Published October 13, 2011 - 10:43am
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We here at SDS want to take a moment and look at the 10 best offensives studs and 10 best defensive studs of the first half of this 2011 football season. There are a ton of good defensive stars on every team; however, here are 10 who have made plays that have stood out so far this season.
We have already looked at the offensive studs; now it’s time for the defensive studs:
10. Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky
9. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
8. Charles Sawyer, DB, Ole Miss
While Danny Trevathan doesn’t get a lot of publicity, he’s racking up tackles like he always does in Lexington this season. He leads the SEC in tackles right now with 72 total tackles, and he is averaging 12 tackles per game for the Wildcats…Jadeveon Clowney has been a big spark for the South Carolina defense this season. Clowney is a freak, and he’s currently second in the SEC in sacks and ninth in tackles for loss. He threw Aaron Murray around like a rag doll earlier in the year. The guy is a beast, and his potential is off the charts…Chris Sawyer is the defensive bright spot for the Ole Miss Rebels this season. Sawyer has four interceptions on the year, which is good for first in the SEC. He returned a 95-yard interception against BYU in the first game of the year. He’s 10th in passes defended in the SEC, and he’s had a great first half.
7. Bacarri Rambo, DB, Georgia
6. Johnathan Banks, DB, Mississippi State
5. Morris Claiborne, DB, LSU
Georgia defensive back Bacarri Rambo not only has the best name in the SEC, but he has been one of the best defensive backs in the first half. Rambo is tied with Sawyer with four interceptions to lead the SEC, and he is second in passes defended with eight total. Rambo did not get to play against Boise, but I have the feeling he could have helped the Bulldogs out in a big way on that day…Johnathan Banks is have a wonderful year for the Bulldogs. Banks has four interceptions on the year, and he is first in the SEC in passes defended with 11 total. He is a ball hawk at corner for the Bulldogs…The fact that Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu are in the same defensive secondary is criminal. Claiborne is most likely the best corner in the SEC if not for Mathieu, and he is having a great year. Claiborne’s kickoff touchdown return against West Virginia shines bright, as does his two interceptions on the road against Mississippi State.
4. Winston Guy, DB, Kentucky
3. Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama
2. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Kentucky defensive back Winston Guy has had a really good first half of the season. Guy has proved he has a nose for the football in his senior season in Lexington. Guy is right behind teammate Danny Trevathan with 67 total tackles, good for second in the SEC. Guy is also tied with Courtney Upshaw with 8.5 tackles for loss. This guy is good, and he is having a really good year so far…Courtney Upshaw single-handedly dismantled the Florida Gators. He had a pick-six off John Brantley, and then he personally took out Brantley and backup Jeff Driskel. Upshaw is first in the SEC with 8.5 tackles for loss, and he seems to be all over the field in Nick Saban’s defense. He is the best linebacker the Tide has every Saturday…Melvin Ingram has been an absolute freak of nature for the Gamecocks. Ingram is leading the SEC in sacks with 5.5 total, and he is fourth in the SEC in tackles for loss with 7.5. Ingram also ran a fake punt for a touchdown 68 yards, and he looked like a full back running down the sideline. He has played out of his mind for the Cocks in the first half.
1. Tyrann Mathieu, DB, LSU
Was there any doubt Tyrann Mathieu would be the No. 1 defensive stud in the first half? Mathieu has an SEC-leading four forced fumbles this season, and he has the career lead at LSU with eight total. This guy makes a play every single week, and you just never know what he will do on any given Saturday. He might be the best defensive player in the country.