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