2012 CFN All-America 3rd Team Defense
South Carolin DE Jadeveon Clowney
South Carolin DE Jadeveon Clowney
Posted Jun 18, 2012

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

Preview 2012

3rd 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 – Jadeveon Clowney, Soph. South Carolina
It was one of the rare moments when one decision helped take a program to another level. South Carolina was going to be good no matter where Clowney decided to play, but it became a special moment for the Gamecocks when he chose to go to Columbia. The nation's No. 1 recruit of 2010 had all the pressure in the world of a can't-miss, sure-thing superstar prospect, and while he wasn't asked to change the world right away, he proved he could be a game-changer with 36 tackles with 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and five forced fumbles. At 6-6 and 256 he added about 20 pounds to his frame but is expected to be just as much of a speed rusher. All the tools are there to be unstoppable, and when he's on, he's special with huge plays against Georgia, Mississippi State and Florida that helped USC win tight games. With Devin Taylor on the other side, Clowney should flourish when he's not double teamed.

DL –Jamie Collins, Sr. Southern Miss
While Southern Miss isn't bankrupt on the D-line, it will have some work to do between now and the opener. All-star DE Cordarro Law and a slew of tackles have run out of eligibility. The good news, though, is that the team's Bandit, Collins, is still on campus. The converted linebacker wound up being a perfect fit for the hybrid position, notching 98 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, a 97-yard pick-six and eight pass breakups. At 6-4 and 239 pounds, he has long arms and uncommon speed for a player his size. Collins also has a great work ethic and feel for the game, which has not been lost on the new coaching staff.

DL – Jackson Jeffcoat, Jr. Texas
A superstar recruit for a team that always gets superstar recruits, and the crown jewel of the 2010 class, he was decent as a freshman turning into a nice special teamer while waiting for his turn on the outside. Last year he got the job on the end and he showed what he could do earning second team All-Big 12 honors with a team-leading 7.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss and 54 tackles. However, it took a little while gong the first six games without a sack. And then he was turned loose and there wasn't a better, more productive end in college football over the second half of the season coming up with at least one sack in each of the last seven games game except for the win over Texas A&M.

DL – Stansly Maponga, Jr. TCU
While he wasn't exactly Jerry Hughes, Maponga was a terror on the outside last season finishing with a team-leading nine sacks with 13.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles. At 6-2 and 265 pounds he's a bit squatty for a defensive end, but he's lightning quick off the ball and is a tremendous closer. Not just a pass rusher; he's stout against the run, too, with 55 stops.

LB – Arthur Brown, Sr. Kansas State
The hope was for Brown to take over a starting role and dominate after sitting out a year, and the Miami transfer more than delivered leading the team with 101 tackles with two sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, living up to all the hype and expectations while earning first team All-Big 12 honors. At 6-1 and 228 pounds he's not all that big, but he's a guided missile when he locks onto the ball carrier. Extremely fast, he has unlimited range and is terrific in space. While he can be wiped away by a good block, he's always working to get in on the play. Quiet, he's not going to do a bunch of woofing and hollering, but he gets the job done and once again will be one of the Big 12's leading tacklers.

LB – Khaseem Greene, Sr. Rutgers
The Scarlet Knight linebackers are going to be fantastic, especially if the 6-1, 235-pound Greene is back at 100% from the leg injury he suffered in the Pinstripe Bowl. He did not participate in spring drills, but is expected to be ready to go in the summer. A hard-hitting safety before last season, he made a seamless transition to linebacker racking up a Big East-best 141 tackles, 14 stops for loss, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He's explosive when tracking down the man with the ball and will light up opponents when he arrives. Also a tone-setter of the D, he leads by example on the field, in the locker room and in the weight room.

LB – Jelani Jenkins, Jr. Florida
Back on the weakside is 6-0, 233-pound Jenkins, a terrific veteran with 4.4 speed and the proven production to be considered one of the team's biggest defensive stars. After breaking through with a 76-tackle 2010, he finished second on the team with 75 tackles with two sacks, six tackles for loss, and a 75-yard pick-six against Furman. Everything about his game points to an all-star season and a spot in the first-round of the 2013 NFL draft except one key area: drops. He put way too many interceptions on the turn last year and now has to use his experience and athleticism to be even more of a gamechanger.

DB - Johnny Adams, Sr. Michigan State
Adams is back to be the star of a terrific secondary. The two-time All-Big Ten selection is deadly with the ball in his hands, has a nose for making the big play, and is smart, quick and tough for his 5-11, 175-pound size. Back from a shoulder problem that cost him all of 2009, he made 50 stops with three picks in 2010 and then last year was even better making 51 tackles with three sacks, three picks and six broken up passes. Deadly, he holds the school record for the most interception return yards with the speed and athleticism to find a job in some NFL team's secondary.

DB – Jahleel Addae, Sr. Central Michigan
The star of the CMU defense should once again be Addae, a 5-11, 196-pound veteran who led the team with 107 tackles with a team-leading four interceptions after making 80 tackles two years ago. The strong safety isn't big, but he's a playmaker with excellent wheels and tackling ability.

DB – Robert Lester, Sr. Alabama
Somewhat quietly, the 6-2, 210-pound veteran has been a strong part of the outstanding Tide secondary making 52 tackles with eight picks two years ago before making 39 stops with two picks and three broken up passes last year. Very big, very athletic, and with unlimited range and great instincts, he'll be the star of the rebuilding secondary at free safety and he should do even more when the ball is in the air. Steady and consistent, he doesn't make mistakes.

DB – Kenny Vaccaro, Sr. Texs
The Longhorns lost third-leading tackler Blake Gideon at free safety, but the secondary is loaded with athletes and speed, and it has a nice answer to fill in for Gideon Vaccaro, a veteran who started every game last year at strong safety and now will get a chance to use his physical style and skills to be all over the field. All but certain to be gone to the NFL, the 6-1, 215-pound senior stuck around for one more year after finishing fourth on the team with 77 tackles with a sack, two picks and eight broken up passes. While he's a huge hitter, it's his speed and range that make him special, earning All-Big 12 honors last season. While he'll be the main man at free safety, he'll also work as a nickel defender from time to time.

- 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