SDS is continually counting down the top 25 players in the SEC for 2012, and we’re not stopping until we get to that sexy No. 1. We don’t just rank stats or project players at the next level based on athletic superiority, but we rank players based on the season they had in 2012. I know you’ll agree with every single one…
No. 10 – Kevin Minter, LB, LSU
2012 stats: 130 total tackles, 15 tackles for loss, four sacks, one INT, five pass breakups, six passes defended, four QB hurries and one forced fumble
Why he’s worthy: LSU’s best defensive player in 2012 won’t be the first Tiger selected in April’s draft. His name is not Sam Montgomery, Barkevious Mingo or Eric Reid. That player is Kevin Minter, and he exploded onto the scene for the Tigers in ‘12 in a massive way.
Minter was the one returning linebacker Les Miles and John Chavis could count on as a junior. And losing Ryan Baker, Stefoin Francois and Karnell Hatcher is enough to make the position a question mark. But Minter became the best middle linebacker in the country. He made the Chuck Bednarik Award much more entertaining than the Heisman ever was in competing with Jarvis Jones, Jadeveon Clowney and Manti Te’o.
Minter had a team-high 20 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumbled against Florida in a losing effort, and it was one of the best defensive games by any one player the entire season.
Minter epitomizes a tackling machine. He was the focal point of the Tigers’ defense, nabbing 10 to 15 tackles per game. Minter is not physically much more gifted than anyone else on the LSU roster, but his anticipation of where the ball carrier will actually be is exceptional.
At 6-2, 245 pounds, Minter is physically ready for the grueling task in the NFL, and some have projected him as a first-round pick. But he’s likely to land in the second round.
Minter was truly a big breakout player in 2012.
- No. 11 AJ McCarron
- No. 12 Barrett Jones
- No. 13 Matt Elam
- No. 14 Cobi Hamilton
- No. 15 Chance Warmack
- No. 16 Jake Matthews
- No. 17 Jordan Matthews
- No. 18 CJ Mosley
- No. 19 Mike Gillislee
- No. 20 Cordarrelle Patterson
- No. 21 Chris Smith
- No. 22 Tyler Bray
- No. 23 Tyler Wilson
- No. 24 Johnthan Banks
- No. 25 Sam Montgomery
Photo Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports