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. 25 – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
2012 Stats: 37 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles
Why he’s worthy: Sam Montgomery at No. 25?! It’s true – Sonic Sam didn’t have the type of season anyone hoped for on the Bayou. Montgomery combined with Barkevious Mingo to create what everyone thought to be the best bookends in the country. But neither M&M brother had the season LSU fans had envisioned before the start of 2012.
Montgomery set rather lofty goals before the season started that included being in the running for a Heisman and winning the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Year award. And coming off his nine-sack, 13.5-tackles-for-loss 2011 performance, who would have argued? We all expected Montgomery to bolster his image as an elite defensive lineman. While he didn’t quite get to that status, he still turned in an impressive year in the SEC.
With Montgomery’s size at 6-5 and 260 pounds, combined with his speed and strength, he will be a force at the next level with his hand down or up. He has a keen sense of feel for the game with a quick first step and can turn and run on a dime. All combine to make Montgomery a versatile and dominant defense end who certainly projects well at the next level. Montgomery will be gobbled up somewhere in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.
Montgomery nabbed only six sacks in SEC play this season, with two of them coming against South Carolina, but he may have played his best game against Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in a losing effort. He was all over the field in the second half in rather dramatic style, and his play stood out that much more when Mingo went out with an injury earlier in the game.
All LSU fans – and Auburn fans on the contrary – will remember Montgomery’s safety against Auburn that eventually led to the 12-10 road victory.
In just three seasons at LSU, Montgomery amassed 104 total tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 19 sacks and three forced fumbles. Replacing Montgomery on the Bayou will be tougher than replacing Troy on Swamp People.
Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE