When it comes to defense, there is no question which conference reigns supreme.
While not always pretty, games within the Southeastern Conference are smash-mouth and old school. The players that flock to the SEC from high school are the hardest hitters, the pass rush specialists, and the grind-it-out type of studs that leave offensive players' heads spinning.
These five are the best of the best. They're the scariest dudes on the field.
No. 5 - Barkevious Mingo
The junior defensive end from LSU can do it all. He is a leader on an LSU defensive unit that ranks third in the entire nation, giving up just over 243 total yards per game.
At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, he is not as big as traditional NFL defensive ends, but Mingo possesses rare speed and versatility that will allow him to play a hybrid pass-rusher position at the next level. In three seasons so far, Mingo has tallied 13.5 sacks and nine passes defended.
No. 4 - Dee Milliner
Alabama's junior cornerback Dee Milliner is the best defensive back in the nation playing for arguably the best defensive secondary in the nation. Milliner headlines an Alabama unit that is first in the nation in total defense and first in pass defense, surrendering a laughable 145 yards per game to each of their unfortunate opponents.
Milliner does not have the flashy interception stats, but how can he when opposing offenses refuse to throw his way? Milliner is physical, at 6-foot-1 and 199 el-bees, and shows up all over the field to swat balls out of the air. He is second in the nation with 15 passes defended. If there ever was a shutdown corner, Milliner is just that.
No. 3 - Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney is a pure freak of nature and must be included on this list. At 6-foot-6 and 256, he is a monster on the field and can strike fear in opponents with one swing of the dreadlocks.
Despite being a true sophomore, Clowney showed flashes of greatness in his first season at defensive end for the South Carolina Gamecocks. He was able to post three multi-sack games in 2011, two against SEC foes and one such game against Nebraska in its bowl game.
He possesses game-changing ability and has improved every week. This season, Clowney has only failed to register a sack in two of South Carolina's nine games and has already surpassed his sack total of last year -- 8.0 -- with 8.5 sacks this season. He's a one-man wrecking crew and, luckily for South Carolina, he will be playing college ball for at least one more season.
No. 2 - Damontre Moore
Damontre Moore may not be the household name that some of the other players on this list are, but this man is a sack machine. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior defensive end from Texas A&M is currently third in the nation with 10.5 sacks, as well as third in sacks per game, with 1.31. He also leads the nation in knockdowns and quarterback hurries. As a sophomore, Moore racked up 8.5 sacks with one batted ball and one fumble recovery. In his three seasons so far, Moore has 24.5 sacks and the big man even has an interception on his resume.
No. 1 - Jarvis Jones
Jarvis Jones is the best defensive player in the SEC. The 6-foot-3, 241-pound junior linebacker plays his best when the stakes are highest.
In the most important game of his career last week against Florida for control of the SEC East, Jones absolutely exploded. He had 4.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks, with two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
On the season, Jones is tied for fifth in the nation in sacks with 8.5, despite only playing in six games. He is second in the nation in sacks per game, averaging nearly 1.5 per game. Jones sacked quarterbacks an astounding 13.5 times last season, making him one of the most productive and disruptive defensive players in the entire nation. If you want a game-changing stud on defense, look no further than the SEC's best: Jarvis Jones.
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