Here is part six of our preseason power rankings at each position.
We will update the power rankings each week during the regular season and release the final rankings for the season after the BCS title game.
The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.
Here are the nation's top 15 defensive tackles. Next up: linebackers
DEFENSIVE TACKLE POWER RANKINGS
1. Stephen Paea, Oregon State (6-1/311, Sr.) BUZZ: Paea (pronounced Pay-uh) is a force in the middle for the Beavers because of his quickness and incredible strength (he has done 44 reps of 225 pounds). He had 43 tackles, three sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss and four fumble recoveries last season. He has 19.5 career tackles for loss.
2. Jurrell Casey, USC (6-1/305, Jr.) BUZZ: Casey is the leader of what should be a stout Trojans front. Last season, he had 59 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
3. Jared Crick, Nebraska (6-6/285, Jr.) BUZZ: He was overshadowed by Ndamukong Suh last season but should emerge as a star in his own right this season. Crick had 73 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hurries last season, and set school single-game records with five sacks and seven tackles for loss against Baylor.
4. Marvin Austin, North Carolina (6-3/305, Sr.) BUZZ: Rumors continue to fly that he will be ruled ineligible for at least part of the season for his association with an agent, but if he plays, you can be sure he will be productive. He had 42 overall tackles - six for loss - and four sacks last season.
5. Lawrence Guy, Arizona State (6-5/300, Jr.) BUZZ: Guy is heading into his third season as a starter for the Sun Devils. He had 37 tackles, a team-high 4.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and three quarterback hurries last season.
6. Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson (6-4/315, Sr.) BUZZ: A big, mobile force, Jenkins paced Clemson interior linemen with 69 tackles in 2009. He has 113 tackles overall and 22 tackles for loss in his career as he enters his third season as a starter. He has more tackles for loss than other active Tiger. Jenkins has shown his athletic ability by blocking a kick in each of the past two seasons.
7. Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss (6-2/320, Sr.) BUZZ: He enters 2010 slimmed down and in the best shape of his career. Powe's career has been well-documented. He first signed in 2005 but battled the NCAA over eligibility concerns for several years. Powe finally got on the field in 2008 and slowly has gotten better. He's now poised for a big senior season.
8. Kheeston Randall, Texas (6-5/295, Jr.) BUZZ: After playing in eight games as a true freshman in 2008, Randall never has looked back. He enters his second season as a starter and helped the Longhorns rank 12th in the nation in scoring defense (16.7 ppg), third in total defense (251.9 ypg) and first in rushing defense (72.4 ypg) last season. Randall has 25 career tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss.
9. Adrian Taylor, Oklahoma (6-4/302, Sr.) BUZZ: Taylor suffered a gruesome broken ankle injury in the Sun Bowl victory over Stanford and health concerns are why he is this far down on the list. An honorable mention All-Big 12 choice last season, the "A-Train" has made 27 consecutive starts. He totaled a career-high 37 tackles in 2009 and notched seven tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
10. Christian Ballard, Iowa (6-5/297, Sr.) BUZZ: He arrived on campus as an end but was moved inside last season. Ballard excelled, making 54 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He's a big, active force who gets a good push and often commands double-teams. Ballard, who has made 26 consecutive starts, will be part of one of the top defensive lines in the nation.
11. Drake Nevis, LSU (6-2/285, Sr.) BUZZ: LSU never seems to lack for elite defensive linemen. Nevis is the next on the list. He didn't start last season, but he still led Tigers defensive linemen with 50 tackles and led the team with 11 tackles for loss. Former star T Glenn Dorsey and current coordinator John Chavis have talked up Nevis over the years, and now is Nevis' chance to be one of the nation's best.
12. Billy Winn, Boise State (6-4/288, Jr.) BUZZ: Winn, heading into his third season as a starter, is one of two anchors on a solid line, along with E Ryan Winterswyk. He finished last season with six sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss.
13. Jerel Worthy, Michigan State (6-3/305, Soph.) BUZZ: Worthy was a Rivals.com Freshman All-American after stepping into the starting lineup early last season. He helped occupy enough blockers so stud LB Greg Jones could make 154 tackles. Worthy finished with 4.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss.
14. John Graves, Virginia Tech (6-3/278, Sr.) BUZZ: Graves battled an ankle injury last season. In 2008, when he was healthy, he had four sacks and three blocked kicks. The Hokies will need Graves, their only returning starter on the line, to play at that level all season.
15. Brandon Bair, Oregon (6-7/272, Sr.) BUZZ: Bair was enough of an athlete to play tight end in a pinch during his freshman season. He's now a full-time tackle who had a breakout season in 2009. Bair finished last season with 45 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss. He also blocked a punt in a 31-24 win over Utah.