Anthony Barr, UCLA: Barr (6-4, 248) started 11 games on offense as a freshman and sophomore before moving to linebacker in 2012. It was a brilliant coaching decision. Barr was a second-team All-American during his first season at linebacker with a second-in-the-nation 13.5 sacks, including one that ended the season of USC's Matt Barkley. As a senior, he tallied 10 sacks, 20 tackles for losses and five forced fumbles. He was a first-team All-American and won the Lott Impact Trophy. Barr has his sights set on being the first defender selected in this year's draft. "I think I am the complete package," said the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Barr. "I can help a team right away win football games, playoff games and championships. It's something that I always dreamed about. The teams that do pass on me will regret it." His father, Tony Brooks, was a fourth-round pick by the Eagles in 1992. They are not close.
Lamin Barrow, Louisiana State: Barrow (6-2, 232) finished second on the team in tackles as a junior and led the team as a senior. In 2013, he tallied 91 tackles, including 1.5 sacks and 5.5 for losses to be named second-team all-SEC and a semifinalist for the Butkus Award. Barrow grew up in a tough part of New Orleans and embraced being a role model for other kids who chose the right path.
Chris Borland, Wisconsin: Borland (5-11, 245) ended a prolific career in big-time fashion by being named a first-team All-American and winning the Big Ten's Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and the Butkus-Fitzgerald Award for the top linebacker. Borland was the Badgers' first first-team All- American linebacker since Hal Faverty in 1951. He finished his career ranked sixth all-time at Wisconsin in total tackles (420), fifth in solo tackles (234) and fourth in career tackles for losses (50.0). He had three consecutive seasons of 10-plus tackles, including 111 as a senior. He set a Big Ten record with 15 forced fumbles in his career, the second-most in FBS history. Borland added 17 career sacks (four in 2013). "This past year was a big transition, but I put in a lot of film work," he said at the Senior Bowl of playing inside in the Badgers' 3-4. "It was a big change in what you were doing with the scheme, physically. … Just playing more laterally in a 3-4. We used to be a gap defense where you go downhill and fit. This past season, it was read and react and take a few lateral steps, which I had never done in my life. It was a good chance to learn that and grow, and I think that will help me."
Carl Bradford, Arizona State: Early entrant. Bradford (6-1, 243) was first-team all-Pac 12 as a senior, when he led the club with 8.5 sacks and 19 tackles for losses. He added five passes deflections and three forced fumbles. Over his final two seasons, his 40.5 tackles for losses ranked fourth in the nation. His father died of a heart attack almost a year ago. "He looked at me and his eyes just rolled back in his head," Bradford recalled. "I had him in my arms and my sister was there pounding on his chest. My brother started giving him mouth-to-mouth to bring him back, but he never did. He died in my arms. That really changed my life and the way I look at things. It's a hard time. I'm still trying to deal with it even though it's coming up in March."
Jonathan Brown, Illinois: Brown (6-1, 224) was a three-year starter who earned all-Big Ten honors each of those seasons. As a senior, he was a second-team choice with a team-high 119 tackles, five sacks and 15 tackles for losses. As a junior, he was a semifinalist for the Buktus Award, even though he missed the final three games with an injured shoulder. He was an honorable mention as a sophomore, too, when he tallied career highs of six sacks and 19.5 tackles for losses. After "The Cheap Shot," he spent his final two seasons trying to reshape his legacy.
Preston Brown, Louisville: Brown (6-2, 260) was a three-year starter who had 98 tackles, five sacks, 14 tackles for losses and three forced fumbles as a senior, 109 tackles and four tackles for losses as a junior and 84 tackles, two sacks and seven tackles for losses as a sophomore. The biggest play of Brown's career came after his grandfather died.
Max Bullough, Michigan State: Bullough (6-3, 245) was named first-team all-conference, first-team Academic All-American and third-team All-American as a senior. During his final season, he had 76 tackles, including 9.5 for losses and 1.5 sacks, but was suspended for the Rose Bowl. He also was a first-team all-Big Ten as a junior and second-team as a sophomore. His four-year total was 299 tackles, eight sacks and 30.5 TFLs. Bullough's MSU ties go back to his grandfather, who played in the no-facemark era in the early 1950s.
Khairi Fortt, California: Early entrant. Fortt (6-2, 240) played in 22 games for Penn State in 2010 and 2011 before leaving amid the scandal there along with playing time issues. After sitting out 2012 with a knee injury, Fortt was one of the semifinalists for the Butkus Award in 2013. He started nine games before missing the final three due to injury. He posted 64 tackles, including 3.5 for losses. His 7.1 tackles per game ranked third in the conference.
Jeremiah George, Iowa State: George (5-11, 219) was named first-team all- Big 12 and the team's MVP as a senior. He led the conference and ranked fourth nationally with 11.1 tackles per game. George was the team leader in tackles (133), tackles for losses (12), forced fumbles (three), sacks (3.5) and interceptions (two). George, a native of Clearwater, Fla., had a lifelong dream of played linebacker at Florida State. Instead, he chose Iowa State when the Seminoles wanted him to play safety.
Anthony Hitchens, Iowa: Hitchens (6-0, 233) was second-team all-conference as a senior. He led the team with 112 tackles, was second with 13.5 tackles for losses, and added two sacks and two forced fumbles. As a junior, he was honorable mention all-Big Ten with a team-high 124 tackles. Hitchens was a star running back in high school who lined up at safety to start his collegiate career, then back to rnning back midway through his freshman season. In the bowl game, he was the nickel cornerback. As a junior, he found his role with a confernece-high 11.27 tackles per game.
Adrian Hubbard, Alabama: Early entrant. Hubbard (6-6, 255) had 33 tackles, three sacks and 5.5 TFLs during his final season. He was more productive in 2012, when he had 39 tackles, seven sacks and 11 tackles for losses. Hubbard bypassed his senior season but already earned his degree, which allowed him to particiapte in the Senior Bowl.