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Thursday, January 23, 2014
The SEC's 25 best players: No. 18

By Alex Scarborough

The next player on our list of the SEC's 25 best from was a bit under-appreciated for his work in 2013. He wasn't the flashiest of athletes, but he was certainly consistent.

No. 18: T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama, Soph.

Alabama's T.J. Yeldon vs. LSU
T.J. Yeldon doesn't always get the hype, but he always seems to get his yards, finishing with over 1,000 yards rushing for the second straight season.
2013 summary: The league's coaches thought enough of Yeldon to vote him First-Team All-SEC along with Auburn running back Tre Mason. Yeldon followed up a stellar freshman campaign by posting even more impressive numbers as a sophomore: 1,279 yards and 14 touchdowns on 207 carries. He averaged more than 100 yards per game and had the ninth-fewest rushes for zero or negative yards in the country (minimum 200 carries).

Most recent ranking: Ranked No. 11 in the 2013 preseason countdown

Making the case for Yeldon: No, he wasn't the most eye-popping running back in the SEC this season. He didn't blow anyone away with his speed or his moves, and he didn't have that signature jaw-dropping moment to go straight to YouTube. But Yeldon was still one of the most productive running backs in the country, let alone the SEC.

True freshman Derrick Henry did his best to upstage Yeldon in the Sugar Bowl, but he can't take away a season's worth of numbers.

Yeldon was a beast between the tackles for Alabama, putting together the second straight 1,000-yard season of his career. And while consistency's been his hallmark, that's not all he was good for in 2013. His 34 rushes of 10 or more yards ranked 30th nationally and his percentage of touchdowns per rush ratio (6.8) was good enough to rank in the top 10 among those with 200 or more rushing attempts.

Sure, the talk of Yeldon being the second most talented running back at Alabama will intensify now that Henry has emerged. But, really, that's not a bad place to be as the same thing was said about Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, and we all saw how well their careers turned out.

The rundown:

No. 19: Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU, Jr.
No. 20: Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss, Jr.
No. 21: Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn, Jr.
No. 22: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama, Jr.
No. 23: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State, Sr.
No. 24: Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt, Sr.
No. 25: E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri, Jr