2010 Top 12 defensive units in the country
Here is what I think could be the top 12 defensive units for the up coming 2010 college football season. It is based off of incoming talent and production they had last year, plus returning starters. And let us be honest, the best teams last season had the best defenses, so do not say it does not matter, it means absolutely everything.
Many will argue Iowa being that high, but I see it as last year UNC was supposed to be gang busters and be a great defense and team overall last season. But it did not turn out that way, they underachieved and rarely match their hype they get. I see Iowa as a consistent well coached team and well coached defense with probably the best defensive line in college football coming back. Ontop of that they have more consistent depth as well, so that is why I have it the way it is, clearly though things can change and new players can emerge as the year goes on.
Was a great group last year and if they fill some voids at linebacker and cornerback they could be even better than last year. That dominating defensive line is all back and they should be even better this season. Those two fine deep safeties really help them as well.
ILB T. Johnson, Coleman
Talent wise no other groups are better, however consistency is the issue. Have real stars on the defensive line and if they play up to their potential they will be a great defense. Have arguably some of the best defensive backs in the country and have great linebackers. If all positions click and reach their potential they can easily be the best defensive unit.
CB C. Brown
FS D. Williams
Could be a lot higher but their corners are the question mark at this point. Also losing Cody in the middle will be a change as well, still Saban always has big, strong fast athletes and I am sure they will be another fine unit this season. If those talented young corners play up to their potential, watch out. Dareus will dominate on the defensive line and Hightower could be awesome if he comes back strong after the injury.
ILB N. Johnson
Very talented group, will have to equal the production last years defensive line had however. Great group of linebackers, just outstanding, and their safeties are very talented as well, corners are not as strong as years past but at least they have experience. If Heyward has a big year on the line however, he could really make them a great defense.
DE N. Williams
ILB B. Rolle
OLB E. Sabino
SS J. Hines
Obviously a talented group, the linebackers must play up to their potential and if the do they could be really good. The defensive line, pretty much the same thing, have to play up to their potential, Casey and Perry are big time stars. The corners will make the defense go, if they play the way they are capable of playing it could be another great USC defense.
DE M. Jackson, Armstead
OLB Kennard, M. Smith
CB TJ Bryant
CB S. Wright
As I said before they will have to fill a big void left by Kindle and Houston. If those freshman can do it they will be fine though, but will wait and see. Easily have the best defensive backs in the country and that will allow them to do a lot up front regardless of who is there. Robinson is a great linebacker and if they can get some better play out of a few more backers that would really help them.
DE Jeffcoat*, Wilson*
OLB K. Robinson, Hicks*
OLB Norton, Acho
CB Ch. Brown, Beasley
CB A. Williams, Cu. Brown
SS Brewster, Cobbs*
Really talented group but who knows how they perform. Linebackers are outstanding but Brown is a question mark at this point and McCarthy needs to stay healthy, Spence is a star though. The defensive line has to play great however, Bailey has to dominate and they need to get more push from the tackles. The defensive backs under achieved as well last year, but they have great talent at corner and safety. If they put it all together they could easily be a top three defensive unit.
OLB Spence, Buchanan
CB Van Dyke
FS Telemaque, Nicolas
Lost a lot off last years defense, but still should have a great defensive line with Crick being the main stay. The linebackers are the biggest question mark, they have talent but will have to prove a lot, if they do they will be a fine defense. The defensive backs are deep and experienced, lost two fine safeties but have a lot of players that can make plays and have seen game action. Plus their two corners are outstanding.
DE P. Allen
Linebacker is the only group without real stars, have fast linebackers but Jeffery is the only really talented one. They have a lot of solid players and if they pick up their game they could be just great. Good defensive line led by Matthews and Ajiboye, Taylor should be a fine player as well. The defensive backs are outstanding, Gilmore is one of the best corners and Culliver is one of the best safeties, they have great depth at those positions as well. Potentially they could be one of the best defenses in the SEC and that is saying a lot.
OLB S. Wilson
CB Auguste, Whitlock
A lot depends on the production of their defensive line, have a lot of talented players but they have to produce. At linebacker Hicks will be a great player and they have some experienced behind him, but again all depends on the defensive line. The defensive backs lost Haden but still have Jenkins a fine corner and two great safeties, Black is a star and Hill has tons of potential.
DT Marsh, Easley*
DT Sanders, Howard
OLB Edwards, Doe
Not a really deep group but they have star players, the defensive backs are outstanding, two of the best safeties in the land with McDaniel and Hall. Gilchrist is a fine corner as well. At linebacker Maye will carry the load and the defensive line has very talented players with Bowers and Jenkins. If they can get some more depth they will be a great unit.
Should be a fine group, especially if Rowe plays up to his potential as a pass rusher. The linebackers are solid led by Paysinger and Matthews, they got good speed. The defensive backs should be good, Harris will be a star at corner, and Boyett is an experienced young safety. If they fill a few more holes they could be a solid defense.
CB C. Harris
For UNC the other DT will probably be Tydreke Powell and Quan is the ILB while Reddick/Zach Brown will be on the outside.
Didn't Iowa lose Pat Angerer and AJ Edds?
Yea, Iowa lost Angerer and Edds, but Hunter is returning as the 2nd leading tackler on the team last year. And Iowa also tends to fill in at LB without too much of a drop off usually.
I'm more worried about our CBs. Losing Spievey really hurt, and if we have weaker CBs this year it'll really hurt the D all over. Sash and Greenwood will be much more spread out to compensate. We'll see. I'm not worried about the front 7 really at all.
Agreed, the linebackers never seem to be an issue for them, but if they do not play at a high level that will greatly decrease this defense, which I doubt but still.
I am not all that familiar with the corners they have, but some might have developed, and still the front four is the reason that defense is great anyway.
Yea, not to say that Iowa's secondary is in terrible shape, just in general as an Iowa fan that I'm more concerned with our CBs going froward than with restocking our LBs.
As for CB, we have Shaun Prater returning who was #2 last year, and Jordan Bernstine who was #2 in 2008 before missing 09 with an injury. Now, both played at the very least competently when they were #2, but they also had Spievey, Sash, and 09 Greenwood. How either would do as a #1 is up in the air, especially since both have shown lapses in judgement/ability, but that may have just been inexperience. Also, Prater likes to partake in off the field activities that don't win him points with the coaching staff.
Other than that, sophomore Micah Hyde is supposedly pushing for a starting spot. When he was recruited last year, I read a lot of OSU fans congradulate Iowa on landing him as he was a real sleeper and OSU really had no room for him. He's incredibly athletic, but raw at CB, and in limited action last year showed a lot of potential.
So, while we do have 2 returning CBs with full seasons as starters, it's still remains to be seen if either can handle the job as a #1. Right now, neither are close to being lockdown, or even true #1s imo. But having 2 solid #2s is a good thing, even if it may not be ideal vs. teams with legit #1 WRs (Wisconsin, OSU).
1 - McAdoo will back up Coples
2 - Sturdivant will play ILB
3 - Zach Brown will start at OLB opposite Carter
4 - Tydreke Powell will start at DT opposite Austin
5 - UNC > Iowa.
Just kidding, I hope they are that good but we will see, I thought similar things last year and they were average at best despite a few standout performers. Would not surprise me at all if Quinn underachieves this year based on all the attention and love he is getting, and Austin technically has always underachieved.
With the Iowa kids, I doubt that happens, rarely do they not maximize their ability based on years past, and overall they do have a better defensive line that is more consistent. Defensive backs UNC clearly has the advantage however.
Putting things into perspective, UNC back in 2000 their defense had quite the talented collection of players as well
DE J. Peppers
DT Ryan Sims
OLB S. Hodge
ILB B. Spoon
CB M. Waddell
CB E. Hood
SS D. Reid
I loved Reid at safety, Hood and Waddell had great athletic potential at corner. The linebackers were very solid, Hodge could really run and Spoon was really good in the middle. Then you have Peppers and Sims who arguably are better than Quinn and Austin. I doubt Quinn at his peak in the NFL can reach the level of success Pepper had early in his career.
So it is nothing new UNC having a fine defense, again this years DBs are great but as a hole they usually under achieve as a team and sometimes as a defense because more often than not the offense is not up to par.
Do know who else has had some impressive defensive talent since 2000?
Nice list and a good read. For the most part, I pretty much agree with it. One thing, Arthur Brown no longer goes to Miami. Senior Kylan Robinson will be the starter. But this is his first year starting so he too may have some question marks.
Forston and Robinson might not be in the 2 deep this year, neither have a chance at starting and Jojo is the 5th best safety on the team when he isn't hurt.
Oh, HAI! watch me turn a group of good, but not great players into a masterful defense and win championships
I'd take Oklahoma's D over Oregon. I'm not sure USC is top 5 either.
As for USC, yes if their linebackers underachieve and those corners are no good, then yes not a top 5 defense but if Bryant and Wright are as good as I think they could be, they could be a great defense because of those two possibly.
Do have Lefeged, Freeny and Francis coming back and a few ok linebackers but seriously McCourty was by far their best and only really good corner back and Johnson was a fine pass rusher. Will see but I doubt they rebound all that great compared to last years defense.
At least respect it, Chris Low does-
You mean Chris Low, the SEC Blogger?
That's like saying Adam Rittenberg thinks Iowa's D is the best in the country.
South Carolina has such a far superior defense when compared to Ole Miss, and that is just taking into consideration returning starters, again that which Ole Miss has very few in my opinion.
No love for Penn State's D? They're consistantly in the top 10 in defense.
Nebraska's base defense isn't a 4-3, as we barely go into any 3 LB sets. More often we are in a nickel or dime as our base, which we ran almost exclusively by the time conference play rolled around.
Matt May will likely never see the field, and Sean Fisher won't see much either. Our top two LBs as of right now are Will Compton and Eric Martin, and not far behind is Alonzo Whaley.
Gomes and Hagg will be all over the field as well. Hagg will be the 3rd corner in our nickel, and Gomes will be the 4th corner in our dime packages. PJ Smith will likely be the SS, while Austin Cassidy and Rickey Thenarse fight it out for the other safety position in our dime package.
Odd thing is you compare last years defense to the 2004 LSU defense, it is the same thing, outstanding defensive line, great defensive backs that are deep and pretty suspect linebacker play outside of maybe one linebacker. Clearly that is the way Bo and Will want it and it really does work quite well for Nebraska and Texas last year even without standout linebackers.
Every team Nebraska played in the B12 ran the spread, or a variation, while Nebraska was in conference play.
You are right though, Nebraska did this out of necessity. Only the necessity to match up personnel versus an offense that the conference we are currently in has went to almost exclusively.
And I didn't bring up the '04 LSU defense, nor did I make a comparison.
But if they had better linebackers I bet they would play a 4/3 more often.
Just doesn't work that way, which is why he implements his 'Peso' defense, which I must say worked out pretty well. :)
Now you are entitled to your opinion about our LB core - but it's just irrelevant because we just do not use 3 LB sets, which is my original point. If you are going to judge our defense, at least do it with our correct base. That is all.
found this little picture for you
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