1-Demetrious Nicholson, Virginia
2012Nicholson was one of 11 players to play in all 12 of Virginia's games last season. He finished tied for first among ACC defenders with 15 pass breakups. Nicholson was also fourth among Cavalier defenders with 56 tackles.
Nicholson was voted All-ACC honorable mention by both the media and coaches.
WHAT HE'S DOING HERE: A former Clemson recruiting target, Nicholson became the first Virginia true freshman to start a season-opening game at cornerback since 1986. He also became the first Cavalier true freshman to start a season-opening game since 2005.
2-Ronald Darby, Florida State
2012Darby had very productive freshman season, which saw him pickup Freshman All-America honors and the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
He was tied for the team lead with eight pass breakups and was in on 22 tackles. Darby played more snaps than any other freshman on the Seminoles' defense.
Ronald Darby looked closely at Clemson in the recruiting process, but ultimately signed with Florida State. (Getty Images)
Offseason sports hernia surgery forced Darby to miss track season. He was expected to be one of the nation's top sprinters, regardless of age.
3-Damian Swann, Georgia
2012Swann started every game and led the team with four interceptions. At the end of the season, he was named the defense's Most Improved Player.
He finished with 53 tackles, two sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two fumble recovers, plus four interceptions and five pass breakups.
WHAT HE'S DOING HERE: Some of his best games last season were Georgia's biggest games. Swann had two interceptions against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. He made seven tackles in the SEC Championship game against Alabama. And, against Florida, Swann had a sack and an interception.
Honorable Mention-Jemea Thomas, Georgia Tech
2012Thomas was second on the team in total tackles  and first with 61 solo tackles. He also led the team with four interceptions.
WHAT HE'S DOING HERE: Thomas enters his final season with 146 career tackles and seven interceptions. Only two active players in the ACC have more interceptions. Each of his seven picks have been during the last two seasons.