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SEC Football: 5 Most Underachieving Players After 4 Weeks

Jeff BellCorrespondent ISeptember 24, 2013

SEC Football: 5 Most Underachieving Players After 4 Weeks

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    Alabama WR Amari Cooper
    Alabama WR Amari CooperKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The SEC might not be off to a perfect start, but college football's top conference has already given us memorable games and incredible plays from guys who will be starting on Sundays in the future.

    However, reputations don't always grow larger and sometimes high expectations can lead to underachievement.

    It's only been four weeks, but this has already been the case for a handful of notable names that were dazzling fans week in and week out in 2012.

    Because it's so early, don't think of this as an assumption for how the entire season might play out. All of these guys are extremely talented and could be telling a very different story when November arrives.

    But right now, some stars just aren't cutting it.

    Here's a look at the Top 5 most underachieving players in the SEC after four weeks of the 2013 college football season.

5) Rory Anderson, South Carolina

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    TE Rory Anderson
    TE Rory AndersonStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    At 6'5", 242 pounds, South Carolina tight end Rory Anderson gives the Gamecocks a physical, imposing presence in the passing game.

    But through the first three games, the junior has just four grabs for 44 yards.

    Anderson missed the opener against North Carolina, but was expected to be back to 100 percent for the Georgia game.

    With only one catch for 11 yards against the Bulldogs, however, it was clear that he wasn't the same player that caught five touchdowns and had 271 yards receiving a year before. Three catches for 30 yards in a win over Vanderbilt didn't prove otherwise.

    While Anderson may just be off to a slow start, his role has to expand if South Carolina hopes to keep up with a team like Clemson at the end of the season.

4) LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State

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    MSU RB LaDarius Perkins
    MSU RB LaDarius PerkinsKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Along with Anderson, Mississippi State running back LaDarius Perkins was part of the Coaches Preseason All-SEC Second team.

    The senior rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, but managed just 50 yards on 16 carries in the season-opener at Oklahoma State.

    Perkins missed the next game against Alcorn State, but had just 13 carries for 59 yards combined in subsequent games against Auburn and Troy.

    While injuries can sometimes linger into the latter parts of the season, this scouting report for the game vs. Troy lists Perkins as 100 percent, meaning the speedy back just isn't playing very well thus far.

    Fortunately, the Bulldogs may have found a rising star in quarterback Dak Prescott, but his dual-threat abilities would be much more dangerous with Perkins hitting his stride.

    Again, we're only four games into the season, but the Mississippi State back is underachieving so far in 2013.

3) Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

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    South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
    South Carolina DE Jadeveon ClowneyJeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

    Like it or not, a player is always going to be judged based on what we know he can do, and we know that Jadeveon Clowney can control the line of scrimmage throughout each game.

    So based on that criteria, it's clear that Clowney has underachieved so far in 2013. Sorry Gamecocks' fans, we don't mean to pile on after tight end Rory Anderson, but the statistics don't lie here, either.

    Through three games, Clowney has 10 tackles and a pair of sacks. He also has three tackles for loss. If you expand those numbers to 12 games, you get 40 tackles (12 for loss) and nine sacks. All of those marks would be well below what Clowney did in 2012.

    Of course, there's the argument that the dominating junior is consistently double-teamed and thus, he wouldn't be able to match previous statistics regardless of how well he plays. This may be true to an extent—but remember who we're talking about here.

    Clowney entered the 2013 season with unprecedented hype for a defensive player. There was talk that no lineman would ever be able to block him one-on-one and that the single-season sack record may be in jeopardy.

    But none of that has played out.

    And the defense as a whole is giving up over 25 points per game.

    Obviously, Clowney is an incredible player who's going to be drafted very high. None of that has changed. But if you watched him last season, there's no way you can say he's played up to his potential thus far.

     

     

2) Matt Jones, Florida

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    UF RB Matt Jones
    UF RB Matt JonesKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Coming off a viral infection that sidelines him for the opener against Toledo, Florida running back Matt Jones was expected to carry the load against Miami.

    Despite receiving 18 carries, Jones managed just 47 yards against the 'Canes in the 21-16 defeat. In the game against Tennessee, he carried the ball 12 times for 49 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers are okay, but in an offense struggling to move the ball, they need to be better.

    At 6'2", 226 pounds, Jones has the perfect build to be that typical SEC back who likes to deliver the punishment and gain tough yards between the tackles.

    The Gators passing attack has been limited this season, but in the two games back, Jones hasn't been able to help out.

    With defenses unafraid to let Will Muschamp's team throw the ball, they are able to key in on the run, which could explain why Jones has been unable to really get going. But if he can't gain more than 49 yards against Tennessee, which gave up 59 points to Oregon, how's he going to be productive against LSU in October?

    Two games is a small sample size, but it's all we've got. Jones, a sophomore from Seffner, FL has been underachieving this season.

1) Amari Cooper, Alabama

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    Alabama WR Amari Cooper
    Alabama WR Amari CooperDaniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

    It's odd seeing one of the most talented players in college football atop this list, but the simple fact is Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper looks nothing like the player who caught 59 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.

    Nick Saban held Cooper out of Saturday's game due to a toe injury, which may explain the underwhelming statistics. But six grabs for 72 yards in two games just flat out isn't very good for a guy who's supposed to be one of the very best in the game at his position.

    You'd think Cooper would have a field day against the Aggies, who seemed willing to give up huge plays through the air left and right.

    But that wasn't the case.

    Now Tide fans have the unfortunate task of wondering which one of their other 748 5-star receivers are going to step up.

    We're joking, but the point is that Cooper's inability to really stretch the field like he did in 2012 hasn't proven to be a major problem.

    Yet.

    Again, this may just be a case where a nagging injury refuses to die and Cooper ultimately has a less-than-impressive year.

    Of course, it's unlikely any opposing defensive coordinators will see it that way, because the moment someone fails to do his job against Cooper, no one will be surprised to see the uber-talented sophomore make a game-changing play.

     

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