Scary is the only word to describe just how good State
will continue to be here. Paul Posluszny is the returning
Butkus winner, and the senior has both Conner and Shaw
back to make this as good a (returning) starting trio
– if not better - than last year’s Buckeye
group. The entire two-deep is a svelte corps with no weaknesses.
The only chink in the Nittany Lion armor is how thin they
could be spread with so many new faces at all the other
defensive positions. But in leading by example, the entire
D will shine as these LBs are the glue that keeps the
entire team together.
Only one departure in the two-deep means the Trojans
rank second with their big, fast group. All six started
at one time in ’05, speaking volumes for how competent
each is. And though none boast huge numbers, their ability
to work as a solid unit is why this D comes up big at
just the right moments to keep Southern Cal winning.
Keith Rivers and Brian Cushing are two names that are
sure to open eyes on the post-season lists before 2006
is complete. These guys will step up big to keep coach
Carroll in games as the offense struggles for new identity
in the new post Leinart-Bush-White era.
Tough as linemen and fast as DBs, starting juniors Hall
and Adibi return as the main reason why Tech was 2005’s
No.1 total defense (a mere six rushing TDs allowed).
Developing the depth behind them would seem key, but
the other defensive dimensions also return most of their
best guys to keep these two from being overused. Coach
Beamer’s schemes will keep this group of Hokie
LBs shining, regardless of who is in.
This is as good of a starting trio in I-A as they come.
Everett drops into coverage while holding down any weakside
runs, and Siler penetrates for optimum results (seven
fumbles recovered). Senior Crum finally earns his deserving
spot as main guy on the strongside, and he may turn
out to be the best of the three. There is little proven
depth - the only weakness of their entire front seven
- but the potential is there in the newbies Meyer has
recruited. The best run stuffers of 2005 in the SEC
(which is the best defensive conference, by far) says
it all for the talent of this seasoned corps.
All-American Rufus Alexander could have been a top NFL
pick, but he returns with starter Zach Latimer as the
crews’ senior anchors. The numbers will continue
to pile up with such a great DL in place. Former-starter
Baker will see the field early and often, but is the
lone experienced sub. Like UF, being the best LBs in
their tough conference makes them an easy top five pick.
Colorado, Florida State, Michigan,