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2012 BCS Champ. Position Breakdown - DBs
LSU CB Morris Claiborne
LSU CB Morris Claiborne
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 6, 2012


As a primer, check out the position-by-position breakdown of the 2012 BCS Championship.

2012 BCS Champ. Breakdown

Alabama vs. LSU - DBs

- CFN 2009 BCS Championship Breakdown - Florida vs. Oklahoma   
- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Breakdown - Alabama vs. Texas
- CFN 2011 BCS Championship Breakdown - Auburn vs. Oregon|

CFN 2012 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches

Alabama: The 2010 Alabama secondary was terrific, sending three players off to the NFL, but the belief going into the season was that the 2011 defensive backfield was going to be even more talented and even better after a little bit of experience. And it turned out to be even better than anyone could’ve asked for.

If Dre Kirkpatrick isn’t the best corner in America, he’s close, and he’ll be a first round draft pick whenever he’s ready to leave school. At 6-3 and 192 pounds he has tremendous size to go along with the NFL speed and athleticism to push around any receiver and run with the speedier ones. Great in the open field, he made 26 tackles after coming up with 53 last year. He didn’t come up with a pick, but he broke up nine passes and was generally stayed away from by the miserable quarterbacks on the schedule. He’ll be drafted as a corner, he’s built to be a dream of an NFL free safety.

DeQuan Menzie is a 6-0, 198-pound senior veteran whose fifth on the team with 37 tackles with a pick six against Arkansas and 11 broken up passes. With elite athleticism and great size, he’s a good all-around playmaker who overcame injury problems to close out his career with a great year. Working with him in the mix is Dee Milliner, 6-1, 196-pound future NFL lockdown corner who made 26 tackles with three interceptions, including one for a score against Auburn, and nine broken up passes. Considered one of the team’s top recruits and almost everyone’s No. 1 corner prospect last year, he showed right away that he’s a big hitter and is a proven defender in the rotation.

Very big, very fast, and with freakish athleticism, First-Team All-SEC free safety Mark Barron came back for his senior season to finish with 66 tackles with two picks and five broken up passes. In the first game he came up with an interception and made six tackles in one of the best games in a steady year as the leader of the ultra-talented secondary.

Junior strong safety Robert Lester quietly came up with 52 tackles with sack and eight interceptions on the way to a Second Team All-SEC 2010, and he followed it up with 36 tackles with two picks. At 6-2 and 210 pounds he has good size to go along with the athleticism needed to get the next-level types interested, tackling like another linebacker in the back seven.

LSU: Amazingly, LSU lost the best corner in college football – Patrick Peterson – and got even better in the secondary. The stats might not be there like Alabama’s secondary can boast, but that’s misleading. This group came up with every big play when needed and was never really threatened, including getting bombed on by Geno Smith and West Virginia. There’s a Heisman finalist, the projected top corner in the upcoming draft, and more speed, athleticism, and talent than any secondary in the nation … outside of Alabama.

Tyrann Mathieu might have been a Heisman finalist, but Morris Claiborne is the team’s best defensive back. The 6-0, 185-pound junior is a certain first round draft pick and possibly a top five selection if and when he chooses to come out. The Thorpe Award winner made 46 tackles with six picks, - taking one for a score against Georgia in the SEC title game – and shutting down every No. 1 receiver he was glued to. The former quarterback has blazing, Louisiana state championship 10.76, 100-meter speed; he’ll wow the scouts in workouts.

Mathieu was a Heisman finalist because of his special teams play and all-around defensive skills. Able to play any position in the secondary, he’ll be used at corner but it more dangerous and more of a playmaker when he’s allowed to freelance and blow up passing games in nickel packages. Not only did he lead the team in tackles with 70, but he came up with two picks, four fumble returns – taking two for scores – forced six fumbles and broke up seven passes. He might not be all that big at 5-9 and 175 pounds, but he’s a fearless playmaker. However, he had a strange game against Alabama the first time around with a few missed tackles and a few outbursts.

Claiborne and Mathieu are the stars, but LSU might not be in the BCS championship if Eric Reid didn’t come up with college football’s defensive play of the year. It was the 6-2, 208-pound sophomore free safety’s interception on the trick play attempt – one of his two picks on the year – that helped keep Alabama out of the end zone. Third on the team with 65 tackles, and has the size and athleticism to stay with any Tide receiver.

The combination of senior Brandon Taylor and Craig Loston have been unsung producers in the star-studded secondary. Taylor isn’t huge for a strong safety, but the 6-0, 194-pounder is second on the team with 67 tackles and has the speed and athleticism to get to the ball in a hurry. Loston was a special recruit – even for LSU – with remarkable speed and athletic ability. He only made 14 tackles, but he’ll eventually be a star.

ADVANTAGE: Even. LSU has more playmakers and more star power, but Alabama’s secondary is as rock-solid as they come. The Tide faced the Arkansas passing game, but that’s it, while the Tigers dealt with the Hogs and were lit up by West Virginia – it’s not like the two defenses were playing in the Big 12. Even so, neither team’s passing game will generate much on the opposing secondary.

CFN 2012 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches