2012 CFN All-America 2nd Team Defense
Purdue DT Kawann Short
Purdue DT Kawann Short
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 18, 2012


The best and the brightest defensive stars going into the season.


Preview 2012

2nd Team All-America Defense


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- 2012 CFN All-America Teams
1st Team Offense | 2nd Team Offense | 3rd Team Offense 
1st Team Defense | 2nd Team Defense | 3rd Team Defense | Special Teamers

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.

DL – Corey Lemonier, Jr. Auburn
The Auburn defensive front had to undergo a major overhaul, and the hope was that Lemonier was going to step up his play and become a star making 17 tackles with two sacks in the national title year. After mostly being known for making a few key stops in the BCS championship, he turned into a pass rushing star making 48 tackles with 9.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. The Tigers were blown away by Georgia, but Lemonier was phenomenal with two sacks and two forced fumbles, and he rocked Florida by camping out in the backfield. He came up with a steady, disruptive year even when he was keyed on spreading out 15 quarterback hurries and lots and lots of big plays. At a bulked up 6-4 and 240 pounds, he’s poised and ready to be dominant.

DL – Alex Okafor, Sr. Texas
It doesn’t matter where Okafor lines up. He produces inside or out, starting every game last year at defensive end after moving over from the inside. The 6-4, 260-pound senior made 30 tackles with 2.5 sacks moving around in 2010, but last year he dominated on the outside making 50 tackles, seven sacks and 11 quarterback hurries with 12.5 tackles for loss. While he’s not necessarily a speed rusher, he has a quick first step and is always working and hustling to make things happen. He’s a consistent leader who should do even more and should ramp up the sack totals a bit.

DL – Kawann Short, Sr. Purdue
The 6-3, 310-pounder had a big decision to make this offseason, putting off the NFL for another year to be the main man on the Boilermaker defensive front for one more year. With his size and tremendous quickness he can be used in a variety of ways. Strong enough to sit on the nose from time to time, he’s at his best as a 3-technique able to use his burst off the ball to fly into the backfield and be disruptive on a regular basis making 54 tackles with 6.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Great at breaking up passes, he has batted down ten throws over the last two years while coming up with two blocked kicks last season. All the tools are there, but now he has to be a wee bit better against the run while continuing to collapse things from the inside.

DL – Jesse Williams, Sr. Alabama
Alabama defensive tackles don’t put up big stats and they’re hardly the glamour stars, but they’re the rocks who make the great defense go. The 6-4, 320-pound Williams is one again going to be the anchor who holds down the nose after starting in every game and finishing with 24 tackles. While he’s not a pass rusher and he’s not going to get into the backfield on a regular basis, his job will be to stick in the middle of the line and hold up against the run. The Australian started out his career as a JUCO transfer out of Western Arizona CC, but he quickly proved that he could handle the workload with a great season. Not even close to hitting his ceiling, he’s just scratching the surface and should be a top draft pick in 2013.

LB – Gerald Hodges, Sr. Penn State
Even if Michael Mauti is back as the star of the linebacking corps, the best player on the Penn State D will still be Hodges, a tackling machine who led the team with 106 stops with 4.5 sacks, ten tackles for loss, a pick, four broken up passes and two forced fumbles in his breakout year. Able to play inside or out, the 6-2, 233-pound guided missile is a former safety who beefed up and grew into the starting role highlighted by a 19-tackle day against Illinois coming off a 14-stop performer against Northwestern. Against Houston he was one of the few Nittany Lions who showed up with nine tackles. An All-America candidate, he should be among the Big Ten’s steadiest defenders and should be even better with all the talent around him taking some of the heat off.

LB – Sean Porter, Sr. Texas A&M
The defense needed Porter to shine in place of Von Miller and he more than came through finishing third on the team with 79 tackles and a team-leading 9.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. At 6-2 and 230 pounds he’s maxed out on his frame after beefing up, but he didn’t lose any of his quickness and projects to be a whale of a weakside defender at the next level. Not just a pass rusher. He’s tough against the run and has the speed to be decent in pass coverage if needed. However, his job will be to do a little of everything for the defense and will be turned loose to dominate in the backfield. Now he has to produce on a consistent basis with 8.5 of his sacks coming in the first half of the season being shut out over the last four games of the regular season.

LB – Shayne Skov, Sr. Stanford
It’s been a tough past year for Skov. Last September, he suffered a season-ending knee injury, and in February, he was arrested on a DUI that might cost him time this fall. Suffice it to say, he’s eager to rebound in 2012. A beast from the inside for the Cardinal defense, he impacts the game as a run-stuffer, pass rusher and coverage guy. At 6-3 and 251 pounds, he has the uncommon range to make plays all over the field. Plus, his instincts are sharp, and his intensity and passion for the game are boundless. In his last full season, Skov was just beginning to hit his stride making 84 tackles with 6.5 sacks with five broken up passes in 2010 and he should be healthy enough to rebound. He capped a breakout sophomore year by tormenting Virginia Tech for 12 tackles, four stops for loss and three sacks in an Orange Bowl rout, but he made just 19 tackles with 1.5 sacks in just over two games last season before getting hurt.

DB – John Boyett, Sr. Oregon
Ever since becoming the first freshman to lead the Ducks in tackles, Boyett has been a fixture in the secondary at free safety. About to enter his fourth season as a starter, he’s been named to the All-Pac-12 Team in back-to-back years. In 2011, he led Oregon with a career-high 108 tackles, adding seven pass breakups and a couple of blocked kicks coming up with a team-leading 108 tackles with six broken up passes and a pick with two blocked kicks. While just 5-10 and 202 pounds, size has never been a roadblock to his success. He’s athletic, especially in small spaces, has a high football IQ and operates with maximum toughness and intensity. Never far from the ball, he’s always prepared and is always around the ball.

DB – Nigel Malone, Sr. Kansas State
The numbers might not have been that great, but the secondary wasn’t that bad in the realm of the rest of the Big 12. Malone quickly turned into the star playmaker among a group of good defensive backs finishing with seven picks, ten tackles and 58 tackles at one corner spot. The 5-10, 185-pound transfer from City College of San Francisco earned All-Big 12 honors and got on the All-America radar going into this year. A great tackler for his size, he’s terrific at tracking down the ball and making quarterbacks play for hanging it up. Extremely quick, he’s always around the ball.

DB - Leon McFadden, Sr. San Diego State
Larry Porter is gone after making a team-leading seven picks, but the secondary gets back McFadden, an all-star, shutdown cover-corner who finished with 46 tackles with two picks and 15 broken up passes. At 5-10 and 185 pounds he’s not huge, but he’s physical and able to come up with stops in the open field. However, his real talent shines through when the ball is in the air with outstanding recovery skills and great speed. The former wide receiver can do it all and is good enough to stay away from after making 27 broken up passes over the last few seasons. He’ll give up big plays from time to time – he struggled in the bowl loss to Louisiana-Lafayette – but he’ll win his share of battles.

DB – Bacarri Rambo, Sr. Georgia
There’s a chance he could be suspended for a game or even two after failing a drug test, but he’s not going to miss any significant time and he’s going to be one of the nation’s top all-around defensive backs when he’s on the field. The 6-0, 218-pound senior free safety is a tackling machine making 55 stops last season with an SEC-leading eight picks with eight broken up passes. With good size, great range, and a nose for always being around the ball, he’ll be moved around where needed in the secondary and he’ll once again put up huge numbers.

- 2012 CFN All-America Teams
1st Team Offense | 2nd Team Offense | 3rd Team Offense 
1st Team Defense | 2nd Team Defense | 3rd Team Defense | Special Teamers