Breaking It Down: West Defensive Line
Eddie Jones (
Eddie Jones (
Posted Dec 12, 2005

In the U.S. Army All-American game, regional boundaries are stretched to their absolute limits. Louisiana in the west? Sure, why not. Spanning from Hawaii to the Bayou State, the west defensive line is a mix-mash of just about every kind of lineman; quick, true pass rushers, bigger defensive ends capable of playing over the tight end, combo defensive linemen that play the '3-technique' and those pure run-stuffers that are literally larger than life.

Joseph Faifili - Joseph racked up some serious frequent flyer miles this fall, and as such it was very difficult to keep up with the mecurial Faifili. First he was at Hawaii powerhouse Kahuku, but transferred to Granger High School in West Valley City, Utah - citing family issues at the time. Whatever 'family issues' there were must have been resolved, because Faifili went back to Kahuku and played well enough to be considered the anchor for the Red Raiders' defensive line, considered by many on the islands to be the best in the state. Besides continuing a legacy started by Kahuku linemen Chris Kemeatou and J.T. Mapu, Faifili's distinction as a U.S. Army All-American made a little history. He is the first in his state to be bestowed with the title - U.S. Army All-American.

Derrick Hill - The only other true 'west coast' player besides Steve Schilling and Williams, Hill is another defensive tackle much like McCoy in the sense that he's a real plug in the middle of the west line that can also get in the backfield and cause some problems for the opposing quarterback and running backs. Strong, powerfully well-built and coming from the tough Oakland Athletic League, Hill is going to be counted on as an anchor along the interior. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound Hill - given a five-star rating by to go along with being ranked as the eighth-best defensive tackle in the country - is still looking around at quite a few schools on the coast, but recently narrowed his choices down to four; Arizona, California, Oregon and USC. All have offered.

Eddie Jones - I'm surprised we remembered Eddie Jones, but then again - when you are's national No. 1 defensive end in the country, how could we ever forget? Jones is another one of those solid lone-star gems that gets forgotten about in the shuffle because Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns swallowed him up with an early commitment the way a hungry dog gobbles up a bone. Speaking of swallowing things up, Jones has great sideline-to-sideline speed and is relentless in pursuit when going after the ball-carrier. He plays with great leverage, very rarely giving up ground without a fight. Jones is one of those ends that will beat you more with quickness, savvy and tenacity than just brute strength and athleticism. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder from Kilgore, Tex. will no doubt be an in-state crowd favorite on January 6.

Gerald McCoy - A prospect that reminds me of Texas frosh Roy Miller, McCoy is another player not taken off his feet easily. He's a strong player for his size, who can beat you inside or out. A guy that plays the game on guts and God-given ability. You don't see too many defensive tackles end up with 20-plus sacks or 85 tackles in a season, but that's what McCoy a junior. The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder was on pace to break that mark this year, going for 13 his first five games, as well as causing an astonishing ten forced fumbles. No wonder McCoy has schools like LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, USC and Virginia Tech on his official schedule docket as's No. 2 defensive tackle in the country. We put him there for a reason. And the home-state Sooners? Don't worry OU fans; McCoy still likes you guys too.

Jermaine Williams - Like Marcus Shavers, who committed to Arkansas and played in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American game, Jermaine Williams is a relentless pass rusher who most likely would have garnered even more acclaim if he hadn't cut his recruitment short and verbally committed to Arizona State back at the end of May. As it stands, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Williams is a four-star recruit and rated the 6th-best defensive end in America by Williams is a player that uses his hands really well and just explodes from his three-point. He can take a tackle straight up, but is at his best when he can break free with his arms and slide right past. It will be fun to see him go against big boys like Sam Young and Andre Smith.

Al Woods - If you break down the rankings and take out the Juco players and the prep school prospects, you'll find that Woods - a 6-foot-4, 327-pound defensive tackle from Elton, La. - is actually one of the top five tackles in the entire country. It's one of the many reasons I believe Woods will be this year's version of Jerrell Powe. At last year's U.S. Army All-American game, Powe could not be stopped and constantly demanded double-teams. Woods has Powe's stature, motor and talent, but instead of watching Powe surprisingly commit to them on national television (he eventually reversed course and signed with Mississippi), fans of the Bayou Bengals won't have to worry about seeing Woods pull an LSU hat out of a bag. He's already firmly entrenched in Les Miles' camp.

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