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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Sapp picked as spring's biggest SEC star

By Edward Aschoff

We saw a lot of bright spots all over the SEC this spring. And things were pretty close when we asked our readers who was the league's biggest star this spring.

With more than 5,500 votes cast in our SportsNation poll, Tennessee senior linebacker Dontavis Sapp narrowly beat Georgia freshman safety Tray Matthews by grabbing 29 percent of the vote, compared to Matthews' 28 percent.

Sapp didn't enter the spring with a lot of experience (he has only made two career starts), but he really impressed his new coaching staff. With the Vols moving back to a 4-3 defensive scheme, Sapp was Tennessee's most consistent defender this spring. And that was really important to this team because Curt Maggit was out for the spring, recovering from his ACL injury from the fall. Sapp might have locked up a starting spot.

Matthews had a tremendous spring as well. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham lit up when I talked to him back in March about Matthews' development this spring. He'll start at one of the safety spots this fall. Remember, he should still be in high school. He has the speed and athleticism to make plays all over the field for the Bulldogs.

LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry had a big spring with the Tigers and captured 16 percent of the vote. He might have proved that he can be the go-to, big-play receiver in this offense.

Auburn junior Justin Garrett grabbed 14 percent of the vote, while Florida running back Matt Jones earned 13 percent. Garrett really impressed the Tigers' new coaching staff at Ellis Johnson's coveted "Star" hybrid position. Garrett seems ready for more responsibility to be thrown his way.

Jones really impressed his coaching staff this spring. He's become a more physical back and picked up the playbook faster than anyone expected. His teammates were raving about his speed and strength all spring.