1. Bradlee Anae (Utah Utes)
Utah’s Bradlee Anae tops our list after receiving first team Coaches All-Pac-12 honors from the conference’s head coaches a year ago. The conference’s returning sack leader will get to take a crack at Oregon State for the first time since his freshman year. In the last two years, Anae has racked up 15 sacks to go along with 25.5 tackles-for-a-loss. Utah’s stud edge rusher likely could have gone pro in the 2019 NFL Draft, but when you see who else he is going to be playing alongside with this year, it’s hard to resist not to come back to pad your stats and improve your stock.
2. Leki Fotu (Utah Utes)
Leki Fotu returns for his senior year to anchor the Utes vaunted defensive line. Like Bradlee Anae, he was a Coaches All-Pac-12 first team defensive player and likely would have been drafted somewhere in the middle of the draft. Instead he too decided to come back to improve his draft stock and help Utah win a Pac-12 Championship. Fotu is probably one of the most imposing linemen we will see line up against the Beavers this year, standing at 6’5’’ and 330 pounds. According to Athlon Sports, Fotu is the conferences’s highest rated defensive line draft prospect for 2020.
3. Luc Bequette (California Golden Bears)
Of all the games I would love to forget from a year ago, the one versus California may rank first. The Golden Bears played lights out and Luc Bequette played a large part in a defense that held Oregon State to its lowest point total of the 2018 season. Bequette tallied five tackles, one for a loss, one sack, and a quarterback hurry. His junior campaign led to a Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award (against USC) and a coaches all-conference honorable mention.
4. John Penisini (Utah Utes)
Another lane clogger from the Utes defensive line makes the list. Penisini broke out last year with 38 tackles, seven for a loss, and two sack from the tackle position. His big body completes Utah’s defensive line, giving them two starting defensive tackles of an average run-stifling weight of 325 pounds. He was a second team Coaches All-Pac-12 selection in his junior campaign and is a candidate for first team this year.
5. Jordon Scott (Oregon Ducks)
Picture having the weight of Leki Fotu and squishing it into a 6’1’’ frame. That’s basically what you get in Jordon Scott. Now imagine having that kind of leverage in the trenches and it’s no wonder Scott was a freshman All-American a couple of years ago. He may not have the statistics the other guys have on this list, but that’s likely because he’s the kind of guy your team needs to devote two sets of bodies for.
Also Considered: Jovon Swann (Stanford), Kaimana Padello (Hawaii), Kylan Wilborn (Arizona)
Other 2019 Opponent Top 5 Positional Previews: