1. Tim Jernigan -- Florida State. At 6-foot-1 and 300 pounds, Jernigan was recruited nationally and widely considered the state's top overall prospect a few years ago out of Lake City Columbia. He made an immediate impact, too, earning consensus freshman All-American honors after being considered the nation's top freshman defensive tackle. He now looks to take his game to a whole new level in 2012.
2. Louis Nix -- Notre Dame. A one-time Hurricane commitment from Jacksonville, Nix ended up going to Notre Dame where he redshirted in 2010. He played for the first time last season and made a strong impact for the Irish. At 6-foot-3 and 325 pounds, Nix had 45 tackles and 4.5 sacks and while he's been in and out of the starting lineup, he has all the tools to become a premier player.
3. Sylvester Williams -- North Carolina. A JUCO transfer last year, Williams made a strong impact in the middle of the Tar Heel defense in 2011. He finished the season with 54 tackles, seven for loss, and 2.5 sacks. At 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, Williams is one of the best in the conference now heading into his senior season.
4. Derrick Hopkins -- Virginia Tech. At 6-feet and 300 pounds, Hopkins lacks ideal size but is very good in the middle of the Hokie defense. He's not unlike a lot of the other great defensive tackles who have played under Frank Beamer in the past. He made 51 stops last season and is very tough to move out of the middle of the defense.
5. Everett Dawkins -- Florida State. Playing next to Jernigan benefits Dawkins, who happens to be very good as well. Now a senior, Dawkins finished last season with 25 tackles and two sacks. He's one of the more active returning interior defensive linemen in the conference and should form the ACC's best duo at this position.