2007 CFN All-Redshirt Freshman Team - Defense

Posted Aug 10, 2007

Who are college football's newest stars? Richard Cirminiello highlights the best of the best redshirt freshmen.

2007 CFN Redshirt Freshman

All-America De

Compiled by Richard Cirminiello

2007 Preview | 2007 CFN Redshirt All-America Offense

For hundreds of freshmen across the nation, last season was undoubtedly the most frustrating of their young lives.  Yeah, there was plenty of growing taking place, both physically and mentally, but there were no games, no competition, and no box scores that contained their names.  For a variety of reasons, these idle warriors were redshirted in 2006 with the design that they’d return this year a little bigger, a little stronger and a little wiser.  And a whole lot more ready to start paying dividends for all those recruiting trips, phone calls and text messages.      

DE Brandon Bair, Oregon – You’re not alone if Bair’s name fails to ring a bell.  He hasn’t played organized football since 2002, spending a couple of years on a Mormon mission, taking some time off, and redshirting last season.  If there was rust, however, it wasn’t evident in the spring, when the 6-7 and 250-pound Bair dominated Duck linemen and ensured himself substantial playing time later this year.  

DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma – One of the nation’s elite recruits from 2006, McCoy made the most of his redshirt season, getting bigger, stronger, and more technically sound.  Much more than a year ago, he’s ready to take baby steps toward becoming the next really disruptive Sooner tackle.  Very strong at the point of attack and athletic in the Tommie Harris mold, McCoy will be a prominent part of the line rotation. 

DT Dexter Larimore, Ohio State – Forget the future.  The Buckeye staff is convinced Larimore is ready to contribute right now.  While only 6-3 and 275 pounds, he is extremely strong, and plays with outstanding balance and leverage.  A non-stop worker and former high school wrestling champ, Larimore is expected to get 30-35 snaps a game whether or not he starts. 

DE Eddie Jones, Texas – While he’s not quite there yet, the raw potential exists for Jones to develop into a scary rush end for the Longhorns.  Built more like an outside linebacker at 6-3 and 255 pounds, he has an explosive first step, and is relentless in backside pursuit.  At a minimum, he’ll cut his teeth as a pass rush specialist and give relief to starters Brian Orakpo and Aaron Lewis.  

LB A.J. Jones, Florida – Before suffering a season-ending injury late last August, Jones appeared headed for playing time as a true freshman.  While noticeably undersized at the strongside, the 6-1, 210-pounder flies all over the field like a safety, and can really deliver the payload.  On a unit that’s replacing all three starters, Jones is being counted on to be disruptive on the blitz and an ace in pass defense.   

LB Ryan Powers, Arkansas – Back from a hamstring injury, Powers is a big part of Arkansas’ rebuilding plans at linebacker.  The former running back is slated to replace Sam Olajubutu at weakside, where the hope is that his outstanding range and athleticism will help compensate for a lack of experience and the inevitable missed assignments.  

LB J.T. Thomas, West Virginia – Thomas digested Jeff Casteel’s defense so quickly last August, he would have made the two-deep had it not been for nagging ankle problems.  Instead, he laid the foundation for an outstanding career by getting stronger and being named the Mountaineers’ defensive scout team player of the year.  The successor to Boo McLee at weakside, Thomas brings an element of closing speed and athletic ability that was lacking on last year’s D.

CB Chykie Brown, Texas – Whether or not Brown wins a job right away, there’s no doubt he’ll have some role in the revamped Texas secondary.  At 6-1 and 180 pounds, he has the ideal size, speed and athletic package to be a true lockdown cornerback early in his college career.   For Brown, it’s a matter of when, not if he’ll be a ball-hawking star in the Big 12 Conference.

S Brett Greenwood, Iowa – From walk-on a year ago to the Hawkeyes’ starting free safety heading into the season, it’s been a meteoric rise for Greenwood.  A workaholic with solid instincts and athletic ability, he’s poised to follow in the footsteps of Dallas Clark, Derek Pagel and Bruce Nelson, former Iowa stars that began their careers without a scholarship.

S Reshad Jones, Georgia – For good reason, the Georgia staff absolutely loves the potential of Jones, who’s fighting with C.J. Byrd for the opening at free safety.  And why not?  He’s a 6-2 playmaker that defends the run well and breaks on passes like a corner.  Once he adds a little more heft to his frame, he’ll be on his way to becoming one of the SEC’s complete defensive backs.  

CB Darian Hagan, Cal – The best news coming out of a Bear secondary that loses All-American Daymeion Hughes is that Hagan is ready for action after sitting out last year.  A superb all-around athlete with great hips and closing speed, he’ll be a huge part of the defensive backfield for the next four years.  More than just a collection of measurables, Hagan has the instinct of an upperclassman and the unmistakable swagger that’s ingrained in so many top corners.

Honorable Mention – Defense

DE: 1. Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech  2. Kentrell Lockett, Ole Miss  3. Adrian Clayborn, Iowa  4. D’Aundre Reed, Arizona  5. Bryant Miller, Auburn  6. Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh  7. Randy Grigsby, Louisiana Tech

DT: 1. Derrick Hill, Cal  2. Chris Stewart, Notre Dame  3. Abe Koroma, Penn State  4. Brian Motley, Alabama  5. Kenrick Ellis, South Carolina  6. Ricky Lumpkin, Kentucky  7. Aundre Henderson, Louisville  8. Cameron Elisara, Washington

LB: 1. Derrell Acrey, Boise State  2. Jeremiha Hunter, Iowa  3. Darryl Gamble, Georgia  4. Anthony Barnes, Georgia Tech  5. Nate Nix, Pittsburgh  6. Ricky Brewer, Colorado State  7. Andrew Preston, San Diego State

S: 1. Shaun Draughn, North Carolina  2. Quintin Banks, Georgia  3. Cedric Jeffries, Penn State  4. Alex Frye, Wake Forest

CB: 1. Jai Eugene, LSU  2. Matt Mosley, Washington