Monday, August 29, 2011
The SEC's best 25 players: No. 1
By Edward Aschoff
It's the moment you've all been waiting for. The countdown has come to an end and we are finally down to numero uno. The fat cat. The big cheese. He's No. 1 in all of our hearts and coincidentally (or maybe not) he wears No. 1 for his respective team. He had a breakout season last year, proving to be a bear to cover one-on-one. He made defenders look silly and he truly is a catch for the Gamecocks.
Alshon Jeffery's combination of size, speed and great hands makes him the total package.
2010 numbers: He was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, presented to nation's top receiver and a first-team All-America as selected by AFCA, FWAA, Phil Steele and ESPN.com. Jeffery was also named a second-team All-American by Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and CollegeFootballNews.com, and was a unanimous first-team All-SEC selection. Jeffery set the single-season school records in both receptions (88) and receiving yards (1,517) and led the SEC in receiving yards per game (108.4). He was second in receptions per game (6.29) and had eight games with 100-plus receiving yards.
Most recent ranking: No. 4 in the 2010 postseason rankings.
Making the case for Jeffery: At 6-foot-4, 229 pounds, Jeffery looks more like a linebacker out on the field than a wide receiver. But don't let his bulk confuse you, he has some nice speed. If he gets past a defensive back, chances are he isn't going to be caught. And if a defender manages to get his arms around Jeffery, it's no sure thing he'll actually get the receiver to the ground. In one-on-one situations, Jeffery proved that he was arguably the toughest player in America to guard. He's just too big and physical for corners and safeties, and with his height, it's nearly impossible to beat him for passes thrown high in his direction. Quarterback Stephen Garcia said that having Jeffery on the field makes his job that much easier because he can sling the ball in his direction at any speed or height and chances are Jeffery is coming down with it. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who has to face Jeffery in practice every day, said Jeffery is the toughest receiver he's seen or covered in the SEC -- and he's gone up against Julio Jones and A.J. Green. While Jeffery can outmuscle defenders with relative ease, the thing that coach Steve Spurrier said makes him so special is his ability to catch the ball. He has tremendous hands and he's gone from tipping passes to himself to bringing them down one-handed. Jeffery looks like he's physically ready to play at the next level, so get a good look at him now because he could be gone before you know it.