Recruiting 2010 - 2006 All-Star Defense
Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy
Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy
Posted Jan 27, 2010

Four years after the 2006 recruiting class, which prospects turned out to be the best of the best? Richard Cirminello goes back to look at which prospects became the defensive stars.

Recruiting 2010 - 2006 All-Class Def.

The Best & Brightest From 2006

By Richard Cirminiello

- 2010 Recruiting - The 5 Star Prospects of 2006 
- 2010 Recruiting - The 2-Star Prospects Who Became 5-Star Players 

- 2010 Recruiting - The 2006 All-Recruiting Class Offense 

*Number in parentheses refers to how many stars player earned from in 2006


DL Jerry Hughes, TCU (2) - A microcosm of the Horned Frogs' recent success, Hughes was a great athlete who was willing to move around and be coached into a star at a different position. From a 6-1, 215-pound high school running back to a 6-3, 260-pound terror off the edge, he blossomed into a nationally-recognized entity. A two-time All-American and 2009 winner of the Ted Hendricks Award, he produced 36 tackles for loss and 26.5 sacks since becoming a full-timer in 2008.

DL Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma (5) - The next really big thing in a Sooner defensive tackle, McCoy was one of the nation's premier linemen over the last three seasons. The Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2007, he went on to be an All-American over the last couple of seasons. A prototypical two-gap tackle, with tremendous quickness, he's off to the NFL with a year of eligibility still in the bank. Smart move, too, because he'll be one of the first few selections off the board in April.

DL Terrence Cody, Alabama (2) - Always massive and shockingly quick for his size, hitting the books was Cody's biggest high school hurdle. Things got so bad, he actually missed his sophomore and junior years of football. Even after playing well as a senior, most schools had forgotten about him or were too afraid to take the risk. He probably wouldn't have qualified anyway, which made Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College a wise first step. Cody used it as a launching point to Tuscaloosa, where he earned All-America honors in consecutive years for his ability to clog lanes, occupy blockers, and disrupt the offense's rhythm.

DL Brandon Graham, Michigan (5) - The fact that Graham finished his career on some sorry Wolverine teams sort of muted his achievements. That's unfortunate because he was one of the Big Ten's most consistent pass rushers during his stay in Ann Arbor. A starter since the middle of his sophomore year, he was all-league in 2008 and 2009. With linebacker quickness off the edge, he racked up 30 career sacks and a slew of forced fumbles, spending weekends in the opposition's backfield.

Honorable Mention: Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh (2), Adrian Clayborn, Iowa (4), Ricky Sapp, Clemson (5), Maurice Evans, Penn State (4), Lamarr Houston, Texas (4), Jermaine Cunningham, Florida (4), Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma (2), Aaron Maybin, Penn State (4), Malcolm Sheppard, Arkansas (2), Greg Hardy, Ole Miss (3), Brandon Williams, Texas Tech (2), Greg Middleton, Indiana (2), Kevin Basped, Nevada (2), Lindsey Witten, Connecticut (2), Dontay Moch, Nevada (2), Nate Collins, Virginia (2), Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State (4), and Jared Odrick, Penn State (4)

LB Brandon Spikes, Florida (5) - The face of the Gator defense over the last three seasons, Spikes may have raised the bar a bit since he wasn't a consensus choice as the best linebacker of the 2006 class. A two-time All-American, who leaves Gainesville with more than 300 tackles, he was to the defense what Tim Tebow was to the offense, and will go down in the annals as one of the best defenders to ever play at Florida.

LB Eric Norwood, South Carolina (3) - Whenever something big happened when the Gamecocks were on defense, Norwood was in the mix. Part defensive end and part linebacker, he caused chaos no matter where he lined up. A rare three-time All-SEC first team selection, and an All-American this past season, he piled up 255 tackles, 55 stops behind the line, and 29 sacks in an overall destructive Gamecock career.

LB Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri (2) - A three-sport star, Weatherspoon still struggled to generate any interest from Big 12 powers Oklahoma and Texas. Mizzou hasn't stopped thanking them yet. A one-man wrecking crew, he combines outstanding athleticism with the ferocity to unleash game-changing wallops. A starter since his sophomore year, he's a three-time All-Big 12 selection, with more than 400 tackles and 44 stops behind the line. That rare playmaker on defense, he has far exceeded expectations since arriving with only modest upside.

Honorable Mention: Sergio Kindle, Texas (5), Mark Herzlich, Boston College (3), Micah Johnson, Kentucky (5), Navorro Bowman, Penn State (4), Dekoda Watson, Florida State (3), Keaton Kristick, Oregon State (3), Alex Wujciak, Maryland (3), Stevenson Sylvester, Utah (1), Mike Mohamed, Cal (2), Bruce Carter, North Carolina (3), and Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut (2)

DB Taylor Mays, USC (5) - A modern-day Ronnie Lott in Los Angeles, Mays was a nightmare for opposing receivers daring to cross his path. A freakish all-around athlete, with the size of a linebacker and cornerback speed, he doled out more punishment than any other defensive back over the past four seasons. A three-time All-American and four-year starter for the Trojans, he's poised to be selected in the opening round of April's NFL Draft.

DB Vontae Davis, Illinois (3) - Although it has a way of getting lost among a few average Illini teams, Davis was a fantastic cover corner for the three seasons he spent in Champaign. A starter as a freshman and a two-time selection on the All-Big Ten first team, he made bolting for the NFL Draft look smart last spring. The No. 25 overall selection by the Miami Dolphins, he had some predictable rookie rough patches, but also led the team with four interceptions.

DB DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (4) - What do you get when you combine the cover skills of a corner with a 6-1, 210-pounder thumper? Well, you get McDaniel for starters and a defensive back vying to be an All-American in his final season with the Tigers. He laid the groundwork in 2009, blossoming into an ACC star with 98 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and a nation's-leading eight interceptions.

DB Myron Rolle, Florida State (5) - The epitome of what it means to be a student- athlete, Rolle immediately cracked the Seminole starting lineup as a freshman, graduated in under three years, and spent 2009 studying at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. The future surgeon still has dreams of a future in the NFL as well, and will be participating in the Senior Bowl before concluding his studies in England.

Honorable Mention: Alterraun Verner, UCLA (3), Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt (2), Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State (4), Kurt Coleman, Ohio State (4), Amari Spievey, Iowa (2), Emanuel Cook, South Carolina (3), Barry Church, Toledo (3), Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State (2), and Jai Valai, Wisconsin (2)

- 2010 Recruiting - The 2006 All-Recruiting Class Offense