SEC Football: Ranking the Conference's 5 Slowest Stars
Though the SEC's biggest and brightest stars are normally defined by speed, some players around the league gained superstar status without it.
Some players like quarterback Zach Mettenberger rely on other bodily functions to make plays in the SEC such as his arm, while others use brute power and technique to make a name for themselves.
It's actually more common than one might think. Sure, the SEC prides itself on being the fastest conference in the country, but sometimes a player overcomes his physical shortcomings, much like Tyrann Mathieu overcame his size a year ago.
So who became a star in college football's biggest conference without top-notch speed? Take a peak inside.
Marcus Lattimore did not become a star in this league because of his speed.
Oh no, it's his grit and toughness running the football that put him on the map. It's his sensational balance and low pad level that allows him to break tackles and always fall forward for extra yards.
It's what makes him dynamic and unique simply because he's not the fastest running back in the league. In fact, he runs a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. That's not slow by any means, but when you compare it to Arkansas' Knile Davis, who runs a 4.3, the perception of slow may start to alter.
But there's no denying which running back is the best in the SEC. Anybody who's anybody knows that it's Lattimore, even with Mike Gillislee's remarkable season.
Other running backs around the league might be quicker than Lattimore, but few can run with the same tenacity as this guy.
One moment in time will forever define Philip Lutzenkirchen's career.
You already know what moment is implied. The moment Lutzenkirchen raced into the end zone to give Auburn an eventual one-point lead against Alabama in 2010, and then he pulled out "The Lutzie."
They say white boys can't dance; well, have they seen Lutzenkirchen celebrate a touchdown reception in the Iron Bowl?
All kidding aside, Lutzenkirchen is and has been one of the best tight ends in the SEC for years because of his size and athleticism.
Despite running a 4.8 in the 40-yard dash, Lutzenkirchen has always been a valuable asset to Auburn's offense.
If you can't appreciate J.C. Copeland's style of play, you can't appreciate SEC football.
In a sport that's sort of migrating away from the I-formation and fullback play in general, a fullback becoming a star in college football rarely happens.
Mr. Copeland is an exception. Here's a guy who runs his mouth on and off the field, but backs it up with a violent blocking style that leaves defenders on their backs.
He's a bulldozer that clears paths for LSU running backs, and for his blocking efforts, Les Miles throws his dog a bone with a few carries near the goal line.
Copeland has three rushing touchdowns this season, and it just goes to show you that a back as big as Copeland that runs a 4.8 in the 40 can be just as effective as a running back like Zac Stacy, who has four rushing touchdowns and runs a 4.4.
Mettenberger is a sitting duck in the pocket.
If he fails to get the ball down the field, Mettenberger will either take a sack, fumble the football or do both. He's that fragile in the pocket.
Having Mettenberger in the backfield is a big difference from having Jordan Jefferson back there, because if the play breaks down, Jefferson had a chance to make a play with his 4.5 speed.
Mettenberger, on the other hand, has to either eat it or throw the football away with his 4.8 speed.
And though he's done little throwing the football this year, he's become a superstar simply because LSU's quarterback is always the hot topic year in and year out. It never fails.
Surprisingly, Mettenberger is not the slowest starting quarterback in the SEC.
Oh no, that belongs to Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, who views scrambling as an absolute last-second option.
Bray doesn't need to scramble, though, with that cannon resting on his shoulder. Gunslinging is the biggest show in town in Tennessee, and Bray's headlining each and every week.
So far this season, Bray's been a pure pocket passer and has 1,730 passing yards and 17 touchdown passes.
Heck, he has to be a pocket passer with that 5.1 speed.