Obviously this list is open for debate as any list is. These are my picks as the top 14 players in the SEC for 2014 and I would love to hear anyone’s opinion on this.
1. Todd Gurley- Georgia: Gurley is the best Running Back in the country in just about everybody’s opinion. He’s 6-1, 235 and has plenty of speed at that size. Gurley has some injury problems last year after a tremendous freshman season in 2012. Gurley rushed for 1385 yards in 2012 and then 989 yards in 2013. Look for Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt to try and ride Gurley for all he is made of in 2014. Also, expect Gurley to respond with a huge season and might even climb into the Heisman favorite.
2. Nick Marshall- Auburn: Marshall is the best QB in the SEC pretty easily. He led Auburn to the SEC title and almost to a National Championship in his first season as a D1 starter and should be improved this season as a passer. He lost his top offensive threat, Tre Mason, but has plenty of others returning as well as super WR Duke Williams. Auburn’s offense is going to be pretty much unstoppable with Marshall running the show.
3. A’Shawn Robinson- Alabama: Alabama’s defense is loaded as usual, and Robinson is possibly their best player on that side of the ball. Robinson was a monster as a true freshman last season and very difficult to handle. He should do nothing but get better on a college weight program.
4. Robert Nkemdiche- Ole Miss: Expect a true break out season for Nkemdiche. He was good as a true freshman last year, but should be better in 2014 and he has moved inside to DT. Optimism at Ole Miss has not been this high in ages and possibly with good reason. Although, they have a killer schedule.
5. TJ Yeldon- Alabama: Yeldon may be on this list, but he may not even start for Alabama this season. After watching their Spring Game, however, I have to believe that he will be the man again this season. Yeldon is a big running back at 6-2, 220 and has excellent speed plus he already has 2,300 career rushing yards at Tuscaloosa. People, myself included, are in love with the potential of Derrick Henry but Yeldon will probably start another season before heading off to the NFL like they all do these days.
6. Duke Williams – Auburn: Duke Williams is my surprise player on this list. I have seen his clips from his JC playing days and watched him in the Spring Game and Williams looks fantastic. He will team up with Sammie Coates and form one of the great receiving combos in the nation. I will be surprised if Duke is not All- SEC this season. He has the knack to come up with the circus catch and the big play.
7. Mike Davis- South Carolina: At 5-9, 215, Davis is a hard running machine and I thought it might take a while for the Gamecocks to replace one of my favorite Running Backs, Marcus Lattimore. Davis hits the hole in a hurry and is very strong after contact, and he rushed for 1183 yards a season ago. He’s a good receiver out of the backfield as well and should be drafted fairly high in the 2015 draft.
8. Ramik Wilson – Georgia: The Bulldogs defense has been hit or miss the last few years. Ramik Wilson, 6-2, 235, was not only the Bulldogs returning tackler, he also led the entire SEC. He had 133 tackles, 11 tackles for losses, and 4 sacks. The senior from Tampa, Florida should be a high NFL draft pick in 2015. Expect Wilson to have a huge year with the addition of new Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt from Florida State. The Bulldogs don’t have the Seminoles athletes on defense, but they should be better than last season and Wilson will be their leader.
9. Cody Prewitt- Ole Miss: This should be a really quality Ole Miss team. Hugh Freeze is an excellent recruiter and has added plenty of talent. Prewitt is a big time safety and a big body back there at 6-2, 220. He was 2nd in 2013 on the team in tackles behind LB Serderius Bryant. Prewitt had 71 tackles but what made him really stand out was the 6 interceptions. He also had 4.5 tackles for loss and came up with 7 passes broken up and 2 forced fumbles. Prewitt was very productive for the Ole Miss Rebels in 2013, needless to say.
10. Shon Coleman-Auburn: Coleman is the probable replacement for outstanding Left Tackle Greg Robinson who was the top Offensive Tackle taken in this year’s NFL draft. Coleman, a cancer survivor, is a really ripped 6-6, 310 Offensive Tackle and moves really well for his size. Coleman is a tremendously hard worker and has a huge heart as coming back from cancer is evidence of. The Auburn Tigers return 4 out of 5 Offensive Linemen from a year ago and most every other starter on offense and should be a force to be dealt with in 2014. Expect Coleman to be a large part of that.
11. Alvin Dupree – Kentucky: Alvin Dupree is a senior to be Defensive End for the Kentucky Wildcats originally from Irwinton, Georgia. Dupree is super quick off the edge and is big enough at 6-4, 255 to either have a shot at the next level or at OLB in a 3-4 defense. Dupree had 61 total tackles last season and 9.5 tackles for losses and 7 sacks. Kentucky Wildcats are not a team to be feared, but they do have a solid front 4 returning led by Dupree.
12. Jermauria Rasco-LSU: The LSU Tigers always have defense and they always have a great Defensive Line. Rasco is another in a long line of great LSU Defensive Lineman and should have a huge senior year in 2014. Rasco is 6-3, 260 and had 56 tackles in 2013 with 6.5 of those for losses and 4 sacks. Rasco had another 8 QB hurries so he was very active last season. Should be an All-SEC DE in 2014 and be a fixture in the NFL.
13. Leonard Fournette- LSU: In case you are new to my blog, it’s best to go ahead and figure out that I am a huge fan of Leonard Fournette. He’s one of the more fantastic looking Running Backs to come around in a while in my opinion which means absolutely nothing until he steps on the field for the Tigers this season. Fournette was the top recruit in the country this season
14. Jeff Driskel- Florida: Like Fournette, I am a big fan of Driskel’s as well. When healthy, Driskel is really good and so are the Gators. Look for the Gator offense to be highly improved in 2014 as long as Driskel can stay healthy. Gator Coach Will Muschamp hired Offensive Coordinator Kurt Roper away from Duke and the Florida Gators offense should be much improved in 2014. But, it’s imperative that Driskel stay healthy. The Gators have recruited well for years and have plenty of talent to trot out on the field.