2010 CFN All-Sophomore Defense & Spec. Teams
Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o
Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o
Posted Dec 15, 2010

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

2010 All-Sophomore Team

Defense & Special Teams

Write-ups By Richard Cirminiello

- 2010 CFN Sophomore All-America Offense

Defensive Sophomore of the Year: LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

First Team

DE Brandon Jenkins , Florida State – The Seminoles have located a pass rusher to build the defense around for at least the next season. Quiet in his first year out of high school, he's erupted in 2010 for 55 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks. A classic speed rusher, he plays with the right balance and lean to get around tackle and into the other team's backfield.

DT Jared Crick , Nebraska – Crick took his first big step out of Ndamukong Suh's shadow, earning a spot on the All-Big 12 first team. A powerful and dominating force from the inside, he's made 63 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks. A blend of strength and quickness, he often requires multiple blockers, freeing up those around him.

DT Kawann Short , Purdue – A key part of an underrated Boilermaker defensive line, Short attacked the pocket like an end, making 41 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks. He also got his hands on eight passes, testament to his overall athletic ability and penchant for making things happen at the line of scrimmage.

DE Devin Taylor , South Carolina – A classic disruptor on the outside, he has the athleticism and long and lean frame to drive offensive tackles nuts. An All-SEC first teamer, he used those natural gifts and an improving swim move to collect 39 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and nine batted balls.

LB Luke Kuechly , Boston College – After two seasons as a starter, Kuechly might be off to the best start for an Eagle defender in school history. A tackling machine, with uncommon instincts, he leads the country with 171 stops, adding 10.5 tackles for loss and two picks. The cornerstone of the nation's top-ranked run defense, it's hard to imagine that he's only two years removed from high school.

LB Manti Te'o , Notre Dame – Worth every ounce of the hype when he left Hawaii for South Bend, Te'o performed like an All-American this season. A rock in the middle for an Irish defense that got better throughout the season, he's got 127 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss. Particularly savvy against the run, he leaves a mark when he lowers his shoulder and rarely misses in the open field.

LB Bruce Taylor , Virginia Tech – One of this year's biggest surprises in Blacksburg, Taylor played his role like a part-time linebacker and part-time end. While not an elite athlete, he's physical at the point of impact and operates with great timing, allowing him to make his way into the other team's backfield. After a quiet first two seasons as a Hokie, the All-ACC performer has made 84 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks.

CB Jayron Hosley , Virginia Tech – The Hokies have had their share of elite cornerbacks throughout the years. Hosley is next in line. On his way to becoming a bona fide lockdown corner, he's delivered a sensational debut in the starting lineup. A key cog in a secondary that's No. 8 nationally in pass efficiency defense, he leads the country with eight picks, while batting away seven other passes.

S Robert Lester , Alabama – Lester is the kind of defensive back that they adore in Tuscaloosa. Built like a safety, he plays the pass like a corner, making an SEC-high seven interceptions to go along with his 47 tackles. An all-conference performer after playing sparingly a year ago, he has the versatility to give the ‘Bama staff plenty of options on how to use him.

S Bacarri Rambo , Georgia – Big and fast, Rambo navigates the defensive backfield like an enforcer. He packs the wallop of a linebacker, stepping up and defending the run without hesitation. In the kind of breakthrough season that's beginning to resonate outside the SEC, he's made 76 tackles, three tackles for loss, three interceptions, and forced three fumbles.

CB Cliff Harris , Oregon – Even as a part-time starter, Harris was able to make his presence felt on an underrated Duck defense. An electrifying playmaker, who breaks on the ball quickly, he's picked off five passes and broken up a whopping 20. He's also one of the country's top special teamers, taking back four punts for touchdowns.

Special Teams

PK Bryson Rose , Ole Miss – One of the nation's most accurate placekickers, Rose made 16-of-18 field goal attempts and all but one of his 44 extra point tries. The last time he missed a three-pointer, it was Sept. 25.

P Quinn Sharp , Oklahoma State – One of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award, Sharp has been underrated cog in the Cowboys' success this season. A worthy successor to Matt Fodge, he has a great leg, averaging 46.2 yards and preventing returns by hanging the ball high in the air.

Second Team

DE Jesse Joseph, Connecticut
DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
DT John Simon, Ohio State
DE Aldon Smith, Missouri

LB Vontaze Burfict , Arizona State
LB Jake Knott, Iowa State
LB Ryan Baker , LSU

CB Stephon Gilmore , South Carolina
S T.J. McDonald , USC
S John Boyett , Oregon
CB Greg Reid , Florida State

Special Teams

PK Dustin Hopkins , Florida State
P Jeff Locke , UCLA

Honorable Mention

DL: Max Holloway, Boston College; Olivier Vernon, Miami; Cameron Meredith, Nebraska; Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy; Paul Hazel, Western Michigan; Brad Madison, Missouri; Joe Vellano, Maryland; Marcus Forston, Miami; Baker Steinkuhler, Nebraska; Rob Lohr, Vanderbilt; Chris Jones, Bowling Green; Will Pericak, Colorado

LB: Shayne Skov, Stanford; Tanner Brock, TCU; Dont'a Hightower, Alabama; Devon Kennard, USC; Sio Moore, Connecticut; A.J. Klein, Iowa State; Chase Thomas, Stanford; Terrell Manning, NC State; Zaviar Gooden, Missouri; Dwayne Beckford, Purdue; Daniel Brown, Louisville; Corico Hawkins, Clemson; Brian Wagner, Akron; Carlo Calabrese, Notre Dame; Dwayne Woods, Bowling Green; Ja'Gared Davis, SMU; Taylor Reed, SMU; Marvin Burdette, UAB; Mike Taylor, Wisconsin; Dan Molls, Toledo; Trent Mackey, Tulane

DB: Johnny Adams, Michigan State; Micah Hyde, Iowa; Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama; Morris Claiborne, LSU; Leon McFadden, San Diego State; Xavier Brewer, Clemson; Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut; Marc Anthony, Cal; Prentiss Waggner, Tennessee; Jordan Kovacs, Michigan; Rashard Hall, Clemson; Terence Garvin, West Virginia; Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International; Vaughn Telemaque, Miami; Jarred Holley, Pitt; Phillip Thomas, Syracuse; Cody Davis, Texas Tech; Josh Robinson, UCF

PK: Dan Conroy, Michigan State; Tyler Stampler, New Mexico State

P: Pete Kontodiakos, Colorado State; Bobby Cowan, Idaho

- 2010 CFN Sophomore All-America Offense