2008 CFN All-Freshman Defensive Team
Oklahoma LB Travis Lewis
Oklahoma LB Travis Lewis
Posted Dec 11, 2008

Who were the best new defensive players in college football this season? Oklahoma LB Travis Lewis was a godsend for a banged up corps, while there were other stars on the rise, especially on the Miami defensive line. Check out the 2008 CollegeFootballNews.com All-Freshman Defensive Team.

Compiled by Richard Cirminiello 

- CFN Freshman All-America Teams 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007

- CFN 2008 Freshman All-America Offense
- CFN 2008 Freshman All-America 2nd & Honorable Mention Team

- CFN 2008 Sophomore All-America Offense
- CFN 2008 Sophomore All-America Defense

- CFN 2008 Sophomore All-America 2nd & Honorable Mention Team


Defensive Freshman of the Year: LB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma  

*DE Marcus Robinson, Miami – A key cog in the youth movement taking place in Coral Gables, Robinson has the speed and pass rushing skills to be one of the best defensive ends to ever play for the program. Built more like an outside linebacker at 6-1 and 242 pounds, he’s a blur around the edge, collecting 33 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and four sacks, including three in a breakthrough performance versus Virginia Tech.

*DT Lawrence Guy, Arizona State – Sun Devil coaches know it. Sun Devil fans know it. Guy is a budding superstar in Tempe, provided he keeps working hard and avoids reading his press clippings. At 6-5 and 276 pounds, he’s got the quickness and all of the physical tools to blossom into one of the Pac-10’s premier interior linemen. Just a few months removed from high school, he collected 44 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and two sacks in a dynamite debut.      

*DT Marcus Forston, Miami – The Hurricane staff would be grateful if everyone would stopped comparing Forston to a young Warren Sapp. However, doesn’t the rookie share some of the blame? The way he explodes off the snap and commands extra attention, it’s easy to draw a line in pencil between the two players. With his role in the rotation increasing, he’s got 17 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks.

*DE Brandon Harold, Kansas State – In an otherwise difficult season for the program, Harold was one of the bright spots, collecting 45 tackles, a team-high 10.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks. At 6-7 and 265 pounds with an enormous wingspan, he’s got the agility to play on the outside and the frame to move inside if needed. Harold hit the wall midway through his first year, but should be better prepared to excel for 12 games with a year of conditioning in the vault.  

Travis Lewis
, Oklahoma – This year’s Defensive Freshman of the Year was better known for his exploits on offense in high school. A converted running back, he’s been an ideal fit at weakside for the Sooners, parlaying a team-high 137 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and four interceptions into a spot on the All-Big 12 second team. A game-changer wherever he lines up, he’s had a knack for making the big play throughout the year. 

LB Chris Marve, Vanderbilt – Marve was a revelation for the Commodore defense, cracking the lineup before the start of the season and never looking back. Being undersized at 6-0 and 222 pounds has not prevented him from making a team-best 51 solo stops, 6.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks. In lieu of ideal size, he thrives on outstanding instincts and lateral quickness.    

*LB Sean Spence, Miami – The third of the Canes’ three first team selections on defense, Spence has also been named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. A starter in Miami’s final eight games, he’s third on the team with 62 tackles to go along with 7.5 tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks. Despite having the size and speed of a strong safety, he can still deliver the payload like a much larger player.
*CB Janoris Jenkins, Florida – This time last year, Jenkins was blanketing high school kids. Today, he’s playing like an All-SEC defensive back, a shocking development for such a young player. Greatness awaits this lockdown corner, who has 14 passes defended and the hips and overall athletic ability to be a Thorpe Award candidate very early in his Gator career.     
S Earl Thomas, Texas – Heading into the season, everyone knew the Longhorn secondary was going to be inexperienced. Thomas did his part to make sure that wasn’t always so obvious. Playing like the second-coming of Cedric Griffin, he’s chipped in 61 tackles, nine pass breakups, and four forced fumbles, en route to All-Big 12 honorable mention.

*S Trent Hunter, Texas A&M – The youth movement in College Station was evident on both sides of the ball in 2008. Hunter was the shining example of that as a first-year starter, turning 65 tackles and three interceptions into honorable mention recognition on the All-Big 12 team. His ability to cover and defend the run portends a bright future with the Aggies.

CB Dequan Bembry, Marshall – Bembry wasted no time showing Herd fans why he was the program’s prized recruit of 2007. A gifted all-around athlete who plays bigger than his size, he was third on the team with 80 tackles, adding 7.5 tackles for loss and 11 passes defended. Bembry was the only defensive player in Conference USA to be even nominated for all-conference honors.

Special Teams

PK Philip Welch, Wisconsin – After narrowly winning the job to replace Taylor Mehlhaff, spent the regular season locking down the job as the Badgers’ placekicker of the future. True on 18-of-22 field goal attempts, he nailed of 8-of-10 from beyond 40 yards to earn honorable mention on the All-Big Ten squad.

P Bryan Anger, Cal – Ever since Anger launched eye-popping missiles in the spring, the Bears knew they’d have no issues replacing Andrew Larson at punter. By a comfortable margin, he leads all freshmen and is No. 14 nationally with a 43.6-yard average on 66 punts.