Thursday, March 3, 2011
The SEC's 25 best players: No. 13
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
You win up front in this league, and the next guy in our countdown anchored the best offensive line in the SEC last season.
No. 13: Lee Ziemba, OT, Sr., Auburn
Lee Ziemba has been the anchor of the Auburn offensive line.
2010 numbers/honors: Part of an Auburn offensive line that gave up just 23 sacks in 14 games and cleared the way for the Tigers to finish fifth nationally in rushing offense, averaging 284.8 yards per game. Ziemba was a first-team All-America selection by the AFCA, FWAA and Walter Camp and a second-team All-America selection by the Associated Press. He was a consensus first-team All-SEC selection.
Preseason ranking: Not ranked in the preseason countdown.
Making the case for Ziemba: The 6-foot-8, 319-pound Ziemba ended his college career with 52 consecutive starts, an Auburn record. He started every game since 2007 and saved his best season for his last. One of the central figures in Auburn’s run to the 2010 BCS national championship, Ziemba won the Jacobs Trophy, which is voted on by the coaches and goes to the best blocker in the SEC. Both as a pass-protector and a run-blocker, Ziemba excelled last season from his left tackle position. He was one of four senior starters up front for the Tigers, and having played so much football together, they operated as one in making Auburn’s offense one of the most balanced in the country. The Tigers rushed for 300 or more yards in six straight SEC games, becoming the first Auburn team to do that. And going into the BCS National Championship Game, Auburn had allowed just 21 sacks in 261 pass attempts. Cam Newton might have been the face of Auburn’s national championship team, but Ziemba’s production, leadership and overall toughness were major factors in the Tigers winning their first title since 1957.