First Team — Jonathan Allen (Jr), Alabama Crimson Tide; Myles Garrett (Jr), Texas A&M Aggies
Second Team — Demarcus Walker (Sr), Florida State Seminoles; Derek Barnett (Jr), Tennessee Volunteers
Freshman — Joe Jackson (Fr), Miami Hurricanes; Nick Bosa (Fr), Ohio State Buckeyes
Allen is the most dominant 3-4 end in the country, Garrett the best pure 4-3 end. That said, both have a home in any scheme thanks to freakish athleticism for their sizes. Walker created havoc off the edge for the Noles, bringing size and a high motor from the position. Hunter Dimick (Utah), Harold Landry (BC) and Trey Hendrickson (FAU) were also considered in a great year for ends. Bosa is as Bosa does, while Jackson led an attacking Cane defense in TFL and sacks.
First Team — Christian Wilkins (So), Clemson Tigers; Ed Oliver (Fr), Houston Cougars
Second Team — Tanzel Smart (Sr), Tulane Green Wave; Solomon Thomas (Jr), Stanford Cardinal
Freshman — Dexter Lawrence (Fr), Clemson Tigers; Dre’Mont Jones (RFr), Ohio State Buckeyes
The top two are simply dominant interior forces despite their age (like holy shit Ed Oliver), and that said, Lawrence and Jones are terrific as freshmen, and oxen in the middle of the line. Smart is a bit vertically challenged, however he’s super quick off the ball and perfect in the 4-3. Thomas is a tweener but boasts great size and potential all over a 3-4 defense.
Tanzel Smart Ultimate Career Highlights
— Tulane Football (@GreenWaveFB) December 7, 2016
First Team — Tim Williams (Jr), Alabama Crimson Tide; Shaquem Griffin (Jr), UCF Knights
Second Team — Arden Key (So), LSU Tigers; T.J. Watt (Jr), Wisconsin Badgers
Freshman — Troy Dye (RFr), Oregon Ducks; Logan Wilson (RFr), Wyoming Cowboys
The stats point us to 3-4 power rushers Watt, whose strength and physicality lets him dominate, or his speed rushing, lanky counterparts like Williams and Key. All three are future NFL 3-4 terrors with outstanding physical attributes. However we’re throwing our praise behind UCF’s speedy play-maker Griffin, the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, who tallied 92 stops, 20.00 TFL, 11.5 sacks, 7 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries on a six foot, 210-pound frame… and with one hand… literally. Dye and Wilson are future PAC 12 and Mountain West Defensive Players of the Year, respectively.
First Team — Zach Cunningham (Jr), Vanderbilt Commodores
Second Team — Reuben Foster (Jr), Alabama Crimson Tide
Freshman — Josiah Tauaefa (RFr), UTSA Roadrunners
Foster has size, speed, and proven production in the rigorous front lines of the SEC. That said, Cunningham has that and is a more explosive and instinctual player. Arguably the best defender in the country, he simply plays for a middling team. The Big Ten’s Raekwon McMillan (OSU) and Josey Jewell (Iowa), and the Mountain West’s Jahlani Tavai (Hawaii) and Tau Lotulelei (UNLV) just missed the cut. The Roadrunner Tauaefa is another big, fast defender who led a feisty UTSA defense pretty much solo. Will grow into an NFL defender.
First Team — Jourdan Lewis (Sr), Michigan Wolverines; Damontae Kazee (Sr), San Diego State Aztecs
Second Team — Rasul Douglas (Sr), West Virginia Mountaineers; Desmond King (Sr), Iowa Hawkeyes
Freshman — Julian Love (Fr), Notre Dame Fighting Irish; Clifton Duck (Fr), Appalachian State Mountaineers
Like end and middle linebacker, another loaded position. Lewis, outside of his worst career game in his final game, was the best cover corner in the country and gets the nod. Kazee is a ball-hawking terror from the edge, and the Mountain West’s best defender. King lacks the size Douglas possesses, but proved over a terrific career a shut-down defender. Notre Dame’s defense was young and unimpressive, except for the corner/safety/savvy defender Love; we love the freshman and former standout at two-time state champ Nazareth Academy in Illinois.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) November 6, 2016
First Team — Malik Hooker (RSo), Ohio State Buckeyes; Jamal Adams (Jr), LSU Tigers
Second Team — Minkah Fitzpatrick (So), Alabama Crimson Tide; Godwin Igwebuike (Jr), Northwestern Wildcats
Freshman — Javon Hagan (Fr), Ohio Bobcats; Jesse Bates (Fr), Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Ohio State lost a bevvy of backs on the defensive side, and so Hooker’s breakout year was a much needed performance. He totaled seven interceptions, three for scores, and 74 tackles (5.5 for loss) on the year. Adams is the best NFL prospect and simply dominated from the position. Removed opposing receivers who entered the middle of the field with blanket coverage.The attention went to Anthony Walker on Northwestern’s defense, however Igwebuike emerged as a superstar to lead the defense in tackles with 108 stops, while also heading a secondary that ranked 31st in pass efficiency defense despite injuries to their top two corners, and freshmen in their stead. Hagan and Bates are play-makers and future superstars in their own right thanks to terrific noses for the ball in coverage and support.
First Team — Adoreé Jackson (Jr), USC Trojans
Second Team — Christian Kirk (So), Texas A&M Aggies
Freshman — Johnathon Johnson (Fr), Missouri Tigers
Jackson and Kirk are two of the better return men we’ve seen in some time, and both have an NFL future because of that alone. Opposing teams simply avoided them, noticeably with Kirk, and both warranted spots at their other positions (corner for Jackson, WR for Kirk). Johnson needs to improve clearly as a freshman, but his explosiveness already has teams on notice.
First Team — Zane Gonzalez (Sr), Arizona State Sun Devils
Second Team — Austin Rehkow (Sr), Idaho Vandals
Freshman — Louie Zervos (RFr), Ohio Bobcats
Gonzalez capped a record setting career in Tempe with a stellar season and the Groza Award. Rehkow’s career showed was similarly impressive and he showed versatility as a punter during it. Zervos is primed for a huge career in Solich’s run heavy, stall late offense.