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2007 CFN All-Americans & Top Players - LBs

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 7, 2007


CFN 2007 All-Americans and Top 25 Players - Linebackers

2007 CFN All-Americans

Linebackers

CFN 2007 All-Americans and Top 25 Players
2007 Preview | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers
Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards | Centers 
Defense Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Cornerbacks 
Safeties | Punters | Kickers | Kick Returners

2007 CFN Preseason First Team All-Americans

Preseason 25 Best Linebackers
1. Vince Hall, Sr. Virginia Tech
2. Jasper Brinkley, Sr. South Carolina
3. Dan Connor, Sr. Penn State 
4. Jim Laurinaitis, Jr. Ohio State
5. J Leman, Sr. Illinois
6. Philip Wheeler, Sr. Georgia Tech
7. Keith Rivers, Sr. USC
8. Ben Moffitt, Sr. South Florida
9. Rey Maualuga, Jr. USC
10. Xavier Adibi, Sr. Virginia Tech
11. Spencer Larsen, Sr. Arizona
12. Jonathan Goff, Sr. Vanderbilt
13. Derrick Doggett, Sr. Oregon State
14. Sean Lee, Jr. Penn State
15. Ezra Butler, Sr., Nevada
16. Wesley Woodyard, Sr. Kentucky
17. Brian Cushing, Jr. USC
18. Tray Blackmon, Soph. Auburn*
19. Ali Highsmith, Sr. LSU
20. Mike Klinkenborg, Sr. Iowa
21. Alvin Bowen, Sr. Iowa State
22. Erin Henderson, Jr. Maryland
23. Geno Hayes, Jr. Florida State
24. Jerod Mayo, Sr. Tennessee
25. Marcus Freeman, Jr. Ohio State
* if eligible

Jasper Brinkley, Sr. South Carolina
Back in the middle is the 6-2, 262-pound Brinkley, who led the Gamecocks with 107 tackles to go along with five sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. He was a superstar JUCO transfer and more than lived up to the billing showing great range while cleaning up all the messes from a porous defensive line. The 85 solo tackles along would've made him the team's leading tackler by 34 stops. Easily the team leader, the team got a big break when he decided to come back for his senior year.

Vince Hall, Sr. Virginia Tech
The 6-0, 240-pound Hall, who plays in the middle, led the ACC in tackles last year with 129, and has 241 over the last two years, while also showing off impeccable timing when it came to get into the backfield making two sacks, eight quarterback hurries and 10.5 tackles for loss. Even though he didn't do too much against the pass last season, he's shown good quickness and instincts in pass coverage throughout his career. With his big-hitting style and skills, he'll have the spotlight on all season long.

2007 CFN Preseason Second Team All-Americans

Dan Connor, Sr. Penn State 
Lose one all-everything middle linebacker, replace him with another. Paul Posluszny was the heart and soul of a terrific defense, and now the torch will be carried by the 6-3, 233-pound Connor, who'll move from the outside in. As good as Posluszny might have been, and as great he was over the second half of last year, Connor was better from pillar to post with a more consistent 113-tackle season with five sacks, and nine tackles for loss. He was also the more complete defender than his more heralded running mate with better range and more production in pas coverage. Part of that was because he played on the outside, and part of that is because he's really, really good. Expect another 100+ stop season, and the possibility of hitting the 400 career mark (he'll need 126 to get there).

Jim Laurinaitis, Jr. Ohio State
The 6-3, 244-pound junior came from out of nowhere to become one of the nation's best defensive players, winning the Nagurski Award, with a team-leading 115 tackles with four sacks and five interceptions. Originally a starter on the outside, he flourished in the middle where he showed fantastic toughness and leadership. A monster hitter with three forced fumbles, he was all over the field making play after consistent play. Many will try to make him into another A.J. Hawk, and while he doesn't have anywhere near the same athleticism, he should be almost as productive by the time his career is over.

2007 CFN Honorable Mention All-Americans
(in alphabetical order)

Xavier Adibi, Sr. Virginia Tech
Hall will get most of the headlines, but Adibi isn't far behind when it comes to talent and production on the strongside. While not huge at 6-2 and 226 pounds, he's all over the field in pass coverage with nine big plays against the pass, three interception, three sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 82 tackles. His game is all about speed, and while he'll get pushed around by more physical blockers, he's unstoppable in space.

J Leman, Sr. Illinois
With 22 tackles against Northwestern, 19 against Ohio State, and ten games in all with double-digit tackles, Leman was the best linebacker you probably didn't notice last year. The senior man in the middle has 275 career stops, 29 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and a big buzz starting to be generated. He's 6-2 and 245 pounds with decent range. While he's not lightning fast, he's in on every play and is a rock against the run.

Rey Maualuga, Jr. USC

Maualuga's a 6-3, 250-pound freight train that intimidates with his intensity and bone-jarring hits.  Entering his second season as the starter, he plays with reckless abandon and has impeccable instincts for the position.  Few college defenders provide the pop he does, finishing second on the team with 78 tackles.

Ben Moffitt, Sr. South Florida
The undisputed leader of a strong USF linebacking corps, Moffitt enters his fourth season as a starter with 231 career tackles, 29 tackles for loss and a bunch of individual honors.  While not the best athlete of the unit, he’s a warrior that wraps up his tackles and is ultra-effective as a run defender.

Keith Rivers, Sr. USC
Rivers is arguably the country’s top NFL outside linebacker prospect. He's a 6-3, 230-pounder who pursues well in all directions, including on blitzes, and is a standout in pass defense.  Last year’s team leader in tackles with 85 would have been a high draft choice in 2008 had he foregone his final year of eligibility. 

Philip Wheeler, Sr. Georgia Tech
Wheeler
finished second on the team with 89 tackles and led the way with nine sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. He's a hard-hitting disruptive force who's as good in pass coverage as he is at getting into the backfield. Athleticism, speed and tackling have never been a problem, and now with his experience inside and out, always being in the right position won't be, either.