Tuesday, April 24, 2012

100 Best College Football Players of 2012 BR Manti Te'o #5 and Star Lotulelei #86

No. 5 Manti Te’o, Notre Dame Linebacker

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Arguably the best defensive player in the entire nation for the 2012 college football season, Te’o has trimmed down some of his weight and has added even more explosiveness to his big game ability.

The linebacker is like a jet when chasing down skill players, but his smarts are arguably his best asset. Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco allows him to do so much because he is capable of taking it all in as an incoming senior.

Te’o has not missed a game yet as he has started in all but two of Notre Dame’s last 38 games (22-16). Notre Dame has not been a national factor during Te'o's stay in South Bend, but he is looking to change that before he heads off to the NFL.

The front seven of the Irish should be darn good even with the recent transfer of Aaron Lynch, but the schedule is daunting.

Most look at it as games where the Irish should get exposed, but Te’o and the squad should look at the USC, Oklahoma, Michigan and Michigan State games as opportunities to make the doubters eat crow.

The strength, explosion and personnel awareness should make No. 5 an easy choice as a 2012 All-American.

No. 86 Star Lotulelei, Utah Defensive Lineman

This Utes defensive tackle has breakout star written all over him, but only because it was his first season last year.

The former junior college transfer is a wide body (6’1”, 310) that can plug up the line and take on two linemen without much effort.

Second on the team in tackle for losses (nine), his numbers will only increase in 2012 with seven returnees back on defense.

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