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Rivals.com All-America Defense

Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.

Rivals.com unveils its All-American defensive squad, with nine of the 13 first-teamers hailing from the SEC. National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell breaks down the team and how we ranked them as high school prospects.

MORE: The complete Farrell postseason 50 | Rivals.com All-America Offense

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Second-team: Ed Oliver, Houston; Solomon Thomas, Stanford

Farrell’s take: Adams and Wilkins were five-stars and Wilkins makes this list despite playing much of the season out of position at end, showing his versatility. Oliver was also a five-star and the only true freshman on either team, while Thomas was a high four-star on the cusp of being a five-star. This was a highly rated group and they are living up to it.

DEFENSIVE END

Second-team: DeMarcus Walker, Florida State; Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Farrell’s take: Another highly rated group with Allen as a five-star and Barnett as a four-star although Barnett has clearly played well above his ranking. Walker was close to that fifth star in a deep group at his position out of high school. Garrett was the No. 2 player in the country and should have been No. 1 that year in hindsight.

LINEBACKER

Second-team: Tim Williams, Alabama; Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State; T.J. Watt, Wisconsin

Farrell’s take: Foster was a five-star despite many questions on and off the field while Cunningham rose from a three-star to a four-star by the end of his ranking cycle. Anderson was a huge LB in our Rivals100 so all three first-teamers were highly regarded. Williams was a four-star, McMillan a five-star but Watt was a mid-level three-star. Perhaps we should have learned with him after having his brother, JJ Watt, as a two-star out of high school. Sometimes bloodlines just matter.

CORNERBACK

Second-team: Jaire Alexander, Louisville; Desmond King, Iowa

Farrell’s take: Fitzpatrick was a five-star and Lewis a four-star, but both had questions to answer as we had Fitzpatrick as a safety in the end and Lewis didn’t have size. Alexander was a three-star and has emerged as an amazing talent, and the same can be said for King. Both showed a lot of potential in high school but Alexander was skinny and not overly physical. King had great ball skills but wasn’t sudden.

SAFETY

Second-team: Budda Baker, Washington; Nate Gerry, Nebraska

Farrell’s take: Hooker was a three-star who was a better hoops player than a football player for much of his high school career but perhaps we should have seen how athletic he was. Adams was close to being a five-star, but lack of length kept him as a high four-star. Baker was a high four-star and Rivals100 prospect, while Gerry was a high three-star from a state where one or two kids emerge every year at most.

ALL-PURPOSE

Second-team: Adoree Jackson, USC

Farrell’s Take: Peppers and Jackson were both five-stars and both national top 6 players, so it’s no surprise each has had a great career.

PUNTER

Second-team: Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

Farrell’s take: Townsend was a two-star, the most common ranking for a punter, as was Wishnowsky, although the latter came from the JUCO ranks.