On Wednesday, I detailed my choices for the All-Triangle offensive team. As any football coach worth his or her salt will tell you, there are three phases to the game, so today we run down the top defenders and special teams fellas in the area.
We're gonna run a 4-3.
DE, DT, DT, DE - NC State, all of 'em.
This is no disrespect to any of the players at other schools, but give me four seniors with starter quality backups:
Bradley Chubb, BJ Hill, Justin Jones and weight room monster Kentavius Street (and Darian Roseboro and Eurndraus Bryant) are as fearsome a foursome as you'll find anywhere. I don't want to break them up.
MLB - Ben Humphreys/Duke
Plenty of competition at this spot, but Humphreys sets himself apart from Andre Smith and Jerod Fernandez with his disruptive ability in the backfield - 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He's the unquestioned leader of that defense, handpicked by Kelby Brown in his freshman year.
Will - Airius Moore/NC State
Cole Holcomb is a workout warrior and tackling machine at UNC and Joe Giles-Harris has a bright future at Duke, but Airius is the pick here. As with Humphreys, he's a messmaker with 14 TFL last year. Great guy too. Saw him out volunteering at a food drive football camp this summer.
Sam - Andre Smith/UNC
Gonna cheat here a little and move Andre Smith over from his middle linebacker spot. I want to get the best players on the field. He'll figure it out.
CB - MJ Stewart/UNC
An easy choice as he's one of the top DBs in the league, country yada yada. Let's see some picks this year, MJ.
CB - Bryon Fields Jr./Duke
I like Fields' experience. He's got a ring, he's endured injury hardship and he once sacked Jameis Winston.
Safety - Donnie Miles/UNC
Has played a ton of football as a contributor since his freshman year. Always around the ball as his 230 tackles the last two years can attest.
Safety - Alden McClellan/NC Central
You don't land on the watch list for Black College Player of the Year by accident.
McClellan makes things happen, to wit: 79 total tackles, including 7.5 hits for a loss, 2.0 sacks, 5 pass break-ups, 2 forced fumbles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. (thanks NCCU Sports info)
Return Man - Nyheim Hines/NC State
He has the track speed to house it on any play. Also - I'm still enthralled with this video:
Punter - AJ Cole/NC State
He's good at kicking.
Kicker: You or me. There's not a single proven kicker in the area. I cannot choose something that does not exist (as of this printing, anyway)
Coach - Jerry Mack/NC Central
Mack took over in a messy situation and immediately set the Eagles straight. No other coach in the area has three straight conference titles to his name.
Yes, it's apples and oranges, but Mack has done as much and more than anyone could have reasonably expected since his arrival. Results are results, no matter the level.