The SEC's best 25 players: No. 5

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
2:25
PM ET
This next guy can play anywhere on the offensive line and do so at a high level.

No. 5: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama, Sr.

2011 summary: A starter in 11 games at left tackle, Jones won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in college football. He was also a consensus All-America selection and Jacobs Trophy winner as the top blocker in the SEC.

Most recent ranking: Ranked No. 7 in the 2011 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Jones: Really, not much of a case needs to be made for Jones. He returns as the most decorated offensive lineman in college football, not to mention the most versatile. He played four different positions on the line last season. The only spot he didn't play was right guard, which is where he made 25 starts during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Jones moves to center this season on what should be the most talented offensive line in the country. Jones is hardly the strongest player on the field, but good luck in finding somebody who blends smarts, technique, work ethic, preparation and competitive fire the way the 6-foot-5, 302-pound Jones does. Alabama coach Nick Saban said the only player he's been around that would compare to Jones in terms of versatility was Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. Not only is Jones able to slide around and play different positions at a high level, but he's able to make the transition so easily. Jones ended last season by grading out at 90 percent or better in nine of his last 10 games. When you consider the caliber of players that Jones has gone against in the SEC during his career -- both tackles and ends -- it's nothing short of amazing that he's been as consistent as he's been when moving from guard to tackle and now to center.

The Rundown

Chris Low | email

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