SBLive’s Top 15 defensive linemen in Mississippi high school football

With the 2021 high school football season in full swing, SBLive is taking a look at the best players in Mississippi, position by position.

Here’s a look at 15 Mississippi high school defensive linemen who have been showing out on the football field this season.

Did we miss someone? Do you disagree with our rankings? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Twitter or Instagram @sblivems.



(The list is in alphabetical order)

Cartize Booth | Senior | Bay Springs

The Bulldog edge rusher is a matchup nightmare with his tall frame and pure athleticism. The three-star and Bernard Blackwell All-Star selection is currently uncommitted, but should have plenty of choices with his ability to do many things along the line of scrimmage.

Kazarius Bowie | Senior | Brandon

Bowie is the headline guy of one of the best defensive line units in all the state. Through six games, he leads the Bulldogs with four sacks and nine tackles for loss, resulting in 24 yards total lost. Teams can pick their poison, but it isn’t wise to leave this guy unaccounted for.

Aaron Bryant | Senior | Southaven

The mostly interior lineman embodies what Southaven strives to be: hard nosed and will play through the whistle. The four-star, Texas commit has a knack for attracting double teams and rightfully so with not only his size, but play which led him to a Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game selection.

D.J. Burgess | Senior | Lafayette

The play and production of Burgess speaks for itself. The senior Southern Miss commit has recorded 10 sacks in seven games with a whooping 19 hurries. For those keeping track, that’s just under two sacks a game. It’s also worth noting the 18 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles. 

Jacarius Clayton | Senior | Tupelo

The impact Clayton has on each play cannot be ignored. The Ole Miss commit leads the Golden Wave in sacks (3) and tackles for loss (7), not to mention a defense that is also among 6A’s most talented.

Kalvin Dinkins | Senior | Lake

The small high school product doesn’t lack in any area along the defensive line. The 6-foot-3, 310 pound unit is a Bernard Blackwell All-Star selection with his recruitment very much alive and well.

Zxavian Harris | Senior | Germantown

Harris is widely regarded as a top-five consensus overall recruit in Mississippi and after looking at him play, it’s easy to tell why. The massive 6’8 Ole Miss commit has 36 tackles with five of them for loss and just one sack, largely because of the attention he attracts on every snap.

Jeremy Jackson | Senior | Pearl

The Pirates usually keep a baller on the squad and Jackson is just one of those guys this year. However, on defense, he plays like the best defender on the field. The wide frame allows him to bully the line of scrimmage with the stats backing it up. Jackson has 47 tackles to go along with six sacks through six games.

R.J. Moss | Senior | Biloxi

The Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game selection is an absolute force for the Indians and in south 6A as a while. The future Mississippi State Bulldog, who primarily plays on the edge, has 27 tackles to go with three tackles for loss. He forces offenses to gear their game plan around him.

Jaheim Oatis | Senior | Columbia

There’s a reason why the consensus top-ranked defensive lineman in the state went viral on social media. He simply stands out more than just about every player on the field. The Alabama commit will also prove on the field that the intimidating frame isn’t just for show.

Aaron Robinson | Senior | South Delta

The senior will represent the Bulldogs in the upcoming Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game. Robinson is a force on both sides of the ball, but absolutely dominates on defense with his 40 tackles and three TFLs to back it all up.

Donterry Russell | Senior | Provine

The Rams are dangerous on the edge when Russell lines up there. The three-star, Mississippi State commit has only played in four games so far, but has racked up 20 tackles during that time while executing at a high level.

Avery Sledge | Senior | Forrest County AHS

This edge rusher will be heading to the Big Easy to play for Tulane next fall looking to justify his status as an elite lineman. While fortunes haven’t been good to the Aggies this season, Sledge is still regarded as a dangerous matchup with how he plays his position.

Trevion Williams | Senior | Crystal Springs

As a true strong side defensive end, Williams is a consensus top overall prospect in state, regardless of position. The four-star, Florida State commit has 34 tackles and six of them being for loss. He will be crucial should the Tigers make a push for a title.

Maxton Woodward | Senior | Neshoba Central

Woodward is just one of the most talented rosters across the board the state has to offer. However, in the interior, Woodward is as dominant as they come. The senior has 28 tackles, seven TFLs, and 4.5 sacks so far. Those numbers will likely grow exponentially should the Rockets continue their hot start and make a long playoff run.

(Maxton Woodward feature photo by Keith Warren)

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