Who were the biggest defensive stars of the 2018 college football season? They’re the 2018 CFN All-America Defensive Players
– Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews
CFN First-Team All-American
1. Sutton Smith, Jr. Northern Illinois
He did it again. After tying for the nation-lead in sacks in 2017, he kept it all going with 15 sacks and finished second in tackles for loss with 24.5. When it was all on the line, he came through with ten of his 56 tackles in the MAC Championship against Buffalo, turning it on for six sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss in the final two games.
Not just great against the MAC, he hit Utah for two sacks and cranked up the pressure against Iowa and Florida State, too.
2. Clelein Ferrell, Jr. Clemson
The sheer numbers weren’t there compared to others, and he was helped by being surrounded by NFL talent up front, but he was a key part of the puzzle, too, with 10.5 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, and 46 stops. Steady, disruptive, and dominant at times, he was the right blend of tough run-stopping production and plays behind the line.
CFN Second-Team All-Americans
3. Jaylon Ferguson, Sr. Louisiana Tech
The pressure was on to produce as the one guy ever offense had to stop, and he still finished tied with Sutton Smith with a nation-leading 15 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss. When he turned it on, he took over games with four sacks at North Texas and 3.5 sacks to wreck UTEP – the Bulldogs needed them in the close wins.
4. Chase Winovich, Sr. Michigan
The numbers were good – the 62 tackles as a strong part of an amazing run defense were sort of glossed over – but it was the attitude and the Revenge Tour that helped give the Wolverines an edge. Granted, it didn’t do any good against Ohio State, but it helped stomp all over Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State. The four sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss weren’t bad, either.
CFN Honorable Mention All-Americans
5. Nate Harvey, Sr. East Carolina
6. Brian Burns, Jr. Florida State
7. Jordan Brailford, Jr. Oklahoma State
8. Kenny Willekes, Jr. Michigan State
9. Bradlee Anae, Jr. Utah
10. Jachai Polite, Jr. Florida