No. 7. Matt Daniels, S, Duke
2011 stats: He led Duke and ranked third in the ACC in tackles per game (10.5) and finished the year with 126 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 14 pass break-ups and one caused fumble. He was the team leader in both interceptions and pass breakups.
Previously ranked: Not ranked.
Making the case for Daniels: Don’t be fooled by the fact he wore a Duke uniform. Despite the team’s 3-9 finish, Daniels was one of the best defensive backs in the country. He was just one of three players in the league to average double figures in tackles -- and he did it against the likes of Stanford (13), Florida State (14), Virginia Tech (13) and Miami (11) -- and he was third in the league balloting for the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year. His 14 pass breakups were the second-most in a single season in school history. His 126 tackles were the most for a Duke defensive back since Terrell Smith had 140 in 2003.
No. 8 Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
No. 9 Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
No. 10 Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina
No. 12 Blake DeChristopher, OT, Virginia Tech
No. 13 Shawn Powell, P, Florida State
No. 14 Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina
No. 15 Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
No. 16 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
No. 17 Sean Spence, LB, Miami
No. 18 Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
No. 19 Joe Vellano, DT, Maryland
No. 20 Lamar Miller, RB, Miami
No. 21 Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
No. 22 Terrell Manning, LB, NC State
No. 23 Matt Conrath, DT, Virginia
No. 24 Omoregie Uzzi, RG, Georgia Tech
No. 25 Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State