Alabama sets pace with NFL talent

July, 28, 2011
7/28/11
5:51
PM ET
Who's the most talented college football team heading into the 2011 season?

If you go by which team has the most NFL draft-eligible players on its roster and which team has the most high-round talent on its roster, Alabama is the winner.

Chris Sprow of ESPN Insider has ranked his prospect-loaded teams in college football Insider for the 2011 season, and Alabama edged Stanford for the top spot.

Yes ... Stanford.

The other SEC school cracking Sprow's top 10 was South Carolina. The Gamecocks were No. 7.

The only other SEC school mentioned was Georgia, which joined Wisconsin in the "Next Up" group.

Alabama, which produced four first-round picks this past April, could produce at least that many next year. Running back Trent Richardson, safety Mark Barron, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower are being projected as potential first-round picks. Offensive guard/tackle Barrett Jones, just a junior, is also expected to go high when he decides to come out, while center William Vlachos, safety Robert Lester and cornerback DeQuan Menzie -- all seniors -- are also future NFL players.

At South Carolina, receiver Alshon Jeffery has a chance to be a top 10 pick next year, especially if he runs well. The NFL scouts also like defensive end Devin Taylor and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Running back Marcus Lattimore is just a sophomore, so he didn't factor into this ranking.

It's somewhat surprising not to see LSU in the top 10, but a lot of the Tigers' talent is concentrated in the freshman and sophomore classes.

Here's a look at Sprow's top 10:

1. Alabama
2. Stanford
3. Oklahoma
4. North Carolina
5. USC
6. Oklahoma State
7. South Carolina
8. Michigan State
9. Nebraska
10. Miami

Chris Low | email

College Football

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