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Rivals Rankings Week: Storylines to follow with top 2025 defensive linemen

Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

The new position rankings for the 2025 class are being released and so it’s time to look at storylines at each spot. Today, we continue with defensive linemen.

NEW POSITION RANKINGS: Strongside Defensive End | Weakside Defensive End | Defensive Tackle | Offensive Tackle | Offensive Guard | Center | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Running Back | All-Purpose Back | Pro-Style QB | Dual-Threat QB | Outside Linebacker | Inside Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety | Athlete

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RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK

MONDAY: Who should be No. 1?

TUESDAY: Five-Star Countdown | Tavien St. Clair moved into five-star status

WEDNESDAY: New Rivals250 unveiled | Gorney goes position-by-position | Biggest risers

THURSDAY: New offensive position rankings released | QB rankings breakdown | RB rankings breakdown | WR/TE rankings breakdown | OL rankings breakdown

FRIDAY: New defensive position rankings released | DL rankings breakdown | LB rankings breakdown | DB rankings breakdown | ATH rankings breakdown

SATURDAY: New state rankings released | Who is No. 1 in each state?

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WHO WILL BE THE NEXT FIVE-STAR?

USC commit Justus Terry and fellow Georgia native Elijah Griffin remained the only two five-star defensive linemen in the latest Rivals250 but there are a handful of other five-star candidates along the defensive front.

Top-ranked weakside defensive end Javion Hilson, a Florida State commit, has had some dominant performances this offseason and his physical development is very encouraging. The same can be said of No. 2 weakside defensive end Zahir Mathis, an Ohio State commit. Mathis has really filled out his frame with solid weight and that added strength is showing up on the field.

Michigan commit Nathaniel Marshall, the top-ranked strongside defensive end, is within striking distance of earning his fifth star. The exceptional athlete out of Illinois has had a very quiet offseason in terms of camp performances but he’s expected to compete at some point prior to his senior season. Also from Illinois, Notre Dame commit Christopher Burgess Jr. has the traits to eventually find himself a five-star before the end of the rankings cycle.

The next highest-ranked defensive lineman is North Carolina native Bryce Davis at No. 51 in the Rivals250. Davis missed a chunk of last season but is healthy and ready to pick up where left off when he steps on the field for his senior season. A five-star ranking for him isn’t out of the realm of possibility either, but it all depends on his senior season.

Also keep an eye on Lance Jackson, Mariyon Dye and Isaiah Gibson as potential big risers throughout the rest of the rankings cycle.

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CAN USC HOLD ONTO ITS ELITE DEFENSIVE LINE COMMITS?

Paul Strelow/Rivals.com

The Trojans sent shockwaves through the recruiting world in March by landing commitments from five-star Justus Terry and Rivals250 defensive linemen Isaiah Gibson and Gus Cordova. All of the national powerhouse programs were pursuing each of the impressive recruits and, despite their pledges to USC, none of them have slowed their recruiting efforts.

Terry was an early Georgia commit and then flipped to USC but the Bulldogs are still pushing to get him back in the fold. Gibson seemed to be favoring schools closer to home earlier in the process so USC will have its hands full holding onto him as well.

He has official visits planned to see Georgia, South Carolina, Auburn, Tennessee, Ohio State and Oklahoma. As for Cordova, he’s still being courted by Florida, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and others.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH USC FANS AT TROJANSPORTS.COM

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MAJOR COMMITMENTS ON THE HORIZON

Rivals.com

Commitments will soon be coming in bunches as official visit season gets underway and 20 of the 41 Rivals250 defensive linemen have yet to make their decision.

Five-star Elijah Griffin is the big prize right now. The No. 7 prospect in the Rivals250 is taking official visits to Miami and USC in June but plans on waiting to commit in December. Georgia and Clemson will get Griffin for official visits this fall.

Bryce Davis, who will choose Georgia, Clemson or Duke, is planning on committing in July. Former Alabama commit Zion Grady is being pursued by Auburn, Miami, Ohio State, Florida State and Tennessee. Iowa legacy Iose Epenesa is high on the Hawkeyes and Miami Hurricanes. Ohio State might be the leader for Mariyon Dye but he is still strongly considering Purdue, LSU, Georgia and Michigan.

While Griffin may try to hold off on committing until the Early Signing Period, Davis, Grady, Epenesa, Dye and many others could pull the trigger on a commitment before August.

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FLORIDA DEFENSIVE LINEMEN KEEPING EVERYBODY ON THEIR TOES

Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

The Sunshine State always produces recruiting drama and this year is no different. The standout defensive linemen in Florida this year should provide some fireworks.

Javion Hilson, the highest-ranked of the bunch, has been committed to Florida State since January but he’s visited a number of other programs since then. Alabama and Tennessee are pushing to flip him and they might be making some progress.

Defensive tackle Randy Adirika hasn’t tipped his hand much but Penn State is in good position heading into official visits. Louisville and Miami are right near the top of his list as well. Florida State has prioritized Rivals250 defensive end Myron Charles and it might be at the front of the pack for him but Florida, Miami, and USC are hoping to flip the script when they host him for official visits.

Defensive tackle Jarquez Carter made his Rivals250 debut in this rankings update. Florida, Florida State and Miami are hoping to keep him from leaving the state for Penn State or Ohio State. Four-star Floyd Boucard is planning on committing in July but he recently added offers from Georgia and Alabama, which could complicate his recruitment a bit. Miami, USC, Oklahoma and Alabama are expected to get him for official visits in June. Florida and Florida State are in the mix, too, but the Hurricanes and Sooners seem to have a slight edge on the field.