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SEC All-Decade Team: Defense

By Southern Pigskin Staff
SouthernPigskin.com
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The top defensive players in the SEC at each position, since 2010.

OFFENSE | DEFENSE | SPECIAL TEAMS

EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina -- Perhaps the most athletic and one of the most dominant defenders the SEC has ever seen, Clowney recorded 35.5 tackles for loss, 21 sacks and eight forced fumbles through his first two underclassman seasons alone. A two-time All-American, Clowney won the Ted Hendricks Award in 2012 and also was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

DL Nick Fairley, Auburn -- Fairley led the Tigers defensively on their 2010 national championship run, pacing the entire SEC with 24 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks, also adding 21 quarterback hurries, remarkable numbers for an interior linemen especially. A consensus All-American that year, he was also named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and won the Lombardi Award.

DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama -- From 2014-2016, Allen totaled an impressive 41.5 tackles for loss, 27.5 sacks and 28 quarterback hurries. After helping the Crimson Tide to a national championship as a junior, Allen was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, also winning the Bednarik, Lombardi and Nagurski Awards and being named a unanimous All-American. Allen was named first-team All-SEC three times.

EDGE Jarvis Jones, Georgia -- In two years with the Bulldogs, Jones recorded 13.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss, respectively, in 2011 and 2012. Notably, he led the SEC in both sacks and tackles for loss both seasons. Jones transferred from Southern Cal to Georgia to become one of the most dominant and impactful edge playmakers in SEC history.

LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama -- An all-time great Crimson Tide defender, Mosley was twice named a consensus All-American, 2012 and 2013, winning the Butkus Award SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior. He compiled 317 total tackles during his career, along with 23 tackles for loss and five interceptions. Mosley even scored three defensive touchdowns. While at Alabama, he won back-to-back national championships.

LB Roquan Smith, Georgia -- Smith's 2017 season was one to remember. He recorded an SEC high 137 tackles and 14 tackles for loss in helping the Bulldogs to the national championship game. For Smith's efforts, he won the Butkus Award and was named a unanimous All-American and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Playing well on the big stage, Smith also earned SEC Championship Game MVP honors.

LB Reuben Foster, Alabama -- After winning the national championship in 2015, Foster came back and won the Butkus Award and was named a unanimous All-American in 2016. That season, he compiled 115 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss and five sacks. Foster, who won three SEC titles, was the defensive catalyst for a Crimson Tide rush defense that was one of the best in recent history.

CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida -- One of the modern day standards for cornerback play in college football, Hargreaves was as good as it gets. He played three seasons for the Gators and was named first-team All-SEC three times, including as a true freshman. Hargreaves was a first-team All-American as both a sophomore and a junior. His career statistics include 27 passes defended and ten interceptions.

CB Patrick Peterson, LSU -- The 2010 winner of both the Bednarik and Thorpe Awards, Peterson was a two-time first-team All-American, a unanimous All-American as a junior. He had six pass break-ups and four interceptions that season. Peterson, a physical prototype on the perimeter at 6'1'', 200 pounds with track speed, helped usher in a new era of athlete at the cornerback position.

CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU -- Mathieu was a true superstar in the secondary, a distinction earned with big plays. His ability to create turnovers was uncanny as Mathieu set a new SEC record with eleven career forced fumbles. He also recovered six fumbles and picked off four passes. As a safety, he was named a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011. He was also a consensus All-American, Bednarik Award winner and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama -- Excelling as both a playmaking safety and cornerback for the Crimson Tide, Fitzpatrick has a resume for the ages. He won two national championships in three years, was twice named a consensus All-American and, in 2017, won the Bednarik and Thorpe Awards alike. Fitzpatrick intercepted a total of nine career passes, returning four of them back for touchdowns.

S Jamal Adams, LSU -- A versatile defender who often played near the line of scrimmage, Adams did it all for the Tigers, compiled over 200 total tackles in three years. His ability to serve as a hybrid defender helped establish a new prototype at the position. As a sophomore, Adams recorded four interceptions, while as a junior he recorded 7.5 tackles for loss. He earned All-American honors in 2016.