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2009 CFN All-Sophomore Defensive Team
Texas S Earl Thomas
Texas S Earl Thomas
Posted Dec 14, 2009

Who were the best second year defensive players in college football this season? Check out the 2009 All-Sophomore Defensive Team.

2009 CFN All-Sophomore Team

Defense & Special Teams

- 2008 CFN All-Sophomore Team
- 2009 CFN Freshman All-America Team  

- 2009 CFN Sophomore All-America Offense 

Defensive Sophomore of the Year: S Earl Thomas, Texas

Write-ups By Richard Cirminiello

First Team

DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina – Last year, Quinn was the ACC’s Piccolo Award recipient for courage after bouncing back from brain surgery in his senior year of high school. This year, he’s blossomed into one of the nation’s most feared pass rushers, racking up 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks en route to a spot on the all-conference first team.

DT Jared Crick, Nebraska – The ideal complement to Ndamukong Suh on the inside for the Huskers, Crick made the most of his second year, collecting 70 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, and a slew of hurries. Playing at full speed on every down, he has the raw power at 6-6 and 285 pounds and the intensity to live in the other team’s backfield.

DT Lawrence Guy, Arizona State – Although Guy was nicked up and got out of the gate a little slowly, he was still able to flash the size-speed blend for an inside guy that’ll have NFL scouts drooling before too long. A 6-5, 293-pound bundle of energy, he played a key part up front for an underrated Sun Devil D, making 37 stops, seven tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks.

DE Justin Houston, Georgia – Houston missed one-quarter of the regular season for the Bulldogs. However, you’d never know by looking at his production in the nine games he did play. A ferocious edge rusher, with blinding speed around the edge, he had 38 tackles and led the Georgia D with 15 tackles behind the line and 7.5 sacks.

LB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma – A two-year tackling machine for the Sooners, Lewis was at it again this fall, leading the Sooners with 100 stops and nine tackles for loss to earn a spot on the All-Big 12 first team. He diagnoses plays about as well as any linebacker, regardless of class, and rarely misses his man in the open field.

LB Akeem Ayers, UCLA – After starting a little slowly, Ayers has really come on in his second season and will be a force over the second half of his Bruin career. At 6-4 and 252 pounds, he’s part linebacker and part rush end, using his closing speed and knack for disruption to make 66 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, three picks, and force four fumbles.

LB Chris Galippo, USC – Already a semifinalist for the Butkus Award in his first season as a starter, Galippo is on track to become the next big thing at linebacker for the Trojans. An instinctive and physical run defender in the middle, he was second to Taylor Mays with 67 tackles, adding eight tackles for loss, and a couple of picks.

CB Janoris Jenkins, Florida – Along with junior Joe Haden, Jenkins helped form one of the top cornerback tandems in the country in 2009. Outstanding in man coverage, he finished the regular season with 33 tackles, two picks, and five break ups, helping the Gators to a top 5 finish in pass defense and pass efficiency defense.

S Earl Thomas, Texas – Few players in Austin made a bigger leap from freshman to sophomore year than Thomas, a finalist for the Thorpe Award and a member of the All-Big 12 first team. One of those rare physical safeties, who has the ball skills of an elite cornerback, he enters the national championship game with 71 tackles, five tackles for loss, eight interceptions, and a whopping two dozen passes defended.

S Mark Barron, Alabama – While it’s not as if the Tide didn’t have high expectations for Barron when he signed a year ago, he has gotten up to speed faster than anyone anticipated. After bouncing around at multiple positions last year, he’s settled in nicely at strong safety, making 70 stops, seven picks, and 17 pass break ups. At 6-2 and 214 pounds, he hits like a linebacker, yet covers like a corner.

CB Patrick Peterson, LSU – One of the many blue-chip athletes roaming around Baton Rouge, Peterson spent his sophomore year becoming one of the SEC’s top cover corners. Though built like a safety at 6-1 and 211 pounds, he possesses great hips and overall athleticism, making 47 stops and breaking up 15 passes in the regular season.

Special Teams

PK Grant Ressel, Missouri
So much for struggling to replace Jeff Wolfert, the NCAA record-holder for career accuracy. A former walk-on, Ressel has spent the entire year channeling his inner-Wolfert, nailing 24-of-25 field goal attempts and all 38 of his extra point tries.

P Drew Butler, Georgia
As debuts in a starting role go, you’d be hard pressed to do better than Butler has in 2009. After redshirting in 2007 and backing up Brian Mimbs in 2008, he has blown up in 2009, averaging a nation’s-best 48.8 yards a punt and taking command of the annual race for the Ray Guy Award.

Second Team

DE Broderick Binns, Iowa
DT Billy Winn, Boise State
DT Jurell Casey, USC
DE Thomas Keiser, Stanford
LB Chris Marve, Vanderbilt
LB Korey Williams, Southern Miss
LB Tank Carder, TCU
CB Trevin Wade, Arizona
S Tyler Sash, Iowa
S Trent Hunter, Texas A&M
CB Brandon Harris, Miami

Special Teams

PK Blair Walsh, Georgia
P Johnny Hekker, Oregon State

Third Team

DE Jack Crawford, Penn State
DT Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
DT Ryan Van Bergen, Michigan
DE Julian Miller, West Virginia
LB Carmen Messina, New Mexico
LB Barquell Rivers, Virginia Tech
LB Brandon Maye, Clemson
CB Aaron Williams, Texas
S Rahim Moore, UCLA
S Javes Lewis, Oregon
CB Devin Smith, Wisconsin

Special Teams

PK Casey Barth, North Carolina
P Brian Stahovich, San Diego State

Honorable Mention

DL: Marcell Dareus, Alabama, Johnathan Rainey, New Mexico, Gerald Gooden, Purdue, Chandler Jones, Syracuse, Datone Jones, UCLA, J.J. Watt, Wisconsin, Corey Liuget, Illinois, Mike Martin, Michigan, Dominique Hamilton, Missouri

LB: Mychal Sisson, Colorado State, Jerry Franklin, Arkansas, Garrick Williams, Texas A&M, Nigel Bradham, Florida State, Emmanuel Acho, Texas, Ian Thomas, Illinois, Audi Cole, NC State, Keenan Robinson, Texas, Greg Williams, Pittsburgh, Jerrell Wedge, Miami Univ., JK Schaffer, Cincinnati, Marcus McGraw, Houston, Brian Hendricks, Wyoming

DB: Tysyn Hartman, Kansas State, Drew Astorino, Penn State, Lance Mitchell, Oregon State, Blake Gideon, Texas, Cameron Collins, Oregon State, Sam Proctor, Oklahoma, Mike Williams, Michigan, Travis Bradshaw, Rice, Brandon Boykin, Georgia, D'Anton Lynn, Penn State, Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt, Neiko Thorpe, Auburn, Dominique Battle, Cincinnati, Jerrard Tarrant, Georgia Tech, Tavon Wilson, Illinois, Leonard Johnson, Iowa State, David Rowe, Rutgers, Quenton Washington, South Florida

- 2009 CFN Sophomore All-America Offense