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2008 CFN All-America Defense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 13, 2009


2008 CollegeFootballNews.com All-America Defense and Top Players

2008 CFN All-America Defense

The Best Defensive Players

  

2008 CFN All-America Offense | 2008 CFN All-America Special Teams
2006 CFN All-America Team | 2007 CFN All-America Team


 Defensive Lineman
Second Team
5. DT Mitch King, Sr. Iowa
6.
DE Aaron Maybin, Jr. Penn St
7.
DT Terrence Cody, Jr. Alabama
8. DE Everette Brown, Jr. FSU

Third Team
9. DT Fili Maola, Sr. USC
10.
DT B.J. Raji, Sr. BC
11. DE Nick Reed, Sr. Oregon
12.
DE Phillip Hunt, Sr. Houston
Honorable Mention

13. DT Ndamukong Suh, Jr. Neb.
14.
DE Cody Brown, Sr. Conn.
15.
DE Paul Kruger, Soph. Utah
16.
DT Myron Pryor, Sr. Kentucky

DT Peria Jerry, Sr. Ole Miss
49 tackles, 7 sacks, 18 tackles for loss
It could be argued that Ole Miss had the best defensive line in America. It led a defense that finished first in tackles for loss, fourth in sacks, and fourth against the run, and while end Greg Hardy had a lot to do with that, it was Jerry, the ultra-quick interior presence who was both the anchor and the pot-stirrer. He was a disruptive force throughout the year and came up big in all the big moments.

DE Jerry Hughes, Jr. TCU
52 tackles, 15 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, 6 force fumbles

A one man wrecking crew, Hughes was the nation's most dominant pass rusher on a defense every bit as good, if not better, than any BCS D, and yeah, USC, too. Hughes put on a nationally televised show against BYU with four sacks, and even when he was held in check, like he was by Boise  State for around 59 minutes of the Poinsettia Bowl, when it was crunch time, Hughes came up with the sack to end the drama.

DT Gerald McCoy, Soph. Oklahoma
30 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 11tackles for loss

A breakthrough star as a freshman, he came up with a special sophomore season that went beyond the mere stats. He became the best OU defensive lineman since Tommie Harris with his ability to occupy two or three blockers on the inside and still produce. Phenomenally quick, he was always generating pressure into the backfield and he was one of the few defensive tackles able to produce against Texas this year.

DE Brian Orakpo, Sr. Texas
40 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, 15 QB hurries, 4 forced fumbles

It's not a reach to suggest that Texas would've been playing for the national title had Orakpo not been hurt in the Texas Tech game. He was getting good pressure throughout, but he left with an injury and the rest was history. He was the only end to dominate the indomitable Oklahoma front line, coming up with four tackles for loss and two sacks in the win.


 Linebackers
Second Team
4. Scott McKillop, Sr. Pitt
5.
Aaron Curry, Sr. Wake Forest
6.
Zack Follett, Sr. Cal
Third Team
7.
Navarro Bowman, Soph. OSU
8.
Sean Weatherspoon, Jr. Mizz
9.
Brian Cushing, Sr. USC
Honorable Mention
10. Brit Miller, Sr. Illinois
11.
James Laurinaitis, Sr. Ohio St
12.
Joe Pawelek, Jr. Baylor
13. Eric Norwood, Jr. So Carolina
14.
Travis Lewis, Fr. Oklahoma
15.
Greg Jones, Soph. Mich St
16.
Rennie Curran, Soph. Georgia

Mark Herzlich, Jr. Boston College
110 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 8 broken up passes

From the face paint to the attitude to the way he was the leader of a tremendous Boston College defense that deserved a better offense to provide a little help, Herzlich was the tone-setting, do-it-all star for the Eagles. He became a focal point in every game with his penchant to always be around the ball while always producing, highlighted by a 12-stop game against Georgia Tech and his 10.5 tackles against Notre Dame.

Rey Maualuga, Sr. USC
79 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 4 broken up passes

The leader and star of a defense full of leaders and stars, there might have been better talents on this USC defense (DT Fili Moala and S Taylor Mays), but this was Maualuga's defense. He was often the closer; the one who came up with the tackle or the big play that took out the heart of the opposing offense. Ohio State, people forget, was still in the game in the first half. Maualuga stepped in front of a Todd Boeckman pass, went 48 yards for a score, ball game.


Brandon Spikes, Jr. Florida
93 tackles, 2 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions

Any time you hear anyone in the media overgush about Tim Tebow's leadership, don't forget that he wasn't the only reason the Gators won their second national title in three years. Spikes' D had a little bit to say about the matter. With injuries and concerns on the defensive front throughout the year, especially at tackle, Spikes was the one who helped hold everything together, and while he might not have the eye-popping stats, he might have been the nation's best all-around linebacker this year. The NFL scouts have certainly noticed.


 Defensive Backs
Second Team
5.
CB Alphonso Smith, Sr. WF
6.
S Rashad Johnson, Sr. Ala.
7.
CB Mike Mickens, Sr. Cin.
8.
CB Trevard Lindley, Jr. Kent.
Third Team
9.
CB Victor Harris, Sr. Va Tech
10.
S Otis Wiley, Sr. Michigan St
11.
CB Kyle Wilson, Jr. Boise St
12. S William Moore, Sr. Missouri

Honorable Mention

13.
S Nic Harris, Sr. Oklahoma
14.
CB Joe Haden, Soph. Florida
15.
CB Sean Smith, Jr. Utah
16.
S Morgan Burnett, Soph. GT

S Eric Berry, Soph. Tennessee
72 tackles, 7 interceptions (two for touchdowns), 6 broken up passes, 3 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss,
Lost in Tennessee's season was the stellar play of one of the best defenses in America, and Berry was the star. Arguably the best defensive back in America over the last two seasons, he has been a playmaker extraordinaire as both a tackler and a pass defender. he took two picks back for touchdowns with a 72 yarder against Mississippi State, and a 45-yarfer against Vanderbilt; both were wins.

CB Malcolm Jenkins, Sr. Ohio State
57 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 9 broken up passes, 1 sack, 2 blocked kicks, 3 forced fumbles

To understand Jenkins' season is to look at his stats and realize he did all this despite 1) no one throwing his way and 2) mediocre passing games throughout the Big 10. he made 10 tackles against USC, came up with key picks against Wisconsin and Purdue, and he even blocked kicks against Illinois and Purdue. Basically, he made plays by finding them to be made
.

S Taylor Mays, Jr. USC
53 tackles, 9 broken up passes, 2 tackles for loss

This was Rey Maualuga's defense, but it sure as shoot was Mays's secondary. The most intimidating defensive back in college football, and a rival to Maualuga as the most intimidating player, Mays was a devastating knockout artist who made everyone pay for coming over the middle of his field. There are corners who get avoided because of their talent and reputations, and Mays was a safety who quarterbacks stayed away from like the plague.

CB D.J. Moore, Jr. Vanderbilt
58 tackles, 6 interceptions, 1 sack, 4.5 tackles for loss, 7 broken up passes, 21 kickoff returns for 407 yards, 17 punt returns for 244 yards, 9 carries for 76 yards, and 7 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns

Vanderbilt's offense was among the worst in America; the D had to carry the team. Moore did his part with six interceptions, including two in the bowl game-sealing win over Kentucky, but he did even more to win that game catching two touchdown passes. There were few corners asked to do as much as Moore.