Commentary

Defense: All-Decade All-Americans

Updated: December 28, 2009, 4:19 PM ET
By Doug Huff and Mark Tennis | ESPN RISE

Suh/Willis/Rolle Getty ImagesOur All-Decade defense features a Heisman finalist, an All-Pro linebacker and a Rhodes Scholar at safety.

(Based on high school accomplishment and including performances in college and the NFL. Year listed is senior season of football, not graduating class. Height and weight are from when each player was in high school.)

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FIRST TEAM

DL Tommie Harris (2000)
Ellison (Killeen, Texas), 6-3, 280

A four-year starter in high school, Harris went on to start for four years at Oklahoma. He won the Lombardi Award in 2003 for the Sooners and has been a three-time Pro Bowl selection with the Chicago Bears.

DL Gerald McCoy (2005)
Southeast (Oklahoma City, Okla.), 6-5, 290

With 20 sacks in his senior season, McCoy was USA Today's Defensive Player of the Year. He was a Lombardi Award finalist this season and is expected to be a top NFL draft choice.

DL Haloti Ngata (2001)
Highland (Salt Lake City, Utah), 6-4, 305

He's regarded as one of the top nose tackles in the NFL. In high school, he was probably the most dominant player ever to participate in the linemen drills at a Nike Football Training Camp.

DL Ndamukong Suh (2004)
Grant (Portland, Ore.), 6-5, 280

Before Suh made a name for himself at Nebraska as one of the top college defensive players of this decade, he was an all-state and All-America performer in high school. To achieve his recent success, he had to bounce back from injuries early in his Cornhuskers career.

LB Brian Cushing (2004)
Bergen Catholic (Oredell, N.J.), 6-3, 225

There has never been anything cushy about Cushing. He was the North Jersey Player of the Year for Bergen Catholic, earned Rose Bowl Defensive MVP honors at USC and is one of the top defensive rookies in the NFL for the Houston Texans.

LB Ernie Sims (2002)
North Florida Christian (Tallahassee, Fla.), 6-2, 225

He helped his team to four state titles while playing five varsity seasons. After charting 313 tackles his last two years, he starred at hometown Florida State and was taken ninth overall in the 2006 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.

LB Patrick Willis (2001)
Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central (Bruceton, Tenn.), 6-2, 215

At his small school, Willis became the first player in Tennessee prep history to be nominated for Mr. Football at two positions for the same season. He went on to win the Butkus Award at Ole Miss and led the NFL in tackles as a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers.

LaMar Woodley
Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesBefore winning a Super Bowl with the Steelers, LaMarr Woodley racked up 192 tackles in four years at Saginaw (Saginaw, Mich.).

LB LaMarr Woodley (2002)
Saginaw (Saginaw, Mich.), 6-2, 240

The four-year regular had 192 career tackles and led his team to a state championship. After a stellar University of Michigan career, Woodley was a starter for the 2009 Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

DB Eric Berry (2006)
Creekside (Fairburn, Ga.), 6-0, 195

A four-year, two-way starter, he had 16 career interceptions and more than 8,000 offensive yards. He was a unanimous All-America pick as a sophomore at Tennessee.

DB Ted Ginn Jr. (2003)
Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio), 6-0, 170

He returned five of his eight interceptions for touchdowns and five kicks for scores, and was MVP of an All-America game. The former Ohio State star is starting to show the breakaway speed the Miami Dolphins sought when they took him ninth in the 2007 draft.

DB Myron Rolle (2005)
Hun School (Princeton, N.J.), 6-2, 215

Many picked Rolle as the top prep junior in the nation in 2004, and he followed that with an All-America season in 2005. He later starred at Florida State and is also known for becoming a Rhodes Scholar in 2008.

P Tyler Lewis (2003)
Albermarle (Albermarle, N.C.), 6-2, 235

He helped his school to three straight state titles, set 10 national or state kicking records and averaged 44.2 yards a punt as a senior. He committed to North Carolina State but left school after a redshirt freshman season.

MULTI-PURPOSE

[+] EnlargeTerrelle Pryor
AP Photo/Carolyn KasterDuring his career at Jeannette (Jeannette, Pa.) Terrelle Pryor accounted for over 4,000 yards passing and 4,000 yards rushing.

WR/DB/KR DeSean Jackson (2004)
Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, Calif.), 5-11, 180

The Mr. Football State Player of the Year for 2004 led Long Beach Poly to a championship season and had 101 career receptions plus numerous game-changing interceptions, kick returns and runs from scrimmage. Jackson is now perhaps the best big-play performer in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.

QB/ATH/DB Terrelle Pryor (2007)
Jeannette (Jeannette, Pa.), 6-6, 225

The first Pennsylvania player to rush and pass for more than 4,000 career yards helped a 16-0 team win a state title in his final year. The nation's No. 1 recruit in 2008 is a two-year starter at QB for Ohio State.

QB/DB Vince Young (2001)
Madison (Houston, Texas), 6-5, 200

Before going to Texas and leading the Longhorns to a national title, Young was the Student Sports National Player of the Year. He had 2,432 yards passing with 31 TDs and 1,735 yards rushing with 22 TDs as a senior. Young's career totals included 8,518 combined rushing and passing yards.

SECOND TEAM

DL Shaun Cody (2000): Los Altos (Hacienda Heights, Calif.), 6-5, 255
DL Carlos Dunlap (2006): Fort Dorchester (North Charleston, S.C.), 6-7, 245
DL Derrick Harvey (2003): Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.), 6-3, 245
DL Marcus Spears (2001): Southern Lab (Baton Rouge, La.), 6-5, 300
LB Sergio Kindle (2005): Woodrow Wilson (Dallas, Texas), 6-4, 225
LB Rey Maualuga (2004): Eureka (Eureka, Calif.), 6-3, 240
LB Keith Rivers (2002): Lake Mary (Lake Mary, Fla.), 6-4, 225
LB Brandon Spikes (2005): Crest (Boiling Springs, N.C.), 6-3, 220
DB Taylor Mays (2005): O'Dea (Seattle, Wash.), 6-3, 220
DB Kenneth Phillips (2004): Carol City (Miami, Fla.), 6-2, 205
DB Reggie Smith (2004): Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.), 6-1, 195
P Graham Gano (2004): Tate (Cantonment, Fla.), 6-1, 185

MULTI-PURPOSE
QB/RB/WR/DB/LB Michael Bush (2002): Male (Louisville, Ky.), 6-1, 230

THIRD TEAM

DL Everson Griffen (2006): Aqua Fria (Avondale, Ariz.), 6-3, 255
DL DaQuan Bowers (2007): Bamberg-Ehrhardt (Bamberg, S.C.), 6-5, 270
DL Jacobbi McDaniel (2008): Madison County (Madison, Fla.), 6-1, 285
DL Brian Price (2006): Crenshaw (Los Angeles, Calif.), 6-2, 265
LB Nigel Bradham (2007): Wakulla (Crawfordville, Fla.), 6-2, 230
LB Vontaze Burfict (2008): Centennial (Corona, Calif.), 6-2, 235
LB Chris Strong (2006): South Panola (Batesville, Miss.), 6-3, 260
LB Manti Te'o (2008): Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii), 6-2, 230
DB Patrick Johnson (2007): Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.), 6-1, 195
DB Pat Watkins (2001): Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.), 6-3, 195
DB Greg Reid (2008): Lowndes (Valdosta, Ga.), 5-9, 175
P Jeff Locke (2007): Mountain Ridge (Glendale, Ariz.), 6-1, 185

MULTI-PURPOSE
QB/RB/DB Dillon Baxter (2009): Mission Bay (San Diego, Calif.), 6-0, 205
WR/DB Jeff Francouer (2001): Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.), 6-2, 190
QB/RB/DB Will Hill (2007): St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.), 6-3, 210
QB/RB/DB Jake Locker (2005): Ferndale (Ferndale, Wash.), 6-3, 210
QB/RB/DB Ryan Perrilloux (2004): East (St. John, Reserve, La.), 6-3, 225

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