SCPlaybook Preseason All-Pac-10 Defense

Shareece Wright

Dan Greenspan reveals his picks for SCPlaybook's Preseason All-Pac-10 Defense. Look inside to see which two Trojans made the cut.

Defensive Line
Stephen Paea Senior – Oregon State
Ricky Elmore Senior – Arizona
Jurrell Casey Junior – USC
Kenny Rowe Junior – Oregon

If there's any justice, Paea will get the Suh treatment in 2010. He might not have the gaudy numbers (8.5 tackles for loss, three sacks last year) but his combination of speed and quickness has drawn the attention of NFL scouts and especially Pac-10 linemen, who named Paea recipient of the Morris Trophy as best defensive linemen. Now that Ed Orgeron is back at USC, he'll mold Casey into the next great Trojan interior defender by instilling better effort snap after snap. After putting together a strong finale in the Emerald Bowl with five tackles, a sack and critical fumble recovery, Casey should end up a first round pick. Rowe would have been a sneaky under the radar pick if not for his breakout performance in the Rose Bowl (three sacks to earn Defensive MVP). Elmore tied Rowe for the conference lead in solo sacks with 10 and had a tackle for loss in eight contests last season.

Linebacker
Mike Mohamed Senior – California
Akeem Ayers Junior – UCLA
Vontaze Burfict Sophomore – Arizona State

Is it time to unretire "the human highlight reel?" If anyone deserves that moniker, it's Ayers, who had two spectacular end zone interceptions for scores to go along with 14.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and four forced fumbles. On the other end of the spectrum, Mohamed brings consistent production to lead the Pac-10 in tackles. Since the Golden Bears switched to a 3-4 defense, Mohamed has 199 tackles in two seasons. As the most touted prep player ever to sign with the Sun Devils, Burfict more than lived up to that hype. A starter by the third game of his freshman season, the only question with Burfict is if he can develop self-control and eliminate unnecessary personal fouls.

Defensive Back
Shareece Wright Senior – USC
Lance Mitchell Junior – Oregon State
Rahim Moore Junior – UCLA
Trevin Wade Junior – Arizona

Which corner to leave out? That was the issue last year, given a glut of elite upperclassmen. Now the hard part is finding players worthy of the list. Wright is the perfect example. When on the field, he has been a beast. However, Wright hasn't played in more than two games in a season since 2007 because of a neck injury, then academics. Wade and Mitchell both emerged as standout defenders in their first stints as starters. The best ball hawk in college football, Moore led the way with a nation-high 10 interceptions and should anchor a Bruin defense that lost plenty of leadership and experience.

Punter
Reid Forrest Senior – Washington State

At least there was one bright spot for the Cougars as Forrest averaged 43.2 yards per punt, with a net of 36.1 yards, despite doing so a conference-high 86 times.

Punt Returner
William Wright Junior – Arizona

Quick, who led the Pac-10 in punt return average? While the first guess might be USC's Damian Williams, Bug Wright was the correct answer at 17.5 yards per return. He also took one back 86 yards for a touchdown.

- Dan reveals his Pac-10 Breakout Stars on Monday.


*Discuss more on the SCPlaybook.com message boards

If you haven't subscribed to SCPlaybook.com yet, give us a chance. Check out all the premium content and recruiting information you have been missing with a 7-Day Free Trial!


USCFootball.com Recommended Stories


  • The Trojans visit the Utes in a surprise battle of ranked foes jockeying for position in the Pac-12 South race.

  • As the season rolls on recruiting is heating up for the Trojans. This week in the War Room we have the inside scoop or which prospects this USC staff are after, including a diamond in the rough…

  • One of the reasons a USC team can go to Utah feeling like it can take on the 19th-ranked Utes in their biggest-ever Pac-12 game in history is the Trojans have had freshmen like Toa Lobendahn and JuJu…

  • Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Jeb Gorham digs in his list of rankings to find the best sleepers for deeper formats. Consider giving these players a chance, but be aware of the risk! Tampa Bay…

  • Check out this classic video of Dan Larson battling an acrobatic sailfish on a trip to the world-famous Tropic Star Lodge in Panama.