- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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I can hear the bell ringing. It’s time for a stock report, something we’ll do every week in the SEC now that we’re far enough into the season to get a read on things:
1. Robert Lester: One of the many new faces in the Alabama secondary, Lester had two interceptions in the 24-20 win over Arkansas and returned his second one 33 yards to the Hogs’ 12 to set up the game-winning touchdown. The sophomore safety leads the SEC with four interceptions.
2. Trey Burton: The Gators’ true freshman quarterback/receiver scored a school-record six touchdowns in the 48-14 win over Kentucky. It looks like he’s the answer in the Tebow package.
3. Jonathan Cornell: It hasn’t been a good start for the Ole Miss defense, but Cornell has been all over the field for the Rebels. The senior linebacker is tied for the SEC lead with Tennessee’s Nick Reveiz in tackles (39) and is second in tackles for loss (8).
4. Stevan Ridley: Lost in Patrick Peterson’s spectacular play and LSU’s struggles in the passing game has been the steady improvement of Ridley, the Tigers’ bruising junior tailback. He’s third in the SEC with 434 rushing yards and averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
1. Tennessee’s third-down offense: The Vols are 119th nationally out of 120 teams in third-down conversions. They’re 11-of-58 (18.9 percent) and have converted only one third down longer than 5 yards all season, that coming near the end of regulation in the UAB game.
2. LSU’s passing game: The Tigers are ranked 115th nationally in passing offense. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson has not reached 100 yards passing in his last three games while throwing three interceptions and no touchdown passes.
3. Washaun Ealey: After losing another fumble near the goal line last week against Mississippi State, Ealey is being replaced as Georgia’s starting tailback. He also fumbled inside the 5 against South Carolina and missed a key block in the Arkansas game that led to a sack of quarterback Aaron Murray.
4. South Carolina in the fourth quarter: The Gamecocks appeared to be in good shape on the Plains last week after going up 20-7 in the first half. But they gagged in the fourth quarter, turning the ball over on their last four possessions and falling 35-27.
Player of the Year race: Offense
1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn: He’s passed for nine touchdowns and run for five touchdowns while leading the SEC in rushing. Nobody has meant more to his team.
2. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: Even though he’s played in only two games, Ingram has been a force. He already has 308 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
3. Ryan Mallett, WR, Arkansas: The three interceptions against Alabama were disappointing, but he has 1,438 passing yards and 10 touchdown passes.
4. Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina: He’s quickly establishing himself as one of the toughest receivers to match up with in college football. He leads the SEC in receiving by more than 100 yards.
5. Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky: Even though he wasn’t a huge factor in the Florida loss, he’s still the most versatile player in the SEC. He’s accounted for touchdowns five different ways, the latest a fake field goal last week.
Player of the Year race: Defense
1. Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn: A dominant presence in the interior for the Tigers, Fairley leads the SEC in sacks (4) and tackles for loss (8.5). At times, he’s been unblockable.
2. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: He’s college football’s best cornerback and has also been electric in the return game. Teams don’t throw his way. When they do, see the Mississippi State game when he had two highlight-reel interceptions.
3. Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida: He’s right there behind Peterson when it comes to the premier cornerbacks nationally. Jenkins is tied for the SEC lead with seven passes defended and also has two interceptions.
4. Drake Nevis, DT, LSU: He’s been a big part of LSU’s dominance on defense the last few weeks with his constant push up the middle. Nevis is second in the league in sacks (3.5) and leads all SEC defensive tackles with 21 total tackles.
5. Josh Bynes, LB, Auburn: One of the SEC’s true iron men, Bynes has been on the field for just about every meaningful snap and has consistently come up with big plays for the Tigers.