Underrated is a subjective term thrown around flippantly throughout sports. But truly, some guys don’t get the ink they deserve. Usually the big market teams dominate the headlines, and smaller, less traditional programs get less pub. That’s the nature of the beast.
Let’s check on the SEC’s most underrated players in 2013:
Related: AP All-SEC team for 2013
QB – Connor Shaw, USC (SR): 21 TDs, 1 INT, 17-0 at home
RB – Rajion Neal, Tennessee (SR): Rushed for 1,124 yards, 12 TDs on 5-7 team
FB – JC Copeland, LSU (SR): Fullbacks never get any love, and Copeland is a boss…except for that one fumble against Alabama.
WR – Sammie Coates, Auburn (SO): Averaged 22.13 yards per catch (highest in SEC) on a team that doesn’t throw much. Recorded 38 catches, 831 yards, 7 TDs
WR – Jameon Lewis, Miss State (JR): Caught 55 passes for 703 yards and 5 TDs. He also rushed for 3 TDs and threw 3 TDs.
TE – Malcolm Johnson, Miss State (JR): Caught 29 passes for 378 yards and 1 TD, more receptions than 1st team All-SEC TE Arthur Lynch
OL – Anthony Steen, Alabama (SR): 36 career starts and 50 career games
OL – Kenarious Gates, Georgia (SR): Versatile lineman who has made 38 career starts
OL – Greg Robinson, Auburn (SO): Anchor of Auburn’s dominant O-line play and running game as just a sophomore
OL – Evan Boehm, Missouri (SO): Anchor of Missouri’s much-improved (and healthy) O-line
OL – Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt (SR): The most versatile lineman in the SEC
K – Colby Delahoussaye, LSU (FR): Led the SEC in field goal percentage at 92.9 percent and made 13 of 14 attempts
Related: SEC’s All-Freshman Team 2013
DE – Chris Smith, Arkansas (SR): 8.5 sacks and 11.5 TFL in 2013 on a terrible team
DT – Ego Ferguson, LSU (JR): Overshadowed by Anthony Johnson, but he could have higher upside. Made 58 tackles as DT with great athleticism.
DE – Markus Golden, Missouri (JR): 6.5 sacks and 13 TFL, doesn’t even start on his own team
LB – Andrew Wilson, Missouri (SR): 98 tackles, six tackles for loss
LB – Avery Williamson, Kentucky (SR): 102 tackles for the worst SEC team
LB – Michael Taylor, Florida (JR): Led Florida with 62 tackles and 3 fumble recoveries. Most consistent UF linebacker in 2013.
LB – Benardrick McKinney, MSU (SO): Led MSU with 70 tackles, 6 TFL and 2.5 sacks. Could be best SEC’s best NFL LB prospect in 2014
CB – Andre Hal, Vanderbilt (SR): Led the SEC in passes defended with 14 and two INTs but snubbed on first-team All-SEC
CB – Victor Hampton, USC (JR): Recorded 12 passes defended and three INTs as the staple in Carolina’s secondary
S – Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama (JR): Recorded 20 tackles and two pick-six, game-changing plays before his injury
S – Nickoe Whitley, Mississippi State (SR): He played multiple games with a torn ACL and recorded 55 tackles and five INTs, including two forced fumbles
P – Michael Palardy, Tennessee (SR): Finished third in the SEC with 44.46 yards per punt, but he punted 63 times, good for second most in the SEC
Photo Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports