The Best Front Seven in College Football (Part 1 of 5: Introduction)

July 16, 2018 By Skye Underwood

‘The Best Front Seven in College Football’ – Auburn’s 2018 Defensive Front Seven/Graphic: Skye Underwood


This is a five-part featured series on ‘The Best Front Seven in College Football’ as the 2018 season draws near. College football aficionado Skye Underwood has studied teams from across the country pouring over returning starters and experienced backups, depth charts, stats, film, potential NFL prospects, etc. to determine why he believes Auburn has ‘The Best Front Seven in College Football.’ Part 1: Introductory • Part 2: Defensive Tackles • Part 3: Defensive Ends • Part 4: Bucks • Part 5: Linebackers

Tweet from The Athletic after they asked an NFL scout for his thoughts on Auburn’s defensive front

Ask any big time college football coach what are the two most important position groups that a team must possess in order to compete for a national championship and I’d be willing to bet Justin Ferguson’s paycheck that the majority would respond –

  1. An accurate QB who protects the football and is a great leader.
  2. A monster defensive front capable of taking over a game.

In Gus Malzahn’s case, the Auburn head coach who’s entering his sixth season on the plains may very well have the country’s best combination of quarterback and defensive line. Whether that equates to a spot in the CFB Playoff for the SEC West power is as good as anyone’s guess, especially considering the 2018 schedule that awaits the Tigers, which features three games versus legitimate national championship contenders — Washington in Atlanta, @Georgia, and @Bama — away from the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium. But Malzahn certainly has the personnel to do so at the two most important position groups.

It’s no surprise that you’ve seen Jarrett Stidham’s mug on a handful of college football preseason magazines this summer. The redshirt junior quarterback made history after flirting with the NFL Draft when he decided to return to wear the orange and blue for at least one more year. Auburn has played football for 126 years and Stidham will be the program’s first returning 3,000+ yard passer. Malzahn has already coached one collegiate quarterback who went onto become the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft in Cam Newton, and several publications have referenced the possibilities that Stidham could go #1 overall with a big season.

But we’re not here for the dreamy, pretty boy quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham. Nope, we’re here for the pit bulls and goons that make up the Auburn defensive front seven, ‘The Best Front Seven in College Football.’ Of course we’ve done our due diligence in dissecting every last one of the preseason college football magazines and most contend that Clemson has the best defensive line in college football with Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan, and Alabama right behind them. Auburn and Michigan, however, might have the edge when you combine the defensive front with the linebackers. Auburn starts three senior ‘backers on the backend with Deshaun Davis, Darrell Williams, and Montavious Atkinson, so when you combine those guys with an uber-elite defensive front, you have yourself ‘The Best Front Seven in College Football.’

In this five-part series, I’ll break down each specific position group and individual players that make up ‘The Best Front Seven in College Football.’ Tomorrow we’ll dive into the defensive tackles where Auburn boasts future NFL defensive linemen on their interior.

‘College Football’s Best Front Seven’

Monday/Part 1: Introduction

Tuesday/Part 2: Defensive Tackles

Wednesday/Part 3: Defensive Ends

Thursday/Part 4: Bucks

Friday/Part 5: Linebackers