Thursday, February 21, 2013
The SEC's best 25 players: No. 4
By Chris Low
We go from the top guard in college football at No. 5 in our countdown to the top tackle in college football at No. 4.
No. 4: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M, Jr.
2012 summary: Joeckel won the Outland Trophy as the most outstanding interior lineman in college football. He became the first Texas A&M player to win the award. He was also a unanimous first-team All-America selection and ended his career with 39 consecutive starts at left tackle. The Aggies finished third nationally this past season in total offense with an average of 558.5 yards per game.
Most recent ranking: No. 20 in the 2012 preseason countdown.
Making the case for Joeckel: The Aggies had the luxury this past season of having two of the best offensive tackles in college football on the same team. Jake Matthews did his thing at right tackle, and Joeckel for the third straight season was a force at left tackle. At 6-6 and 310 pounds, Joeckel owned the left side of the line for the Aggies. He was a devastating run-blocker and specialized in driving whoever was in front of him 4 or 5 yards down the field. He combined strength and quickness, along with powerful hands, to overwhelm opponents. He wasn't known as much for his pass-blocking, but was certainly good enough. Besides, Johnny Manziel was always scrambling. Texas A&M averaged 546.2 yards and 39.1 points against SEC defenses this past season. To put up those kind of numbers against the defensive front-sevens you face in this league, you have to be exceptional up front on offense. The Aggies had one of the best offensive lines in college football, and Joeckel was the anchor of that unit. Some analysts have projected him to go No. 1 overall in April's NFL draft. He only played one season in the SEC, but what a season it was.
- No. 5: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama, Sr.
- No. 6: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M, Jr.
- No. 7: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama, Jr.
- No. 8: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama, RJr.
- No. 9: AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama, RJr.
- No. 10: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama, Jr.
- No. 11: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia, Fr.
- No. 12: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama, RSr.
- No. 13: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia, RJr.
- No. 14: Kevin Minter, LB, LSU, RJr.
- No. 15: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia, Jr.
- No. 16: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M, Jr.
- No. 17: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri, Jr.
- No. 18: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida, Jr.
- No. 19: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU, RJr.
- No. 20: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama, Fr.
- No. 21: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee, Jr.
- No. 22: Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida, Sr.
- No. 23: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt, Jr.
- No. 24: Matt Elam, S, Florida, Jr.
- No. 25: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State, Sr.