Editor's note: In his ongoing series on West Coast prep football prospects, recruiting expert Greg Biggins takes a look at defensive ends:
The crop of defensive ends out West is not as top heavy as the defensive tackle position but has more depth. It’s a versatile group including a handful of players who could move to linebacker in college.
At the top of the board is Greg Townsend who earned DL MVP honors at the loaded NIKE Camp at USC last spring. Townsend is the son of former Oakland Raiders All-Pro Greg Townsend Sr. and you can tell he knows what he’s doing on the field and how to get after the quarterback.
Townsend has all the moves coming off the edge and is also very strong. In fact, if he continues to grow more physically and ends up playing at around 280-285 pounds, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move to the inside down the line.
Jason Gibson will have to put on some weight to stay at defensive end, but he has the frame to do so. He’s a very explosive player and a lot of schools like him as a linebacker in college. He doesn’t play much in space so it’s tough to know if Gibson can make that adjustment but there’s no doubt he has the talent to be an elite pass rusher at the next level.
Brennan Scarlett has everything you’re looking for in a college defensive end. He has a long frame that is far from filling out and he’s not close to maturing physically yet. He’s a good athlete with a high motor and plays with excellent technique as well. Injuries have hurt him the last couple of years, but he’s a guy who will make a lot of noise in college.
Devon Moreland is similar to Gibson in that he’s a speed rusher who some schools like as a linebacker. He’s not as athletic as Gibson but has a bigger frame and plays with a mean streak. He’s only played football for two years so he’s still learning the game and as a result, his upside is off the charts.
Charlie Hopkins is a high motor player with a ton of ability. He’s athletic enough to be recruited as a tight end and even played some linebacker a year ago. He’s quick off the line and uses his long arms to keep opposing lineman off of him. He pursues the ball very well and as he continues to gain strength and mass to his frame, the sky is the limit.
The Top 10:
1. Greg Townsend, 6-3, 260, Beverly Hills (Calif.)
Mature pass rusher who understands how to play the position.
2. Jason Gibson, 6-3, 210, Gardena (Calif.) Serra
A blur coming off the edge and could see time at linebacker.
3. Brennan Scarlett, 6-5, 245, Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic
Great frame and motor and could end up best in this group.
4. Devon Moreland, 6-3, 230, Salesian (Calif.) -- Southern Methodist
Had an amazing 21 sacks last season.
5. Charlie Hopkins, 6-6, 230, Spokane (Wash.) Gonzaga Prep -- Stanford
Tall, rangy defender who never takes a play off.
6. Dylan Wynn, 6-3, 240, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle -- Oregon State
Non-stop motor and incredible work ethic off the field.
7. Colt Lyerla, 6-5, 230, Hillsboro (Ore.)
One of the most versatile players in the region.
8. Koa Ka'ai, 6-4, 235, Honolulu (Hawaii) Kamehameha
Great frame and closing speed.
9. Puka Lopa, 6-2, 240, Sacramento (Calif.) Grant
Fiery competitor who led section in sacks last season with 20.
10. DeVante Wilson, 6-4, 230, Corona (Calif.)
Athletic pass rusher who can also play the run.
The Next 15:
11. Kevin Anderson, 6-5, 240, Palo Alto (Calif.) -- Stanford
12. Baker Pritchard, 6-3, 250, South Jordan (Utah) Bingham -- Brigham Young
13. Ian Seau, 6-3, 230, Encinitas (Calif.) La Costa Canyon
14. Stephan Nembot, 6-6, 255, Van Nuys (Calif.) Montclair Prep
15. Desmond Collins, 6-2, 235, Salt Lake City (Utah) Highland -- Idaho
16. Juda Parker, 6-2, 240, Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis -- Tennessee
17. J.B. Salem, 6-4, 250, Newport Beach (Calif.) Newport Harbor -- Stanford
18. Jarett Finau, 6-3, 232, Kirkland (Wash.) Juanita -- Washington
19. Reggie Gilbert, 6-2, 230, Laveen (Ariz.) Fairfax -- Arizona
20. Robert Ash, 6-3, 250, Elk Grove (Calif.) Cosumnes Oaks -- Boise State
21. Cody Kurz, 6-2, 230, Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure
22. Connor Cree, 6-4, 220, Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline -- Washington
23. Sam Meredith, 6-4, 250, San Diego (Calif.) Helix
24. Jordan Robles, 6-5, 250, Spanish Fork (Utah) Salem Hills -- Utah
25.Sam Kamp, 6-4, 215, Mesa (Ariz.) Mountain View -- Oregon
Greg Biggins is an occasional contributor to the ESPNLosAngeles.com Preps Blog. For more recruiting news, check out his Insider blog on West Coast recruiting.