The SEC West's Five Best Players in '09: From Top to Bottom!

Heath McGuffCorrespondent IJune 8, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 11: Running back Charles Scott #32 of the LSU Tigers rushes upfield against the University of Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 11, 2008 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The SEC is arguably the best conference in the NCAA. They have a big majority of the best talent in college football also. The SEC is one of the most physical conferences of them all as well.

There are two sides of the conference: the SEC East and the SEC West. The SEC East is composed of the following: the defending champion Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Tennessee Vols, Vanderbilt Commodores, South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Kentucky Wildcats.

The SEC West is composed of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Ole Miss Rebels, LSU Tigers, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, and Mississippi State Bulldogs.

In my opinion this is the strongest group of teams in college football.

It's going to be hard to pick the five best, but I think I can do it. I'm not going to use just all stats, so if a player is better in the category of stats, more power to them. I will try to judge by all-around ability and raw talent.


5. Dexter McCluster

McCluster is one of the smallest but deadliest players in the SEC West! He poses a dual threat, as Ole Miss uses him in that unique style of the original "Wild Hog" formation. He is listed as a wideout but was among Rebel leaders in rushing yards and attempts.

McCluster was the offensive MVP of the Cotton Bowl and the sixth rated multi-purpose player in the SEC! He is a good choice to fill up this spot. He will be a leader next season for the Ole Miss Rebels.


4. Charles Scott

This 5'11'', 233-pound powerhouse is what fuels the deadly LSU Tigers! Going into his senior season, Scott has racked up 1,775 yards and 28 TDs. He has rushed for 100 yards seven times. Only five other LSU Tigers have done this.

Scott was named to the All-SEC team in the '08 season and is only the 12th Tiger to rush for over 1,000 yards in LSU history! Scott is more than likely going to produce just as good or better numbers in '09 than he did in 2008.


3. Greg Hardy

Hardy was a key part of the Rebels' 9-4 regular season record and 5-3 record in the SEC. Although he missed the first three games, he recorded 64 tackles, and 18.5 were for a loss!

Hardy was awarded All-SEC teams honors in the '08 season. Hardy was the SEC's 2007 sack leader (10). He is said to be ready for the NFL but decided to stick around for his senior season.

Scouts say experience is not a problem for Hardy, as he started in nine games as a freshman. Scouts also say that Hardy could step into any NFL team and make an impact.

Hardy stands 6'4'' and weighs 265 lbs. but can run the 40-yard dash in under 4.7 seconds!

This is a key reason why I picked Greg Hardy for the No. 3 spot in the best of the West!


2. Rolando McClain

McClain is coming off a great season, racking up 95 tackles, 48 being solo. McClain is a very good all-around player. He can be one of the best coverage linebackers in the SEC.

McClain can do it all, and in his freshman season with the Tide, he did many things. Some of them were 75 tackles, five tackles for loss, nine sacks, four pass breakups, three QB hurries, and two interceptions.

Rolando McClain will lead one of the nation's top linebacker corps into the '09 season with the expectation bar to be set very high!


1. Julio Jones

In his first season as a Crimson Tide player, Jones was nothing short of breathtaking! He made some plays Alabama had not seen in a long time! He brought the spirit back to the Tide in '08.

Jones was named to the All-SEC team in his first year as a player in the NCAA. That's a great accomplishment in any conference, but especially in the SEC with all the hard-nosed D!

In Jones' freshman season he caught 58 passes for a total of 924 yards, and he also recorded four TDs.

He will be the X-factor for Bama in '09. There is no doubt in my mind or anyone else's mind that Julio Jones and A.J. Green will within the next few years be favorites to win the Heisman, if not in '09!


Provided this information, I think I have fairly rated the SEC West and its players. I hope to do the same for the East if I have success with this please comment and tell me how you feel about the players and where they are ranked.


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