2010 CFN All-Americans & Top Players - LBs
Oklahoma LB Travis Lewis
CFN 2010 All-Americans and Top 30 Players - Linebackers
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All-Americans & Top 30 Players
2010 CFN All-Americans & Top 30 Players
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2009 CFN All-Americans |
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Note: This isn't a ranking of the top pro prospects. This is
based on the seasons we think the players are going to have.
CFN 2010 FIRST TEAM PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
1. Greg Jones, Sr. Michigan State
Jones was the best linebacker in college football last year. While Alabama's Rolando McClain won the Butkus as the leader of a national title-level defense, no one did more for their team than Jones, who led the team (and finished third in the nation) with 154 tackles, nine sacks, and 14 tackles for loss after making 127 tackles with two sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 2008. Not just explosive, he's as steady as they come and is terrific against spread attacks of all types making 15 stops in the loss to Central Michigan and 13 against Texas Tech. He came up with ten stops or more in nine games and spread his sacks throughout the season.
He doesn't do too much against the pass, mostly because that's not really his role, but he's active enough to work on the outside if needed with just enough raw speed and quickness to handle backs on short to midrange routes. While he's as tough as they come and he's a peerless tackler, the knock on him at the next level is his lack of size. At a generously listed 6-1 and 235 pounds, he's a bit small to be the centerpiece of an NFL defense, and he doesn't have the raw wheels to be a killer of a pro 3-4 outside linebacker. Even so, he'll likely be someone's early second round pick who makes tackle after tackle as a do-it-all playmaker.
2. Travis Lewis, Sr. Oklahoma
Lewis has been a tackling machine and has emerged as the next great Oklahoma linebacker. He followed up a tremendous 144-tackle 2008 by leading the team with 109 stops, a sack, and 9.5 tackles for loss in his second straight All-Big 12 season. At 6-2 and 232 pounds he has good size and tremendous sideline to sideline range from his weakside spot, and while he could stand to do a bit more against the pass, he has few problems staying with receivers. A tremendous high school running back, he has been timed at 4.34 in the 40 and has phenomenal weight room strength. Able to play any position in the linebacking corps, he'll produce no matter where he lines up.
3. Justin Houston, Jr. Georgia (DE)
In the new defensive scheme, the former defensive end will be turned loose as an outside linebacker. One of the SEC's premier pass rushers, the 6-3, 259-pound junior made 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss along with 39 tackles in a full-time role after missing the first few games of last season due to a suspension for violating the team's drug policy. He's going to have to do more against the run now that he's playing with his hand off the ground, but he'll also get a head start and more space to move to fly into the backfield on every play.
CFN 2010 SECOND TEAM PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
4. Luke Kuechly, Soph. Boston College
The coaching staff tried to temper the enthusiasm about Kuechly's great first year, but he finished first in the ACC and second in the nation in tackles with 158 stops, and he even took an interception for a score against Central Michigan. Steady, he came up with double-digit stops in each of the last nine games including a 19-tackle performance against North Carolina. Great in the open field, he doesn't miss a stop.
5. Alex Wujciak, Sr., Maryland
The headliner in the middle of a great Terp linebacking corps will once again be the 6-3, 245-pound Wujciak, a first team All-ACC performer, with All-America potential. For the second straight year, he led the team with 131 tackles, adding 8.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. First to the ball, he has tremendous instincts to go along with the range and size to be a force in run defense.
6. Mike Mohamed, Sr. California
There's a need for more linebackers in Berkeley, especially at a school that operates out of the 3-4. The one constant on the inside is the 6-3, 238-pound Mohamed, who'll enter 2010 on a lot of Preseason All-America teams and watch lists. In his first season as the cover boy of the group, he broke out by parlaying a league-high 112 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, and three picks into a spot on the All-Pac-10 first team. While he has the requisite speed and size, he also harbors the instincts and field awareness to usually be in the right place at the right time.
CFN 2010 HONORABLE MENTION PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
7. Nigel Bradham, Jr., Florida State
Though Dekoda Watson needs to be replaced, the core of the linebackers is back. The new leader will be the 6-2, 241-pound junior Bradham, who's coming off a breakthrough year at weakside. A gem from the 2008 class, he led the team with 93 tackles, including 61 solos, adding 5.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks. Blessed with an ideal combination of speed, power, and crushing hits, he has an exciting second half of his career ahead of him.
8. Brian Duncan, Sr. Texas Tech (DE)
Is Duncan a defensive end? A middle linebacker? An outside linebacker? Depending on the style of defense the Red Raiders run, moving back and forth between a 3-4 and a 4-3, Duncan will work as sort of a hybrid on the outside to utilize his experience and pass rushing ability. The 6-1, 240-pound senior led the team with 88 tackles with seven tackles for loss with five broken up passes spending all of last year in the middle, but the new coaching staff wants him closer to the line where he can be more disruptive. He has the smart, the quickness, and the experience to be versatile enough to do what the defense needs him to depending on the gameplan.
9. Quan Sturdivant, Sr., North Carolina
Everyone of relevance is back for a corps of linebackers that promises to be among the best in the ACC, if not the country. The front man of the trio will again be the 6-2, 235-pound Sturdivant, the first Tar Heel linebacker in 12 years to be named first team All-ACC. Playing in the middle and at weakside, he collected a team-best 79 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and a sack, flashing the closing speed and range that have made him so dynamic.
10. Bruce Carter, Sr., North Carolina
Flanking Quan Sturdivant at strongside will be the 6-3, 230-pound Carter, a third-year starter coming off an All-ACC second team season. A former high school quarterback, with a playmaker's mindset, he had 65 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and a pick six for the second straight year. Never far from the action, his blend of lateral quickness and ferocious hits are a recipe for turnovers.
BEST OF THE REST
11. Manti Te'o, Soph. Notre Dame
12. Lawrence Wilson, Sr. Connecticut
13. Kelvin Sheppard, Sr. LSU
14. Carmen Messina, Jr. New Mexico
15. Chris Marve, Jr. Vanderbilt
16. K.J. Wright, Sr. Mississippi State
17.Dont'a Hightower, Soph. Alabama
18. Casey Matthews, Sr. Oregon
19. Derrell Smith, Sr. Syracuse
20. Mason Foster, Sr. Washington
21. Vontaze Burfict, Soph. Arizona State
22. Noah Keller, Sr. Ohio
23. Ross Homan, Sr. Ohio State
24. Brian Wagner, Soph. Akron
25. Spencer Paysinger, Sr. Oregon
26. Akeem Ayers, Jr. UCLA
27. Keenan Robinson, Jr. Texas
28. Jason Werner, Sr. Purdue
29. Korey Williams, Jr. Southern Miss
30. Brandon Hicks, Sr. Florida