SEC: Chris Walker

SEC NFL draft snubs

May, 4, 2011
It’s got to be a little nerve-racking for the guys we’re about to talk about. Undrafted players have always had a chance to sign with NFL teams following the draft. They might not have been the lengthiest contracts, but at least players could get into camp to try to earn a spot.

Now, with the NFL in disarray, undrafted players are forced to play the waiting game. Drafted players can't even have contact with their new teams, and teams can’t make offseason moves. Everyone seems to think there will be a 2011 season, but there has to be a sense of nervousness circulating through the minds of players who didn’t hear their names called over the weekend.

Here is a list of some SEC snubs who will be waiting for the league to get its act together:

Darvin Adams, WR, Auburn
Not only was he one of Auburn’s top playmakers in 2010, but in his last two seasons with the Tigers, he grabbed 112 receptions for 1,960 yards and 17 touchdowns. The knock on him is that he has average height and speed to be a productive receiver in the NFL, but that didn’t keep him from making plays at Auburn. Once the league resumes, expect him to get into camp somewhere.

Chas Henry, P, Florida
Punters aren’t the biggest commodities in the draft, but Henry was the best at his position last year. He won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter and was a consensus All-American, averaging 45.1 yards per punt and pinning 18 of his 50 kicks inside the 20-yard line. He also kicked field goals last season.

Derrick Locke, RB, Kentucky
Locke was a major part of Kentucky’s offense at times, but he did have injury issues during his career. Locke has great speed and is a tough runner who accumulated 2,618 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns during his career at Kentucky.

Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU
Toliver has great size and speed at receiver, but didn’t hear his name called over the weekend. He caught 126 passes for 1,820 yards and 12 touchdowns during his four years at LSU. Ninety-four of those catches came in his last two seasons.

Ladi Ajiboye, DT, South Carolina
He was one of the Gamecocks’ top interior linemen, and while he doesn’t have great size, he was very fast off the line. He had back-to-back 40-plus-tackle seasons at South Carolina and recorded nine tackles for loss in that time.

Chris Walker, DE/OLB, Tennessee
He has battled injuries throughout his career, but had a solid last two years with the Volunteers. He totaled 87 tackles (14.5 for loss) and had nine sacks. He’s got good speed and has some room to bulk up a little more. When allowed to, he should field a few calls from teams.

Nick Reveiz, LB, Tennessee
Reveiz doesn’t have great size for a linebacker, but he almost always seemed to find himself around the ball in 2010. He was fifth in the SEC with 108 tackles last season. He has natural leadership skills and should get invited to a camp when (if) the lockout ends

SEC update from Shrine Game

January, 24, 2011
A couple of quick tidbits involving SEC players in the East-West Shrine Game over the weekend:
  • Tennessee defensive end Chris Walker helped punctuate the East's 25-8 win by sacking Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor inside his own 2-yard line, forcing a fumble. The ball rolled into the end zone and was recovered for a East touchdown by North Carolina's Marvin Austin.
  • It wasn't the best day for Auburn place-kicker Wes Byrum, who kicked the game-winning field goal in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game. He was 1-of-3 on field goals in the Shrine Game, missing a 44-yarder that was short and a 27-yarder that was wide right. According to the Scouts Inc. analysts who were at the game, Byrum's lack of leg strength was noticeable in the windy conditions.
  • Georgia linebacker Akeem Dent, who was second in the SEC this season with 126 tackles, showed up several times during the game, particularly on special teams. The Scouts Inc. analysts were impressed with his straight line speed, and his productivity on special teams should only help his draft stock.
  • Florida defensive end Justin Trattou had a sack in the game.

Five SEC players on Hendricks list

August, 11, 2010
Alabama's Marcell Dareus, Ole Miss' Kentrell Lockett, South Carolina's Cliff Matthews, Mississippi State's Pernell McPhee and Tennessee's Chris Walker have all been named to the 36-player watch list for the 2010 Ted Hendricks Award.

Honoring College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks, the award goes annually to college football's top defensive end. Former Georgia star David Pollack won the award in both 2003 and 2004 and was the last SEC player to do so.

Here's a look at the entire Hendricks watch list.
In a lot of cases, the defensive line is what has set the SEC apart over the years. When you’re strong up front defensively, you’ve always got a chance.

Who’s the strongest in the SEC this season? Here goes:

[+] EnlargePowe
Icon SMIJerrell Powe is arguably the best interior D-lineman in the SEC.
1. Ole Miss: For the second season in a row, the Rebels will be as formidable as anybody up front defensively. Senior tackle Jerrell Powe is perhaps the best interior defensive lineman in the league, and senior end Kentrell Lockett is one of the better pass-rushers. Between them, Powe and Lockett had 22 tackles for loss last season. It’s also a deep and experienced defensive line, especially at tackle, and the Rebels added a newcomer at end, junior college transfer Wayne Dorsey, who should be a factor right away.

2. Alabama: Players leave to go to the NFL, and Alabama slides in another great one right behind them. Welcome to Nick Saban’s recruiting machine. Junior end Marcell Dareus was the star of the BCS National Championship Game last season and is one of the top NFL draft prospects in the league. He’ll have to wait and see if anything comes of his trip to Miami that’s being investigated by the NCAA, but there’s no shortage of talent. Kerry Murphy may be the next star in the making and could potentially play nose or end in the Tide's scheme.

3. South Carolina: Assistant head coach for the defense Ellis Johnson would like to have a little more depth, but if everybody holds up health-wise, the Gamecocks will be plenty imposing up front defensively. It starts with senior end Cliff Matthews, who’s one of the most complete defensive linemen in the SEC. He had 10 tackles for loss, including seven sacks last season. Senior Ladi Ajiboye and junior Travian Robertson anchor the middle of the line, and both are explosive and powerful.

4. Mississippi State: As the Bulldogs attempt to make their move in Season No. 2 under Dan Mullen, the strength of their football team will be their defensive line. Senior Pernell McPhee is an All-SEC performer at end and should be even better his second time around in the league. Sophomore tackles Josh Boyd and Fletcher Cox have both bulked up to the 300-pound range after solid freshman seasons, and the Bulldogs brought in massive junior college tackle James Carmon (6-7, 345 pounds) this spring.

5. Florida: The Florida defensive linemen themselves will tell you that there aren’t any superstars in this group, but there are five seniors returning, not to mention the most talented freshman defensive line class in the country. Senior captain Justin Trattou returns full time to end after playing inside on passing situations last season. He’s healthy, too, after tearing the biceps tendon in his left arm last season. Sophomore tackle Omar Hunter is just waiting to break out, and freshmen Ronald Powell at end and Sharrif Floyd at tackle won’t have to wait long to make an impact.

6. LSU: Some new faces will be counted on to play key roles for the Tigers up front this season, but a veteran remains the centerpiece of this defensive line. Senior tackle Drake Nevis rates up there with Jerrell Powe as one of the top interior linemen in this league. The Tigers are also eager to see what redshirt freshman end Sam Montgomery and redshirt freshman tackle Michael Brockers can do after big springs. Senior Pep Levingston is moving inside to tackle after starting 10 games last season at end. One thing the Tigers would like to generate more of is sacks. They only had 21 last season, which was tied for eighth in the SEC.

[+] EnlargeWalker
AP Photo/John RaouxChris Walker led the Vols with six sacks last season.
7. Tennessee: The Vols have excellent depth at the end positions, starting with senior Chris Walker, who led the team with six sacks last season. Seniors Ben Martin and Gerald Williams also return at end, while former Southern California end Malik Jackson will be eligible to play this season after transferring from the Trojans. Tennessee doesn’t have much depth inside, but Montori Hughes and Marlon Walls both had solid freshman seasons. The Vols can’t afford for either, though, to go down with an injury.

8. Georgia: With the Bulldogs switching to a 3-4 defense under first-year coordinator Todd Grantham, some guys will be playing new positions. One of the keys will be junior DeAngelo Tyson at the nose and establishing some depth behind him. Grantham wants to get to a point where he has a steady rotation up front, but that may take another recruiting class or so. Senior Demarcus Dobbs is the starter at one end, while sophomore Abry Jones impressed Grantham in the spring at the other end spot.

9. Auburn: The Tigers lost their top playmaker up front last season in Antonio Coleman and are hopeful senior Antoine Carter can step in and be that guy this season at end. The first thing Auburn has to do if it’s going be a better defense this season is be stingier against the run. Senior Mike Blanc returns at one tackle, and the Tigers are also counting on a big season from junior tackle Nick Fairley, who showed flashes a year ago. Another guy to watch is redshirt freshman end Nosa Eguae, who would have played last season had it not been for a stress fracture in his left foot.

10. Arkansas: The Hogs will be better on defense this season. So says Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, and they’ll need to be better if they’re going to make a run in the Western Division race. The depth should be better, although losing Malcolm Sheppard in the middle is a killer. Junior end Jake Bequette had 5.5 sacks last season and is one of those guys who could really blossom this season. Junior Zach Stadther returns at one tackle. Sophomore Tenarius Wright missed the spring with a foot injury, but will also be a key at the other end position.

11. Kentucky: The big blow for the Wildcats was losing tackle Corey Peters, who was dominant a year ago and made everybody around him that much better. Replacing him will be a chore, but Kentucky hopes Mark Crawford can have a breakout season inside after coming over from junior college last year. Speaking of breakout seasons, senior end DeQuin Evans emerged as one of the most productive pass-rushers in the league last season, his first in the SEC after coming over from junior college. He finished with 12.5 tackles for loss, including six sacks.

12. Vanderbilt: The bad news is that senior tackle Adam Smotherman tore his ACL early in spring practice. The good news is that he’s recovering quicker than anybody could have imagined and has a chance to be back for at least part of the season. The Commodores need Smotherman and T.J. Greenstone there in the middle, especially after losing three key senior defensive linemen to graduation. It was a struggle for Vanderbilt up front defensively in the fourth quarter last season. That will again be the challenge in 2010.

SEC media days lineup: Day 3

July, 23, 2010
HOOVER, Ala. -- The SEC media days wrap up today with Auburn, Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss taking center stage.

Here's the complete lineup:

From 9:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. ET: Auburn and Tennessee

The players attending for Auburn are offensive tackle Lee Ziemba, linebacker Josh Bynes and safety Aairon Savage.

The players attending for Tennessee are tight end Luke Stocker, defensive end Chris Walker and linebacker Nick Reveiz.

From 11:50 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET: LSU and Ole Miss

The players attending for LSU are quarterback Jordan Jefferson, linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and cornerback Patrick Peterson.

The players attending for Ole Miss are offensive tackle Bradley Sowell, defensive tackle Jerrell Powe and defensive end Kentrell Lockett.
Congratulations to the South Carolina baseball team for winning the school's first national championship in a men's sport. Now, it's officially football season:

  • Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is "doing good" while recovering from a second surgery on his foot, according to Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino.

Tennessee spring wrap

May, 4, 2010
2009 overall record: 7-6

2009 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters

Offense: 4; Defense: 6; Kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

RB Tauren Poole, WR Gerald Jones, WR Denarius Moore, TE Luke Stocker, DE Chris Walker, DT Montori Hughes, LB Nick Reveiz, S Janzen Jackson

Key losses

QB Jonathan Crompton, RB Montario Hardesty, OT Chris Scott, OT Aaron Douglas, DT Dan Williams, LB Rico McCoy, CB Dennis Rogan, S Eric Berry

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Montario Hardesty (1,345 yards)

Passing: Jonathan Crompton (2,800 yards)

Receiving: Gerald Jones* (680 yards)

Tackles: Rico McCoy (119)

Sacks: Chris Walker* (6)

Interceptions: Eric Berry, Wes Brown and Chris Walker* (2)

Spring answers

1. Poole of talent: Junior running back Tauren Poole proved this spring what most people on the team already knew (with the exception of former coach Lane Kiffin), and that is that he has what it takes to be a featured running back in this league. He broke a long run in just about every scrimmage, rarely goes down on the first hit and is hungry to show what he can do in the fall.

2. Dooley’s way: First-year coach Derek Dooley spent much of the spring establishing the way it was going to be under his regime. It’s the second straight spring the Vols have undergone a transition to a new coach. Last spring, it was Kiffin marking his turf. One of the priorities for Dooley and Co. this spring was finding out who could do what and who couldn’t do what for a Tennessee team that will be hurting for depth in 2010.

3. Replenishing the secondary: Sophomore safeties Janzen Jackson and Darren Myles Jr. both had big springs and will be the answer back there for the next two years. Answers for players the caliber of Eric Berry aren’t easy to come by, which is why it was so pleasing for the Vols to see Jackson and Myles make the number of plays they did. Now they both need to prove they can behave themselves off the field. Also keep an eye on junior Art Evans, who has the potential to be a very good shutdown cornerback in this league and comes highly endorsed by Berry.

Fall questions

1. Offensive line experience: Dooley sheds the best perspective on where the Vols are offensively when he asks if there’s ever been a team faced with having to replace all five starters on the offensive line, its top running back and its quarterback. The Vols will likely start two freshmen up front, Ja’Wuan James at tackle and JerQuari Schofield at guard, and another one, James Stone, could end up figuring into the rotation when he gets on campus. This is a unit that has some young talent, but will almost certainly struggle this first season.

2. Settling on a quarterback: Senior Nick Stephens left the program this spring after being demoted, leaving junior college newcomer Matt Simms and true freshman Tyler Bray to battle it out for the job. Simms, the younger brother of Chris Simms, is well-liked by his teammates and worked hard to establish himself this spring, but Bray may have a bigger upside. An extremely thin player, Bray looked good in the Vols’ Orange and White spring game and will almost certainly have to play some next season.

3. Kicking game issues: The Vols had so many holes to fill that the kicking game sort of got lost in the shuffle. But with so much inexperience on offense and defense, they have to be able to hold their own on special teams next season, or it could really get ugly. Given how shaky the kicking and punting looked this spring, incoming freshman Michael Palardy may end up doing all of the kicking in the fall. Palardy doesn’t arrive until this summer, but was rated as one of the top kicker prospects in the country.
Tennessee's roster has been divided into two teams for Saturday's Orange and White spring game thanks to some intense "War Room" decisions by the Vols' seniors on Wednesday night.

The seniors drafted the two teams for Derek Dooley's first spring game, which kicks off Saturday at 2 p.m. at Neyland Stadium.

"Like the NFL draft, it will be interesting to see if some of the higher picks perform to their value," Dooley said.

At first glance, the White team looks a little stronger, especially on defense with tackles Montori Hughes and Marlon Walls and senior end Chris Walker. True freshman Tyler Bray will quarterback the White team, and he has the top offensive weapon from the spring in his backfield in junior running back Tauren Poole. The Vols' best defensive back, sophomore safety Janzen Jackson, is also a member of the White team.

The Orange team is led by quarterback Matt Simms, the favorite to win the job. Leading receiver Gerald Jones is also on the Orange team along with tight end Luke Stocker and starting offensive linemen Dallas Thomas and JerQuari Schofield.

McFadden headlines SEC's top interviews

December, 29, 2009
Auburn senior cornerback Walt McFadden has been presented with the “Good Guy” award by the East Alabama Auburn Beat Writers Association of America.

McFadden is the first recipient of the award, which recognizes a player who is consistently congenial and professional in his dealings with the media.

In other words, somebody who likes talking with the media and usually has something interesting to say.

I would agree that the local Auburn beat writers got this one right. McFadden was one of the better interviews in the SEC over the past couple of years. He was always engaging and had intelligent responses any time I spoke with him.

If I were picking the 10 best interviews in the SEC (not including McFadden), this would be my 10, in alphabetical order:

Welcome to the 'Coach O' Bowl

November, 12, 2009
They’re dubbing it the “Coach O” Bowl.
Joe Murphy/Getty Images
Tennessee assistant Ed Orgeron will coach against some of his former recruits at Ole Miss for the first time.

Ole Miss’ players are talking about it. Tennessee’s players are talking about it. So are Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt and Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin.

The only person who isn’t talking is Ed Orgeron.

He’s declined all interview requests this week as he gets ready to go back to Oxford, where he recruited a slew of talented players and won very few games.

Some of the Ole Miss players swear by him. Junior defensive tackle Jerrell Powe, for instance, talked at length this August about the impact Orgeron had on his football career and how Orgeron continued to believe in him despite it looking like for the longest time that Powe would never become eligible.

Then there’s some who’d probably like to swear at him, not that the volatile Orgeron would be taken aback by such language.

He was known to light into his players verbally.

So much so that senior receiver Shay Hodge told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger following the Rebels’ win over Northern Arizona last week that this game was “personal” for a lot of the players.

“Coach O never did anything to me, but the way I saw him treat some people, I know some guys are going to come out with a real fire in their belly and get after them pretty bad,” Hodge said.

Perhaps it was Ole Miss junior defensive end Kentrell Lockett who shed the most candid perspective on Orgeron’s time in Oxford.

In short, he’s one of the best defensive line coaches in college football and one of the most dogged recruiters in college football. But as a head coach …

He was 0-8 in the SEC in his final season and lost 21 of the 24 games he coached in against SEC teams.

“Great guy, but he just wasn’t that head coach,” Lockett told the Clarion-Ledger. “He was a great D-line coach, but he wasn’t that head coach. I haven’t talked to him since [Orgeron was fired]. I might get a chance to talk to him after the game Saturday, might not.

“But life goes on, you know?”

And so has Orgeron. He’s been a huge part of Tennessee’s recruiting machine under Kiffin and has made quite an impression on the Vols’ players.

Yes, he’s still loud with that unmistakable voice. And, yes, he’s been known to rip off his shirt to fire up the guys.

But you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody on Tennessee’s team to say a negative word about him.

His fire has epitomized the way the Vols have played this season and is a big reason they’ve won three of their last four games and are playing their best football right now.

“Yes, Coach O can take it up a notch,” Tennessee junior defensive end Chris Walker said. “We have only seen a little bit of it. We know he can be more intense than he has been, so we’re kind of expecting it this week.

“He’s an awesome coach to play for. He teaches us the details of things we haven’t learned since we’ve been here.”

Kiffin says in a lot of ways that Orgeron was a more important piece to this coaching staff puzzle than even Kiffin’s dad, Monte.

In fact, the two Kiffins went down to Destin, Fla., to recruit Orgeron together when it looked like he might be going to LSU. They changed his mind that day.

“Having worked with him at USC, he knows exactly what I want and exactly how I want to do it,” Kiffin said. “We had to have him.”

Vols fighting post-Florida blahs?

September, 26, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

The Vols, perhaps still basking in their near miss last week against Florida, find themselves in a game late in the second quarter against Ohio.

They were trailing 14-7, but have come back to take a 21-14 lead. Monte Kiffin’s defense has been the difference. Defensive end Chris Walker picked off a screen pass near the Ohio goal line and returned it for a touchdown.

Walker is one of the most athletic defensive ends in the SEC and is a great fit for Kiffin’s defense.

The discouraging news for the Vols is that they haven't been able to run the football.

Nothing defensive about this defense

September, 5, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- We knew this Tennessee defense had a chance to be pretty good.

But the Vols have been smothering to this point. Granted, much of their dominance is due to the fact that Western Kentucky is awful on offense.

Still, here we are with less than 10 minutes to play in the second quarter, and Western Kentucky has run 12 plays for a total of minus-13 yards.

Defensive end Chris Walker was a star in the spring and preseason for the Vols. It looks like he's going to be a star this season, too. He's a blur getting to the quarterback. His partner on the other side, Gerald Williams, gives the the Vols the kind of pass-rushing tandem they haven't had in a while.

Hope and concern: Tennessee

July, 1, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

Biggest reason for hope: Playmakers on defense

With the way All-America safety Eric Berry finds the end zone every time he intercepts a pass, who could blame the Vols if they gave him a few more chances on offense this season? He's the ultimate ball hawk in the secondary and should be a perfect fit in Monte Kiffin's defense. Berry can hit, cover and force turnovers with the best of them. He's not the only one, either. Linebacker Rico McCoy is one of the more underrated players in the league and provides Kiffin with the kind of versatile linebacker who can move around and fill different roles. Defensive end Chris Walker also showed in the spring that he's poised to be the kind of finisher off the edge that all the great defenses possess. The guy can really get to the quarterback.

Biggest reason for concern: Scoring points

It would be short-sighted to pick quarterback play or offensive line muscle or the lack of big-play receivers and say one of those areas was where the Vols were most vulnerable on offense. The truth is that they enter this season very much an unproven quantity across the board when it comes to moving the ball and scoring points. Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens both struggled at quarterback last season. Will either one be markedly better this coming season? There's no depth in the offensive line, and protecting the passer figures to be a problem. The passing game was abysmal a year ago, and part of the problem falls on a group of receivers that didn't make many plays. Most of those guys are back, but it's difficult to point to anybody returning and label him as a game-breaker. It could be that true freshman running back Bryce Brown will be the most dynamic offensive threat the Vols have in 2009.

SEC names to remember

May, 19, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

Everybody knows who the stars are in this league. Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes, Jevan Snead, Eric Berry and Terrence Cody are just a few.

It's always fun, though, to look at guys who didn't necessarily go into spring practice as household names, but have a chance to be household names come fall.

Here are 10 names to remember in the SEC (listed alphabetically):

Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas: It was obvious watching him as a freshman that Adams had some special gifts. He showed this spring that he can also be a special player.

Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina: It's not every day that a true freshman walks onto campus in the SEC and establishes himself as the starter at cornerback. Gilmore did it in a spring.

Winston Guy, S, Kentucky: The Wildcats' coaches think Guy can be a perfect complement to cornerback Trevard Lindley. Guy was one of Kentucky's most improved players in the spring.

Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama: There's a pretty fair linebacker on Alabama's roster by the name of Rolando McClain. Hightower is cut from that same mold.

Terence Jeffers, WR, Vanderbilt: After sitting out last year following his transfer from Connecticut, Jeffers was the Commodores' most dynamic offensive threat in the spring.

Pernell McPhee, DT, Mississippi State: Some junior college players get it right away, and some take a little longer to adjust. McPhee will anchor the Bulldogs' defensive line in 2009.

Drake Nevis, DT, LSU: Don't feel too sorry for the Tigers after losing the likes of Tyson Jackson, Ricky Jean-Francois and Kirston Pittman. Nevis should be a force in the middle.

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: The SEC has its share of accomplished cornerbacks, but look for Peterson to play his way into the upper echelon next season. He has star written all over him.

Deonte Thompson, WR, Florida: Somebody has to fill the "Percy Position." Thompson has the speed, burst and big-play capability to be that kind of performer for the Gators.

Chris Walker, DE, Tennessee: Walker was solid for the Vols last season. He was downright unblockable this past spring, which is bad news for those teams trying to block him in the fall.

Emerging stars from the SEC

May, 15, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

Who are the emerging stars in the SEC?

The spring provided a few clues, although they don't hand out All-America honors for what you do in March and April.

But based on my own observations, evaluations from coaches and talking to those close to each program, here are my picks for the emerging offensive and defensive stars on all 12 teams in the SEC:


Colin Peek, TE, Sr.:
The 6-7, 255-pound transfer from Georgia Tech could end up being Greg McElroy's best friend on key downs.

Dont'a Hightower, LB, So.:
He started as a freshman last season at will linebacker, but may get more chances as a pass-rusher in the jack linebacker role in 2009.


Joe Adams, WR, So.:
Bobby Petrino loves Adams' ability to make things happen after the catch. He was a touchdown machine in the spring.

Jerry Franklin, LB, So.:
He came to Arkansas as a safety, but led the Hogs last season with 87 tackles playing both middle and weak side linebacker.


Lee Ziemba, OT, Jr.:
The 6-8, 304-pound Ziemba is one of the more underrated offensive linemen in the league. That's about to change, though.

Craig Stevens, LB, Jr.:
Defensive coordinator Ted Roof couldn't quit talking about Stevens this spring. He's gotten bigger, stronger and faster.


Aaron Hernandez, TE, Jr.:
He's an every-down tight end that has NFL written all over him. Look for the Gators to get Hernandez the ball even more next season.

Janoris Jenkins, CB, So.:
Jenkins was one of the best freshman cornerbacks in the country last season and was versatile enough this spring to move inside to nickel when the Gators went to five defensive backs.


Clint Boling, OT, Jr.:
He can play anywhere on the offensive line and pretty much has for the Bulldogs. He ended the spring as the starting left tackle.

Justin Houston, DE, So.:
His five sacks in the last two scrimmages of the spring illustrates what kind of pass-rusher he can be. But he'll be suspended for the first two games in 2009.


Randall Cobb, QB/WR, So.:
Cobb showed what he could do in stretches last season at quarterback. Now it's time to turn it loose as a full-time receiver.

Winston Guy, S, So.:
Rich Brooks has called Guy the most talented defensive back he's signed at Kentucky. Guy looked the part this spring at free safety.


Jordan Jefferson, QB, So.:
He showed flashes in his two starts to end last season. Jefferson has the run/pass ability to be an outstanding quarterback in this league.

Patrick Peterson, CB, So.:
Les Miles said it best this spring: Peterson is ready to play at a different level. He has great ball skills and is excellent in man coverage.

Mississippi State

Leon Berry, WR, Jr.:
The Bulldogs need receivers, and Berry was the best of the bunch this spring after coming over from junior college. He caught eight passes for 125 yards in the spring game.

Pernell McPhee, DT, Jr.:
McPhee is another junior college transfer who didn't take long to establish himself in the middle of the Bulldogs' defensive line. He's a real disrupter.

Ole Miss

Brandon Bolden, RB, So.: Bolden beat out several challengers and heads into the fall as the Rebels' starting tailback after a big spring. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry last season.

Patrick Trahan, LB, Sr.:
He started at Auburn, made a detour through junior college and is now poised for a breakout senior season. Watch him take off in 2009.

South Carolina

Jarvis Giles, RB, Fr.:
The Gamecocks needed to rev up their running game and did so with the speedy Giles, who showed in the spring just how explosive he can be.

Stephon Gilmore, CB, Fr.: How talented is Gilmore? He's going to start in the opener at cornerback and will also get some chances at quarterback in a special package.


Vladimir Richard, OG, Sr.:
One of the most physically impressive players on Tennessee's roster, Richard has the tools to be a devastating run blocker.

Chris Walker, DE, Jr.: If the spring is any indication, then Walker is about to become one of the most feared pass-rushers in the league. Lane Kiffin called him "unblockable."


Terence Jeffers, WR, Jr.:
The transfer from Connecticut is that big, physical playmaker the Commodores need on offense. He was the best player on the field for much of the spring.

Chris Marve, LB, So.:
Quietly, Marve was one of the most productive freshmen in the league last season. He was fourth with 105 total tackles and led the SEC with four forced fumbles.