2011 CFN All-Americans & Top Players - Ss
Alabama S Mark Barron
Alabama S Mark Barron
Posted Aug 11, 2011

CFN 2011 All-Americans and Top 30 Players - Safeties

Preview 2011 - Safeties

All-Americans & Top 30 Players

2011 CFN All-Americans & Top 30 Players
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Tight Ends
- Offensive Tackles | Offensive Guards | Centers

- Defensive Ends | Defensive Tackles | Linebackers | Safeties
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Note: This isn't a ranking of the top pro prospects. This is based on the seasons we think the players are going to have.


1. Mark Barron, Sr. Alabama
Barron came up with a terrific 2009 season making 76 tackles with seven picks, but he flew under the radar with all the other stars on the Bama defense. Now the 6-2, 218-pound strong safety will be on the Thorpe Award short list after leading the team with 75 stops with two sacks, three picks, and six broken up passes in a First Team All-SEC campaign. Very big, very fast, and with freakish athleticism, he can get all over the field at strong safety and he should be in for yet another huge year before being taken in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

2. Sean Richardson, Sr. Vanderbilt
The sheriff of the Commodore secondary will once again be Richardson, a 6-2, 218-pound veteran who started 18 straight games and led the team with 98 tackles with a sack and seven tackles for loss. After taking over a safety job a few years ago, he made 84 tackles before coming up with a whale of a 2010, and now the big hitting, speedy veteran should be in the mix for all-star honors if he can start picking off some passes. He's decent in pass coverage, but he doesn't make enough big plays.


3. Markelle Martin, Sr. Oklahoma State
The 6-1, 192-pound big hitter with 4.4 speed and phenomenal athleticism should be one of the Big 12's breakout superstars. One of the nation's best safeties, the veteran strong safety came up with 55 tackles with three picks and ten broken up passes, getting all over the field in the passing game while providing a huge wallop against the run. How athletic is he? If needed, he could move to corner if he has to.

4. Ray-Ray Armstrong, Jr. Miami
Armstrong has lived up to the hype that had him listed as one of the banner recruits of the 2009 class. A starter for the first time, he was third on the team with 79 tackles, adding 4.5 stops for loss, and three interceptions. A ferocious hitter, who prowls the defensive backfield with an attitude, he has the range and agility in a 6-4, 215-pound frame to blossom into an All-American by the end of the year.


5. Harrison Smith, Sr. Notre Dame
The leader of the Irish secondary is Smith, a senior who started out his career at free safety, moved to strongside linebacker, and finally settled in at safety last year finishing second on the team with 93 tackles with seven picks and 14 broken up passes. While the 6-2, 214-pounder was good, he was the equivalent of a boxer who had a rocky round before winning it with a great flurry at the end. Smith had no problems putting up the tackling stats with 11 stops against Stanford and 11 more against Pitt, and then the picks started to come late with three against Miami in the bowl and one against USC. Five of the former Tennessee Mr. Football's seven interceptions came in the final four games

6. John Boyett, Jr. Oregon
The 5-10, 198-pound free safety is preparing for his third season as a starter. Ever-active and instinctive, the junior plays the game fast and is rarely far from the ball. The former high school quarterback also maintains a high level of energy that gets contagious to his teammates. Second on the team with 78 stops, he added five interceptions and 14 passes broken up.


7. Winston Guy, Sr. Kentucky
The leader of the UK secondary is Guy, a 6-1, 210-pound playmaker who finished second on the team with 106 tackles with three picks and four tackles for loss. A mid-range NFL draft talent, he hits like a ton of bricks, has nice size, and runs like a cornerback. Now he has to do even more when the ball is in the air, even with the team-leading number of picks. He has to use his 4.35 wheels to fly around to help the corners a bit more, but that's nitpicking. Consider it a shock if he's not a lock for All-SEC honors, and with his skills he should be in the hunt for All-America consideration.

8. T.J. McDonald, Jr. USC
Busting out a year ago was the 6-3, 205-pound McDonald, who earned a spot on the All-Pac-10 second team in his debut as a starter. Looking as if he was manufactured in some USC lab for elite safeties, he had a team-high 89 tackles and three interceptions. He's the total package at the position, packing a punch and covering like an over-sized corner. On the brink of being Sunday-ready, he's capable of following in father Tim's footsteps and giving the Trojans yet another All-American out of the secondary.

9. Duke Ihenacho, Sr. San Jose State
The Spartan defense suffered a devastating blow early on in 2010 losing Ihenacho for the year with a foot injury after making eight tackles with a tackle for loss in the first two games. The 6-1, 210-pound two-time All-WAC safety doesn't miss a tackle and is terrific when the ball is in the air. He's back and healthy again and he should be one of the leaders of the defense working as a hybrid of safety and linebacker. A tone-setter, he has excellent quickness and great instincts with next-level ability, and now he should be back to form and a gamechanger for the defense.

10. Tysyn Hartman, Sr. Kansas State
Hartman turned in a terrific season both in the classroom and on the field making 86 tackles with two picks while also earning Academic All-Big 12 honors. He originally came to Manhattan as a quarterback but quickly became a leader in the defensive backfield. At 6-3 and 206 pounds he's big, athletic, and strong enough to work at strong safety if he doesn't work at free safety again. A good hitter with great range, he's always around the ball. Now he has to do more against the pass.

11. Tony Dye, Sr. UCLA
12. Aaron Henry, Sr. Wisconsin
13. Robert Lester, Jr. Alabama
14. Hakeem Smith, Soph. Louisville
15. Trenton Robinson, Sr. Michigan State
16. Sean Baker, Sr. Ball State
17. Jarred Holley, Jr. Pitt
18. Kemal Ishmael, Jr. UCF
19. Rashard Hall, Jr. Clemson
20. Jonathan Cyprien, Jr. FIU
21. Phillip Thomas, Jr. Syracuse
22. Ty Zimmerman, Soph Kansas State
23. Jordan Kovacs, Jr. Michigan
24. Jahleel Addae, Jr. Central Michigan
25. Lance Mitchell, Sr. Oregon State
26. Delano Howell, Sr. Stanford
27. Matt Elam, Soph. Florida
28. Prentiss Waggner, Jr. Tennessee
29. Marco Nelson, Soph. Tulsa
30. Blake Gideon, Sr. Texas

2011 CFN All-Americans & Top 30 Players
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Tight Ends
- Offensive Tackles | Offensive Guards | Centers

- Defensive Ends | Defensive Tackles | Linebackers | Safeties
- Cornerbacks | Kickers | Punters | Kick Returners | Punt Returners