2009 CFN All-Americans & Top Players - DEs
USF's George Selvie & TCU's Jerry Hughes
USF's George Selvie & TCU's Jerry Hughes
Posted Aug 11, 2009

Who's the nation's best pass rusher, South Florida's George Selvie or TCU's Jerry Hughes? Or maybe it's Greg Hardy of Ole Miss or Jason Worilds of Virginia Tech. Check out the CFN 2009 All-Americans and Top 25 Players, led by the star defensive ends.

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2009 1st Team All-Americans

Jerry Hughes, Sr. TCU
The 6-3, 257-pound senior came to TCU as a star high school running back who was moved to the defensive line right away and spent a few years learning. He was good two years ago making 29 tackles and a sack, and then KABOOM. He worked his tail off to harness his speed and athleticism into a dynamo of a pass rusher making 15 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions to go along with 52 tackles. He was in the midst of an All-America season after a good first half of the year, and then he had his national breakout game with four sacks and several other hurries in the domination of BYU. Even when he was held in check, like he was for the most part against Boise State, when the defense needed a big play late, Hughes blew into the backfield and came up with a sack. Way too fast for almost every college offensive tackle, he'll require double and triple teaming that'll open things up for everyone else.

George Selvie, Sr., South Florida
Rather than test the NFL, Selvie opted to return to Tampa for one more year. The defensive coaches have yet to stop celebrating. One of the fiercest pass rushers in America, he commands constant double-teams and is capable of blowing up the other team's gameplan. At 6-4 and 250 pounds, he has long arms and the sudden burst off the snap to completely embarrass his man. His numbers did free-fall last year to 43 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. Nagging injuries and a ridiculous amount of attention were factors in the decline in production.

25 Best Defensive Ends

1. Jerry Hughes, Sr. TCU
2. George Selvie, Sr. South Florida
3. Greg Hardy, Sr. Ole Miss
4. Greg Worilds, Jr. Virginia Tech
5. Serio Kindle, Sr. Texas
6. Greg Romeus, Jr. Pitt
7. Jermaine Cunningham, Sr. Florida
8. Carlos Dunlap, Jr. Florida
9. Brandon Graham, Sr. Michigan
10. C.J. Wilson, Sr. East Carolina
11. Dexter Davis, Sr. Arizona State
12. Jammie Kirlew, Sr. Indiana
13. Antonio Coleman, Sr. Auburn
14. Corey Wootton, Jr. Northwestern
15. Alex Carrington, Sr. Arkansas State
16. Jan Jorgensen, Sr. BYU
17. Brandon Lang, Sr. Troy
18. Derrick Morgan, Jr. Georgia Tech
19. Tyson Alualu, Sr. California
20. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Sr. Washington
21. Albert McCellan, Sr, Marshall
22. Kevin Basped, Jr. Nevada
23. Dontay Moch, Jr. Nevada
24. Pierre Allen, Jr. Nebraska
25. Greg Middleton, Sr. Indiana
2009 2nd Team

Greg Hardy, Sr., Ole Miss

Technically, Hardy isn't a returning starter, he didn't get a start last season, but the 6-4, 265-pounder is one of the nation's best returning players and one of the best pass rushers. Formerly a part of the Rebel basketball team, he's a phenomenal athlete with tremendous speed off the edge and good toughness against the run. He didn't come up with the huge season expected after being in the doghouse early on and having injury problems. Even in his limited time, he made 8.5 sacks with five in the final three regular season games, an interception, and 18 tackles. He's trying to get over offseason foot surgery that kept him out of spring ball, but when he's right, he's a special playmaker who'll require constant double and triple teams.

Jason Worilds, Jr. Virginia Tech
The onus will be the 6-2, 240-pound junior to remain the pass-rushing tornado he was a year ago to help out a rebuilding Hokie line. In his first season as a full-timer, he went postal on opposing tackles, turning 62 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and 21 pressures into All-ACC honors. A sub-4.5 blur coming around the edge, he’s beginning to look like the second coming of former Hokie great Corey Moore.

Honorable Mention

Jermaine Cunningham, Sr., Florida
The 6-3, 252-pound senior could've gone pro early, but he's back and should be on the short list of All-Americans after making 52 tackles with six sacks and ten tackles for loss. He was even better this spring showing off even more quickness on the outside and even better toughness against the run. He's an all-around playmaker in a salary drive; he should come up with a huge season considering there are other players up front to worry about, too.

Carlos Dunlap, Jr., Florida
The 6-6, 290-pound junior is more like a big tackle than a true end, but he's a serious force no matter what his body type. While he wasn't an every game starter, he was a big-time situational pass rusher making a team-leading 9.5 sacks with 13.5 tackles for loss, to go along with 39 tackles. An ideal 3-4 end who'll make millions at the next level, he'll have to get over an abdominal injury to be the game-changer on the other side of Cunningham. The Defensive MVP of the national championship, he makes things happen both on defense and on special teams. He's great at getting enough of a push to block kicks.

Brandon Graham, Sr., Michigan

On a very thin and a very questionable Michigan defensive front, the 6-2, 268-pound Graham needs to play like the NFL prospect he's supposed to be. A freak of nature with all the measurables, he ran a 10.9 100-meter dash in high school, he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors after making 46 tackles, ten sacks, and 20 tackles for loss. His sacks came in bunches, destroying Wisconsin with three and playing well against Michigan State with three sacks. Now he'll be a marked man as the lone star on the defensive front, so he'll have to get used to more double and triple teams and will have to be patient. The consistent stats won't be there, but his presence should make everyone around him better.

Sergio Kindle, Sr. Texas
Who's going to get the honor of trying to replace pass rushing terror Brian Orakpo? Kindle, a linebacker by trade, will move into a pass rushing Buck role after dominating last season on the strongside. The 6-4, 255-pound All-America candidate will still see time at linebacker, and he'll likely go back and forth between the two roles, and when he's on the line, he'll have one job and one job only: kill the quarterback. He made 50 tackles and nine sacks last year, with 13 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hurries, and he showed he could handle the task up front starting two games late last year when Orakpo went down. He has just enough size to hold up and devastating closing speed when he gets into the backfield.

Greg Romeus, Jr. Pitt
Romeus has gone from a lightly-regarded 220-pounder to a 6-5, 265-pound force and one of the nation's premier pass rushers. A terrific all-around athlete with long arms and a bounce in his step, he had 51 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks, en route to a spot on the All-Big East second team. He also blocked three kicks, further testament to his big-play ability.

C.J. Wilson, Sr., East Carolina
The star of the great Pirate defense will be the All-Conference USA end, one of the country's premier pass rushers. For the third straight, he harassed opponents to the tune of 70 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and 10.5 sacks. Now, 6-4 and 271 pounds, he's big enough to stop the run like a tackle, yet quick enough to have squatter's rights in the other team's backfields.