SDS’ top 25 players of 2012: No. 22 Tyler Bray

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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. 22 – Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee

2012 Stats: 268 of 451 (59.4%) for 3,612 yards, 34 TDs and 12 INTs

Why he’s worthy: Tyler Bray may have not been the best leader or quarterback in Tennessee history, but he certainly had a big junior season. And while you can blame some of the struggles on him and the offense, I’ll throw most of the blame on the worst defense in Tennessee history. It’s true – Tennessee fans may have been glad Bray jumped to the NFL early, because of his nonchalant attitude, but you can’t discount the crooked numbers he posted in his final season.

Bray finished with the third most passing yards in the SEC with 3,612 yards and second in touchdowns with 34. And he played one less game than six other quarterbacks in the conference.

Was Bray the product of his athletically gifted wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter? They sure didn’t hurt.

Bray may have been one of the best quarterbacks to ever play at Tennessee had he played in a different era under a coach who pushed him to get better. But as it turns out, Derek Dooley and Jim Chaney didn’t push their players to get better. They didn’t coach them up about their body language. Hell, Tennessee lost the will to play after the second-half meltdown against Florida.

The strong-armed quarterback didn’t quite put it all together during his career at Tennessee, and he probably left money on the table by not coming back for his senior season.

But Bray threw for over three hundred yards in six games this season, and he threw two touchdowns or more in 10 of 12 games.

While Bray may be remembered more for a bad attitude and what he didn’t accomplish at Tennessee, he has all the physical tools to have a future at the next level.  And if a good NFL quarterback coach can get his hands on Bray and somehow spin him into a leader, Bray could have a big future in the NFL.

The Countdown

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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