December 23, 2009
Click here for the people's All-Decade Offense.
All votes are in and the lineup is set. Here's your dream defense of 2000-09 as determined by Doc Saturday readers:
Ed Reed • Miami (1998-2001)
Two-time All-American was the heart and soul of the dominant 'Cane unit that led the nation in pass efficieny and scoring defense and forced more turnovers than all but one other defense this decade en route to an undisputed national championship in 2001. Reed led the nation with nine interceptions that year and holds the Miami record for career picks (21) and returns for touchdowns (5) while also blocking four punts.
Troy Polamalu • USC (1999-2002)
Another two-time All-American blocked three punts as a sophomore, led the Trojans in tackles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns as a junior and was a finalist for the Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back as a senior on the resurgent '02 Orange Bowl team that kicked off eight USC's eight-year reign over the Pac-10.
Sean Taylor • Miami (2001-03)
Supreme athlete started every game in 2002 and broke out a year later, leading the nation with 10 interceptions, returning three for touchdowns and winning Big East Defensive Player of the Year before taking his show to the draft.
David Pollack • Georgia (2001-04)
Georgia's only three-time All-American outside of Herschel Walker, Pollack epitomized the overachieving, "high motor" guy, wrapping up his career with a Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player, a Lombardi Award as the top lineman/linebacker, two Ted Hendricks Awards as the best defensive end, two SEC Defensive Player of the Year awards, an SEC championship and a school record for sacks.
A.J. Hawk • Ohio State (2002-05)
Fast, physical outside linebacker was an All-American in 2004 but made his mark a year later as the leader of the nation's top run defense, totaling 95 total tackles (16.5 for loss) en route to the '05 Lombardi Award.
Paul Posluszny • Penn State (2003-06)
Four-year starter set the school record for tackles, winning the Butkus Award as part of the Lions' Big Ten championship season in 2005 and becoming only the second player (along with Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald in 1995-96) to win the Bednarik Award as the nation's top defensive player two years in a row.
Patrick Willis • Ole Miss (2003-06)
'06 Butkus winner led the SEC in total tackles two years in a row and was the league's defensive player of the year as a senior opposite the conference's worst offense.
LaMarr Woodley • Michigan (2003-06)
Solid player exploded as a senior with a Big Ten-best 12 sacks for the nation's No. 1 run defense, coming back with the Lombardi and Ted Hendricks awards and consensus All-America honors. Subject of the popular t-shirt around Ann Arbor, "Guns don't kill people. LaMarr Woodley kills people."
Glenn Dorsey • LSU (2004-07)
LSU finished third nationally in total defense all three years Dorsey anchored the middle of the line, helping him earn the reputation as the nation's most unblockable force and run the gamut of national honors as a senior, when he helped lead the Tigers to the '07 BCS championship.
Ndamukong Suh • Nebraska (2006-09)
The current rage won the Nagurski Trophy as the nation's best defensive player by leading the 'Huskers in tackles in sacks, was the only non-skill player of the decade to earn a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist, and became the first defensive player to be voted as the Associated Press' Player of the Year -- despite drawing a lion's share of the attention inside. That didn't stop Suh from plowing through for 4.5 sacks against Texas' Colt McCoy in a frighteningly dominant performance in last week's Big 12 Championship game, a thriller Nebraska nearly won despite failing to score a touchdown against the nation's No. 2 team.
Eric Berry • Tennessee (2007-09)
Hyped recruit has started every game since his first at UT, finishing with more than 200 tackles, 14 interceptions, three touchdowns, the SEC record for career interception return yards and -- after being snubbed with better numbers as a sophomore -- the most recent Thorpe Award.