Blog Entry

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

Posted on: July 13, 2010 8:22 am
Edited on: July 13, 2010 8:24 am

Ndamukong Suh did something that most defensive players never get to do ... earn Heisman Trophy votes. Suh finished fourth last season behind Mark Ingram, Toby Gerhart and Colt McCoy.

He was the first defensive player to finish that high since Charles Woodson won the award for Michigan in 1997. Numerous players have earned votes, like A.J. Hawk, LaVar Arrington and Glenn Dorsey, so it is not uncommon for a player to finish in the Top 10.

Here are a handful of guys that have the best chance to earn votes for this year's Heisman, which will be handed out Dec. 11 in New York.

Adrian Clayborn, Iowa: After earning MVP honors in the Orange Bowl, Clayborn was a guy I thought could definitely be on some Heisman watch lists. He recorded 36 solo tackles with 20 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles last season. Iowa's defense will be strong again and some experts have the Hawkeyes challenging for the national championship this year. It won't be because of the offense, so look to the defense for somebody to be the leader. Enter Clayborn. Oct. 2 vs. Penn State and Nov. 20 vs. Ohio State will be the two biggest games of the season for Iowa.

Jared Crick, Nebraska: He'll have to follow one of the greatest Nebraska defensive players in history in Ndamukong Suh, but Crick will definitely make a name for himself in 2010. The first-team All-Big 12 member recorded 9.5 sacks last season, while also having 15 tackles for a loss. He also recorded 73 tackles, including 42 solo. As great as Crick is, hopefully the voters' won't penalize him because of what Suh did last year because he deserves to be judged on his own merit. With Nebraska ranked in the Top 10 in most preseason polls, Crick could definitely follow Suh and earn votes at the end of the season. Oct. 16 vs. Texas will be the Huskers biggest challenge of the season.

Von Miller, Texas A&M: The first-team All-American might end up being the best defensive player in the nation. Listen to the season this kid had -- led the nation is sacks (17) and finished fifth in the nation in tackles for a loss. Against Texas he had 2.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and even broke up two passes. He is expected to be a finalist for numerous defensive awards, so if Miller and the Aggies can make some waves in the Big 12, I expect him to finish in the Top 10 of the Heisman voting. It all comes down to a strong finish as the team faces Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas in three of the final four games.

Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh: With the Panthers projected to be a force in the Big East, look for the senior to improve on his numbers from last season. Romeus racked up a team-high eight sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss. The first-team All-Big East performer and Hendricks finalist just might be able to garner some votes if the Panthers are near the Top 15 most of the year. Keep an eye on how Romeus does in the team's biggest games -- at Utah (Sept. 6), Miami (Sept. 23), West Virginia (Nov. 26) and at Cincinnati (Dec. 4).

Patrick Peterson, LSU: Peterson is a great cover corner, earning first-team All-SEC and second-team All-American honors last year. Two of the best receivers in the country last year A.J. Green and Julio Jones combined for just seven catches when covered by Peterson. The junior also ranked third in the SEC in passes defended with two interceptions. As great a player as he is, to really get the eyes of the Heisman voters, he'll need to improve the INT numbers and make some game-changing plays in the SEC. The nation will get to see Peterson right off the bat in the season opener against North Carolina on Sept. 4. Of course the clash vs. the Gators will be Oct. 9 and the Tigers play Alabama on Nov. 6.

Greg Jones, Michigan State: Here's all the numbers you need from Jones -- 154 tackles, which ranked third in the nation (11.85 per game). The consensus first-team All-American also finished fifth in the Big Ten and 30th in the nation with nine sacks and 51st with a team-high 13.5 tackles for a loss. Jones is a beast, but the problem with linebackers and the Heisman race is, too many players have great tackle numbers. Still, keep an eye on Jones, especially when he faces Wisconsin (Oct. 2), at Iowa (Oct. 30), and at Penn State (Nov. 27).

Rahim Moore, UCLA: Moore is one of the best safeties in the nation, earning first-team All-American honors after recording 10 interceptions in 13 games. It was the first time a player had at least 10 INTs since 2003. If Moore can record double-digit picks again and has UCLA in the hunt for the Pac-10 title, than he has a shot to get a few votes. The problem will be that the Bruins aren't expected to win more than 6 or 7 games with a schedule that consists of road game against Texas, California, Oregon and Washington.

Greg Reid, Florida State: The biggest long shot on my list is mostly known for his special team play instead of his secondary play. Reid led the nation with a 18.4-yard punt return average and also averaged 25.5 on kick returns. The only chance he gets some Heisman attention is to explode in the return game like Raghib Ismail did and get some interceptions on defense (had just two last season).


Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: July 27, 2010 5:00 pm

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

I hate to say it, but defense is not sexy enough to win Heisman trophies nowadays. It's all about the offense and padding stats. Here is my list of your Heisman finalists.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: July 23, 2010 11:55 pm

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

Read the whole thing peckerhead.

"They put together a good year."

I also hate to disappoint a lot of you, when you only put together a good year now and then, an average team is exactly what your are. And yes, they are an also ran enough that saying "always" is accurate. Getting anal about the term only strengthens my arguement.

Now you can go away too.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: July 23, 2010 11:49 pm

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

"Telling someone their team sucks, when your statement in itself is blatantly stupid and incorrect"

Thats a lot like the pot calling the kettle black.

Since: Sep 19, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2010 5:16 pm

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

Who is Cameron heyward??? Never heard of him like most people!! Who does he play for??? FIU!LOL No matter...Iowa will have the most dominating defense in the country!!!!

Since: Jan 9, 2010
Posted on: July 19, 2010 4:50 pm

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race


Since: Apr 6, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2010 4:42 pm

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

I completely agree with you, if Suh didnt win it last year, no one in this years class has even a remote shot in my opinion.  It really is a shame that voters can get away from voting for purely offensive players when once in a while (last year especially) someone playing on the other side of the ball is the best collegiate athlete

Since: Nov 3, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2010 2:19 pm

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

.. There is no defensive player worth watching in the Heisman Race because there is no defensive player that will win it. Main reason, all of these players will be playing on teams that won't do much. ...

I guess you missed this in the write up on Clayborn then

"Iowa's defense will be strong again and some experts have the Hawkeyes challenging for the national championship this year"

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2010 11:22 am

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

If OSU's D is so much better than Iowa's, then how did they let the terrible offense the Hawkeyes had all year, score 24? With a freshman quarterback?
Umm, OSU's D only allowed 17.  The Hawkeyes scored on a 4th Qtr kickoff return that came on the heels of OSU's most impressive scoring drive of the day.  Iowa was all but dead in that game, but that kick return gave them new life.   Can't blame the OSU D for a breakdown on Special Teams that allowed the Hawks to hang within a single score of OSU late in the game.  It is kind of harsh to criticize a defense that gave up 17 points in a game that went to overtime.

OSU's other problem was Tressel going ultra-conservative once he had the lead.  Hawkeye fans should be quite familiar with this as Ferentz does the same thing...rely on stellar D to sit on any lead, and only open up the offense when you need to.  Tressel had OSU's offense in moth balls for all but about 1/4 of the game.

That said, I went to that game.  I'll give credit where it is due.  Clayborn was a monster...relentless, and personally I thought he was the most impressive player on the field that day.

Since: Mar 22, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2010 7:45 am

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

 the best defensive line in the nation, anchored by a pair of freakish defensive ends in  and .

We've talked enough about Clayborn's monstrous 2009 season and frankly, so has everyone else. All-Big Ten First Team. Iowa's  player. The leader and of the Big Ten's best defense. Future first round pick. Blah blahhhhhh...What exactly did Clayborn do to deserve all this praise? All you need to do is watch the Georgia Tech game on rewind and you'll see his amazing attributes on parade. GT attempted cut blocks, only to watch AC deftly push the blockers away from his knees and make nine (?) first half tackles. GT attempted to double team on pass routes. Clayborn's high motor and agility allowed him to keep fighting and make his way to the Tech QB.

No one can say .

that was just one game last year. and he didnt even have the play of the year in the mammouth punt block and return for td, tyler sash did on the ping pong interception return for a td against indiana.  the fact is this guy IS a monster and HES RETURNING for more!

He also might lead the nation in most quarterbacks knocked unconscious

Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2010 4:43 am

Defensive players to watch in Heisman race

you need to learn something....

Can your player do this?

Not even Suh turned in a play like that. Not even the heisman winner turned in a play like that.

Yeah you need to learn something
. Clayborn is a beast and if you are want to keep posting ignornant comments, be my guest, but you cant ignore "players you will learn to hate"


He's the guy that is most likely to actually kill one of our players simply by tackling them. He's basically a cement truck designed by Ferrari. Last season he absolutely lowered the boomstick on during Michigan's narrow loss to the Hawkeyes, and it's pretty evident why Forcier wasn't in that game at the end. I'm not sure I'd even be able to say my name, much less spell it, after   You'll notice the blocker being disposed of like an old Kleenex is Steve Schilling, one of our best offensive linemen. That's not good.

If he isn't blocked, we're screwed. It's as simple as that. If he gets loose in the backfield they'll be taking Tate or Denard off in a box.


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