Wednesday, July 7, 2010
A closer look: The SEC's best players
By ESPN.com staff
Now that everybody is in agreement with my list of the top 25 players in the SEC (yeah, right!), let’s take a closer look.
Which position led the way?
That would be wide receiver. Six of the 25 players were receivers or split ends, and that doesn’t include Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams or Tennessee tight end Luke Stocker.
Here’s the breakdown by position:
- Wide receiver: 6
- Defensive back: 4
- Defensive line: 4
- Linebacker: 3
- Running back: 3
- Offensive line: 2
- Tight end: 2
- Quarterback: 1
I’m sure you’re wondering what the breakdown is by school, too, so here goes:
- Alabama: 6
- Arkansas: 3
- Georgia: 3
- South Carolina: 3
- Florida: 2
- LSU: 2
- Auburn: 1
- Kentucky: 1
- Mississippi State: 1
- Ole Miss: 1
- Tennessee: 1
- Vanderbilt: 1
Notice that six of the top 16 players were from defending national champion Alabama. Not only that, but all six were underclassmen. And if you want to take it a step further, the five that will be draft eligible next year could all be taken in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft if they decide to turn pro.
Speaking of underclassmen, 13 of the 25 players on our list were juniors, including the top seven. There were eight seniors, four sophomores and no freshmen.
The only non-starter to crack the list was Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who didn’t start a game during his freshman season. Then again, Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus was No. 5 and only started in four games a year ago. Georgia running back Washaun Ealey came in at No. 23 and started in two games.
The only player who was injured for the bulk of last season and made the list was Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower. He blew out his knee in the fourth game against Arkansas and was done for the season, but was back on the practice field this spring and went through some contact work.
The largest player on the list was Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe at 6-foot-2, 320 pounds. The smallest player was Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins at 5-11, 186 pounds.
Finally, where did all these terrific players come from?
The state producing the most players on our list was Florida with five. Georgia and South Carolina were both close behind with four apiece.
Here’s the state-by-state breakdown, according to where the player went to high school, with the player’s college in parentheses:
- Florida 5: Patrick Peterson (LSU), Mike Pouncey (Florida), Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State), Trent Richardson (Alabama), Janoris Jenkins (Florida).
- Georgia 4: Kelvin Sheppard (LSU), Darvin Adams (Auburn), Clint Boling (Georgia), Washaun Ealey (Georgia).
- South Carolina 4: A.J. Green (Georgia), Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina), Alshon Jeffery (South Carolina), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina).
- Alabama 3: Marcell Dareus (Alabama), Julio Jones (Alabama), Mark Barron (Alabama).
- Tennessee 3: Dont’a Hightower (Alabama), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Chris Marve (Vanderbilt).
- Arkansas 2: D.J. Williams (Arkansas), Greg Childs (Arkansas).
- Kentucky 1: Luke Stocker (Tennessee).
- Michigan 1: Mark Ingram (Alabama).
- Mississippi 1: Jerrell Powe (Ole Miss).
- Texas 1: Ryan Mallett (Arkansas)
Here’s the complete Top 25 countdown:
No. 1: Mark Ingram, RB, Jr., Alabama
No. 2: A.J. Green, WR, Jr., Georgia
No. 3: Ryan Mallett, QB, Jr., Arkansas
No. 4: Patrick Peterson, CB, Jr., LSU
No. 5: Marcell Dareus, DE, Jr., Alabama
No. 6: Julio Jones, WR, Jr., Alabama
No. 7: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Jr., Alabama
No. 8: Mike Pouncey, C/G, Sr., Florida
No. 9: Pernell McPhee, DE, Sr., Mississippi State
No. 10: Jerrell Powe, NT, Sr., Ole Miss
No. 11: Trent Richardson, RB, So., Alabama
No. 12: Stephon Gilmore, CB, So., South Carolina
No. 13: Kelvin Sheppard, LB, Sr., LSU
No. 14: Randall Cobb, WR/QB, Jr., Kentucky
No. 15: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Jr., Florida
No. 16: Mark Barron, S, Jr., Alabama
No.17: Darvin Adams, WR, Jr., Auburn
No. 18: Alshon Jeffery, WR, So., South Carolina
No. 19: D.J. Williams, TE, Sr., Arkansas
No. 20: Cliff Matthews, DE, Sr., South Carolina
No. 21: Clint Boling, OT, Sr., Georgia
No. 22: Greg Childs, WR, Jr., Arkansas
No. 23: Washaun Ealey, RB, So., Georgia
No. 24: Chris Marve, LB, Jr., Vanderbilt
No. 25: Luke Stocker, TE, Sr., Tennessee