- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Alabama's defense ended the year on top, again, and this guy was a major player on that championship-winning unit:
No. 10: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama, Jr.
2012 summary: The consensus All-SEC member and All-American led Alabama with 107 total tackles in 2012. He also led the team and ranked second in the SEC with 66 solo stops. Mosley registered eight tackles for loss, including four sacks, defended four passes, grabbed two interceptions, forced a fumbled, and recovered a fumble in 2012.
Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2012 preseason countdown.
Making the case for Mosley: There were a lot of good working parts on Alabama's defense last season, but Mosley might have been the most consistent player on the defensive side of the ball. People inside the program gushed about his play all season, even if he didn't receive a lot of national notoriety until late in the year. The Will linebacker, who entered the season less than a year removed from a very scary hip injury, had a habit of finding the ball all over the field and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, which is annually given to the nation's top linebacker. He wasn't the flashiest player, but he just knew how to make plays. He registered four games with double-digit tackles and grabbed five or more solo tackles in seven games last fall. Against SEC opponents, Mosley averaged 7.8 eight tackles a game. He also collected 40 of his solo tackles against conference foes. While Mosley did a ton for the Tide all year long, he was best known for the deflection heard round the college football world when he batted down Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray's pass on the final play of the SEC championship game to send Alabama to the Discover BCS National Championship. If not for Mosley's play, Murray's pass might have found Malcolm Mitchell in the end zone and the Dawgs would have been headed to South Beach instead of the Tide. Mosley was also a major leader for the Tide's defense, as players rallied around him and his play last fall and he had a way of making those around him better. He turned down a chance at being a possible early-round draft pick to come back for his senior year in 2013.
3dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf
4dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf