The offseason is a glorious time filled with way-too-premature rankings, speculation and previews of the upcoming season.
ESPN (Insider) chose to fill some of the time with a list of the nine most overrated college football players.
That list includes five players from SEC schools:
- South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore
- Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray
- Arkansas wide receiver Cobi Hamilton
- LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and
- Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo
Judging from their play on the field during their respective careers, none of those players are overrated. And in the case of Lattimore and Murray, it's particularly absurd.
Marcus Lattimore proved time and time again that he was able to shoulder the load as an SEC running back from the moment he stepped foot on the South Carolina campus.
In his second game as a true freshman, he carried the ball 37 times against Georgia for 182 yards and two touchdowns. In that particular game, everyone in the building (and watching on television) knew he was getting the ball, and there was nothing the Bulldogs D could do about it.
Georgia: a team that finished fourth in the SEC in total defense in 2010.
You can bend numbers in a lot of ways, but the eye test rarely fails. Lattimore put his team on his back and carried it to an SEC East title as a true freshman. And he was on his way to repeating the feat last season before tearing up his knee last October.
If you want to be concerned about his performance after knee surgery, that's fine. But one of the nine most overrated players in America? Not even close.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray threw too many interceptions (14) last season—nobody is denying that. He also set the single-season record for touchdown passes with 35, doing so in the season immediately following the one in which star wide receiver A.J. Green left campus.
Below Murray on that list, you see names like Matthew Stafford, David Greene and Eric Zeier. That's not bad company to be in, and it certainly didn't happen by accident.
Murray isn't the best quarterback in the SEC—that title belongs to Arkansas' Tyler Wilson—but he's a very good SEC quarterback who is still only a rising junior. His inconsistencies were few and far between as an underclassman, which suggests that the best is yet to come for Murray.
Overrated? I don't think so. Murray still has plenty left to prove, but nobody is suggesting that he will be the second-coming of Aaron Rodgers in 2012.