Published February 24, 2011 - 5:19am
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Saturday Down South is continually counting down the top 20 players in the SEC for 2011 – pre-season style!
Chris Relf – No. 19
Say what you want about Chris Relf and Mississippi State, but they were a thorn in everyone’s side this past season. In a very talented and deep SEC West, the Bulldogs stepped up to the plate and provided their own argument in the equation. They leaned mightily on their base option attack with quarterback Chris Relf handling the ball every snap.
Relf was criticized early for not being effective in the passing game, and the “passing” quarterback Tyler Russell often replaced him during games. However, towards the latter portion of the season, Relf became very valuable and efficient at running Dan Mullen’s passing attack.
On the year, he was 129 for 220 with 1,789 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. Sure, not out-of-this-world good, but please hear me out.
Relf was also utilized heavily in the running game, with his 6-4, 240lb punishing frame. He carried the football 194 times for 713 yards and five touchdowns. Often, he would break through one tackler, gaining more yards in the process, and picking up much-needed first downs.
Relf’s highlight of the year was in the Gator Bowl, where he trashed Michigan. During that game, Relf had three touchdowns through the air and added one on the ground. One could just see Relf gaining experience and confidence throughout the season for the Bulldogs.
For 2011, Relf has his top wide receiver Chad Bumphis returning and his tailback Vick Ballard returning. Both are crucial to Relf’s success. Dan Mullen will rely heavily on the talents of Relf to lead this team once again as a senior.
Even though you may argue against Relf, he is the perfect example of an overachiever. Sure, he’s not the most spectacular player you will come across, but he embodies a leadership personality that is the perfect fit for Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs.