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Making the Case: Who will be the first five-star DE in 2022?

Shemar Stewart
Shemar Stewart (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The next 2022 rankings update is upon us and there are plenty of debates about which prospects should be moving up or down. It’s a very good year at defensive end but there aren’t any five-stars at the position yet. In today’s Making the Case, Rivals analysts make an argument for a specific player to be the first five-star defensive end in the 2022 class.


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CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

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Curry is the highest-ranked defensive end going into this update of the 2022 class. He certainly has a strong case from a production standpoint, but even after posting big numbers again as a junior we did not get to see the full breadth of Curry's abilities because he played primarily defensive tackle. He should move back out to defensive end again as a senior, when we will get a better sense for his top-end potential. - Josh Helmholdt, Midwest recruiting analyst


It would be very difficult for Dennis-Sutton to earn his fifth star in this rankings update because he hasn’t played his junior season yet and hasn’t attended any camps in the last year. That doesn’t mean he can’t eventually earn his fifth star but at this point it seems unlikely to happen this week. Dennis-Sutton is a dominant defensive lineman that can make a ton of plays against the run and the pass. He’s strong at the point of attack, can get into the backfield with ease, and does a good job getting to the quarterback. Throughout the extended offseason Dennis-Sutton has been working tirelessly on improving his game so we should see an even more impressive prospect once he’s able to get back on the field. - Adam Friedman, East Coast recruiting analyst


Stewart's athleticism jumps out immediately. It is all about what he can be down the road. The size is there. He can really run. Stewart excels when chasing plays and being able to pin his ears back to get after the quarterback. He only played three games in 2020 due to a minor injury and the limited schedule due to the pandemic. He is a special big athlete that has programs like Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Miami. - Chad Simmons, Southeast recruiting analyst


Williams is a very athletic and versatile defensive lineman that could fill a number of roles at the next level. He is a strongside end, but he is a very athletic defender that could be used at this position, moved to defensive tackle or even as a stand-up edge rusher. Williams is explosive with good flexibility, and he really took his game to another level in 2020. He finished with 17 sacks, 19 tackles for loss, and that was facing double-teams on a regular basis. He is set to commit March 15, to honor his father, and programs like Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and USC are contenders. - Simmons