- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our list of the SEC’s top 25 players kicks off with a pair of elite offensive tackles, two sophomores oozing with potential and a cornerback who doubles as a punt returner. All week we’ll be unveiling five names a day as we count down the players we think will have the best seasons in 2015.
21. Vadal Alexander, OT, LSU
Though not ranked quite as high as former teammate La'el Collins, who was No. 11 on this list a year ago, Alexander has a chance to be just as good. The former guard lined up next to Collins the past two seasons, but he’s moving back to right tackle, where he began his career at LSU. The senior has played in 38 games and made 34 starts for the Tigers. There was talk that he might leave school a year early for the NFL draft, but he opted to return and serve as the anchor for LSU’s offensive line.
22. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
It’s rare to see any true freshman start at left tackle. It’s even rarer to see somebody do it at Alabama. But that’s exactly what Robinson did last season. The Louisiana native started all 14 games, becoming the first true freshman to start at offensive tackle for the Crimson Tide since Andre Smith in 2006. And he more than held his own against some of the SEC’s top pass-rushers, surrendering just three sacks. At the rate he’s going, he could finish the upcoming season much higher on this list.
23. Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
Outside of Vernon Hargreaves at Florida, there might not be a better cornerback in the SEC. As a sophomore last season, Sutton finished fourth in the conference with 16 passes defended and was second on the team with three interceptions. He also provided a spark for the Volunteers in their victory over in-state rival Vanderbilt with a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown. Sutton has started every game since he arrived at Tennessee, and his junior campaign should be his best yet.
24. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Based on potential, Adams could easily be in the top 15 or even top 10 on this list. The former ESPN 300 safety played in all 13 games as a freshman last season, made two starts and finished sixth on the team with 66 tackles. He saved his best for last with 10 tackles and two for loss against Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl. Adams is expected to play a bigger role for the Tigers this season and looks to be the next great safety to come out of LSU. Oh, and he’s a pretty good actor, too.
25. Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia
Similar to Adams, Carter was another freshman who made a huge impact last season. He started only five games, but he finished with 41 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, earning Georgia’s Newcomer of the Year Award. Though he didn’t put up numbers quite as good as fellow outside linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd, Carter might be the most talented player in the group. And it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him put up better numbers than his two teammates this season.
8hSam Khan Jr.
5dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough