SEC: Ricky Jean-Francois

BATON ROUGE, La. – At his national signing day press conference, LSU coach Les Miles ran down a list of names on a sheet of paper, rattling off details about each of the Tigers’ signees. But when he got to the new defensive tackle from San Antonio, Miles grinned and had to pause.

“I better call him Trey L. this minute,” Miles chuckled while struggling to pronounce Trey Lealaimatafao's last name. “It will take me several years to get to that. And I want you to know something, he’s a wonderful man and I pray that he’ll be forgiving my inability.”

Miles predicted it would probably take “a couple years” before he clears that verbal obstacle, adding that his struggles will provide reporters with fodder “to throw at me just about any point in time that you need to.”

I can’t make any guarantees, but I’d imagine the kid will cut Miles some slack. Sure, questions and jokes about your name might get annoying from time to time, but you definitely get used to it. Continuing to get angry about it won’t do any good and would only mean you’d walk around in an irritable state most of the time.

Mr. L. seems to share that perspective. Just this week, he tweeted instructions on how to pronounce it for those who understandably need some assistance.

Simple, right?

[+] EnlargeTrey Lealaimatafao
Tom Hauck for Student SportsHis last name isn't the only big thing about Trey Lealaimatafao's (left) game.
Anyway, once he becomes a legit LSU letterman, Lealaimatafao will tie for the longest last name in Tigers football history. I know because I looked it up myself.

These are the things you do when you’re a bored college football writer during the summer months. You get a wild hair and comb through the list of lettermen in the media guide, checking to see if the new signee actually has the longest name among the six pages and hundreds of lettermen listed from more than 120 years of Tigers football.

In case you were wondering -- and I know you were -- Lealaimatafao’s 13-letter last name ties with 1939 letterman W.H. Froechtenicht for the top spot on this important list. They edge former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger (12 letters), among others, by a single character.

Among some of the notable long names on the list: Ricky Jean-Francois (should hyphenated names count?) and All-SEC honorees Robbie Hucklebridge and Godfrey Zaunbrecher.

Ideally, Lealaimatafao will perform well enough at LSU that he eventually becomes a household name, not one that gives announcers nightmares.

At the very same introductory press conference, Miles compared him to a former Tiger who earned such “household name” distinction among LSU fans a few years back.

“What he would remind you of is Drake Nevis,” said Miles, referring to the Tigers’ former All-SEC defensive lineman. “He’s maybe a little taller, a little wider, maybe a little faster, but he has a very high motor and real acceleration on the field.”

For now, Lealaimatafao’s claim to fame will remain his difficult-to-pronounce last name, but that could change soon enough. If Miles’ comparison holds water, the transition might just occur sooner rather than later.

The SEC's most overrated in 2008

January, 20, 2009

Posted by's Chris Low

Who lived up to the hype in 2008, and who didn't?

Georgia started the season ranked No. 1 in the country. We know the Bulldogs didn't finish there, but their season didn't unravel, either.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow didn't win a second straight Heisman Trophy, but most would agree that he had a pretty fair season.

For Sylvester Croom, Phillip Fulmer and Tommy Tuberville, it was the kind of season they would just as soon forget. More precisely, it was their final season.

We take a look back at some of the SEC's most overrated in 2008. Check back later on Wednesday, and we'll examine the underrated.

Most overrated team: Sure, the Georgia fans are still bumming about having to watch the FedEx BCS National Championship Game on television (and watching Florida collect another trophy), but the clear-cut winner is Auburn. The Tigers started the season ranked in the top 10, but finished 5-7 with only one win over an FBS team with a winning record. It was a disastrous season that ended with veteran coach Tommy Tuberville finding himself out of a job.

Most overrated player: Did LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois play at all this past season? After starring in the BCS National Championship Game two years ago, Jean-Francois was AWOL in 2008 and takes his now-you-see-me, now-you-don't act to the NFL a year early. Ricky, we hardly knew you.

Most overrated coach: On game day, Steve Spurrier is still the guy you want on your sideline. He's one of the best tacticians in the game. But he's losing some of his luster at South Carolina and is just 7-11 in his last 18 games. The Gamecocks were outscored 118-30 in their last three games in 2008, and if you didn't know better, you'd swear they packed it in on the Head Ball Coach.

Most overrated unit: LSU's defensive line was far more talented than it played all season. Maybe expectations were too high. But the Tigers were ordinary at best in their defensive front, a big reason they gave up so many points.

Most overrated rivalry: Even before Urban Meyer showed up, the Florida-Tennessee rivalry was pretty one-sided with the Gators winning most of the time. But recently, the Vols haven't even been competitive. They've been outscored 82-26 the past two years, which explains in part why Fulmer is no longer around.

Most overrated win: Alabama's 34-10 dismantling of then-No. 9 Clemson looked a lot better on Aug. 30 than it did on Dec. 9. The Tigers barely made it to a bowl game.

Most overrated loss: Has there ever been a more beneficial loss than Florida's 31-30 setback to Ole Miss on Sept. 27 at the Swamp? At the time, it was shocking. But in time, it was obvious that it was the best thing that could have happened to the Gators, who never lost again.

Most overrated game-day experience: Granted, the setting for the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville is unique. But unless you like sitting on Union Avenue for two hours trying to get to the stadium, do yourself a favor and watch the game on television.

What to watch in the SEC, Week 13

November, 21, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

It's a quiet week in the SEC, as only seven teams are playing. The LSU-Ole Miss contest (aka the Magnolia Bowl) is the marquee matchup. The winner will move to the top of the list for a Cotton Bowl bid. If Vanderbilt can beat Tennessee, the Commodores will solidify only their second winning season in SEC play in the last 48 years. Alabama is off and has Auburn at home on Nov. 29. Think there's any chance Nick Saban might take a peek at some Florida tape this weekend? The Gators might as well be off. They face The Citadel at home. Here's a look at what to watch in the SEC in Week 13:

1. Peria Jerry: When the season began, the defensive tackles around the league getting most of the ink were LSU's Ricky Jean-Francois and Auburn's Sen'Derrick Marks. Turn on the tape from the last several games, though, and find a better tackle in the SEC right now than Ole Miss' Peria Jerry. You can't. He's been dominant, and it's obvious that he's healthy after undergoing surgery in the preseason to repair meniscus damage in his knee. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Jerry is second among all SEC defensive tackles with 10.5 tackles for loss and will be a huge key if Ole Miss is going to end its six-game losing streak Saturday against LSU.

2. LSU's O-line vs. Ole Miss' D-line: This has to be one of the best matchups of the season. LSU has had its problems this season, but they haven't been on the offensive line. The Tigers have at least two future pros in tackle Ciron Black and guard Herman Johnson. One of the keys, though, will be senior center Brett Helms, who's not 100 percent and trying to gut it out. The Rebels also have two or three future pros in their defensive line and are finally healthy. Even enigmatic defensive endGreg Hardy looked like his old self last week. Ole Miss won't hold anything back, which is why the Rebels have an SEC-leading 80 tackles for loss this season.

3. Showcase for Snead: His numbers suggest he's one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, maybe the best. But to really make this a season to remember, Ole Miss sophomore quarterback Jevan Snead needs to lead his team to a big win on the road. Here's his chance against storied rival LSU. Ole Miss offensive coordinator Kent Austin has done a nice job of bringing Snead along at just the right pace. But like all first-year quarterbacks in this league, Snead has blown hot and cold at times. He seems to be hitting his stride now and will no doubt take his shots against an LSU secondary that has given up its share of big plays this season.

4. Hold on tightly: The surest way for Ole Miss to go into Tiger Stadium on Saturday and lose the football game is to turn it over a bunch of times. The Rebels know that drill well. They turned it over 15 times in their four losses this season, but have lost just one turnover during their three-game winning streak. Forcing turnovers hasn't been LSU's forte, either. The Tigers have forced just 14 turnovers this season, which is tied for next to last in the league along with Georgia. That's in direct contrast to LSU's ball-hawking defense from a year ago. The Tigers forced 36 turnovers on their way to the BCS national championship in 2007.

5. A brotherly thing: Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino won't make a final call on his starting quarterback for the Mississippi State game until later in the day on Friday. It sounds like he's leaning toward making a change and going with the younger of the Dick brothers, redshirt freshman Nathan. Casey, a senior, has started 28 consecutive games, but left the South Carolina game two weeks ago with a concussion after throwing three interceptions. Petrino said there's a chance that both of the brothers could play in the game and that they've been energized by the competition this week in practice. For Nathan, it's a chance to generate some momentum going into the offseason. He'll need to play well if he's going to beat out Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett for the job next season.

6. Malcolm who?: The offensive linemen who've gone against Arkansas defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard this season know who he is. Still, the 6-foot-3, 277-pound junior is one of the more underrated defenders in the league. He's tied for second in the SEC with 11.5 tackles for loss and leads all defensive tackles in that category. He also has 5.5 sacks, which is an SEC-high for defensive tackles. Sheppard, one of the Arkansas team captains, has helped to keep a defense together that went through a brutal three-game stretch in which it gave up 139 points to Alabama, Texas and Florida. The Hogs have played more respectably on defense ever since, and Sheppard has been a big reason why.

7. Croom's future: The fans at Mississippi State are growing increasingly more restless each week, and many of them are calling for Sylvester Croom to hit the road. Yep, the same Sylvester Croom that won SEC Coach of the Year honors last season and led the Bulldogs to eight wins and a Liberty Bowl victory. Mississippi State (3-7, 1-5 SEC) needs to show some improvement these last two weeks, especially on offense. Croom may shake it up some Saturday against Arkansas. He wants to get both redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Relf and redshirt freshman running back Wade Bonner on the field, while J.C. Brignone will return to center and Michael Gates will move to left guard.

8. Tennessee defensive pride: It's been a horrible season for the Vols. There's no way to sugarcoat it. But through the agony of it all, John Chavis' defense has continued to play with pride and deserves far better than how this thing is going to end up. Tennessee enters Saturday's game at Vanderbilt ranked No. 7 nationally in total defense, which is remarkable when you consider how little help the defense has received from an offense that has been held to single digits in its last three games. Chavis has had better defenses at Tennessee, but few have played with more resolve than this group.

9. Less orange in Vanderbilt Stadium: This may actually be an honest-to-goodness home game for Vanderbilt, which hasn't beaten Tennessee in Nashville since 1982. Traditionally, the orange in the Vanderbilt Stadium stands when these two teams meet is as prevalent as the black and gold. There have been years when it almost sounded like a home game for the Vols. But not this year. Tennessee is putting the wraps on one of the worst seasons in school history, while Vanderbilt is headed to a bowl game for the first time in 26 years. "I hope we have a huge black and gold advantage in our stadium," Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said.

10. 50, 60 and counting: How many points will Florida score on The Citadel, and how long will Urban Meyer play his starters? It's really one of those games that the Gators get very little out of, particularly this late in the season. In fact, you know Meyer and his staff will be holding their breath the entire time hoping somebody doesn't get rolled up and injured. It's no time to play scared, but you can bet that Meyer will be smart about how long he leaves guys like Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes in the game. Florida hasn't lost to a current non-FBS school since losing to Villanova in 1946.

Alem emerges as LSU's top pass-rusher

November, 4, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

If somebody would have predicted back in August that an LSU player would be leading the SEC in sacks 10 weeks into the season, I probably would have agreed.

Tyson Jackson or Ricky Jean-Francois would have been logical candidates or even Kirston Pittman, who led the Tigers with eight sacks last season.

But Rahim Alem?

The LSU junior defensive end is tied with Auburn's Antonio Coleman for the SEC lead in sacks. They each have six. Alem's sack last week against Tulane resulted in a fumble by Tulane quarterback Joe Kemp that LSU cornerback Chris Hawkins picked up and returned 24 yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 21-3 halftime lead.

"He's a guy that has grown up in the program and has leadership ability and really has taken the responsibility to heart to make his team better and make himself better," LSU coach Les Miles said of Alem, who had two career sacks entering this season.

Alem has six of the Tigers' 18 sacks this season. They had 37 a year ago and would like it if a few more front guys could consistently get to the quarterback.

Aside from being one of LSU's top pass-rushers, Alem is a pretty interesting story all the way around. He legally changed his name during the spring of 2006. His given name was Alfred Marvin Jones Jr. His new name is part Swahili, part Arabic and has nothing to do with a religious conversion, but rather his African heritage.

Alem is also the older brother of LSU safety Chad Jones. Their father, Al, was a defensive end at Tulane from 1976-78.

LSU's 'Express' defense gets swagger back

October, 23, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

The Express was a success.

LSU, with its quicker alignment along the defensive line, looked like the kind of defensive unit in the second half against South Carolina last week that's capable of carrying a team to a championship.

In a lot of ways, it was reminiscent of what the Tigers did to teams a year ago on their way to winning a national title.

South Carolina didn't score a point in the second half and was held to 42 total yards, including minus-7 yards in the fourth quarter. And here's the biggie: The Tigers sacked South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia six times after coming into that game with only nine sacks all season.

The Tigers used four defensive ends up front in an attempt to get more pressure. They call it their "Express" package, and Georgia can expect to see even more of it this Saturday with a caveat.

Ricky Jean-Francois, the Tigers' most disruptive interior lineman, will be back after missing the last two games with a groin injury. He'll play inside at one of the tackle spots alongside Tyson Jackson, who normally plays end. Rahim Alem will slide in at Jackson's end spot, and Kirston Pittman will stay at the other end.

The Tigers are deep enough that they will play eight to 10 players up front.

But what's more important than the depth is playing as active as they did a week ago, something Jackson says Georgia can count on.

"We just ran around and had fun, something we haven't done in a long time," said Jackson, who had two sacks against the Gamecocks. "We ran around and made some plays, four fast men in the game.

"Just catch onto the train, because we're coming. It's the way the LSU defense is supposed to play."

The Tigers had all the motivation they needed last week just by looking at the Florida score from a week before. The Gators romped 51-21 and piled up 475 yards, the second most that LSU has given up in a regulation game under Miles.

"We were determined to come out and get our swagger back, and I think we did," LSU safety Harry Coleman said.

LSU's Jean-Francois doesn't make trip

October, 18, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois sure has been quiet ever since saying he was going to take out Florida's Tim Tebow.

For the second straight week, Jean-Francois did not make the trip with the rest of the LSU team. The Tigers take on South Carolina on Saturday night in Columbia. Jean-Francois has been slowed by a groin injury. He also missed the Florida game last weekend.

The Tigers are coming off one of their worst defensive performances under Les Miles. They gave up 475 yards of total offense in their 51-21 loss to Florida. Senior tackle Charles Alexander has also been banged up for the Tigers, meaning sophomore Drake Nevis will get increased playing time for the second straight week.

LSU has forced an SEC-low four turnovers through five games this season and is tied for 11th in the league with just nine sacks.

LSU's Jean-Francois won't play against Florida

October, 11, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

Turns out LSU's Ricky Jean-Francois won't even be around to take that shot on Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

Jean-Francois didn't make the trip because of a groin injury and won't play Saturday night against the Gators. It's a blow for the Tigers, but certainly not catastrophic.

The deepest position on LSU's team is the defensive line. The No. 3-ranked Tigers have been playing nine and 10 players up front defensively this season.

Marlon Favorite and Al Woods will share the snaps in filling in for Jean-Francois at one tackle. The other tackle, Charles Alexander, isn't completely healthy. He's been nursing an ankle injury.

Jean-Francois caused a stir earlier in the week with his comments in the Orlando Sentinel that he was going to try and knock Tebow out of the game if he got a clean shot.

The ironic thing about that is that Jean-Francois only has one sack this season, and the Tigers as a team only have six. They haven't gotten the kind of consistent pressure on the quarterback they did a year ago.

Florida's Spikes: Don't make the beast angrier

October, 9, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

Florida's Brandon Spikes joked that he's seen this movie before, and the ending isn't usually a good one for the other team.

Spikes said the comments by LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois about trying to knock Tim Tebow out of the game would have the reverse effect on the Gators' Heisman Trophy quarterback.

"I didn't take it personally because I know what kind of guy Tim Tebow is," said Spikes, Florida's All-SEC middle linebacker. "They really don't know what they're doing by saying things like that. They're just making the beast that much madder.

"When guys talk like that about Tim, it's just that much better for us. He'll definitely show up."

Former Florida State linebacker Geno Hayes put the bounty out on Tebow a year ago when he proclaimed prior to the game, "Tim Tebow is going down this week."

Tebow responded by throwing for three touchdowns and running for another in Florida's 45-12 dismantling of Florida State.

Spikes feels another one of those performances coming on this Saturday at the Swamp.

"Geno Hayes got in Tim's face, and on the next play, Tim broke his tackle and about three other tackles and went for a touchdown," Spikes recounted. "I've seen the outcome when guys talk trash to Tim."

Lunchtime links: Franklin says he was told to get lost

October, 9, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

Here's a sampling of what else they're saying and writing around the SEC:

Florida vs. LSU has become SEC's can't-miss game

October, 9, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

This is a game that stands on its own.

Florida and LSU are two of the most talented teams in the country, two of college football's premier programs and the owners of the last two BCS national championship trophies.


It's a matchup that really didn't need any extra spice, although LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois made sure of it with his comments that he was going take Tim Tebow out of the game if he got a clean shot.

Jean-Francois says his comments were misinterpreted. Try telling that to the Swamp crazies on Saturday night and to the big guys up front responsible for protecting the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner.

Let's face it. If the game is half as entertaining as the one a year ago on the Bayou, we're all in for a treat.

Florida vs. Georgia might be the most anticipated game this season in the SEC, and Alabama vs. LSU has all the juicy storylines.

But the best game, the game that makes even the fans feel sore afterward because of all the thunderous hits and causes neck cramps from watching all the premium playmakers blaze up and down the field?

That game is Florida vs. LSU.

(Read full post)

The spin is in: Tigers not gunning for Tebow

October, 8, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

There's nothing like a little spin control.

You knew it was coming after the comments of LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois began to circulate. Jean-Francois was quoted earlier this week in a blog entry by the Orlando Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler as saying he planned to "take [Tim] Tebow out of the game" this Saturday.

Jean-Francois, who was interviewed by Fowler last week, was pretty explicit in the way his comments were reported in saying the Tigers were going to go after Tebow and hurt him. He even used the analogy of a car wreck without a seatbelt.

He told the Orlando Sentinel: "If we get a good shot on him, we're going to try our best to take him out of the game. With his size and his heart, it's hard to get a clean shot. If he does get hurt, there's a trained medical staff at Florida, so you can go to the training room on Sunday."

Give the LSU folks credit. It didn't take them long to react.

By Tuesday, Jean-Francois had issued a statement through the LSU media relations department clarifying his comments. Naturally, Jean-Francois was off limits to the media.

"We never go into any football game trying to hurt a player from the other team," Jean-Francois said in his statement. "My comments in regard to Florida quarterback Tim Tebow were misinterpreted and were intended to reflect the style of football that we play at LSU. We have great respect for Tim as player and a competitor. By taking him out of the game, I meant, as a defense we are going to try to make him ineffective. I'm sorry that my initial comments were interpreted another way."

Interpreted another way?

When you start talking about car wrecks and trained medical staffs being able to deal with injuries, how else is it supposed to be interpreted?

Something tells me it will be interpreted exactly the way it was reported in the Orlando Sentinel when Jean-Francois hits the field Saturday night at the Swamp.

To Tebow's credit, he downplayed the whole thing and said any kind of trash talk just raises his level of intensity -- which is already through the roof.

Should be interesting.

Lunchtime links: Tigers want to KO Tebow

October, 7, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

Let's go around the league and see what others are writing and saying:

  • LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois says if the Tigers get a clean shot to take Florida quarterback Tim Tebow out of the game, they're going to take it.

Jean-Francois' mind on more than just football

August, 30, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The more he tried, the harder it was for LSU junior defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois to sleep Friday night.

For one, Hurricane Gustav was bearing down on the Louisiana coast, and his girlfriend's family all live in the New Orleans area.

And with the Appalachian State game being moved up to 10 a.m. CT start so it wouldn't bump heads with the contraflow evacuation through Baton Rouge, Jean-Francois knew he had to be up by 6 a.m.

"I kept waking up every minute and looking at my cell phone," Jean-Francois said. "Finally, I just stayed up and watched ESPN all night. I probably slept about two hours max. I just kept waking up and getting up, waking up and getting up to make sure I wasn't late."

This wasn't just any game for Jean-Francois, who missed all but the last two games a year ago for academic reasons.

This was his first game as a starter in Tiger Stadium.

"Yeah, it seemed like it had been forever," said Jean-Francois, who wasn't eligible to play last season until the SEC championship game and BCS national championship game, where he was named the Defensive MVP.

He's already been tabbed as one of the best interior defensive linemen in college football by analysts and scouts, but Jean-Francois was anxious to prove it.

"I can play a lot better when I get a few more games under my belt. I will play a lot better," said Jean-Francois, who broke up a pass in LSU's 41-13 bludgeoning of Appalachian State. "The thing about this defense is that we're two-deep just about everywhere, especially up front. We just keep rotating."

Two of LSU's normal defensive line starters didn't even start Saturday. End Kirston Pittman came off the bench to play some. He was "nicked," according to LSU coach Les Miles, and Tremaine Johnson had played lights out during preseason camp. Tackle Charles Alexander missed the game with a hamstring injury that's been bothering him.

"It's a great thing we have here, when you have that many good players the coaches can choose from," said Jean-Francois, who was in a hurry to go check on his girlfriend and her family.

In fact, football wasn't on any of the players' minds as they filed out of the locker room on Saturday.

"I'm from Miami, so I see six or seven of these things (hurricanes) a year," Jean-Francois said. "I know the stress it takes to get out and get away from a storm like this. I've told my girlfriend that she needs to head North. Everybody down South needs to.

"We dedicated this game today to all the people of Louisiana who are trying to get away."

Ranking the SEC's best, 1-25

July, 28, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

The Gainesville Sun ran an interesting series this summer rating the Top 25 players in the SEC heading into the season.

Not surprisingly, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was No. 1, which is where he belongs. Georgia tailback Knowshon Moreno was No. 2 and Florida receiver Percy Harvin No. 3.

It's pretty hard to argue with those choices, although I might have a defensive player somewhere in the top three -- LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois. LSU center Brett Helms told me at the SEC Media Days last week that he thinks Jean-Francois can be as dominant as any defensive lineman the Tigers have had since he's been on campus.

That's saying something when you check LSU's roster the past few years.

Granted, Jean-Francois isn't as proven as some of the other defenders in the league, but watch him take off this season.

Here's the Gainesville Sun's Top 25:

1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
2. Knowshon Moreno, TB, Georgia
3. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
4. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
5. Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
6. Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
7. Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
8. Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss
9. Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
10. Arian Foster, TB, Tennessee
11. Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia
12. Kenny McKinley, WR, South Carolina
13. Derek Pegues, S, Miss. State
14. Ricky Jean-Francois, DT, LSU
15. Anthony Parker, OG, Tennessee
16. Jasper Brinkley, LB, South Carolina
17. D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
18. Eric Norwood, LB, South Carolina
19. Cornelius Ingram, TE, Florida
20. Captain Munnerlyn, CB, South Carolina
21. Ben Tate, RB, Auburn
22. Anthony Dixon, RB, Miss. State
23. Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
24. Jeremy Jarmon, DE, Kentucky
25. Rico McCoy, LB, Tennessee

Now, here would be my Top 25:

1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
2. Knowshon Moreno, TB, Georgia
3. Ricky Jean-Francois, DT, LSU
4. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
5. Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn
6. Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
7. Greg Hardy, DE, Ole Miss
8. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
9. Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
10. Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss
11. Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
12. Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
13. Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama
14. Derek Pegues, S, Miss. State
15. Jonathan Luigs, C, Arkansas
16. Darry Beckwith, LB, LSU
17. Kenny McKinley, WR, South Carolina
18. Arian Foster, RB, Tennessee
19. Antonio Coleman, DE, Auburn
20. Jasper Brinkley, LB, South Carolina
21. Cornelius Ingram, TE, Florida
22. Demetrius Byrd, WR, LSU
23. Jeremy Jarmon, DE, Kentucky
24. Ciron Black, OT, LSU
25. Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia

No Moreno, Stafford or Berry. Are you kidding?

July, 21, 2008

Posted by's Chris Low

Now that we know which players are scheduled to be at the SEC Media Days later this week, here's a list of the players that aren't going to be there ... but probably should:

Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno: Why even have a so-called Media Days if you're not going to bring the best running back in the league and a guy who could push the 3,000-yard career rushing mark by the end of his sophomore season?

Tennessee safety Eric Berry: Shame on the Vols for not bringing him. He's one of the best five defensive players in the league, articulate and engaging. So what if he's just a sophomore? He's one of those players fans in the SEC want to hear from and read about.

Florida receiver Percy Harvin: I know coaches like to spread the wealth and bring one offensive and one defensive player, but Harvin is the most exciting playmaker in the league. Maybe his surgically repaired right heel simply couldn't withstand the pounding of walking to and from all those interviews. Nah, Percy's shown on the field he's a lot tougher than that.

Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford: You know the conference office was thrilled with Georgia's list. No Moreno and no Stafford, the cornerstone of the Bulldogs' national championship hopes and two of the best 10 offensive players in the league.

Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy: I'm aware that Hardy had some off-the-field issues last season under former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron and was suspended for a couple of games. But he's still one of the best pass-rushers in the league. Kudos to the Rebels for bringing offensive tackle Michael Oher.

Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain: OK, maybe this is my deal, because McClain happens to be one of my favorite players in the league. When I think of a linebacker, I think of McClain -- big, fast, smart and nasty. Only a sophomore, his best is yet to come.

LSU defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois: LSU has so many good and talented players that the Tigers can't bring them all, and Jean-Francois didn't play until the end of last season. But those who saw him play know what a force he's going to be this season in the league.

Mississippi State safety Derek Pegues: One of the best all-purpose players in the league, Pegues was a big reason for the Bulldogs' turnaround last season. But he's also had a few minor run-ins with the law, which probably kept him at home in Starkville.