Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Who's the ACC's No. 2 DT?
By ESPN.com staff
Piecing together the ACC's dream-team defensive line is 75 percent easy. Defensive ends Robert Quinn and Allen Bailey are no-brainers.
Choosing the defensive tackle not named Marvin Austin is a little trickier.
It comes down to Virginia Tech's John Graves vs. Clemson's Jarvis Jenkins -- two seniors who are expected to be anchors on their respective defensive lines.
It's a bit of an uneven comparison because a nagging ankle injury limited Graves for much of the 2009 season. He only started eight games compared to Jenkins' 14 and had over 300 snaps while Jenkins had 536. We saw what Graves could do when he was healthy against Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, when he forced and recovered a fumble, and made his first career sack. Unlike Jenkins, Graves is the only returning starter on his defensive line.
Jenkins was the top tackler among Clemson's interior linemen last season with 69. He had seven tackles in each game against ACC champ Georgia Tech.
Jenkins' numbers are better. But Graves, who is working on his third undergraduate major, has the potential for a breakout season if he stays healthy. Until then, Jenkins' past experience and production earns him the nod for the fourth spot up front on the ACC's dream-team defensive line.