As I did on the 23rd, I will go through all the SEC East teams and pick a player from every team. The premise is to pick a player that strikes fear into your heart. The player that your coordinators will loses sleep trying to come up with a scheme to slow them. Make no mistake that to beat these teams, you must slow these guys.
South Carolina Jadeaveon Clowney- The junior DE is a freak of nature. Whether it’s blowing up Michigan running backs (http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2013/1/1/3825442/jadeveon-clowney-dot-gif ) or just generally striking fear into offensive players, Clowney makes USC go. He terrorized offenses last year racking up 23.5 TFL and 13 sacks on his way to being the most celebrated defensive player in the SEC (Should have been the country but don’t get me started on the Teo fraud). I think Clowney has a legitimate chance at making a Heisman run from the DE position.
Georgia Aaron Murray- The senior QB raised some eyebrows when he decided to return for his senior year with many thinking he was NFL bound. Over his career he has thrown for 10,091 yards and 95 TD’s. Not only that, he’s done it in the best conference in America. Murray is battle tested and knows what it takes to get the job done. He finished just a few yards short of what would have ended up being a national championship when they fell to Bama in the SEC title game. Make that 2 Heisman contenders in the East.
Florida Loucheiz Purifoy- With the loss of Matt Elam, the Gators have a new playmaker to lead the secondary and Purifoy did it all last year. He was 4th on the team in tackles getting 51 from his CB position. The Jr also filled up the stat sheet with 5 PBU, 3 FF, and 2 blocked kicks. In short, Purifoy makes big plays again and again and I expect it to go to the next level this year. Look out for him getting 1rst team All-SEC looks and making it on Sports Center’s top plays.
Vanderbilt Brian Kimbrow- Some may call this a surprise pick but I don’t think you’ll be surprised by seasons end. Last year he was behind star Zack Stacey and still got 66 carries for 413 yards and 3 TD’s. For those counting, that’s a 6.26 average per carry. Vandy will have a new QB and I look for them to lean on the sophomore RB’s elite speed and playmaking ability, particularly early in the schedule. He only had 3 catches last year and I expect that to be much more utilized next year. All Kimbrow needs is a crease and he can take it in for 6. This is one of the guys I’ll be telling you “I told you so” after a few games.
Tennessee AJ Johnson- The junior LB was an absolute tackling machine last year getting 138 total stops and 8.5 TFL. With Butch Jones having to replace a ton of guys on offense it makes it easy to look defense and you can’t look past Johnson. He also registered 1 sack and 8 QB hurries. After another year of training and his teammates around him expecting to perform better, I expect even more from AJ. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see him grab some All-SEC honors at seasons end.
Kentucky Demarco Robinson- This pick is based on a lot of potential and my expectations of what a Stoops offense will bring to the Wildcats. Robinson isn’t the biggest guy at 5’10 160 but he is an outstanding playmaker. Last year he was 2nd on the team with 28 catches with what could be described as a lethargic offense. Stoops will throw much more and utilize his speed guys and playmakers and I expect Robinson to be the main guy to benefit.
Missouri James Franklin- Last year was a down year for the rising senior QB. We saw a significant production decrease from the year before. On his career he has 4,533 yards through the air and 32 Td’s. I’m counting on a rebound year for Franklin. Old OC Daivd Yost is gone so look for new wrinkles and ways to use his talent more efficiently. Last year was a rough year for Missouri as a whole and not just Franklin in their 1rst in the SEC but I expect a much better year out of them led by the James Franklin of 2011 where he threw for 2,872 yards and 21 Td’s and was a dynamic playmaker.
If you missed the SEC West picks https://3rdand57.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/what-sec-west-players-do-you-fear/
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