Tuesday, January 17, 2012
SEC's five scariest players for 2012
By Edward Aschoff
There is always that player you don't want to line up against.
That player who terrifies opposing players with his size, speed or shear strength. He can plow a quarterback into the turf at will or can ram his way through a line before choosing to run over linebackers instead of around them.
Unleashing pain is a must in his game. Without it, he leaves the field unsatisfied.
These are what kids on the playground call "bullies" but we are left calling them "fearsome" or just "feared."
Regardless of what you call them, players with such qualities evoke trepidation in opposing players and are always considered "scary" when they take the field.
Our friends at College Football Live created a list of the five scariest players in college football, so we thought we'd check out the scariest players in the SEC.
Like most lists dealing with SEC players, we could go on for days if we really wanted to, but we don't -- and we won't. So, we've narrowed the list down to the five scariest players taking the field in 2012:
1. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: He can be any quarterback's worst nightmare when he steps onto the field. Mathieu has a way of covering an entire field, no matter where he lines up. He has an incredible knack for locating the ball and he knows a thing or two about taking the ball away. No quarterback is really safe when Mathieu is on the field. He's already in a quarterback's brain before the play is even called. Some say he creeps up on the ball like a tiger, but we compare him to one of those creatures in Alien.
Marcus Lattimore's return to the field in 2012 will be frightening for South Carolina opponents.
2. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina: Lattimore went down with a season-ending knee injury halfway into the 2011 season, but that won't make him any less intimidating in 2012. In fact, he promised he'd come back better and stronger. Now, that's really scary. Lattimore doesn't just run over defenders, he punishes them. It's like he craves contact. After contact, his feet are still going and he's still churning out yards. He'll be back to his old self in no time, so defenders should stock up on the Advil.
3. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia: He abused opposing backfields in 2011, leading the SEC with 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He forced quarterbacks and offensive coordinators to account for on every play. Jones is terrifying for quarterbacks to deal with, but even if a play goes beyond the line of scrimmage, he's still a pain with his tremendous closing speed. Having Jones, who already has that Predator look, chasing you sounds like something straight out of Jurassic Park.
4. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Before he even stepped on South Carolina's campus, Clowney was a beast in a football player's clothing. He might be soft spoken and kind in interviews, but when he steps on a football field, the Jekyll in him comes out. He was seventh in the SEC with eight sacks last year and probably could have had more if he adapted to the game faster. Physically, he just looks scary in pads. Talk about a Killer Clowney from Outer Space.
5. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee: Hunter was sidelined for most of the year with a season-ending knee injury, but when he was on the field, he frightened defensive backs. He was arguably the league's best deep threat when he was healthy, catching 17 passes for 314 yards (18.5 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. He was even scarier in 2010, when he caught just 16 passes for 415 yards (25.9) and seven touchdowns. Hunter should be full speed next season, so expect a few defenders to get a good luck at his last name next fall. Covering him is an issue and keeping up with him once he has the ball might be even harder.