Thursday, August 18, 2011
Ranking the SEC's top combos
By Chris Low
Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery should be contenders for the Pony Express award.
The Pony Express Award preseason watch list came out earlier this week and included some talented combos from the SEC.
But who’s the best combo in the league?
Taking it a step further, how would you rank the top 10 two-player combos in the league?
Here’s what we came up with:
1. RB Marcus Lattimore and WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina: Is there a more explosive combo anywhere in college football? They combined for 28 touchdowns last season and 3,126 combined rushing and receiving yards. Key on one of them, and the other one will torch you.
2. LB Dont’a Hightower and LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama: They’re the two best linebackers in the league, and both are big-play performers. They had a combined 18 tackles for loss last season, and Hightower’s more than a year removed now from his knee injury. On passing downs, they’ll line up as edge rushers.
3. WR Greg Childs and WR Joe Adams, Arkansas: The only problem with the Hogs is picking just two receivers. Jarius Wright is a star in his own right. Childs still has to prove he’s all the way back from his injury, but the Childs-Adams combination is a nightmare for any secondary.
4. RB Mike Dyer and RB Onterio McCalebb, Auburn: They form the best one-two punch at running back in the league. Dyer is a human bowling ball who wears down defenses. McCalebb is one of the SEC’s premier breakaway threats. They averaged a combined 6.9 yards per carry last season.
5. S Mark Barron and S Robert Lester, Alabama: Lester burst onto the scene last season with an SEC-leading eight interceptions. Barron has 10 picks in his last two seasons and hits like a linebacker. Good luck in finding a better safety combo in college football.
6. DE Devin Taylor and DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina: Before it’s over, freshman phenom Jadeveon Clowney might be a part of this club. All three can go get the passer. Taylor and Ingram combined for 16.5 sacks last season, and Ingram is versatile enough to also play inside some.
7. CB Morris Claiborne and NB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU: The Tigers are going to use Mathieu at the nickelback position this season, which is perfect. He’s a magnet to the football. Claiborne is one of the top cover cornerbacks in the game. Together, they’re going to make a ton of plays.
8. C William Vlachos and OG Barrett Jones, Alabama: The only thing that could break up this combination is if Jones moves to left tackle permanently. If he stays put, the Crimson Tide will be rock-solid up the middle with a pair of guys who’ve started 25 games alongside each other.
9. QB Aaron Murray and TE Orson Charles, Georgia: Murray accounted for 28 touchdowns last season in his first tour through the SEC. Look for a few more of those touchdowns to go Charles’ way this season. The Bulldogs are going to see to it that he gets the ball.
10. OG Larry Warford and OG Stuart Hines, Kentucky: The Wildcats enter the 2011 season with four starters back on the offensive line, a group that should be the strength of the team. One of the reasons why is the Warford-Hines combo at guard. They’re road-graders in the run game, but equally good in pass protection.