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The only knock on Siler--and it's a reach--is that he wasn't the team's leading tackler in either of his first two seasons, when he averaged 70 1/2 tackles per year. This season the 6'2", 235-pound junior will be roaming behind one of the top defensive lines in the SEC, if not the nation, and should far exceed that number. And as his seven fumble recoveries in '05 attest, Siler has always had a knack for making the big play. Coach Urban Meyer describes him as "good, really good" but resists burdening him with the "great" label. If he plays to his potential, Siler may leave his coach no choice.
A tattoo on his left arm reads BLESSED. And why not? The Gamecocks' sophomore receiver stands 6'4", has soft hands and arms so long he can grab the bottom of a basketball net standing flat-footed. Rice is a master at positioning his body so he can rise over the defensive back, making him a nightmare to defend in the red zone. As a freshman he had 70 catches for 1,143 yards and 13 touchdowns. No stranger to big-play wideouts, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says, "As far as his ability to catch the ball, I think he's as good as any receiver I've been fortunate to coach."
As a student at Cambridge Academy (enrollment 180) in Greenwood, S.C., Adams had to play eight-man football, which, not surprisingly, didn't bring him a single major-college scholarship. But while spending a postgraduate year at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, he caught the eye of Clemson coach Tommy Bowden with his dominant play. As a junior last season, his first as a starter for the Tigers, the 6'5", 265-pound Adams was sixth in the ACC in sacks (8 1/2) and was projected as a first-round NFL draft pick. But Adams, who has the quick first step of a safety, opted to return to Death Valley and anchor a defense that ranked 11th in the nation in points allowed (17.6) and has seven starters returning.