The SEC's best 25 players: No. 6

It's almost unfair for LSU to have this many good defensive linemen.

No. 6: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU, Jr.

2011 summary: Coming back from a knee injury that shortened his season the year before, Montgomery finished sixth in the SEC with nine sacks. His 13.5 tackles for loss ranked him eighth in the league. Montgomery was a first-team All-America selection by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and a second-team selection by SI.com. He was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as the top defensive end in college football.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2011 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Montgomery: The SEC is loaded with standout defensive ends, and Montgomery is right there at the top of the list. He's outstanding as a pass-rusher, but equally stout against the run. Teams that try to run right at him usually don't have much success. Montgomery has added nearly 30 pounds in the offseason to his 6-foot-4 frame and plans to play right around 260 pounds this season. The added bulk should make him even more effective at the point of attack. Montgomery insists he hasn't lost any of his speed, either, nor his lightning-quick first step off the ball. He also has incredibly strong hands, helping him to shed blockers and get to the ball. With Barkevious Mingo on the other side, opposing offenses are going to have to make some tough choices when they go up against the Tigers this season. Whatever they decide, Montgomery is sure to end up spending a considerable amount of time in the other team's backfield.

The Rundown

  • No. 25: Matt Elam, S, Florida, Jr.

  • No. 24: Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee, Jr.

  • No. 23: Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M, Sr.

  • No. 22: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama, Jr.

  • No. 21: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia, Jr.

  • No. 20: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M, Jr.

  • No. 19: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee, Jr.

  • No. 18: Jesse Williams, NG, Alabama, Sr.

  • No. 17: Bennie Logan, DT, LSU, Jr.

  • No. 16: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee, Jr.

  • No. 15: Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas, Sr.

  • No. 14: Chris Faulk, OT, LSU, Jr.

  • No. 13: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn, Jr.

  • No. 12: Eric Reid, S, LSU, Jr.

  • No. 11: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State, Sr.

  • No. 10: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia, Jr.

  • No. 9: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama, Sr.

  • No. 8: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU, Jr.

  • No. 7: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina, So.