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The SEC's best 25 players: No. 19

Our countdown of the SEC's best 25 players continues with one of the best and rangiest safeties in the country.

No. 19: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama, Jr.

2012 summary: Clinton-Dix played in all 14 of Alabama's games last season and started 10. He finished the year with 37 total tackles. He also led the Crimson Tide with five interceptions and defended nine passes last season. He also forced a fumble.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2012 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Clinton-Dix: This is a guy who absolutely flies around the field with relative ease and isn't afraid to mix things up with the big boys up front and play aggressively in the box. Clinton-Dix has all the speed, athleticism and instincts to be the nation's top safety this season. What makes him so valuable to Alabama's defensive backfield is his ability to not only be a legitimate ballhawk, but play the role of cover man as well. Finding a safety who is basically a three-tool player in the back is a major boost for a defense. Clinton-Dix didn't get a ton of attention throughout the season, but he really came on strong at the end of the year. He snagged an interception in each of the final three games of the season and recorded a season-high seven tackles, with .5 for loss, in Alabama's blowout win over Notre Dame in the BCS title game. Clinton-Dix is already considered to be arguably the sport's best safety prospect heading into next year's NFL draft. Clinton-Dix will have a much bigger role on Alabama's defense this fall, and should have no problem delivering in what could be his final year in Tuscaloosa.

The rundown

  • No. 20: Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas, Sr.

  • No. 21: Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia, So.

  • No. 22: Craig Loston, S, LSU, Sr.

  • No. 23: Andre Hal, CB, Vanderbilt, Sr.

  • No. 24: Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia, So.

  • No. 25: Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida, Jr.