SDS has already looked at the top 25 players for 2012, and now with National Signing Day in the books, let’s look at the top newcomers in the SEC for 2013. Predicting the top newcomers is often very tough, and these aren’t just merely rankings of the top players. We’re going to look at what type of impact they’ll make and where they’ll make it.
No. 20 – Ben Bradley, Auburn, DT
From: Norcross, Georgia (Hutchinson CC)
Size: 6-2, 310 pounds
The Skinny: Ben Bradley will be a welcomed sight for Auburn in the trenches, because he packs a punch in his 310-pound body. Auburn’s run defense was putrid in 2012, from not being able to tackle air to minimal impact players in the front four. Bradley narrowed his list down to Auburn and Kentucky before eventually choosing the Tigers. And he chose the Tigers because he wanted to come in and compete against veteran defensive linemen, citing he could have started ‘day one’ at other schools. In fact, Auburn didn’t start recruiting Bradley until Gus Malzahn was hired and landed the impact early enrollee, and it helped that Bradley is from nearby Norcross, Georgia.
What Auburn is getting: Bradley is a mass at defensive tackle, who has a quick first step and can end up in the opponent’s backfield. He may not be as quick or as dominant former JUCO Nick Fairley, but he does have a similar explosiveness in his first step and will be a disruption to running games. Bradley racked up 43 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and five sacks last season at Hutchinson CC.
Where he’ll make an impact: Bradley will immediately make an impact at tackle. Lining up beside and rotating with returners Jeff Whitaker, Gabe Wright, Ken Carter and Angelo Blackson, the SEC’s 14th best run defense not only gets an SEC-ready big body, but it gains valuable depth and experience. Bradley should elevate the play of a very underachieving position at defensive tackle for the Tigers. Malzahn is building depth in the trenches, and although Bradley won’t have silly stats like Nick Fairley, he gives Auburn a steady contributor and an impact player at a much-needed position. The Tigers’ front four is three deep now with difference makers, something Gene Chizik didn’t have.
Other impact newcomers:
- No. 21 Alex Anzalone, Florida
- No. 22 Carl Lawson, Auburn
- No. 23 Frank Herron, LSU
- No. 24 Larenz Bryant, South Carolina
- No. 25 Ryan Timmons, Kentucky
Photo Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports