The AP All-American team honors were given out today, with three Gator defensive players names showing up on the list: Junior Safety Reggie Nelson, Junior CB Ryan Smith and Junior LB Brandon Siler.
Reggie Nelson has taken home quite a few honors this season, including being named to the Doak Walker All-American Team, the FWAA All-American Team and being named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. Today it was announced that he was named to the AP All-American 1st Team.
As a member of the secondary along with Nelson, CB Ryan Smith made a splash with the Gators this year following a transfer from Utah, equaling a spot on the AP All-American 2nd Team. Throughout the season Smith made several huge plays including intercepting 8 passes, a number that leads the SEC and is tied for third nationally. The Gators defense may not be where it is today without the solid effort and performance out of their first year cornerback.
Brandon Siler was named a 3rd team All-American by the AP today, following a season in which he ranked second on the team in tackles with 73. Siler has been a consistent contributor and really seems to be a leading personality on a very good Gators defense. Playing every game all out, even through pain, is something that we can always expect to see from Brandon Siler on Saturdays.
Overall these honors given out are just highlights of a season full of amazing defensive performances. For a program known throughout the years as one having great offense, the Gators defense has broken the mold this season and has become the catalyst for most of the Gators success.
The positive thing: These guys are all juniors. Although the chances may not be great that this core group is together in Gainesville next season may be slim, it is definitely a great thing to think about for next season.