NCF Nation: Sen'Derrick Marks
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
We're close to being 24 hours away from the start of the biggest weekend in the conference so far. Here's a look-in around the SEC:
- Look for special teams to play a key role in the Auburn-LSU game. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville goes so far as to say that special teams will decide the game.
- Mississippi State gets good news on running back Anthony Dixon. He'll play Saturday against Georgia Tech despite missing most of this week with a groin injury.
- Georgia offensive tackle Kiante Tripp will be able to play against Airzona State, but Mark Richt still isn't saying how the Bulldogs will start on the offensive line.
- Spurriers are keeping the faith in their dual play-calling system. Steve Spurrier Jr. was in the booth for the Georgia game and will be there again this week.
- Auburn's Tommy Tuberville does it his way on the recruiting trail. Finding hidden gems like Sen'Derrick Marks is his specialty.
- Arkansas dives into the toughest stretch of games in school history, a stretch that includes four top 10 teams in four consecutive weeks.
- Mark Story of the Lexington Herald-Leader takes a look at the good, the bad and the ugly with Kentucky's football team heading into the Wildcats' first bye week.
- The road suits Florida's Tim Tebow just fine. The Gators' Heisman Trophy quarterback says the taunts from fans only drive him that much harder.
- Alabama's running game may be the best defense against Arkansas' passing game.
- Ole Miss and Vanderbilt see each other in the same way, a must-win game.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
|Ricky Jean-Francois (90) moves to the interior of LSU's defensive line this season.|
No disagreements on the top 10 offensive players in the SEC, right? OK, let's move on to defense. You might be surprised at who's No. 1 and No. 2 on our list. You won't be, though, at season's end.
1. Ricky Jean-Francois, DT, LSU: His performance in the BCS national championship game last season was just a glimpse. He's moving inside to tackle, where he'll be a terror against both the run and pass.
2. Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn: Moved back to tackle this spring after playing end last season. Similar to Jean-Francois, Marks is one of those disrupters who can rush the passer from the interior and stuff the run.
3. Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss: One of the best pure pass-rushers in the SEC, Hardy gets a clean slate with Houston Nutt after staying in Ed Orgeron's doghouse last season. He still finished with 10 sacks.
4. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee: The best defensive back prospect at Tennessee since Deon Grant, Berry can play both cornerback and safety and he's fearless when it comes to taking on a ball-carrier.
5. Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida: He's what everybody's looking for in a middle linebacker with terrific tackling skills and great speed. Finished second in the SEC last season with 131 total tackles.
6. Rolando McClain, S, Alabama: Along with Berry, McClain is the best sophomore defender in the league. At 255 pounds, his blend of size, speed and instincts make him almost impossible to block.
7. Derek Pegues, S, Miss. State: Maybe the best all-purpose defensive player in the league. Pegues can play cornerback and safety and also excels on special teams. Scored touchdowns on interceptions and punt returns last season.
8. Darry Beckwith, LB, LSU: One of the cornerstones of what should be the best defense in the league. Beckwith has battled knee injuries during his career, but is still one of the SEC's most dynamic defenders.
9. Antonio Coleman, DE, Auburn: Didn't even start until the middle of the season last year, but still led the Tigers and was fourth in the SEC with 18.5 tackles for loss. A quarterback's worst nightmare coming off the edge.
10. Jasper Brinkley, LB, South Carolina: Brinkley's stock might have dropped some after blowing out his knee last season, but he insists he's all the way back and ready to prove that he's still one of the SEC's best linebackers.
In closing: It was difficult to leave South Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn off this list. He's probably the best cover corner in the league. If LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson returns to his 2006 form, he'll quickly find his way on to this list.