2024 SEC DT Rankings: Deone Walker, Tonka Hemingway Bulldoze Their Way to the Top

    The NFL Draft stole much of the conference's top defensive tackles, but the 2024 SEC DT Rankings are not short on talent.

    While the likes of T’Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy II, Marcus Harris, Isaiah Coe, Mekhi Wingo, Jordan Jefferson, Maason Smith, McKinnley Jackson, Jaden Crumedy, and several others will not return this season, the conference has already reloaded with talent. Who tops the 2024 SEC DT Rankings, and which teams are represented by multiple players?

    SEC 2024 DT Rankings

    10) Joey Slackman, Florida Gators

    Going from the Ivy League to the SEC is one of the biggest conference jumps a player can make, but Joey Slackman is ready for it. In three years and 28 games at Penn, he accumulated 115 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks, improving each season.

    Contradicting his last name, Slackman has a high motor and is especially impressive in run defense, using his wrestling background to hold gaps and shed for the tackle.

    9) Tim Keenan III, Alabama Crimson Tide

    Tim Keenan III impressed in his first season as a full-time starter. At 6’2″, 315 pounds, he splits his time between nose and defensive tackle, making his presence felt as a run defender. He can go stretches without generating pressure as a pass rusher, but he flashed his potential, and new DC Kane Wommack will put him in a position to succeed.

    8) Warren Brinson, Georgia Bulldogs

    Warren Brinson rotated behind Nazir Stackhouse and Zion Logue, with the latter leaving for the NFL. Yet, it’s safe to say Brinson outplayed his teammates, as he routinely penetrated the pocket (watch the game vs. South Carolina) and stood his ground in run defense. Playing with the first team alongside Stackhouse should only lead to more production in 2024.

    7) Walter Nolen, Ole Miss Rebels

    A five-star recruit in the 2022 class, Walter Nolen has 22 games and 14 starts under his belt and is still 20 years old.

    MORE: 2024 SEC Power Rankings

    He has the athleticism to line up anywhere from 3 to 7-tech but is at his best with his hands in the dirt. The Rebels stole him from the Aggies after watching him wreck their offensive line in Week 10 and will hope to unlock his untapped potential further.

    6) Caleb Banks, Florida Gators

    At 6’6″ and 325 pounds, Caleb Banks has the size you want from a defensive tackle, but he also has the juice. In fact, Banks was a better pass rusher than run defender last season, pushing the pocket with ease. If he makes a bigger impact against the ground game this year, he’ll move up the 2024 SEC DT Rankings.

    5) T.J. Sanders, South Carolina Gamecocks

    T.J. Sanders’ teammate further down the list receives most of the recognition from South Carolina’s D-line, but Sanders is a baller in his own right. He’s a sure tackler at 6’5″ and nearly 300 pounds, using his length to wrap up in the hole. But Sanders also has active hands and leg drive to generate pressure where QBs hate it most: up the middle.

    4) Jared Ivey, Ole Miss Rebels

    Jared Ivey has served as a bit of a tweener for the Rebels at 6’5″ and 265 pounds. His lighter frame means he can be washed out in the run game against beefier interior linemen, but it also gives him an advantage as a pass rusher.

    With Nolen and Akelo Stone now in tow, he may play more of an outside role this season, necessitating a move to the 2024 SEC EDGE Rankings.

    3) Alfred Collins, Texas Longhorns

    Sweat and Murphy took the majority of the DT snaps last season and will both hear their names called in the 2024 NFL Draft. And while seemingly every Longhorns fan wants to land a top-tier transfer DT, they already have one in Austin.

    A longtime rotational piece for Texas, Alfred Collins is primed for a breakout campaign. He’ll miss more tackles than you’d like, but what he adds as a pass rusher is worth the occasional whiff.

    2) Tonka Hemingway, South Carolina Gamecocks

    The Gamecocks deployed Tonka Hemingway all over the defensive line, thanks to his 6’3″ and 285-pound frame. He’s explosive and owns a blitzing first step, crossing faces in a hurry.

    Plus, his awareness of getting his hands up when he didn’t get home resulted in a conference-leading eight batted passes in 2023. Entering his fifth and final season, Hemingway could have saved his best for last.

    1) Deone Walker, Kentucky Wildcats

    No SEC defender, even including Texas’ duo, came close to Deone Walker’s pass-rush dominance last season. He also played by far the most snaps of any DT in the conference. That’s impressive on its own, but Walker is 6’6″ and 348 pounds!

    KEEP READING: 2024 SEC QB Rankings

    A massive human with excellent conditioning, Walker can blow up a run and then sack the quarterback the next play. There’s no questioning his spot as the No. 1 player on the 2024 SEC DT Rankings.

    2024 SEC DT Rankings | 11-20

    11) Nazir Stackhouse, Georgia
    12) Eric Gregory and Cam Ball,
    13) Jayson Jones, Gage Keys, and Trill Carter, Auburn
    14) Cam’Ron Jackson, Florida
    15) Da’Jon Terry, Oklahoma
    16) Bryson Eason and Omarr Norman-Lott, Tennessee
    17) Akelo Stone, Ole Miss
    18) Sterling Webb and Chris McClellan, Missouri
    19) Tiaoalii Savea, Texas
    20) Rodas Johnson, Texas A&M

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