The SEC's top 10 step-up players

November, 18, 2010
11/18/10
5:49
PM ET
Arkansas sophomore running back Knile Davis has clearly been one of the SEC’s premier step-up players this season.

Who are the others?

With two games remaining in the regular season, here's a look at the top-10 players who either emerged to fill major needs or players who emerged from the shadows to become All-SEC caliber players.

They’re listed in alphabetical order, and only players who've been on campus for more than one year were considered. We may revisit this list when the season has concluded:

Arkansas running back Knile Davis: Bearing down on 1,000 yards and averaging 7.2 yards per carry after rushing for 163 yards as a freshman.

Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley: The top step-up player nationally. He’s been dominant after making just two starts a year ago.

Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline: Going out in style as a senior. He’s passed for 2,906 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward: Staking his claim as one of the SEC’s top cornerbacks. Second in the league with five interceptions.

Alabama safety Robert Lester: The SEC’s interception leader with seven, and several of those have come at key times.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray: He’s played well beyond his years. Murray has thrown 21 touchdown passes and only six interceptions.

Tennessee running back Tauren Poole: Got his chance this season and is tied with Cam Newton for the most 100-yard rushing games in the SEC with six.

LSU running back Stevan Ridley: Stepped into starting role and has been LSU's only offense at times this season with 878 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

South Carolina defensive end Devin Taylor: Took over Eric Norwood’s role as the Gamecocks’ big-play guy on defense with 7.5 sacks.

Mississippi State linebacker Chris White: A force in the middle for the Bulldogs, White is fourth in the SEC with 13 tackles for loss.

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