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Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Players we can't forget about in bowls

By Edward Aschoff

We know the players everyone will being watching when SEC teams start postseason play.

You have Jordan Jefferson. Everyone wants to see Trent Richardson. People want to know how John Brantley really ends things as a Gator.

But there are a few other players to keep an eye on as well during the heart of bowl season. Here's a look at a player from each SEC participant that we can't forget about this time of year:

ALABAMA

WR Marquis Maze: Alabama didn't generate much of a passing game last time it met LSU's defense, but it'll have to this time around and Maze could be a major player here. He was seventh in the SEC in receiving and caught a game-high six passes during the first game, but also had that devastating interception on a trick play. He's no doubt looking to redeem himself in the national championship.

ARKANSAS

DE Tenarius Wright: The Cotton Bowl figures to be a high-scoring affair with these two offenses going at it. But the best way to stop an offensive train is to get a lot of pressure in the backfield. That's where Wright comes into play. Jake Bequette will be manning one side, with Wright on the other. Wright has been hampered by a broken arm this year, but is all healed up and if he can apply some pressure to Kansas State's backfield it should slow down the Wildcats.

AUBURN

RB Tre Mason: The Tigers lost their best offensive weapon for the Chick-fil-A Bowl when running back Michael Dyer was suspended. Mason will now have the opportunity to help Onterio McCalebb and should get a bunch of carries against a Virginia team that possesses a pretty good run defense. Mason has that big-back mentality and should complement McCalebb well.

FLORIDA

WR Deonte Thompson: This is Thompson's last game in a Florida uniform. With Florida looking for one last offensive spark this season, maybe Thompson can provide that. Thompson caught just 19 passes during the regular season, but he has tremendous speed and has the ability to make one or two last plays for the Gators against Ohio State in the Gator Bowl.

GEORGIA

TE Aron White: He's a player who can sneak up on defenses. With fellow tight end Orson Charles and receiver Malcolm Mitchell getting most of the attention in Georgia's passing game, White can slip right by and make a big play. Michigan State's defense is tough and talented, but it can't forget about someone who had four touchdowns on nine total catches.

LSU

RB Spencer Ware: He's fallen under the radar since his midseason suspension. Running backs designated as backups have had more of an impact for the Tigers in recent weeks, but Ware is still a bruiser and he'll still need to show up against the Crimson Tide. For LSU to pound the ball against Alabama, it will need all of the components of that talented backfield and we could see the Ware of old in New Orleans.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

CB Corey Broomfield: It's been a relatively quiet year for Broomfield. He's recorded a good bit of tackles, but has yet to snag an interception. What a perfect time to come alive for the Bulldogs. There has been more bend in Mississippi State's secondary than most expected this year, but there is still a lot of talent back there. Broomfield has the ability to be a game changer and his coverage skills could be an issue for Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl.

SOUTH CAROLINA

RB Brandon Wilds: He surprised most of us with the way he played after Marcus Lattimore went down. He's certainly not as talented as Lattimore, but he works hard and he has become a major component to the Gamecocks' offense. For this offense to get going against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, Wilds needs to continue to play with that bulldog-like mentality between the tackles.

VANDERBILT

WR Chris Boyd: The Commodores have a pretty good group of offensive playmakers, but Boyd could end up being really special. As a freshman, he leads Vandy with seven touchdown receptions. Cincinnati will likely key in on running back Zac Stacy and top receiver Jordan Matthews, meaning Boyd could have a big day. The Bearcats will have to monitor both Boyd and Matthews during the Liberty Bowl, which won't be easy.