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Urban Meyer puts Joey Bosa at top of heap among DEs

Jerry Lai/USA Today Sports
Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa had 7.5 sacks as a true freshman last season.

According to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, there isn't a defensive end in college football better than Buckeyes star Joey Bosa.

That's awfully high praise for a sophomore with only 10 career starts to his credit, yet Meyer isn't alone in building the hype around the young star from Ft. Lauderdale Aquinas High, which is one of the most prominent prep football programs in the nation. Bosa can do a back flip at 280 pounds, and made preseason All-America teams for both USA Today and college football expert Phil Steele.

On Thursday, Meyer took his turn at the wheel of the Bosa hype bus, according to the Twitter feed of Columbus Dispatch reporter Tim May. But is Meyer right? Bosa made 44 tackles last year as a true freshman, with 13.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. A decent argument can be made that Bosa isn't even the best defensive end on his own team, given that Noah Spence was every bit as productive as Bosa last year playing the Buckeyes' "Viper" position. Granted, Ohio State is expected to have the nation's top defensive line, but America is an awfully big place. Here are three others whom an argument could be made for as the nation's top defensive end:

Leonard Williams, USC: Although the Trojans star isn't a full-time end, at times playing inside as a tackle, his versatility shouldn't keep him out of the conversation. The potential first-round pick is a dominant, if not entirely consistent, player.

Randy Gregory, Nebraska: The Big Ten's sack leader last season (10.5) has put on some much-needed weight in the offseason and is primed for senior stardom this fall.

Vic Beasley, Clemson: Like Gregory, Beasley is undersized for an NFL defensive line. But his 13 sacks led the ACC last year and ranked third in the nation. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has said he's fast enough to play any position on the field -- even wide receiver or cornerback.

Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State: College Football 24/7's pick for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Calhoun brings a strong pass rush but is also more consistent against the run than Gregory or Beasley.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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