There’s nothing quite like a game-changing sack or tackle for loss. With that in mind, On3 took the liberty to rank the top 10 EDGE rushers in college football ahead of the 2023 season.
Spring practice is just around the corner and teams will have a better idea of the abilities of their players and what their roles will be. As far as what these 10 guys can do, that’s pretty clear.
Below are the top 10 EDGE rushers ahead of the 2023 season, according to On3.
1. Jared Verse, Florida State: This is simply the premier pass rusher in college football. The 22-year-old was a First-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC last season and helped Florida State to a 10-win season and Cheez-It Bowl victory. It was Verse’s first season on the field and he registered nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Good luck stopping this man on the field in 2023. He could be a premier pick in next year’s NFL Draft.
2. Laiatu Latu, UCLA: Latu, similar to Verse, was First-Team All-Pac-12 last season and had tremendous success for the Bruins. Originally a Washington Huskies pass rusher, Latu transferred ahead of last season and showed why he is a feared pass rusher. In 13 games last season, Latu had 36 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.
3. Bralen Trice, Washington: Trice was another Pac-12 standout, like Latu. The Huskies saw a lot of success on the field in 2022 and Trice pushed double-digit sacks last fall. He finished the season with 38 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Trice did not play in 2020 and saw moderate numbers in six games in 2021. Last fall proved to be his breakout campaign and 2023 could be even better for the Pac-12 contender.
4. J.T. Tuimoloau, Ohio State: Tuimoloau was a game-wrecker for the Buckeyes in 2022, including an unbelievable performance against Penn State, as Ohio State fans certainly remember. One of the top recruits in the Class of 2021 (No. 5 overall, per the On3 Industry Ranking), Tuimoloau proved everyone right. The sack numbers weren’t exactly there for the Buckeye (just 3.5 last year and seven total in two seasons), but he was a force in the backfield. Tuimoloau had 10.5 tackles for loss last season.
5. Chop Robinson, Penn State: After Robinson transferred from Maryland to Penn State prior to last season, he found his groove. He played just eight games in 2021 with the Terrapins and registered two. Those numbers went up during a great year for Penn State. He had 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. At this rate, we’d expect Robinson to push double-digit sacks in 2023 before he makes his NFL decision next winter.
6. Mykel Williams, Georgia: Georgia seemingly churns out elite pass rushers year after year. It’s obvious after the Bulldogs won two straight national championships. Williams played his part last season throughout 15 games in 2022. While he registered just 4.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss, he’ll have a bigger role in 2023. Look out SEC, Georgia has another bonafide quarterback chase and backfield wrecker.
7. Donovan Ezeiruaku, Boston College: Boston College did not make national headlines for the team’s success, so there might not have been enough attention on Ezeiruaku. It’s time to pay attention to the Eagle standout. He finished the 2022 season with 61 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He has 10.5 for his career after two as a freshman in 2021, but he could very well double his career total with his best season yet. NFL scouts will want to take a close look at Ezeiruaku in the northeast section of the country.
8. Chico Bennett Jr., Virginia: Bennett played two years at Georgia Tech before he transferred to Virginia and developed into a top-tier player. He did not register a sack in his first two years, didn’t play in 2021 and finally broke out last fall. The incoming fifth-year senior had seven sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 2022. Defensive coordinator John Rudzinski should have a good time letting Bennett loose on opposing quarterbacks in 2023. The Cavaliers will need it.
9. Dallas Turner, Alabama: Turner’s numbers actually went down last season compared to his first year on the field. The Crimson Tide star has 12.5 sacks in his career, but just four came during the 2022 campaign. With a guy like Will Anderson off to the NFL, Alabama needs another defensive star to step up and Turner is a prime candidate. He’s shown the flashes before and could be key to a great defense in 2023. It’ll be fascinating to watch new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele work with Turner.
10. Chris Braswell, Alabama: Remember when we said Georgia has a lot of pass rushers? Well so does Alabama and that shouldn’t be surprising. Braswell does not have the numbers but with another year coming, Braswell should be relied on a little more. He had just 2.5 sacks last year and has 33 total tackles for his career. We’ll go out on a limb and say those numbers should go up under Steele.