No. 25: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Previous ranking: Not ranked
Making the case for Fuller: The knock on Fuller in 2013 is that he played in just seven full games, but when he was on the field, he was exceptional. The senior cornerback was a second-team Walter Camp All-American and first-team Coaches All-ACC selection. He picked off two passes and broke up 10 more, turning in one of his best games against No. 1 Alabama in Virginia Tech’s opener.
More importantly, Fuller was a veteran leader on an exceptional defense filled with freshmen. Despite starting two freshmen for much of the season, the Hokies still finished 11th nationally in scoring defense, fourth in total defense and eighth in passing defense. Among ACC teams, only national champion Florida State was better.
Of course, the most obvious way to judge Fuller’s season is simply comparing Virginia Tech’s success when he was on the field vs. when he wasn’t. In his seven full games to open the season, the Hokies were 6-1, allowed 15 points per game and racked up 13 interceptions. Without Fuller, Tech was 2-4, allowed 24 points per game and had just six picks.