College Football

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Kadarron Anderson, LB, Furman, Senior
That Anderson is always around the ball reflects in the fact he has led Furman in tackles in each of the past two seasons, 122 as a sophomore in 2009 and 121 as a junior last year. He ranked 14th in the FCS in tackles per game (11) last season, including a season-high 17 to end the season against Georgia Southern. He is a physical player with excellent size and often explodes right through an opposing line to get to the ball-carrier. The middle linebacker was selected to the All-Southern Conference first team last year and figures to progress to an All-America level in 2011.


Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian, Senior
The Big South Conference's career leader in blocked kicks has taken his game to a higher level in 2011. In September, he blocked two more kicks and scored a touchdown on each one. But the instinctive player was all over the field in many ways. He was in on a team-high 38 tackles, including a sack; intercepted three passes and scored on a TD return; and broke up four more passes. The Blue Hose have come to expect such versatile play out of Bethel, who is a fluid athlete with quickness. He recorded over 50 tackles in each of his first three seasons, earning All-Big South second-team honors as both a sophomore and junior.


Ben Boothby, DT, Northern Iowa, Senior
Perhaps not even his listed six-feet tall, Boothby uses a low center of gravity to gain leverage on blockers and get past them. He set a Northern Iowa record for sacks in a game with four against North Dakota State in the 2010 opener and went on to collect 9.5 sacks as well as 16 tackles for loss in his 56-tackle season. He entered UNI as a fullback, but added weight to move to the defensive interior. A smart player, he often takes on double-teams to free up a linebacker behind him. Boothby earned All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first-team honors after his excellent junior campaign.


Jeremy Caldwell, CB, Eastern Kentucky, Senior
Caldwell wasn't completely healthy throughout his junior season, but that didn't prevent him from being named an All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team cornerback for a second straight season. He is a playmaker. As a sophomore, he picked off seven passes, including a pair that he returned for touchdowns, and broke up another six passes. He had three interceptions and four pass breakups as a junior. He also is lights out returning kickoffs and punts. Last season, Caldwell was second in the FCS with a 33.7-yard kickoff return average, including two returns for touchdowns, and he averaged 15 yards on 13 punt returns (which would have ranked fifth nationally if he had one more return), with one touchdown.


Matt Evans, LB, New Hampshire, Junior
As the only sophomore on the ballot, Evans finished fourth in the voting for the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award. He posted 156 tackles - the second-highest single-season total at New Hampshire - while collecting double-figure totals in 11 of the Wildcats' 13 games last season. He finished fifth in the FCS in tackles per game (12.0). He also collected two fumbles, forced three fumbles and intercepted two passes in his all-around season. The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS All-America second-team selection in 2010 has gotten bigger and stronger while at UNH, but kept his speed and athleticism.


L.J. Fort, LB, Northern Iowa, Senior
King of the Fort. Northern Iowa's fast start to the season has had a lot to do with Fort flying around the field as a team leader and ferocious tackler. The third-year starter has built on an excellent junior season by collecting at least a dozen tackles in each of the Panthers' four first games. It included a dominant effort against Missouri State in which he collected 14 tackles, including 1 1/2 tackles for loss, and forced two fumbles. Forcing fumbles has been Fort's calling card as he collected four in the first four games to tie for the FCS lead.


Adrian Hamilton, DE, Prairie View A&M, Senior
Hamilton has been a quarterback's worst nightmare during the first half of the season. He was in on 10 sacks (six solos and four assists for eight) over a three-week span of Southwestern Athletic Conference action. The sack master began to perfect his pass-rushing craft late last season, when he had five sacks in two of Prairie View A&M's last three games. He's moved to a higher level of play this season, highlighted by a 10-tackle, four-sack game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He had two quarterback hurries against Bethune-Cookman and forced fumbles in back-to-back PVAM wins against Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State.


Tyler Holmes, LB, Massachusetts, Senior
Fifth in the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award voting, Holmes is one of the FCS' most dominant players. A basketball point guard in high school, he has excellent instincts and vision. Add in his relentless style and Holmes is usually around the ball. In 2010, he had a career-high 18 tackles against Towson and returned two interceptions for touchdowns against Maine - a first in UMass history. He finished with 110 tackles, including 12 for loss, and five interceptions while making The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS All-America first team. He will move from outside linebacker to an inside spot in the Minutemen's new 3-4 alignment this season.


Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly, Senior
Great West quarterbacks stray away from Jackson, a fourth-year starter who shuts down receivers on his side of the field. Jackson's style is built on speed, which is reflected in his 4.40-second time in the 40-yard dash. Coach Tim Walsh says that in his 25 years as a coach Jackson is his best player at his position. Jackson collected 55 tackles with two interceptions and nine pass breakups last season. He also is a dangerous punt returner, averaging 12.6 yards on 17 returns a year ago. Not surprisingly, Jackson has earned all-conference first-team honors twice. He also made The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS All-America third team as a junior.


Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana, Senior
"Tru" says he tries to lead by example, and what an example it is. He was named to The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS All-America first team last season as well as the All-Big Sky first team for the second straight season. He intercepted four passes and broke up seven more. He is physical at the point of attack and catlike in his ability to pounce in coverage. He started on both of Montana's FCS runner-up squads in 2008 and '09, including as a true freshman starter in '08 (a rarity for the Grizzlies). He has 13 interceptions in his career. With excellent size for a cornerback, Johnson might be the first FCS defensive player selected in the 2012 NFL Draft.


Zack Nash, DE, Sacramento State, Senior
A criminal justice major, Nash lays down the law against opposing offenses. He still has the speed that he flashed as a high school linebacker. It helped allow him to set Sacramento State's single-season record with 13 sacks as a junior last season, including five in a win over Idaho State. He also forced a school-record six fumbles, and had four quarterback hurries and 16.5 tackles for loss. He earned All-Big Sky first-team honors and made The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS All-America second team. The Hornets are hoping to have a breakout season in 2011. If so, Nash will have a leading role.


Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina, Senior
Norman has moved up many NFL Draft boards because of his superb senior season. He has good size and closing speed, which explains why he is among the FCS' best in passes defended (14 entering his final game). Headed to his third straight appearance on the Big South Conference first team, Norman led the Chanticleers in tackles (57), passes defended and interceptions (two) through 10 games. Against VMI, he had an interception, three pass breakups and seven solo tackles. He grabbed eight of his 13 career interceptions as a sophomore in 2009 and opponents have shied away from him since then. His 34 passes defended in his career are a conference record.


Ben Obaseki, DE, Indiana State, Junior
Indiana State turned its program around in 2010 while Obaseki terrorized opposing teams' backfields. He had a strong freshman season in 2009, but took his play to a much higher level last season, when he totaled 70 tackles, including 16 for loss and nine sacks. The 1.45 tackles for loss led the Missouri Valley Football Conference and ranked 21st in the FCS. The Sycamores had won only two of the previous 62 games heading into last season, but went a surprising 6-5. A terrific one-on-one tackler, Obaseki also forced a fumble, recovered one, had five quarterback hurries and came up with a safety.


Keith Pough, LB, Howard, Junior
A student of the game, Pough gives his lessons on the field. The prototypical linebacker has size, speed and range, and was a one-man wrecking crew in 2010. He led the FCS in solo tackles for loss (25), total tackles for loss (28.5), tackles for loss per game (2.59) and tackle yardage (148). Included among his 100 total tackles were 10.5 sacks. He added five quarterback hurries, four forced fumbles and three passes defended. His coaches laud him for raising his mental approach to the game to combine with his natural ability. Not surprisingly, he earned All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference first-team honors as a sophomore.


Kejuan Riley, FS, Alabama State, Junior
Riley intercepted six passes in Alabama State's first seven games to rank second in the FCS. All of the picks came in victories as the Hornets took control of the Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division for the second straight season. In their one loss - to FBS member Eastern Michigan - Riley collected a career-high 11 tackles. His 50 tackles led the team as well. The 2010 All-SWAC first-team selection made The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Preseason All-America First Team. Through his first 30 games at Alabama State, the junior had 13 career interceptions.


Derek Rose, LB, Northwestern State, Junior
Rose bloomed just when Northwestern State needed him last season. The Demons turned an 0-11 disaster in 2009 into Southland Conference title contention and a 5-6 record last season. A tenacious player who has a nose for the ball, Rose reached double figures in tackles seven times, totaling 142 for the season - the most at Northwestern State since 1991. Included were 12 tackles for loss and two sacks, with seven quarterback hurries and three pass breakups. A leader by example, Rose will try to push the Demons over the top in the wide-open SLC this season.


Brent Russell, NT, Georgia Southern, Junior
Russell's dominance already is legendary in Statesboro, as he consistently draws double-teams, yet still posts outstanding numbers for an interior lineman. While Georgia Southern reached the FCS semifinals last season, Russell totaled 71 tackles, including 18.5 for loss and eight sacks, and had five quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. The All-Southern Conference first-team standout is big and strong, with good speed considering he was a defensive end as a freshman in 2009. He will be one of the FCS' top prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft.


Andrew Schaetzke, DE, Georgetown, Senior
In a word, Schaetzke has been overpowering during his senior season. He's helped Georgetown record its most wins since 1999 by camping out in opponents' backfields. Through the Hoyas' first 10 games, his 11 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss led the Patriot League in both categories. Fast and strong, Schaetzke has wrecked many an offensive game plan. He got the Hoyas off to a winning start in league play by collecting 10 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble against Lafayette. He earned All-Patriot honors as a junior in 2010 and might be on his way to All-America honors as a senior.


Ryan Steed, CB, Furman, Senior
Opposing quarterbacks would be wise to stay away from Steed's side of the field this season. He's been a playmaker throughout his Furman career. Steed anticipates the ball well and then gets to it. As a junior last season, he returned four interceptions for 120 yards and one touchdown and one fumble for an 89-yard score. He broke up nine more passes to rank second in the Southern Conference in passes defended per game (1.18). He also forced three fumbles and was in on an impressive 65 tackles. Steed has the skills to be a top NFL Draft prospect from the FCS next year.


A.J. Storms, LB, Idaho State, Senior
After finishing second in the Big Sky in tackles in 2009, Storms didn't just go out and lead the conference in tackles last season, he led the entire FCS with 13.3 tackles per game. The outside 'backer played his best against the Bengals' better opponents, totaling 20 tackles against both Utah State and Montana, 18 vs. Eastern Washington and 16 at Georgia. To consistently get to the ball, the undersized Storms relies on the speed that allowed him to begin his career at safety. He was named to The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS All-America second team as a junior last season.

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