The SEC's best 25 players: No. 4

August, 24, 2011
8/24/11
2:00
PM ET
Unfortunately, the next guy in our countdown won't be playing this season. Arkansas' Knile Davis injured his ankle in the preseason, underwent surgery and will be sidelined for all of 2011. But he deserves to be on this list, and we didn't think it was fair to go in and rearrange the order and add players halfway into the countdown:

No. 4: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas

[+] EnlargeKnile Davis
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireKnile Davis was one of the best all-around running backs in the SEC last season.
2010 numbers: He led all SEC running backs last season with 1,322 rushing yards and scored 14 touchdowns. His 6.48 yards per rushing attempt was the highest in the NCAA among running backs that carried the ball at least 200 times. Davis was a first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press and second-team All-SEC selection by the coaches.

Most recent ranking: No. 10 in the 2010 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Davis: In a league full of great running backs, Davis was one of the best. He'd bulked up to more than 225 pounds and hadn't lost a step this offseason. Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Davis had set the tone in the conditioning program, and all signs pointed to Davis coming back and having another sensational season. The thing that made him so good last season is that he was that rare back who could get the tough yards on one series and then come back the next series and break a 75-yard touchdown. Davis is no stranger to fighting back from injuries. He did so in high school and again when he first arrived at Arkansas. He'll be back from this one, too. I may not speak for opposing defensive coordinators, but I speak for all SEC fans when I say we'll miss watching him play this season.

Previously

  • No. 5: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
  • No. 6: Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina
  • No. 7: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
  • No. 8: Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama
  • No. 9: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
  • No. 10: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
  • No. 11: Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas
  • No. 12: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
  • No. 13: Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas
  • No. 14: Mike Dyer, RB, Auburn
  • No. 15: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
  • No. 16: Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
  • No. 17: Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky
  • No. 18: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
  • No. 19: Jerry Franklin, LB, Arkansas
  • No. 20: Malik Jackson, DT, Tennessee
  • No. 21: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
  • No. 22: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
  • No. 23: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
  • No. 24: Jaye Howard, DT, Florida
  • No. 25: Janzen Jackson, S, Tennessee

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