2010 CFN All-Freshman Defensive Team
Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes
Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes
Posted Dec 14, 2010

Who were the best new defensive players in college football this season? Check out the 2010 CollegeFootballNews.com All-Freshman Defensive Team.

2010 All-Freshman Team

Defense & Special Teams

CFN All-Freshman Teams
- 2009 CFN All-Freshman Team 
- 2008 CFN All-Freshman Team
- 2007 CFN All-Freshman Team
- 2006 CFN  All-Freshman Team
- 2005 CFN  All-Freshman Team
- 2004 CFN  All-Freshman Team 

Write-ups By Richard Cirminiello

- 2010 CFN Freshman All-America Offense 

Defensive Freshman of the Year: CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

First Team

DE Junior Onyeali , Arizona State – Although Onyeali didn't become a starter until October, he quickly adjusted and became the Sun Devils' most consistent pass rusher. Undersized, but quick off the snap, he used his tenacity and spin moves to compile 18 tackles and team-highs with 11.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

DT Roosevelt Nix , Kent State – One of the better-kept secrets at the freshman level, Nix was a weekly nightmare for overmatched blockers. While only 6-0 and 240 pounds, he used his superior quickness and get-off to become the first Kent State player since Jack Lambert in 1972 to be named MAC Defensive Player of the Year. And the first rookie since the award's been given out. He had a remarkable debut, making 43 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and forcing four fumbles.

DT Justin Washington , Arizona – The Wildcats were looking for interior linemen in the offseason, and Washington answered the call. A starter at the nose before missing some time to a knee injury, he's made 45 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks. He's skilled at disengaging from blocks and has the quickness to hunt down backs and quarterbacks behind the line of scrimmage.

DE Barkevious Mingo , LSU – Mingo is the kind of elite all-around athlete, who often calls Baton Rouge home for four or five years. Once he sharpens his technique and pass-rushing skills, he's going to be a nightmare coming off the edge. He used his long frame and long arms to obstruct the other team, making 33 tackles, 5.5 tackles, and 2.5 sacks, while batting down five passes.

LB James Morris , Iowa – Injuries created an opening in the middle that Morris quickly filled, taking over as the starter toward the end of October. He's fourth on the team with 63, making a season-high 13 in the loss to Northwestern. More important, he possesses the physical toughness and all of the intangibles that have been inherent to great Hawkeye defenders for decades.

LB C.J. Mosley , Alabama – Mosley didn't need to be on the field for the first snap to make an immediate impact for the Crimson Tide. Despite starting just three games, he's third on the team with 66 tackles, adding 10 passes defended, and two picks taken back for touchdowns. While his athletic ability is obvious, his ceiling is so high because of his instincts and knack for getting to the ball in a hurry.

LB Shaun Lewis , Oklahoma State – The Big 12 co-Defensive Freshman of the Year, Lewis got better as the year progressed, making 55 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three picks, and three forced fumbles. In the regular season finale with Oklahoma, he had 11 solo stops and two interceptions, one that went the other way for six. A genuine playmaker on this side of the ball, he's destined for a sensational career in Stillwater.

CB Dee Milliner , Alabama – One of the nation's top recruits of 2010, he broke into the lineup early on in Tuscaloosa and never looked back. Possessing a rare and coveted combination of size and speed, he has the potential to be the SEC's top cover corner before too long. Not afraid to fill lanes and support the run, he has 52 tackles, including four for loss, and has broken up five passes.

S Ty Zimmerman , Kansas State – A former local quarterback product, he made the spring shift to defense look like a stroke of genius. Zimmerman has adapted quicker than anyone could have dreamt, becoming a defensive playmaker and earning All-Big 12 Second Team recognition. He's got 69 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, six interceptions, and two forced fumbles, with the bowl game still left to be played.

S Tony Jefferson , Oklahoma – Being labeled as the second-coming of Roy Williams in Norman is an indication of just how excited the program is about Jefferson. Playing mostly in nickel packages, the Big 12 co-Defensive Freshman of the Year has made 63 tackles, six stops behind the line, and broken up seven passes. He's a hard hitter, with the range to make his presence felt all over the field.

CB Xavier Rhodes , Florida State – The ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Rhodes is a corner who plays with all of the intensity and physicality of a safety. He's going to need some work on his cover skills, but those will come with more reps. A long and lean wide receiver when he arrived in Tallahassee, he's made 55 tackles and defended 15 passes, including three picks, in his first year as a starter on defense.

Special Teams

PK Nate Freese , Boston College – At a school that struggled all year on offense, Freese was especially valuable to the Eagles. After redshirting in his first season on campus, he grabbed control of the opening at placekicker and has made 20-of-23 field goal attempts and all but one extra point.

P Kirby Van Der Kamp , Iowa State – The nation's top freshman punter, Van Der Kamp is No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 12 nationally with a 45-yard average. He has a booming leg and the directional skills to place more than one-third of his 60 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

Second Team

DE Stansly Maponga , TCU
DT Nikita Whitlock , Wake Forest
DT Akeem Spence , Illinois
DE Tevin Elliott , Baylor

LB Tom Wort , Oklahoma
LB Keith Smith , San Jose State
LB Jelani Jenkins , Florida

CB Ricardo Allen , Purdue
S Cam Gordon , Michigan
S Hakeem Smith , Louisville
CB Tyrann Mathieu , LSU
Special Teams

PK Ross Krautman , Syracuse
P Cody Webster , Purdue

Honorable Mention

DL: Sharrif Floyd, Florida, Demonte McAllister, Florida State, Jordan Kohout, Wisconsin, Amos Draper, Arkansas State Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas, Sam Montgomery, LSU, Hau'oli Jamora, Washington

LB: Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College, Shawn Jackson, Tulsa, Khalil Mack, Buffalo, Kelby Brown, Duke

DB: Nickell Robey, USC, Ross Cockrell, Duke, Deron Wilson, Southern Miss, Jarvis Phillips, Texas Tech, Brian Blechen, Utah, Isaiah Johnson, Georgia Tech, Nickoe Whitley, Mississippi State, Marco Nelson, Tulsa, Deone Bucannon, Washington State

PK: Aaron Jones, Baylor, Mitch Ewald, Indiana, Zach Hocker, Arkansas

P: Anthony Fera, Penn State, Harrison Waid, San Jose State, Cole Wagner, Connecticut

- 2010 CFN Freshman All-America Offense