Earlier Friday, we concluded our countdown of the top 25 players in the SEC for 2015. It was a collaborative effort from our five writers, and naturally there was some disagreement. Here's what our reporters would change if SEC blog land was a dictatorship, as opposed to the pleasant democracy we currently enjoy.
Edward Aschoff: I don’t understand how Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil is so low. I guess he gets penalized for missing the first seven games of the season while serving a NCAA suspension, but when he returned, he was easily the league’s best lineman, proving to be the country’s best left tackle prospect for this year’s NFL draft.
Even without his football legs fully under him, Tusil returned to the field by getting the best of top pass-rusher Myles Garrett. He only got better from there and went the final six games without allowing a sack. Ole Miss went 5-1 and averaged more than 100 rushing yards and nearly 100 more total yards of offense with Tunsil. Even with his suspension, Tunsil was a top-10 player in the SEC this season, and there’s no reason he should be in the 20s.
David Ching: As I mentioned in our roundtable on Wednesday, we had an abundance of deserving players who could have been included on this list. That’s why I might have left two of the conference’s most talented players off the list. Nothing against Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil -- I think he’s the best tackle in the conference and will deservedly become one of the first players selected in the NFL draft -- but he did not play in the Rebels’ first seven games. There are players who were eligible to play for the entire season who made a bigger difference for their teams. Along similar lines, Rebels defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche is a spectacular talent, but I would not have ranked him at No. 18. On the days when he wants to play, he belongs way higher than that, but then there are the days when he doesn’t -- or those days when his coaching staff won’t even allow him to play because of off-the-field transgressions. Capability is not the issue in either case here, but I would have preferred to recognize guys who were available to play and seemingly giving their all throughout the season.
Sam Khan Jr.: My biggest beef is with the placement of Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen. I think 20th is way too low for a guy who you could argue was the SEC's best quarterback during league play. He had the second-highest Total QBR (87.8) in the
Greg Ostendorf: This isn’t as much of a gripe as it is an observation. Only four SEC teams were not represented in our Top 25. Of those four, Kentucky and Vanderbilt made sense, though Zach Cunningham probably deserved to be on the list. But no players from Auburn or Georgia? Again, not a gripe because who can you make an argument for from those two teams? Peyton Barber was productive and scored a lot of touchdowns, but he wasn’t better than Jalen Hurd. And neither Leonard Floyd nor Jordan Jenkins was even among the top 20 in tackles for loss or sacks. I was just surprised to not see anybody from Auburn or Georgia this year.
Alex Scarborough: I get it, Cyrus Jones is short. So what? Does that mean no one should notice how good of a player he became over the last two seasons? He barely made a blip on the radar despite being the most consistent player in what was arguably the best secondary in the country at Alabama. He was the shut-down corner everyone overlooked. Don’t believe me? Just ask Alabama’s other starting corner Marlon Humphrey. He admitted to me after the Cotton Bowl that all the big plays given up in the passing game were against him, not Jones. What’s more, Jones was an impact player on special teams, returning four punts for touchdowns, including a 57-yard return against Michigan State in the College Football Playoff semifinal game.