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Oregon football features two of the best defensive tackles in the Big Ten

The Oregon Ducks enter the 2024 season with one of the best rosters in college football, with difference-makers across the board at nearly every position.

While much of the focus will be on the offensive side of the ball – and for good reason – the Ducks will also boast one of the best defensive units in the country, led by what should be a dominant defensive line.

That unit will be led by a talented group of edge rushers consisting of Jordan Burch and Matayo Uiagalelei.

However, the interior of the defensive line will also be one of the best in the Big Ten, thanks in large part to transfers Derrick Brown and Jamaree Caldwell, who enter the season as two of the most highly regarded returning defensive tackles in the league. Big Ten, per PFF.

Michigan State defensive tackle Derrick Harmon (41) celebrates after sacking Akron quarterback Jeff Undercuffler Jr.  (13) during the second half at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, September 10, 2022.

Michigan State defensive tackle Derrick Harmon (41) celebrates after sacking Akron quarterback Jeff Undercuffler Jr. (13) during the second half at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, September 10, 2022. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

“If there’s one word to describe Oregon’s defensive line, it’s that big. All four of the Ducks’ projected starters on the perimeter and interior defensive line weigh at least 270 pounds and the average weight is over 300 pounds,” PFF wrote. “The interior defensive line will consist of a pair of transfers: Derrick Harmon (Michigan State) and Jamaree Caldwell (Houston). Harmon was fourth among Big Ten defensive tackles with a run-defense grade of 81.1 in 2023, while Caldwell was fourth in the Big 12 with an 82.0 grade.

Harmon and Caldwell were just two of an elite group of transfers to Eugene this offseason that included other talented playmakers such as Texas A&M receiver Evan Stewart, Washington corner Jabbar Muhammad, Alabama safety Peyton Woodyard and Kansas State safety Kobe Savage.

But as we enter the extremely physical Big Ten, the things at the front of the line of scrimmage will be more important than ever.

And with the additions of Harmon and Caldwell, the Ducks are now more prepared than ever for the challenge.

Other top defensive lines in the country include Ohio State, Michigan, Miami (FL), Georgia and Ole Miss.

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