We’re winding down our Rant Sports Preseason All American Team with a look at the secondary. What makes a good secondary? Well, two lockdown corners to start off with. You need corners who can play bump and run, that get right up and jam wide receivers. Then we need a strong safety. One who can jump up and play like a linebacker when we go to a nickel package. We also need a free safety, a guy who can cover from hash to hash and make plays on deep balls, but also can fly up and knock heads on anything coming over the middle. Last but not least, we need a solid nickel back, one who is quick enough to play the slot receiver man to man, but one that can blitz and attack the quarterback, a ball hawking playmaker. Let’s get it started with what is my favorite position on the football field, nothing like watching the athletes in a well oiled secondary go to work.
David Amerson, CB, N.C. State: 2011 was a breakout year for Amerson as he jumped on the scene playing the field corner position for the Wolfpack and was selected as an All ACC performer. He broke the school record for interceptions with eight. Not only does Amerson pick off balls, but when he gets the ball in his hands, he takes it to the house as he had two interception returns for touchdowns.
Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State: McFadden became the first Aztec player to be named All Mountain West Conference in two consecutive years, and why not? He started all 13 contests in 2011, recorded 46 tackles and two interceptions. He has great cover skills as teams really just don’t look to his side of the field.
T.J. McDonald, S, USC: Great all around player as shown by his stats, McDonald started 12 games and had 67 tackles, three interceptions, two deflections, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt. He returns for his senior season in 2012 with career numbers of 163 tackles and six interceptions.
Eric Reid, S, LSU: Reid is our rangy athlete, the guy who can cover from hash to hash, one of the more underrated players in the country. He single handedly saved LSU from defeat at Alabama in 2011, by making one of the plays of the year in college football. Reid started 13 games in 2011 recording 76 tackles with 53 of those being solo. He also had two interceptions, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: Not the best cover guy in the country, matter of fact, not in the top 10 cover corners in the country, but the kid makes plays. Mathieu stormed onto the college football landscape in 2011 as he tackled, stripped, blitzed, returned and flew around. He made plays as a corner, a nickel back, punt returner and as the gunner on the punt team. Hands down, “The Best” playmaker in the game of college football right now. I expect 2012 to be another great year for Mathieu.
Tomorrow we will finish our Preseason All American Team with a look at our kicker, punter and return specialists.