We did the offense last week, now the defense:
*=returning HP All-American
Carlos Dunlap, Florida–A physical specimen with a pterodactyl-like wing span. At 6-6, 290, he’s a prototype end with a great first-step. Will be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft.
Sergio Kindle, Texas–Also could be rated at linebacker, but we put him here as he’ll be playing a bit of a hybrid position for the Longhorns this year. Explosive off the edge and as disruptive a defensive player as you’ll find in college football.
Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma*–Potential first pick in the draft who was the best player on the field in the BCS title game last January. Light on his feet, strong as an ox and great football instincts. Should win the Outland.
Brian Price, UCLA–A scrappy, low-base, tough-to-block lineman who has toiled in relative obscurity for the Bruins. Relentless competitor who almost single-handedly held the UCLA defense together last year.
Brandon Spikes, Florida*–The field general of the Gator defense. He is the Butkus favorite after collecting 93 tackles, 8 TFL and 4 interceptions last year.
Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri*–You want production? He’ll give you production. He’s a tackle machine. Had a staggering 155 tackles last year (which led the nation), including 18.5 for losses, 7 pass breakup and 3 interceptions.
Navarro Bowman, Penn State–All over the field for the Nittany Lions last year, collecting 106 tackles, along with 16.5 TFL and 5 pass break ups. The latest addition to Linebacker U.
Syd’Quan Thompson, California–Seems so long ago that he was getting burned by Robert Meachem in his first start. Now, he’s a tough, lockdown corner. Had 70 tackles, 14 pass breakups and 4 interceptions last year. Also a very good punt returner. 2nd-team HP All-American in 2008
Trevard Lindley, Kentucky–Coming off an outstanding season in which he had 4 interceptions and 11 pass break ups. Part of the reason the Wildcat defense has improved so much recently. 2nd-team HP All-American in 2008.
Eric Berry, Tennessee*–What more can be said about this guy? He’s got the speed of an elite corner and is like a star running back with the ball in his hands. The epitome of a playmaker, he led the nation in interceptions last year with seven.
Taylor Mays, USC*–One of the most physically impressive specimens in college football, but so far more of an enforcer than a playmaker. Will be asked to do more this year and should improve upon his 53 tackles and 9 pass breakups last season.