Running Back Defensive Line
  Wide Receiver Linebacker
  Offensive Line Defensive Back

Southern California

Coach Pete Carroll has called this group the biggest, fastest, most aggressive LB corps he has ever had under his reign. Forget about it…this unit is tops and they play a big role as to why the Trojans are atop so many rankings. Two Preseason All-Americans dot their starting three in Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers. They did lose Dallas Sartz at one of the outside spots…no problem, for they just continue to plug in prep superstars. Brian Cushing (one of the most decorated recruits on the entire team) moves back to his preferred OLB slot and the backups include six players who were top 10 at their position(s) coming out of high school. If there has been a more qualified group at LB over the past ten years, none was due to having more individual talent(s) than this corps.

Ohio State

The Ohio State LB tradition continues to roll. This group was tops in 2005 before they replaced all three participants in 2006, and, through all the changes, James Laurinaitis emerged to win the Nagurski Award (nation's top defensive player) in just his sophomore season. This corps’ only loss is John Kerr, but this is a much more talented group on paper than last year’s corps. Marcus Freeman is an All-Big Ten selection and will be in his second year as a starter. He had 15 stops in the National Championship Game and helped transform OSU, again, into one of the nation’s better defenses. If depth were the sole factor in determining these ratings, the Buckeye LBs are heads above everyone else outside of USC. Even the third team guys are comprised of top rated prep talents. Dot the “i” and let them run wild, Jim.

Virginia Tech

Much like USC, the Hokies have two senior LBs that cracked the Preseason All-American list. Xavier Adibi teams with Vince Hall, who defensive coordinator Foster calls the best LB ever to play in Blacksburg. Both have been making All-ACC lists since their freshmen campaigns. With backers such as these, Tech posted four shutouts and allowed more than 13 points in only three games last fall en route to the becoming the nation’s stingiest (scoring and total) defense. With a solid group of linemen in front of these playmakers, the awards lists are only going to grow for this "lunch pail" bunch.


When healthy, this group is tops in the Big 12. Senior Bo Ruud is the leader and has posted big numbers over the last few years. Now, he will be in the chase for Big 12 Defensive Player of The Year. He and Cory McKeon have been the mainstays for the past two seasons, both receiving All-Conference and All-American honors at different points in their careers. Steve Octavien may be the most talented in this group. If he can stay injury free after sitting out most of 2006 with a knee injury, this group will be capable of running (and run stopping) with just about anyone.

South Carolina

In 2006, the Gamecocks had to replace their top four LBs, and then they lost Cody Wells at the midpoint of the season. That meant upwards of six different players earned starts. Every one of them is back, and DE Casper Brinkley now moves from his DE spot to play aside his brother Jasper, a First Team All-SEC selection. Much like Ohio State, this group is deeper than most and playing time will be tough to come by, which means fresh churning legs for 60 full minutes. The Brinkley brothers make this corps the best in ‘SEC Country’. They are so talented that Spurrier wouldn’t trade this group for any he has coached before…and that is saying a lot coming from the ole ball coach.

Just Missed: Boston College, Clemson, Oregon State, Penn State, Texas