QB: Chad Kelly – Ole Miss: Kelly was a little too much like Bo Wallace last season in that he was inconsistent. Kelly has a much stronger arm and is a good runner if necessary. At times, Kelly looked All World and that’s the Kelly many are expecting for the 2016 season. Last season, he threw for just over 4,000 yards and ran for 500. The senior from Buffalo, New York could be among the nation’s best this season.
QB: Joshua Dobbs – Tennessee: As Dobbs goes, so goes Tennessee. The Vols were very average
before he became the starter and they are pretty good with him in the lineup. With a more experienced Offensive Line in 2016, this finally could be the year of the Vols again in the SEC East. Dobbs threw for 2,291 yards and 15 Touchdowns a year ago, while running for 671 more yards and 11 Touchdowns.
RB: Leonard Fournette – LSU: Returning for no doubt his final college football season, Fournette enters 2016 with 2,987 career rushing yards and 32 rushing touchdowns. He should compete with Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson for the coveted Heisman Trophy and then all three will announce for the NFL. Forget that nonsense about Alabama shutting out Fournette. Nobody says anything about Adrien Peterson and the Seattle Seahawks held him to 18 yards rushing last season. That just happens in a team game some times. Fournette is a franchise player and he should go over the 2,000 yard barrier as a junior in 2016.
RB: Nick Chubb – Georgia: It’s not certain yet when Chubb will return. He was severely injured against Tennessee last season and is working hard to return. He was considered the best Running Back in the SEC as a freshman by many and he could be at that level again really soon if he recovers as expected.
RB: Jalen Hurd – Tennessee: At 6-3, 240, Hurd is a huge back in the same sense as Derrick Henry.
Hurd has 2,187 yards rushing in two seasons in Knoxville including 1,288 and 12 Touchdowns this past year. Like Dobbs, Hurd should benefit from finally having a more experienced Offensive Line in front of him. He’s definitely one to watch in 2016.
RB: Ralph Webb – Vanderbilt: A Vanderbilt Offensive Lineman stated last season that he would rather have Webb on his team than Nick Chubb. I wouldn’t go that far, but Webb is a talent in his own right. The 5-11, 205 Webb ran for 1,152 yards a year ago.
WR: Calvin Ridley – Alabama: Super explosive true freshman a season ago. Bama lost a lot when Amari Cooper left for the NFL, but Ridley helped ease the pain a bit. He caught 89 receptions last year for a 1,045 yards and 7 Touchdowns.
WR: Christian Kirk – Texas A%M: Another outstanding true freshman a year ago. Kirk was the Aggies leading receiver with 80 catches for 1,009 yards and 7 Touchdowns. He was one of the top rated Wide Receivers in the nation a year ago from Scottsdale, Arizona.
WR: Fred Ross – Mississippi State: Ross is the Bulldog’s best returning player for next season and is a bigger, stronger receiver at 6-2, 205 with good hands and speed. Ross will miss his long time Quarterback friend in Dak Prescott, but sophomore Nick Fitzgerald should be really good as the replacement.
WR: Drew Morgan – Arkansas: Morgan came out of nowhere last year to have a spectacular season for the Razorbacks catching 63 passes for 843 yards and 10 Touchdowns. He is not the biggest or the fastest guy around, but he is tough and he has great hands and is fast enough.
WR: Malachi Dupre – LSU: Two years ago, Dupre was the nation’s top rated recruit at Wide Receiver in spite of playing in a running offense in high school. Dupre still plays in a running offense, but his talents cannot be denied. Last season, he only caught 43 passes, but that was good enough to lead the Tigers and many of them were spectacular catches.
TE: OJ Howard – Alabama: Howard pretty much broke Clemson in the national title game with a couple of really huge plays. Over the season, the 6-6, 245 Howard caught 38 passes for 602 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Both Touchdowns came against Clemson in the championship when he hauled in 5 receptions for 208 yards. Howard can really run for his size which should make him a top draft choice after this next season. Frankly, I am still in shock that Howard elected to return to college football. Good for him, it will pay off when he is picked in the the first round of 2017.
TE: Jeremy Sprinkle – Arkansas: Hunter Henry is the top rated Tight End by most this year, and Sprinkle was his back up. Sprinkle is a talent in his own right and he caught 27 passes a year ago. Sprinkle is 6-6, 255 which will make him an ideal NFL prospect.
OT: David Sharpe – Florida: Sharpe is a monster at 6-6, 350 and he split time with heralded freshman recruit Martez Ivey early on last season. Later, Ivey moved inside leaving the job solely to Sharpe. Sharpe is not the best Tackle in the Conference right now, but he has a lot of potential.
OT: Dan Skipper – Arkansas: Apparently, I like Skipper more than most. At 6-10, 330, Skipper is one of the biggest players in college football and certainly one of the tallest. He started as a true freshman at Offensive Guard, and then moved to Left Tackle for his sophomore season. This past season, Skipper started at Right Tackle. Skipper is quick enough laterally to handle most Defensive Ends, but he might struggle with a really incredibly quick Outside Linebacker. He won’t be bull rushed by many.
OG: Braden Smith – Auburn: Smith is not incredibly huge and he has really quick feet and can hold his own against most anybody. He manhandled Robert Nkemdiche last season if you will go back and watch the film. Smith is one of the more impressive Guards in the country as far as production.
OG: Martez Ivey – Florida: Ivey was the top Offensive Tackle prospect in the country a year ago and he started off at Left Tackle some before moving inside to Left Guard where he apparently found a permanent home. Ivey is lean and mean at 6-5, 300.
OG: Maea Teuhema – LSU: A former 5 star recruit, Teuhema started from day one for the LSU Tigers at Left Guard and he looks like a future NFL star. At 6-5, 327, Teuhema has the size and the strength to move mountains and he often does.
C: Austin Golson – Auburn: Golson signed with Ole Miss originally and played as a true freshman. But, he transferred to Auburn where he sat out a season before starting last year.
C: Ethan Pocic – LSU: The 6-7, 310 Lemont, Illinois product is one of the top Offensive Linemen in the SEC and is really athletic and quick for his size. He played Right Guard and then Center last season.
DE: Charles Harris – Missouri: The Tigers have become something of a Defensive End U type of school. Harris and Walter Brady are their latest top Defensive Ends and both of them can play. Harris and Brady both had 7 Quarterback sacks a year ago and both are back. Harris has slightly more experience over Brady.
DE: Derek Barnett – Tennessee: The Tennessee Vols defense came on strong a year ago and one of their leaders has been Barnett. He is one of the leagues best against both the run and the pass from his Defensive End position and he should continue with that destruction this season.
DE: Myles Garrett – Texas A%M: The league’s best pass rusher over the past two seasons. Garrett is big and fast and comes off the edge very well. I am not always impressed with his play against the run, but sometimes he is very effective in that as well. He is definitely a terror coming off the corner for passing teams.
DE: Arden Key – LSU: Key was a true freshman last season and still on the thin side. But, Key is 6-6 and has almost unlimited potential and he plays the run very well considering his youth and that he was only around 230 pounds as a freshman. He should be one of the SEC’s best over the next couple of seasons.
DT: Jonathan Allen – Alabama: Bama’s best Defensive Line pass rusher a season ago on their championship run. I am still amused by all the media that had written the Crimson Tide off and wrote that their dynasty was over while I had them ranked #1 for some of that period. Allen is about 6-3, 285 and contributed 12 Quarterback sacks last season.
DT: Montravius Adams – Auburn: Adams is a guy that still possesses almost unlimited potential but has not always played up to it. When he wants it, Adams can be very good up front for the Tigers. He did elect to return for his senior season and he needs to play well this year to move up in the 2017 NFL Draft standings.
DT: Terry Beckner Jr – Missouri: The nation’s most highly ranked Defensive Tackle a year ago. Beckner played like it much of last year when he was in the game. Beckner can be as good as he
wants to be and I am thinking he shows that this next season.
LB: Reuben Foster – Alabama: Foster’s is Australian for Linebacker. Foster has been one of the Tide’s hardest hitting players for the past couple of seasons. Reggie Ragland has moved on to the NFL and Foster should be the Tide’s best Linebacker next season.
LB: Kendall Beckwith – LSU: At 6-2, 255, Beckwith is great against the run. But, he is not bad against the pass, also. He was the team’s second leading tackler a season ago and he was another guy that was expected to declare for the NFL.
LB: Richie Brown – Mississippi State: Brown was a part time starter in 2014 and he still came up with a ton of huge plays for his defense. Last season, he was a full time starter and he led the team in tackles. He is back for his senior season in 2016 and he should be a team leader.
LB: Skai Moore – South Carolina: The Gamecocks leading tackler a year ago, Moore is a smaller Linebacker at 6-2, 220 but he is a play maker. Surprisingly, Moore chose to return for another season.
LB: Darrin Kirkland Jr – Tennessee: Kirkland was a true freshman last year and he really came on strong showing tremendous potential. Kirkland finished 4th on the team in tackles last year with a late start and could be All SEC in 2016.
CB: Jalen Tabor – Florida: The Gators had two of the best Cornerbacks in the country last season with Vernon Hargreaves III and Jalen Tabor. Hargreaves left for the NFL, but Tabor is back for his junior season. Tabor has great size at 6-0, 190 and he picked off 4 passes a year ago.
CB: Tony Bridges – Ole Miss: A year ago, Bridges was the top rated Junior College Cornerback in the country and he signed with Ole Miss. He may not have completely lived up to expectations a year ago, but he has this season to accomplish that. He picked off 3 passes last year taking one back for a score.
CB: Marlon Humphrey – Alabama: Humphrey was a very highly recruited Cornerback out of Hoover, Alabama and he played like it last year as a freshman. Clearly, he will be one of the nation’s elite Cornerbacks over the next couple of seasons and beyond.
DB: Eddie Jackson – Alabama: I was stunned when Jackson elected to return for his senior season at Alabama. Last season, Jackson picked off 6 passes including 2 against Texas A%M and he returned 2 for Touchdowns. He was also among the team’s leaders in tackles.
DB: Jamal Adams – LSU: The Tigers third leading tackler and one of the nation’s elite Safeties. Not only was he a top tackler, he also picked off 4 passes a year ago. At 6-1, 210, he can be a good run stopper as well as very good in pass coverage.
DB: Dominick Sanders – Georgia: Sanders had 6 Interceptions last year and he was one of his team’s leading tacklers. Sanders is 6-0, 190 and he’s back for his junior year with a new defensive minded coach in Kirby Smart taking over the program.
DB: Donovan Wilson – Texas A%M: One of his team’s leading tacklers and a ball hawk while picking off 5 passes. Wilson also returned an Interception for a Touchdown.
PR: Cameron Sutton – Tennessee: Sutton led the conference in punt return average a year ago and took 2 back for scores.
KR: Evan Berry – Tennessee: Berry had an incredible season returning kicks taking 3 back for Touchdowns and averaging over 38 yards per returns.
Kicker: Daniel Carlson – Auburn:
Punter: JK Scott – Alabama: