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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Ranking the ACC's defensive tackles

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

You realize how difficult these are, right?

1. Tydreke Powell, North Carolina: The team captain was one of only two UNC defensive players to start all 13 games last season. He finished the regular season with 47 tackles, three tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks, one pass breakup and one forced fumble.

2. Joe Vellano, Maryland: He led the Terps with five sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. He finished with 63 total tackles and two pass breakups. He is also the son of former Maryland all-ACC defensive tackle Paul Vellano.

3. J.R. Sweezy, NC State: He had 13 tackles for loss last season, six sacks, 46 tackles, three pass breakups and six quarterback pressures.

4. Marcus Forston, Miami: He had 37 tackles last season including 12 for a combined loss of 31 yards. He also had three sacks, an interception and one pass deflection.

5. Jacobbi McDaniel, Florida State: The true sophomore played most of the season with an elbow injury and still started all 14 games. He finished with 31 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss, had two pass breakups and got his first career interception against Wake Forest.

6. Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest: The noseguard from Texas finished last season with 44 tackles, including 10.5 for loss and three sacks. He also had three pass deflections.

7. A.J. Francis, Maryland: He had 44 tackles last season, including seven for losses of 29 yards. He also had 2.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries.

8. Brandon Thompson, Clemson: He’ll be one of the leaders of the line this season, and last season had 40 tackles, including six for loss.

9. Everett Dawkins, Florida State: Despite midseason surgery on his thumb, Dawkins didn’t miss a game and finished with 39 tackles (20 solo), six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

10. Antoine Hopkins, Virginia Tech: He started 12 games last season and had 45 tackles including 6.5 for loss and two sacks.