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The SEC's top players: Missing the cut

Our postseason countdown of the SEC's top 25 players is out there for all to see, and the feedback has been nothing but positive.

Everybody agrees with all of our selections, and there hasn't been any second-guessing.

Right.

If you believe that, you'll also believe that the SEC has decided to outlaw tackling, and go to two-hand touch next season ... sort of like they do in some of the other conferences around the country.

The truth is that our countdown has been highly scrutinized (just as it is every year), and you've showered us with eight to 10 players you insist were absolute locks for the countdown -- and yet didn't make it.

Hey, we can't squeeze 35 players into 25 spots. It's impossible to pick just 25 players in a league as talented as the SEC, and even after you seek input from several different people and then agonize over the list for a week, you look at the finished product and ask yourself how Player X or Player Y could be omitted.

With that said, here's a look at the five players who just missed the cut. All five had excellent seasons and could have (and maybe should have) been on the list.

The players are listed alphabetically:

Antonio Allen, LB/S, South Carolina, Sr.: Playing the hybrid "Spur" position in the Gamecocks' defense, Allen was a relentless ball-hawk. He forced four fumbles and recovered three, while also intercepting three passes. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound Allen led South Carolina with 88 total tackles, including 9.5 for loss. He scored a pair of defensive touchdowns, one on an interception return and another on a fumble return. Allen was a second-team All-America selection by the Associated Press.

Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas, Sr.: The only thing holding back Bequette last season was a nasty hamstring injury during the early part of the season that forced him to miss three games. Otherwise, he would have easily cracked our top 25 countdown. Even with the late start, Bequette finished with 10 sacks in 10 games, leading the SEC in sacks per game, and also forced five fumbles. Bequette was a first-team All-SEC selection by the coaches.

Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn, So.: It wasn't a memorable season for the Auburn defense, but Lemonier put up monster numbers for the Tigers. He was third in the SEC with 9.5 sacks, and against league competition, was second with 8.5 of those sacks. Lemonier finished with 13.5 tackles for loss, 15 quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles, and a blocked a kick. He was a first-team All-SEC selection by the coaches.

Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU, So.: An integral part of LSU's menacing defense, Montgomery was as good against the run as he was rushing the passer. He led the Tigers with nine sacks, and was second on the team with 13.5 tackles for loss. Montgomery was named an All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and earned first-team All-SEC honors from both the coaches and the Associated Press.

Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee, So.: After Justin Hunter went down with a knee injury in the third week, Rogers became the Vols' go-to target and led the SEC with 67 catches. He was second in the league with 1,040 receiving yards, and also had nine touchdown catches. Rogers was a first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press, and a second-team All-SEC selection by the coaches.