No. 15. DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson
2010 numbers: He had nine passes defended, including four interceptions and five pass breakups. He led the team with 84 tackles.
Previous ranking: No. 2
Making the case for McDaniel: Too often defensive backs are judged on the number of interceptions they have, and after a season in which McDaniel had eight, expectations might have been unfairly high entering 2010. Still, his contributions were invaluable as a tackler. His gambles didn’t always pay off, but he controlled the middle of the field and helped Clemson’s rushing defense. He had a better year than what was probably perceived, as many opponents didn’t throw his way.