I’ve been a collegiate sports performance coach for 20 years. One thing I always loved doing was going through and checking out the sizes of the other teams in our conference.
It helped give me (and our staff) an idea of how we stacked up against our competition. It also could be used as motivation with our team both during the season and, often, during the following off-season.
So, this is essentially the same research I’ve always done, but now I’m sharing it with you. I took starting depth charts for each team in the FBS (a total of over 3000 players) going into the 2023 season and broke them down by position.
For this guide, I took an average of the heights and weights of the over 450 starting Defensive Linemen* (tackles & ends) across college football. In addition, I broke down the sizes of D-Linemen by conference and individual players.
Go ahead and impress someone today with your trivia bona fides.
Average Height of a College Football DL
The average height of a College Football Defensive Lineman is 74.97 inches (pretty much right at 6’3″).
Average Weight of a College Football DL
The average weight of a College Football Cornerback is 279.07 pounds.
Which Conference Has the Tallest Defensive Lines?
|Conference||Avg Height (Inches)|
Which Conference Has the Heaviest Defensive Lines?
With every position, you can generally see the difference between the Power 5 conferences and the Group of 5 conferences.
However, at no other position is this difference more pronounced than with the Defensive Line (and, in particular, the SEC).
Who Are the Tallest Defensive Linemen in College Football?
There are two dozen Defensive Linemen in College Football listed at 6’6″. And one might assume the majority of those guys are edge rushers who tend to be long and athletic.
However, that’s not necessarily the case. 15 of the 24 are indeed ends, but 9 are interior linemen.
Fittingly enough, the two tallest D-Linemen – listed at 6’7″ – are also one inside and one outside guy.
Who Are the Shortest DL?
There simply aren’t many short guys playing defensive line at the FBS level. There are only 6 guys total listed under six feet tall.
|Jaylen Swain||5’10”||255||Jacksonville State|
|Jordan Revels||5’11”||235||Texas State|
|Hale Motu’apuaka||5’11”||290||Utah State|
|Tim Hardiman||5’11”||269||Arkansas State|
|Jahlil Taylor||5’11”||285||Old Dominion|
Who are the Heaviest Defensive Linemen in College Football?
There are some giant human beings manning the interior of defensive lines across the country. (I found over 100 starting* linemen over 300 pounds)
The 6 biggest guys are all listed at north of 340 pounds.
|Evan Anderson||6’3″||356||Florida Atlantic|
|Latrell Bullard||6’0″||345||Georgia Southern|
Who are the Lightest?
On the other end of the spectrum, there are five Defensive Ends who all clock in at under 225 pounds.
|Markel Perry||6’2″||220||Sam Houston|
|Clan Stone||6’4″||220||Utah State|
As a former sports scientist, I tend to take data pretty seriously so I must stress that these ‘averages’ should be used for entertainment purposes only.
Why do I say that?
There are multiple issues that can make all the data in this article flawed.
First and foremost, it’s pretty commonplace in athletics to lie about heights and weights. I once worked at a school where it was standard procedure to add an inch and 5 to 10 pounds to almost every player on the roster.
The best answer that I was ever given is that it could potentially help with NFL scouting. However, I can’t imagine in 2023 that anyone is fooling an NFL scout with the size listed in a program. I think the real answer is it’s just part of the culture in sports.
*I used the heights and weights of all the projected starters leading into Week 1. Whether it’s through injury or performance, starters can and will change throughout the season.
In fact, it took me a week to gather all these numbers and by the time I was done I would bet that there were at least a couple of starting positions that had already changed hands.
And, if a couple of 6’5″ 300-pound players are swapped out with a couple of 5’11” 230-pound players, the sample size is small enough that this could substantially affect the overall averages.
Finally, I can tell you for a fact that players’ weights can fluctuate pretty wildly from week to week and sometimes even day to day and, especially, over the course of a season.
Just because a guy weighed 295 on the first day of camp when weights were put in the program, does not mean that’s what he weighs in Week 8.
So, have fun with the data above, but this is just a reminder to not take the numbers too seriously.
I also broke down the sizes of Cornerbacks across college football that you can check out.
Or, if you really want to have your mind blown, check out the crazy impressive 40 times that Defensive Ends have put up at the NFL Combine over the years.
Finally, you may not be able to control how tall you are, but you can control how hard you work and how smart you work. I can’t help you with your work ethic, but I have put together a Strength and Conditioning Guide for Football.