Thursday, May 12, 2011
Poll: Biggest SEC impact player
By Edward Aschoff
Every team needs that one guy to step up and lead. He can be an emotional leader or a leader by example.
These impact players can dictate the direction of a team's season, so the pressure is certainly on them.
Impact players come in all shapes, sizes and positions.
Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower's knee appears to finally be healthy, and with his speed and athleticism he should tremendously help the Tide's pass rush. Improving that linebacker unit could propel Alabama's defense to the top of the SEC.
Alshon Jeffery proved last season that he'll be a force for opposing defensive backs to cover for as long as he's in the league. South Carolina's junior wide receiver led the conference with 1,517 receiving yards on 88 catches last season and could be the most important element to the Gamecocks' offense if senior quarterback Stephen Garcia doesn't return. Having a reliable target like Jeffery on the field should help sophomore Connor Shaw if he's thrown into the starting position.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Tennessee's Tyler Bray showed some signs of promise toward the end of last season and will be a key cog in the Volunteers' improvement this season.
With Washaun Ealey out at Georgia, it might only be a matter of time before incoming freshman running back Isaiah Crowell moves into the starting spot. And while all the attention is on Arkansas' passing game, running back Knile Davis should take some pressure off new quarterback Tyler Wilson.