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2019 Sun Belt Front Seven Rankings

By Southern Pigskin Staff
SouthernPigskin.com
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Southern Pigskin's ranking of the top five Sun Belt front sevens for 2019.

1. Arkansas State -- The defensive line, for the Red Wolves, is one of the better units in all of college football. Back is the tackle tandem of Forrest Merrill, often demanding double teams at 338 pounds, and veteran Kevin Thurmon. Expectations are also high for defensive end William Bradley-King, who recorded six sacks in 2018. Tajhea Chambers is an active sideline-to-sideline linebacker who recorded 79 tackles as a sophomore.

2. Georgia Southern -- Raymond Johnson III, still just a junior, is the prototypical defensive end in the Eagles' 3-4 scheme. His 35 pressures from last season are the most of any returning lineman or edge rusher in the Sun Belt. Ty Phillips is a formidable anchor in the middle. Linebackers Rashad Byrd and Chris Harris, who combined for 10.5 tackles for loss, appear ready for more prominent roles.

3. Appalachian State -- Linebackers Akeem Davis-Gaither, Jordan Fehr and Noel Cook are each all-conference type talents, with Fehr earning first-team honors last fall. Collectively, they recorded 265 total tackles and 29 tackles for loss this past season. Elijah Diarrassouba returns as a starter up front and the Mountaineers have multiple linemen, given their frequent poised to step up.

4. Troy -- It was a spectacular freshman debut for linebacker Carlton Martial, recording 76 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles. He is the defensive centerpiece. Up front, Marcus Webb is back to man the middle and Jarvis Hayes is formidable off the edge. Back from injury, linebacker Zo Bridges could prove to be a difference-maker when it comes to pressuring the passer.

5. Texas State -- Remarkably, senior linebackers Bryan London II, Frankie Griffin and Nikolas Daniels have combined for almost 700 career tackles. London, who was second in the country with 141 stops in 2016, and Daniels ranked one-two in the league in total tackles a season ago with 109 and 108, respectively. End Ishmael Davis has shown a playmaking knack and returns alongside Caeveon Patton.