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February 9, 2010

Position recruiting breakdown: Defense

MORE: Position recruiting breakdown: Offense | Signing Day Central | Team recruiting rankings

Rivals.com has broken down how the teams did overall on National Signing Day. Now, here's a look at which teams fared best - position-by-position - on defense and at the athlete position.

Defensive Position Recruiting Rankings
Sharrif Floyd
Dominique Easley
Leon Orr

The Gators landed the nation's best defensive tackle class with two five-star commitments and another four-star prospect. Any class that has Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd in it - as this year's UF class did - is going to be special. Few in the past could even match this one-two punch.
Cassius Marsh
Sealii Epenesa
Wesley Flowers
Julious Moore

The Bruins needed defensive linemen, especially at the tackle spot. Cassius Marsh is the headliner here, and for good reason. He's one of the nation's best defensive players, and could be next in line behind Brian Price to star at the position for UCLA. Sealii Epenesa and Wesley Flowers could also be very good players in Westwood, too.
Calvin Barnett
Byran Jones
LaCraig Brown
Jeremiah Jackson

Arkansas loaded up with two four-star prospects and two three-star recruits to tie Oregon State for the third best DT class in the nation. Calvin Barnett is the headliner for the Razorbacks. Getting him out of Tulsa - and away from Oklahoma State - late in the process was key for the Hogs.
Thomas Molesi
Happy Iona
Fred Thompson
Mana Tuivailala

The Beavers have always done a good job of recruiting, and this year's DT class ranks among the best of the best. Four-star Thomas Molesi is one of the top defensive players in San Diego. Three-star prospects Fred Thompson and Mana Tuivailala could be steals for the Beavers.
Eric Humphrey
Daniel Noble
Torrea Peterson
Damon Williams

Eric Humphrey is one of the best DTs in the nation. He headlines the Sooners' interior defensive line class. Throw in depth from Daniel Noble, Torrea Peterson and Damon Williams, and this group has a shot to be very good down the line.
Jackson Jeffcoat
Reggie Wilson
Greg Daniels

The Longhorns landed the nation's best defensive end class and it wasn't even close. Texas signed one five-star player and two four-star recruits at the position. Jackson Jeffcoat was the top prospect in the Lone Star State, and his recruitment was a grueling, 12-month battle that UT won in the end. Throw in the talented Reggie Wilson, and this group could be destroying Big 12 quarterbacks down the road.
J.R. Ferguson
Jordan Allen
J.C. Copeland
Justin Maclin
Houston Bates
2. LSU

The Tigers' defensive end class is extremely deep. J.C. Copeland was a great steal from Tennessee on Signing Day, and landing J.R. Ferguson was one of the biggest shockers on Feb. 3. Defensive line was a position of need that LSU was able to fill with a talented group.
Ronald Powell
Lynden Trail
Neiron Ball

Florida's defensive end group is led by the nation's No. 1 player, five-star prospect Ronald Powell. He could be the type of player that flourishes in the Gators' defensive scheme. Four-star recruits Lynden Trail and Neiron Ball give this Gators class some depth.
T.J. Stripling
Jalen Fields
Dexter Morant
Brandon Burrows

Jalen Fields, Dexter Morant and T.J. Stripling are four-star prospects who should give the Bulldogs some depth at the position. Stripling has the makings of an all-league performer and ranks as one of the top five defensive ends in the nation. Brandon Burrows is a three-star prospect from Georgia that many believe underrated.
Corey Lemonier
Craig Sanders
Joel Bonomolo
Justin Delaine

Joel Bonomolo is one of the most heralded junior college recruits in the nation. He's joined in the Auburn DE class by two other four-star prospects. Corey Lemonier was a great Signing Day addition for the Tigers, who beat a host of national programs for him. Craig Sanders is a solid in-state player that has a big upside.
Christian Jones
Jeff Luc
Telvin Smith
Nigel Terrell
Holmes Onwukaife

The Seminoles have always had a great linebacker tradition, and it could continue with this strong and deep group. FSU landed five players at the position, including one five-star, two four-stars and two three-stars. The headliner in the group is Christian Jones, a 6-4, 220-pounder that ranks as the nation's second best outside linebacker.
Cecil Whiteside
Nick Forbes
Chris McCain
David Wilkerson
2. CAL

All four of Cal's linebacker recruits in this class are four-star prospects. If you were to consider Chris Martin a linebacker recruit, it could be a special group. Cecil Whiteside and Nick Forbes are the two big names, and they could provide a dynamic one-two punch for the Bears.
Jordan Hicks
Tevin Jackson
Aaron Benson

The Longhorns landed a spot on the linebacker list with their solid group. The headliner was five-star Jordan Hicks out of Ohio. Hicks chose Texas over Florida and Ohio State. Quality in-state gets like Aaron Benson and Tevin Jackson also make this a strong group.
Josh Shirley
Jordan Zumwalt
Aramide Olaniyan
Eric Kendricks

The Bruins' linebacker group is led by three four-star prospects - Aramide Olaniyan, Josh Shirley and Jordan Zumwalt. Shirley and Zumwalt were both Signing Day decisions, and both are very good local pickups, too. Zumwalt was a one-man tackling machine as a senior, and Shirley should fit well into UCLA's scheme.
Shaun Lewis
Kris Catlin
Caleb Lavey
Stephen Maeweather
Tommie Saunders

OSU's class is about depth. It features one four-star prospect - Shaun Lewis - and four three-star recruits. Lewis was one of the top defensive players in Houston this season. He had his pick of Big 12 offers to consider. The OSU coaches also feel that Kris Catlin is a major steal out of the San Antonio area.
DeMarcus Milliner
John Fulton
Jarrick Williams
Nick Perry
Dequan Menzie
Deion Belue

The Crimson Tide landed six defensive backs - one five-star, four four-stars and one three-star - in this year's class. This group should keep Nick Saban happy moving forward. DeMarcus Milliner was one of the nation's best cornerbacks, and he's the five-star in the group. Dequan Menzie was also a huge get out of the junior college ranks.
Matt Elam
Joshua Shaw
Jaylen Watkins
Cody Riggs
Jordan Haden

The Gators continued to load up on the defensive side of the ball with an elite DB class. Five-star safety Matt Elam was a big get for UF. Joshua Shaw was one of the best defenders in the West. His signing shows the lure the Gators have to national prospects.
Lamarcus Joyner
Mike Harris
Terrence Brooks
Chad Abram

Lamarcus Joyner, the nation's best cornerback, was the headliner for the Seminoles. He could be an immediate help at the position, and he might also be a weapon on special teams. Mike Harris is four-star junior college prospect. He was among the top juco defenders available in the class.
Dior Mathis
Erick Dargan
Derrick Malone
Terrance Mitchell
James Scales
Troy Hill
Eric Dungy

The Ducks went with both quality and quantity in this year's defensive back class. The Ducks landed seven defensive backs, highlighted by four-star cornerback Dior Mathis and four-star safety Erick Dargan. Oregon also landed several quality three-star prospects that should help with the depth in the defensive backfield.

Ahmad Dixon
Prince Kent
Tyler Stephenson
Sam Holl
TC Robinson

Four-star Baylor signee Ahmad Dixon was one of the most entertaining and crazy recruiting stories to follow down the stretch. Give the Bears' coaches credit for winning in the end. Prince Kent is a four-star prep school player that could have an immediate impact for the Bears, too.
Spencer Ware
Ronnie Vinson
Tharold Simon
Jarrett Fobbs
Sam Gibson
1. LSU

The Tigers signed five players at the athlete position, including one five-star, three four-stars and one three-star recruit. Spencer Ware is listed as an athlete, but he will get first crack at running back for the Tigers. He's talented enough also to play different positions. Ronnie Vinson and Tharold Simon could also be special for LSU.
Robert Woods
Hayes Pullard
Anthony Brown
2. USC

Robert Woods is the main man in this group. Look for him to do most of his damage at receiver in college. However, he's good enough to see the field on special teams - or even on defense - if things don't work out at receiver. Hayes Pullard could play multiple positions, too, but most project him at linebacker.
Anthony Barr
Malcolm Jones
Anthony Jefferson

The Bruins hit a home run with Malcolm Jones, who will likely play running back for the Bruins. He was the Gatorade national player of the year. Anthony Barr is at the athlete position, but he, too, could see time at running back. If things don't work out there for the four-star recruit, he could be a star on the defensive side of the ball.
Trovon Reed
Shaun Kitchens
Chris Davis
Ryan Smith
Ryan White

Trovon Reed keeps the Tigers in the top five here. Reed, a four-star prospect, could see time at any of a number of positions. The same could be said about four other three-stars the Tigers landed at the position.
Latwan Anderson
Qudral Forte
Avery Williams

Latwan Anderson is the biggest reason why WVU is at this spot, but he still has not signed his letter-of-intent. The do-it-all Anderson could play on the offensive side of the ball at WVU, if he signs. He's still looking hard at Ohio State and USC. Three-star Avery Williams and three-star Qudral Forte are also solid players.

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