South: Early '16 defensive stars

Ed Alexander

Scout released its initial 2016 rankings Wednesday and we took an in-depth look at the offensive prospects yesterday, so we are focusing on defensive prospects right here...

We broke down each offensive position (Click here) on Wednesday after Scout released its initial 2016 rankings.

We will take a look at the defensive positions today and two of the three five-star prospects play on the defensive side of the ball.

Ed Alexander is a 6-foot-2, 290 pound defensive lineman out of Hammond (La.) St. Thomas Aquinas and Keion Joyner is a 6-4, 200 pound linebacker out of Havelock (N.C.).

Both are five-star sophomores on Scout and both will be national recruits.

Joyner blew up last month and picked up offers from the likes of Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, and Ohio State among others. Alexander is not known as much yet, but he will be. Florida offered first, Ole Miss second, and that is where he stands now, but he will add many more.

Joyner can run, rush the passer, contain the edge, and he is so athletic. Alexander is very quick off the ball, he can re-direct, and he is very strong at the point of attack. We like him on the interior at tackle on the next level.

It would be hard to pick one over the other right now, both have unlimited potential.

Staying on the defensive line, it looks to be a very strong group in the southeast.

Starting on the inside, Dexter Lawrence (6-5, 290 pounds) of Wake Forest (N.C.) Rolesville has it all. He has the size, he has good feet, and he could always slide over to offensive tackle if defense doesn't work out. Plenty of schools have already offered Lawrence.

Some of the other top tackles are David Marshall (6-4, 270 pounds) out of Thomaston (Ga.) Upson Lee, Julian Rochester (6-4, 296 pounds) of Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern, and Cedric Wood (6-4, 260 pounds) out of Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby.

Moving outside to end,Nicholas Bosa, the younger brother of Ohio State freshman Joey Bosa leads the group. He is a very strong sophomore who can move around the defensive front. He comes out of that powerful program of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale (Fla.).

Chauncey Manac is an athletic end who can get up the field quickly. The 6-3, 226 pound pass rusher could be used out of the three-point stance or standing up on the next level. He is not talked about about being from the small town of Homerville (Ga.) Clinch County.

Linebacker

Joyner headlines this position and he is an outside guy where Jeremiah Moon is as well. Moon is a long and lean (6-3, 190 pounds) linebacker out of Hoover (Ala.) and he could be their next top recruit. He has shown the ability to play in space, he moves well for his size, and he has a lot of upside.

On the inside, Shaquille Quarterman is the top guy at this time. He started as a freshman at Orange Park (Fla.) Oakleaf in 2012 and he then got out and camped over the summer. Schools like Boston College, Louisville, Tennessee, and UCF have offered the 6-2, 242 pound sophomore.

Defensive Back

The top defensive back on the board early on is Stephen Davis, Jr. The 6-2, 215 pounder passes the eye test and he could play numerous positions on the next level. If he stays at safety, he will likely walk up and spend a lot of time in the box. He looks like a linebacker, but could play wide receiver as well.

He is the son of former Auburn and NFL star Stephen Davis. The father starred at Spartanburg High School in South Carolina and his son now stars at Dutch Fork in Irmo.

Like Davis, Jr., DeKaylin Metcalf hopes to follow his father's footsteps and play in the NFL one day. Metcalf is the son of former Ole Miss Rebel and Chicago Bear Terrence Metcalf, so he has good bloodlines. His father was an offensive lineman, but safety is his home. The 6-2, 185 pound sophomore out of Oxford, Miss. roams the secondary and makes plays on the ball. Like his father, he is committed to Ole Miss.

People that follow recruiting know a lot about Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson. They send numerous prospects on to the Division 1 level each year and their best in 2016 is cornerback Khalil Lader. He loves to play on the island, he has great confidence, and he is a good tackler one-on-one. Over a dozen schools including Alabama, LSU, and Vanderbilt where his brother Kenny Ladler plays.

Chad Simmons is currently a National Recruiting Analyst for FOX Sports/Scout. He started with Scout in 2003 and then moved on to another Recruiting Service from 2004-2008 before returning to Scout the first of 2009 to become South Recruiting Manager.
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