nebraska's defensive line in 2010, senior Pierre Allen will be looked to for leadership for the Huskers. Allen has started 25 games the last two years and he's produced five quarterback sacks both in 2008 and 2009. Allen also was credited with eight quarterback hurries and five pass break-ups a year ago. Look for Allen to contend for All-Big 12 honors with guys like Beal and Acho during his senior campaign.
4. Aldon Smith, Missouri, 6-5, 255, So.
Missouri defensive end Aldon Smith was the top freshman defensive end in the country a year ago. Smith was a freshman All-American and the Big 12's defensive newcomer of the year after setting a Missouri single-season record with 11 ½ quarterback sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Smith is no doubt one of the top pass rushers in the country and he'll be looked to as one of the leaders of the Tiger defense in 2010.
5. Alex Okafor, Texas, 6-4 ½ , 250, So.
Texas defensive end Alex Okafor appeared in all 14 for the Longhorns as a freshman. Okafor was a first-team All Big 12 freshman team selection by the Sporting News after producing 22 tackles, two tackles for loss, one force fumble and six quarterback hurries. With players like Sergio Kindle gone, Okafor will be one of the main players up front for the Longhorns at defensive end.