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The SEC's best 25 players: No. 12

2/8/2013

We're sticking with offense on our top 25 countdown, as we look at one of the top linemen the SEC has had for the last few years:

No. 12: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama, Sr.

2012 summary: The consensus first-team All-American and All-SEC member also won the Rimington Trophy, as the nation's top center. Heading into the Discover BCS National Championship against Notre Dame, Jones only missed six assignments all season (99.2 percent, which was the best among offensive line starters at Alabama, on 731 snaps).

Most recent ranking: Ranked No. 5 in the 2012 preseason countdown.

Making the case for Jones: The extremely tough and versatile lineman ended his career in valiant form. He started all 14 games during his senior season and played in the national championship with torn ligaments in his left foot. He basically played the final three quarters of the SEC championship against Georgia on one foot, as well. Jones missed some of the practices leading up to the BCS title game, but there was no way he wasn't going to play against the Fighting Irish. He then underwent surgery following the title game. With Jones at center, Alabama finished the year with one of the most efficient offenses in the country. The Crimson Tide rushed for 227.5 yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry. Alabama also averaged 218 passing yards per game and registered 11 games with 400-plus yards of offense, including each of the final five games of the season. Jones might be quite the intellectual off the field but he had a mean streak on it. He was one of the toughest linemen out there to get by and was the glue that held Alabama's superb offensive line together. He was banged up and bruised throughout the season, but showed tremendous guts and toughness, especially during the last two games in order to help the Tide win its second straight national championship and third title in four years. Jones collected plenty of notoriety and accolades during his career, and deservedly so. He won the Outland Trophy in 2011, as the nation's best interior lineman, and was a finalist for it and the Lombardi Award, as the nation's top lineman or linebacker, in 2012. Jones might not be a first-round prospect, but it was hard to find a more consistent linemen in college football. He was a relentless player in the middle who continuously made things miserable for opposing tackles and nose guards, as he helped power Alabama's offense.

The Rundown