Everybody digs the long ball, and we’ll be treated Monday night to the annual Home Run Derby as part of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game festivities.
In keeping with the baseball theme, we’ve come up with the SEC’s top 10 “home-run hitters” entering the 2013 season. They all specialize in scoring from long distance and taking shorter gains and turning them into big plays.
Here’s a look in alphabetical order:
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: At the end of last season, there wasn’t a better receiver in college football. Cooper had five of his 11 touchdown catches in his last three games.
Bruce Ellington, WR/RS, South Carolina: The Gamecocks’ leader in all-purpose yardage a year ago, Ellington should get even more touches in 2013 and is outstanding after the catch.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia: He might be 232 pounds, but Gurley is a big play waiting to happen. He scored 18 times as a freshman, including a 100-yard kickoff return.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: Johnny Football is the SEC’s version of Mr. Excitement. Just when you think you have him hemmed in is when the fun starts.
Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia: It’s almost unfair for the Bulldogs to have two of these guys. Marshall averaged 6.5 yards per carry last season and had four touchdown runs of 52 yards or longer.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss: One of the most dynamic playmakers in the league, Moncrief had 10 touchdowns last season, and five of them were longer than 50 yards.
Marcus Murphy, RB/RS, Missouri: He returned four kicks for touchdowns last season -- three punts and one kickoff. The shortest of the four was 66 yards.
Loucheiz Purifoy, CB/RS, Florida: The Gators plan to use Purifoy some at receiver this fall. He’s a cornerback by trade. But wherever he lines up, he’s a threat to break the game open with his blend of speed and athleticism.
Brandon Williams, RB, Texas A&M: He might not be a household name in SEC circles just yet, but give him a few games. The Oklahoma transfer was electric this spring and can hit another gear that is head-spinning.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama: He’s plenty tough between the tackles, but when Yeldon gets into space, he’s a blur. He scored 13 touchdowns last season and averaged 6.3 yards per carry.