2014 CFN All-Sophomore Team - Defense & ST

Who were the best second-year defensive players in college football this season?

2014 Sophomore All-American

Defense & Special Teams

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CFN Sophomore All-America Teams
- 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009  

- 2014 CFN All-Sophomore Offense

Defensive Sophomore of the Year: LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona

DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Just two years removed from St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) High School, Bosa is already one of the premier pass-rushers in the country. He’s the total package in an end, big and strong enough to defend the run, with the quickness and technique to conjure up J.J. Watt comparisons. The 6-5, 278-pound Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year currently leads the league with 20 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
On a team best known for its offensive playmakers, Billings is a rising superstar on defense. And even as an interior lineman, he’s impossible to ignore. The 6-2, 300-pound Billings possesses a freakish blend of immense strength and closing speed, tracking down ballcarriers from behind. The All-Big 12 first-teamer has 35 tackles, 11.5 stops for loss and two sacks, which don’t even begin to tell the story of his impact and long-term potential.

DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
One step at a time, Nkemdiche is fulfilling his expectations as a former can’t-miss recruit from the 2013 class. As an anchor of the Landshark defense in Oxford, he was named First Team All-SEC after making 33 tackles, three stops for loss and a couple of sacks. Nkemdiche has the rare combination of strength and athleticism to help make him a terror for opposing blockers.

DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
Ogbah is beginning to approach Leslie O’Neal territory in Stillwater with his 11 sacks, 17 stops for minus yards and five pass breakups entering the postseason. The 6-4, 270-pound native of Nigeria uses his hands well, and he never quits on a play. Ogbah also brings versatility to the Cowboy front wall, as well as a high ceiling that he’ll continue to approach in 2015.

LB Su’a Cravens, USC
Cravens will make a lot of money someday as a strong safety, but he’s one of the Pac-12’s premier linebackers for now. The second-year star played multiple positions during the regular season, but got most of his reps at outside linebacker. Cravens’ versatility and instincts were evident all year long, as he notched 62 tackles, 16 stops for minus yards, five sacks, two picks and 10 passes defended. He’s the Swiss Army knife of the Trojan back seven.

LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
The ascent of Smith into one of the elite linebackers in college football is in full swing. At 6-2 and 235 pounds, he harbors the unmatched all-around athleticism and conditioning to track down opponents in all directions. One of five finalists for the Butkus Award, Smith leads the Irish with 103 tackles, 8.5 stops for loss, three sacks and six quarterback hurries.

LB Scooby Wright III, Arizona
From unheralded recruit to one of the preeminent defensive players in college football, Wright has traveled a rather remarkable journey in just two years. The quintessential blue-collar overachiever has amassed a war chest of individual awards and monster numbers in 2014, including 153 tackles, an FBS-high 28 stops for minus yards, 14 sacks and six forced fumbles. Wright plays the game with maximum intensity and the keen instincts to be around the ball at all times.

CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
The latest Fuller to excel in Blacksburg, Kyle might wind up being the best of the family. A year after debuting as an All-ACC second-teamer, he’s risen to Second Team All-American, according to multiple outlets. Skilled well beyond on his years at anticipating throws and blanketing receivers, Fuller has broken up 15 passes to go along with 50 tackles and 4.5 stops for loss.

S Gerod Holliman, Louisville
No player has more interceptions this season than Holliman. In fact, no player since 1968 has matched Holliman’s 14 interceptions this fall. Although the Thorpe Award winner plays safety, he covers, tracks the ball and secures it with the skill of an accomplished cornerback. What’s most exciting about Holliman is that this is his first year as a full-timer with the Cards, so the sky’s the limit for his future as a centerfielder.

S Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
In terms of DB versatility, there may not be a better player than Ramsey … regardless of class. In Tallahassee, he’s the ‘Star’, a hybrid of a linebacker and a safety, which mandates a jack-of-all-trades. Ramsey seamlessly fits the job description with his long arms, athleticism and heady approach to the game. The emerging mega-star was named First Team All-ACC after making 75 stops, 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two picks, 13 pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
Two years. Two appearances on the All-SEC First Team. It’s just one indication of how talented Hargreaves is at the halfway mark of his Gator career. He has fluid hips, advanced instincts and the great feet to stick with the better receivers on the schedule. Despite being avoided by opposing passers, Hargreaves broke up an SEC-high 13 passes in just 11 games of action.

Special Teams

PK Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
At this pace, Aguayo is going to become the most decorated placekicker in college football history. He already won the Lou Groza Award as a redshirt freshman in 2013, and was a finalist once again this season. Kicking with laser accuracy and uncommon poise, Aguayo has been good on 25-of-27 field goal attempts, including 3-of-3 beyond 50 yards, and is unflappable in the clutch.

P Austin Rehkow, Idaho
Good news, Rehkow is one of the premier punters in America and a Ray Guy Award finalist. Bad news? He is, by far, the most accomplished Vandal in Moscow. The 6-3, 215-pound Rehkow leads the nation at just under 48 yards a boot, using a powerful leg to crush the ball both as a punter and a placekicker.

Second Team

DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama
DT Maliek Collins, Nebraska
DT Darius Philon, Arkansas
DE Kamalei Correa, Boise State

LB Vince Biegel, Wisconsin
LB Myles Jack, UCLA
LB Nick Vigil, Utah State

CB Will Likely, Maryland
S Tony Conner, Ole Miss
S Nate Gerry, Nebraska
CB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma

Special Teams

PK Josh Lambert, West Virginia
P Cameron Johnston, Ohio State

Honorable Mention  

DL: Montravius Adams (Auburn), Josh Banks (Wake Forest), Alex Barrett (San Diego State), Harold Brantley (Missouri), Kenny Clark (UCLA), Hunter Dimick (Utah), Ken Ekanem (Virginia Tech), Treyvon Hester (Toledo), Austin Johnson (Penn State), Alex McCallister (Florida), Joe Ostman (Central Michigan), Jordan Phillips (Oklahoma), Hassan Ridgeway (Texas), A’Shawn Robinson (Alabama), Eddie Vanderdoes (UCLA), Nigel Williams (Virginia Tech)

LB: Dominique Alexander (Oklahoma), Michael Barton (Cal), Beniquez Brown (Mississippi State), Rodney Butler (New Mexico State), Dakota Cox (New Mexico), P.J. Davis (Georgia Tech), Salamo Fiso (Arizona State), Leonard Floyd (Georgia), Nigel Harris (South Florida), Deon Hollins (UCLA), Keith Kelsey (Louisville), Steve Longa (Rutgers), Laiu Moeakiola (Arizona State), Calvin Munson (San Diego State), Yannick Ngakoue (Maryland), Jalen Reeves-Maybin (Tennessee), Jovan Santos-Knox (Massachusetts), Michael Scherer (Missouri), Christian Tago (San Jose State), Jeremy Timpf (Army), Tanner Vallejo (Boise State), Max Valles (Virginia), Stephen Weatherly (Vanderbilt), Xavier Woodson (Arkansas State)

DB: Ishmael Adams (UCLA), Tony Annese (Central Michigan), Vonn Bell (Ohio State), Daquawn Brown (Washington State), Artie Burns (Miami), Devin Centers (Utah State), DeVon Edwards (Duke), Zach Edwards (Cincinnati), Johnathan Ford (Auburn), Jacoby Glenn (UCF), Dylan Haines (Texas), Nate Holley (Kent State), Xavien Howard (Baylor), Ryan Janvion (Wake Forest), Damontae Kazee (San Diego State), Jayron Kearse (Clemson), Cole Luke (Notre Dame), Greg Mabin (Iowa), Quincy Mauger (Georgia), Reggie Mitchell (Pittsburgh), Justin Nelson (Texas Tech), Tyvis Powell (Ohio State), Weston Steelhammer (Air Force), Jordan Sterns (Oklahoma State), Orion Stewart (Baylor), Corey Tindal (Marshall), Brian Walker (North Carolina), Cleveland Wallace (San Jose State), Tre’Davious White (LSU), Xavier Woods (Louisiana Tech), Daryl Worley (West Virginia)

PK: Jake Elliott (Memphis), Elliott Fry (South Carolina), Zane Gonzalez (Arizona State), Ben Grogan (Oklahoma State), Andy Phillips (Utah)

P: Alex Boy (Nevada), Sam Foltz (Nebraska), Hayden Hunt (Colorado State), Dalton Schomp (Florida Atlantic), Justin Vogel (Miami)

- 2014 CFN All-Sophomore Offense

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