There are tons of terms and sayings in the game of football but one that really stands out is "defense wins games."
This saying could not be any truer. A defensive player can create turnovers, points and momentum. A hard hit can change the course of the game and even the course of the season.
Here are the Top 5 defensive players going into the 2011-2012 college football season.
Even though Arizona State is one of my least favorite schools in the entire country I can't pass up on putting their freak linebacker on this list.
Vontaze Burfict is a 6'3" 250-pound monster. He runs like a cornerback and hits like a linebacker.
In 2010 Burfict recorded 90 tackles, eight and half tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. And those numbers are going to improve this year no doubt about it.
Burfict is going to be the leader of the Sun Devils' defense and will probably be the best defensive player in the Pac-12.
Burfict is also the top preseason favorite to win the Butkus award for the best linebacker in the NCAA.
At the end of the year look for Burfict to have multiple awards and titles next to his name on a program.
Cliff Harris statistically wasn't the most notable defensive player last year, but he was a shutdown cornerback that has the speed to keep up with any receiver.
This year Harris looks to be the leader of the Ducks' defense. The Ducks don't have the greatest defense but have somewhat of an effective defense and Harris will be able to significantly help with that.
Last year Harris had the most pass breakups of all defensive backs and returned kicks very well.
Harris is bound to get some recognition this year as one of the best cornerbacks in college football.
In 13 games Virginia Tech safety Jayron Hosley had nine interceptions.
That is crazy. Most of the time there is a reason why a player is put as a cornerback or a safety, they don't catch a football well. But Hosley proved most of us wrong as a defensive player who can catch anything coming his way.
Hosley is a pretty good tackler and can be a game changer as a kick returner.
A couple of years ago the Nebraska Cornhuskers had the best defensive tackle in college football Ndamukong Suh and now they have that again with Jared Crick.
Crick is 6'6" and 285 pounds. He has the speed and strength to beat almost any offensive lineman in college football.
In 2010 Crick had 9.5 sacks, 70 tackles and 17 tackles for loss. Against the Oklahoma Sooners Crick had two sacks against a very good offensive line.
In 2011 Crick is bound to blow up and and have an even better year than last year. This NFL draft prospect is going to lead the Cornhuskers defense to be one of the better ones in the Big 10.
Probably one of the most underrated players in the entire country, Boston College's Luke Kuechly is a tackling machine that plays football the right way.
Kuechly leaves it on the field every game. Last year he had 183 tackles while amounting 110 solo tackles. Kuechly also had three interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Kuechly had over 10 tackles in 12 of 13 games. Against North Carolina State he had 20 tackles which just shows his effort on the field.
In 2011 Kuechly is bound to have 180 tackles again and probably be the best linebacker (and even the best defensive player) in college football.