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Pass rusher will be next defensive Heisman winner

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Pass rusher will be next defensive Heisman winner


In this Aug. 10, 2008 file photo, University of South Florida All-American defensive end George Selvie speaks during media day in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

By Chris O'Meara (AP)

Published: 2008-08-23 17:50:03

Another NCAA football season is upon us and AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo will blog with the latest news, observations and opinions _ and whatever else comes up _ all the way through to the BCS.


FRIDAY, Aug. 22:

What a rush.

A prediction: If another defensive player ever wins the Heisman Trophy, it'll be a pass rusher.

Sacks are sexy. They catch people's attention and they're an easy stat to quantify.

Tackle stats can be misleading. Solid players on bad defenses often rack up big tackle stats because they're on the field a lot.

Interceptions can also be deceiving. The best corners tend to get avoided by offenses, so they don't have a chance to make many swipes. Plus, a few tip balls find their way to the same guys' hands and all of a sudden he's got a 'nose for the ball.' In reality, he's probably just lucky and has good hands.

To get a sack you have to beat the blocker in front of you, and while nothing on a football field can be accomplished without several players doing their jobs, it's hard to have an inflated sack total.

While it's doubtful any of the top pass rushers in the country this season can make a Heisman run _ not enough preseason buzz _ here are some of the best in college football at getting to the QB (in no particular order):

_ Auston English, DE, Oklahoma _ Led the Big 12 in sacks, despite missing four games with leg injury. NFL types throw around the term 'high motor' to describe guys such as English.

_ George Selvie, DE, South Florida _ The 245-pound speed rusher started fast last season then found himself the target of far more attention and ended up second in the nation with 14.5 sacks.

_ George Middleton, DE, Indiana _ Led the nation in sacks with 16 last season. Interesting to see how he follows up his big sophomore year, because he's a lone ranger on the Hoosiers' D.

_ Jan Jorgensen, DE, BYU _ Had 14 sacks last season and becomes the main man on a Cougars' defense that returns only three starters from a strong 2008 unit.

_ Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech _ Only had four sacks and 21 tackles in 13 games last season, but the pro scouts love this 6-foot-7 senior.

_ Nick Reed, DE, Oregon _ Underrated senior who tied for the Pac-10 lead in sacks last season with 12.

_ Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU _ Lost in all the (deserved) attention Glenn Dorsey received last season was Jackson, who could end up a first-round draft pick just like Dorsey.

_ Maurice Evans, DE, Penn State _ New York City product had 12.5 sacks last season and will have to be even better in 2008 because injuries and suspensions have depleted the Nittany Lions' front seven.

_ Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida _ The 290-pound sophomore showed flashes of greatness as a freshman. Could turn into a star for the Gators in 2008.

_ Ian Campbell, DE, Kansas State _ Slipped from 11.5 sacks in 2006 to 4.5 in '07, but that had a lot to do with getting little help from his teammates.


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it will be an offensive player

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