2012 Season Schedule | Top Returning Special Teamers

Some names are familiar to fans around the country. Others are a bit more under the radar. Here's a look at some of the top returning defensive players in 2012 based on their production last season and throughout their career.


Career Statistics
Starting on the defensive line for one of the top units in the country, Florida State's Brandon Jenkins returns after posting 36.5 tackles for loss -- including 21.5 sacks, 19 of which were solo. Those totals came in 39 games during the past three years, including helping FSU rank No. 4 nationally in total defense and scoring defense in 2011.
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Career Statistics
Kent State's Roosevelt Nix may not be a household name, but he does have one thing that makes opposing coaches follow him: a nose for the ball. In his first two years on the gridiron Nix has 37.0 tackles in 24 games, the top returning number in the FBS ranks this fall. He also has forced seven fumbles and blocked two kicks to date.
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Career Statistics
Other than FSU's Brandon Jenkins, no returning player in the country has more sacks to their credit than Connecticut's Trevardo Williams. His total of 19.0 sacks has come in 38 games, and includes dropping the QB 18 times by himself. 
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Career Statistics
Wisconsin's Chris Borland knows how to get to the ball, too. In 30 games he has 10 forced fumbles while posting 31.5 tackles for loss among 205 career tackles. Showing his versatility, Borland also has returned eight kickoffs and kicked three extra points as a freshman against Hawaii. 
 
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Career Statistics
If you like reading a full box score, you'll love checking out Iowa State's Jake Knotts' career statistics. Entering his final season in Ames, Iowa, he has eight career forced fumbles, six interceptions, 9.0 sacks, nine pass breakups and 268 total tackles in 38 games. 
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Career Statistics
The leader of Notre Dame's defense, Manti Te'o could be among the finalists for a number of postseason awards after being one of the final three in the running for the Butkus Award last season. Entering his final season, Te'o will also be looking to add to career totals of 28.5 TFLs, 5.0 sacks and more than 300 career tackles. Last year, he was among the national leaders with 8.5 tackles per game.
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Career Statistics
In two seasons, Tulane's Trent Mackey has amassed 269 tackles in just 24 games, including 11.2 tackles per contest last season. He enters his final year with the Green Wave as the nation's returning leader in tackles per game.
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Career Statistics
When Southern Miss's Deron Wilson locks in, he's difficult to get past. When he gets his hands on the ball, he's difficult to stop, evidenced by his three interception returns for touchdowns in his career, including two last year. Overall, Wilson has seven picks in 27 games, with all three scores going for at least 35 yards. 
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Career Statistics
Georgia's Bacarri Rambo has had his troubles off the field, but when he's on it, he's as disruptive of a player as you will find. Rambo owns 13 career interceptions after posting eight last year. He also has 16 career pass breakups to go with three forced fumbles and a blocked kick.
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Career Statistics
The national leader a year ago, NC State's David Amerson has made a name for himself in shutting down the opponents' passing game. He finished one shy of the national record by collecting 13 interceptions as a sophomore -- with two picks in four separate games -- while also posting 59 total tackles.
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Related:
Complete 2011 Season Results | Top 2011 Bowl Performances | Top 2011 Single-Game Performances