Auburn’s All-Decade Team: Derrick Brown headlines fearsome defense
Editor’s note: Saturday Down South has selected an all-decade offensive and defensive team for all 14 SEC programs. Our series stays in the SEC West with Auburn. Coming Thursday: LSU.
Confession: I am throwing a bit of a wild-card here as Kevin Steele did against LSU, but instead of playing a 3-1-7 formation, I am putting together a 5-2-4 unit on the field only because of one reason: How do you dare limit the amount of talented defensive linemen who have come out of Auburn the past decade to just 4?
Seven of Auburn’s 15 draft picks on defense this decade played on defensive line and 3 more likely will join that list this April.
Yes, dominance along the line of scrimmage has been a strong point for the Tigers over the past 10 years and, while I had to lower some players to honorable mention, it was because of the amount of quality in that group.
The rest? Let’s take a look at Auburn’s All-Decade Team on defense:
Defensive line: Derrick Brown
There’s not much more to add at this point. Brown is a game-wrecker. Double teams were often required to stop Brown from getting to the quarterback or running back, and sometimes even that didn’t help.
The numbers speak for themselves just this season: 50 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. Expect his name to pop up a bunch this award season. When opposing offenses weren’t focused on him, they had their eyes on …
Defensive line: Marlon Davidson
The bounty of riches along the defensive line this season was remarkable. Davidson and Brown seemingly handed off the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week award each and every week, and for good reason. Davidson, with the bowl game left, has put up 7.5 sacks with 12.5 tackles for a loss.
Defensive line: Dee Ford
Remember Ford? SEC quarterbacks certainly do. He made a living of being in the backfield of opposing offenses, racking up 18.5 sacks (including 10.5 in 2013) during his time at Auburn, with 27.5 tackles for a loss. He was a force along the line for a number of years and the biggest memory of him will be his big hit on Aaron Murray.
Defensive line: Nick Fairley
Ask the Oregon Ducks how good Fairley was? The lineman basically took control of the line of scrimmage in the 2010 BCS National Championship game and didn’t let up one inch. His 2013 season (60 total tackles, 24 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks) garnered him SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors along with the Lombardi Award, given to the top college football player regardless of position. He and Ford were the Tigers’ 2 1st-round picks this decade.
Defensive line: Carl Lawson
I am playing a 5-2-4 here only because I didn’t want to leave out Carl Lawson. After a successful freshman season, he had to sit out all of 2014 and part of 2015, but came back with a vengeance in 2016. A 1st-team All-American, Lawson put up 30 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and 9 sacks.
Backups: Montravius Adams and Dontavius Russell. It’s hard to put a 2nd-team All-American as a backup, but this is Auburn. In 4 seasons, Adams made 151 total tackles, 21 tackles for a loss and 11 sacks while also forcing 3 fumbles and intercepting 2 passes. Russell had 153 total tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and 6 sacks in 4 productive years, all of which made him a fan favorite.
Linebacker: Deshaun Davis
A major contributor for 3 seasons, Davis was seemingly everywhere the ball was, racking up 266 total tackles, including 28.5 for a loss and 7 sacks. He also became a fan favorite for his tenacity on the field, and was a good quote off of it.
Linebacker: Tre’ Williams
Another player with a nose for the ball, Williams recorded 188 total tackles during his 4 years on The Plains. In 2016 alone, he made 67 tackles with 3.5 for a loss and a sack while forcing 1 fumble.
Backups: Josh Bynes, Cassanova McKinzy. Bynes anchored the linebacker corps for 3 consecutive seasons and was named 2nd-team All-SEC in 2010. McKinzy made a living in opposing backfields, racking up 29.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks over 4 seasons.
Defensive back: Jamel Dean
The 2018 season was Dean’s breakout season as the cornerback put up eye-popping numbers despite offenses avoiding him. In all, he made 30 tackles with 2 interceptions and 2 tackles for a loss and is now claiming his territory for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Defensive back: Carlton Davis
The 2017 1st-team All-SEC was another backstop for the Tigers, especially in his junior season when he broke up 11 passes, forced 1 fumble and intercepted a pass. In his 3-year career, Davis racked up 138 total tackles. As a freshman in 2015, he intercepted 3 passes.
Defensive back: Rudy Ford
Ford served as a bit of everything for the Tigers, playing running back a bit and also kickoff returner, but his specialty was in the secondary. In 2016 he forced 7 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries and recorded 59 total tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss.
Defensive back: Joshua Holsey
Pairing with Ford in the 2016 secondary was Holsey, who broke up 10 passes and a tackle for a loss along with 30 total tackles that season. In his 4-year career, he recorded 118 total tackles.
Backups: Chris Davis, Noah Igbinoghene, Johnathan Ford, Jonathan Jones. Igbinoghene quickly became a leader for the 2019 secondary and brought emotion to the back 4. Ford was a 4-year player who recorded 118 total tackles during the 2015 season alone. Jones made 69 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and intercepted a pass in 2015.
And Davis? Because, well … this happened.
RELATED: Auburn’s All-Decade Offense