All-Tarmac Team - Defense
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- 2014 All-Tarmac Team
- Offense |
2013 All-Tarmac Team
Out with the old and in with the new. The constant revolving door that is college athletics ensures that as one wave of superstars exits, another jockeys in its wake for the spotlight. Over the past couple of seasons, bunches of former heralded recruits have practiced and studied for the time when they’d earn that coveted starring role and a chance to begin making a splash of their own. For them, their time has arrived. Although many of the names are certainly familiar, and their work was on display last fall, 2014 represents a first good chance to make a national splash.
The following student-athletes, none of whom were first or second-team all-leaguers last year, are on the career tarmac, as they prepare for lift-off.
DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Bosa is riding in the HOV lane to All-American recognition, which could come as soon as this season. It’s remarkable that the 6-5, 285-pound edge rusher is just a year removed from St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) High School. Bosa started slowly in 2013, but wound up making all 7.5 of his sacks over the final nine games. He may be built like a strongside end, but he operates with the get-off and the closing speed of an outside linebacker. Bosa has three-and-done talent in Columbus.
DL Grady Jarrett, Clemson
Few ACC players do more with less fanfare than Jarrett. He arrived at Clemson with only modest expectations, a 6-1, 295-pound tackle who’s probably not as big as he’s listed. Yet, Jarrett has been a wrecking ball the past two seasons, routinely busting through the gap to blow up plays. In 2013, he could do no better than honorable mention all-league, despite amassing 83 tackles, 11 of which were behind the line. And now he’s 100% after being banged up for much of last year.
DL Shawn Oakman, Baylor
Oakman’s methodical climb from Penn State transfer to Baylor backup last season is about to go into overdrive. He only scratched the surface of his potential in 2013 by making 12.5 stops behind the line. But so much more is expected in 2014 from the 6-9, 275-pound defensive end, who is just now learning the finer points of being a pass rusher. On size and wingspan alone, Oakman will cause major headaches for opposing quarterbacks looking for unobstructed throwing lanes.
DL A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
The Crimson Tide have had a lot of elite linemen during the Nick Saban era. It’s early, sure, but Robinson could go on to be the best of a very good lot. He was a load for blockers shortly after he got on campus, using his immense strength and uncommon quickness for a 6-4, 320-pounder to lead Bama with 5.5 sacks. Beyond just being an immense talent, Robinson is also a great fit for a 3-4 D that covets massive defensive linemen capable of making plays in the backfield.
LB Taiwan Jones, Michigan State
Jones will be under the microscope this season as the successor to Max Bullough in the middle of the second level. The senior is moving inside from weakside, where he’ll be asked to lead and orchestrate as well as stuff the run with physicality inside the box. At 6-3 and 252 pounds, with ample experience, the Spartans don’t expect there to be a noticeable drop-off at the position. In fact, Jones is eyeing the kind of All-Big Ten finale that generates interest from NFL scouts.
LB Skai Moore, South Carolina
In his first year out of Cooper City, Fla., Moore was a timely breakout performer for the rebuilt Gamecock linebacker corps. He not only won the weakside job, but he went on to lead the team in tackles and interceptions. Built like a well-sized safety at 6-2 and 213 pounds, Moore possesses the range, athleticism and motor to patrol intermediate lanes in pass defense. Already in a leadership mode, he’ll continue to get better as his instincts sharpen and his body gets stronger.
LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Smith didn’t meet lofty expectations as a rookie. He exceeded them by becoming the first Irish freshman linebacker in almost two decades to start an opener. Now he has his sights set on becoming one of the game’s premier defenders from the second level. Smith is the total package at the position. He’s physical, athletic from sideline-to-sideline and unlikely to miss tackles in the open field. And he’s just getting started in what promises to be a tremendous career in South Bend.
DB Karl Joseph, West Virginia
The time has come for Joseph to start getting his due. Somewhat lost in the recent decline of Mountaineer football, opposing receivers are fully aware of No. 8. Joseph is an intimidator, whose ability to defend the run and separate receivers from the ball offset erratic cover skills. He’s been a starter in each of his first two seasons, and was named a captain for 2014 in the spring. Joseph plays a lot like former Washington State S Deone Bucannon, who was chosen in the first round by Arizona in May.
DB Trae Waynes, Michigan State
And playing the role of Darqueze Dennard in East Lansing this year will be Waynes, the Spartans’ next lockdown corner. Waynes has many of the attributes of an All-Big Ten pass defender, from the length of his frame to his ability to close quickly on balls. The former three-star recruit from Wisconsin is still learning, which is one of the exciting aspects of his future. Once he tightens up the finer points of his game, he’ll belong in the discussion of the game’s best college cornerbacks.
DB Tre’Davious White, LSU
Few schools send as many defensive backs to the NFL as LSU. White is going to get there as well, but not before he does at least two more years of apprentice work in Baton Rouge. He started all but the first two games in his debut season, which in itself is an achievement at a program of this caliber. White led the Tigers in pass breakups, in part because opposing quarterbacks wanted to target the rookie. Now a year older, look for more of his tipped balls to be turned into interceptions.
DB P.J. Williams, Florida State
Entering his junior season, Williams wants to become college football’s best cornerback. If he evolves as rapidly in 2014 as he did in 2013, he’ll be on track to achieve his goal. Williams is 6-0 and 196 pounds, but he actually plays smaller than his size, meaning he’s extremely fluid and agile for a long athlete. His skill set allows him to stick to the big receivers as well as shifty ones. After earning honorable mention All-ACC, Williams is capable of blowing up into an All-American and a first-round draft pick.
- 2014 All-Tarmac Team
- Offense |
2013 All-Tarmac Team