Published March 16, 2011 - 5:00am
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Saturday Down South is continually counting down the top 20 players in the SEC for 2011 – pre-season style!
Mark Barron – No. 10
You want to talk about a complete safety in the SEC? You should look no further than Alabama’s Mark Barron, I’m sure of it.
Upon entering the University of Alabama, Barron was an offensive star in high school out of Mobile. However, once defensive back guru and head coach Nick Saban had an opportunity to get his hands on Barron, he switched him from an offensive player to a 6-2, 210lb absolute monster at strong safety. Barron recently decided he would return for his senior season at Alabama, and it will give us another year to watch a playmaker do his thing in the defensive secondary.
It would have been a flawless season for Barron in 2010 had it not been for a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in the Iron Bowl against Auburn. If the injury would have never occurred, Barron would be getting ready for the NFL Draft; however, things happen for a reason, and Barron is happy to be back at Alabama. His recovery is expected to last through this month, and he should be fine for the 2011 season.
Barron was the leader of the defensive secondary in 2010, after it was overcome by youth at every other position but his. His violent hits and uncanny ability to get his nose on the football carried over to fellow teammates Robert Lester and Dre Kirkpatrick. Both stepped up their games under Barron’s leadership.
Barron led the team in tackles with 75 total and added two sacks on the year. Barron was third on the team in interceptions with three, behind Lester and Kirkpatrick.
Barron is ready for a tremendous season in 2011. Upon his return, Alabama fortified its secondary for next season. With Barron and linebacker Dont’a Hightower returning, look for Alabama to be the premier defensive team in the SEC.
In regards to Barron, few rival his rare athleticism and explosiveness at strong safety. If he can return strong from his injury, which I fully expect he will, look for Barron to be the cream of the crop at safety in the SEC.