2024 ACC EDGE Rankings: Does Patrick Payton, Ashton Gillotte, or Kaimon Rucker Sit on the Throne?

    The 2024 ACC EDGE Rankings are chock-full of elite talents, including several in the top 10 who have early-round 2025 NFL Draft potential.

    No other position group in the conference compares to the 2024 ACC EDGE Rankings, home to multiple playmakers one season away from being selected in the NFL Draft. However, one program stands above the rest, with three players in the top 10.

    ACC 2024 EDGE Rankings

    10) Tyler Baron, Miami Hurricanes

    Coming off a career-best 10.5-TFL and six-sack campaign, Tyler Baron was a sought-after playmaker in the transfer portal. After initially committing to Ole Miss, he is taking his talents to ACC with the Hurricanes. At 6’5″ and 260 pounds, Baron has the tools to make an impact off the edge, especially alongside Elijah Alston and Reuben Bain Jr.

    9) T.J. Parker, Clemson Tigers

    T.J. Parker stepped off the plane as a recruit and instantly earned a significant spot on Clemson’s defensive line rotation. The former top-50 recruit racked up 12.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks, using his explosive first step to devasting effect. The best part? He’s still raw in terms of pass-rush moves and hand usage but is already a stalwart against the run.

    8) Elijah Alston, Miami Hurricanes

    Say what you will about Miami, but Mario Cristobal and Co. have absolutely loaded up this offseason. Their EDGE group is by far the best in the conference, and landing two of the top players in the portal certainly helped.

    Elijah Alston recorded 45 total tackles, 11.5 TFLs, six sacks, two forced fumbles, two PBUs, and a pick-six for Marshall last season, tormenting every tackle across from him. The final five-game stretch of the season showcased just how high his ceiling can be.

    7) Jasheen Davis, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

    Jasheen Davis doesn’t get enough attention. Since becoming a full-time starter, he has produced 14+ TFLs and 7+ sacks in each of the last two seasons. His incessant motor and active, heavy hands overwhelm linemen, and he utilizes his skill set anywhere from 4i to 9 tech.

    6) Antwaun Powell-Ryland, Virginia Tech Hokies

    A former four-star recruit who started the final five games in 2022 at Florida, Antwaun Powell-Ryland entered the portal in the following offseason and found a new home in Virginia Tech. APR rewarded the Hokies with interest, generating 14.5 TFLs (fifth in the conference) and 9.5 sacks (second), culminating in second-team All-ACC recognition.

    MORE: 2024 ACC Regular-Season Win Totals

    Despite being on the lighter side (6’3″, 246), Powell-Ryland is solid against the run and one of the best pass rushers in the conference.

    5) Patrick Payton, Florida State Seminoles

    The recipient of first-round draft hype, Patrick Payton enters the 2024 season with elevated expectations. While he needs to expand his pass-rush toolbox, Payton possesses a Gumby-esque frame at 6’5″ that affords him room for error other EDGEs aren’t privy to.

    FSU’s roster lists him at 254 pounds now, which should help add strength at the point of attack and put sand in his pants against the run.

    4) Elijah Roberts, SMU Mustangs

    With his neck roll and aggressive play style, Elijah Roberts causes flashbacks to 1990s Dolphin Bryan Cox. He routinely treats opposing OTs like bowling pins, often finishing with a strike on the QB (10 sacks in 2023). Roberts’ heavy hands shock linemen, help him keep his chest clean, and will translate to the ACC.

    3) Reuben Bain Jr., Miami Hurricanes

    Reuben Bain Jr. was a true freshman in 2023, but you couldn’t tell by his stat sheet (12.5 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles) and film. He split his time between the interior and the edge, dominating at both en route to ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

    With a full offseason to hone his craft and an influx of elite talent on both sides of the ball, Bain should mirror his comic book namesake (Bane) on the field in 2024.

    2) Kaimon Rucker, North Carolina Tar Heels

    Kaimon Rucker is a sawed-off EDGE at 6’2″ and 265 pounds, but he moves like a lighter defender and packs a punch like a bigger one. His knock-back power throws linemen off balance when he gets a head of steam, and he has the flexibility and quickness to win around them. Returning his fifth and final season, Rucker could have saved his best for last.

    1) Ashton Gillotte, Louisville Cardinals

    Listed at 6’3″ and 275 pounds, Ashton Gillotte is a thick and powerful EDGE with impressive ankle flexion around the arc.

    KEEP READING: 2024 ACC QB Rankings

    Speed to power is his calling card, resulting in 22.5 TFLs and 18 sacks across the last two years. He strikes fear into opposing offensive linemen and will do the same in the NFL in 2025.

    2024 ACC EDGE Rankings | 11-20

    11) Donovan Ezeiruaku, Boston College
    12) David Vann, North Carolina State
    13) David Reese and Xavier Carlton, Cal
    14) Fadil Diggs, Syracuse  
    15) Sione Lolohea and Marvin Jones Jr., Florida State
    16) Myles Jernigan, Louisville
    17) Kendron Wayman, Wake Forest
    18) Desmond Evans, North Carolina
    19) Cameron Robertson, SMU
    20) Kevin Harris,
    Georgia Tech

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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