The Opening: Day 3 Defensive Line Recap

Chad Thomas

The Linemen Challenge got heated, intense and chippy on the final day of The Opening. Fox Sports NEXT takes a look at the top five defensive linemen who stood out and notes on other kids who had good days.

Top Five

Chad Thomas of Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington was a nearly unanimous selection by our staff as the top dog on Wednesday. He's a long, athletic kid, we knew that, but what has surprised us is the power he has. He's bull rushed guys and thrown big, powerful offensive linemen like they were nothing. He has helped himself this week.

Lompoc (Ca.) High's Ainuu Taua has been tough to block all week and that continued today. His compact build allows him to get underneath offensive linemen and he's a quick kid with a motor too. He's undersized, but very disruptive.

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Ohio State commit Jalyn Holmes of Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor had one of the more eye catching moments today when he won a rep with a lightning quick spin move. He's long and athletic. He needs to get stronger, but the athletic tools are there.

El Dorado (Ark.) tackle Bijhon Jackson has been a bull. He's powerful and compact and it hasn't been a whole lot of finesse with him, but he's brute forced his way through quite a few blockers this week. He's a kid who has a great chance to move up the rankings.

Coppell (Tex.) end Solomon Thomas is strong and plays with a lot of tenacity and motor. There's not a ton of finesse in his game, but his overall power and technique with his hands along with how hard he plays allowed him to win a number of his battles.

Other Notes

Dashawn Hand had a better day today than he did on Tuesday. He had good battles with Damien Mama. He went inside and outside and has the tools to do either. Fellow Virginian Andrew Brown had a couple good reps and did a nice job with his hands. He has quick, violent hands and that helped him win today.

Brentwood Academy (Tenn.) tackle Derek Barnett is a strong kid who gets off the ball well and knows how to use leverage. He's had a nice couple days.

Garrald McDowell is an edge rusher with athleticism, but must continue to get stronger. Andrew Williams has a nice frame and is light on his feet, but also must get stronger.

Tennessee commit Joe Henderson is a smooth, agile pass rusher, but when big blockers get their hands on him like Cameron Robinson did, he has some trouble. He must put on some weight and strength, but the tools are there.

Michigan State commit Enoch Smith is a strong, nicely built kid at 6'2, 280-pounds. He has to keep improving technically, but he has good pad level and motor.

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