SEC’s All-Underrated spring team

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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.

We know about the main commodities of Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel, Aaron Murray and others, but who are the most overlooked guys in the SEC entering spring?

Offense

QB – Connor Shaw, USC (SR): 17-3 as starter, 10-0 at home
RB – Jeremy Hill, LSU (SO): Future star, but still 3rd best freshman in ‘12
FB – JC Copeland, LSU (SR): Fullbacks never get any love, and Copeland is the best
WR – Jordan Matthews, Vandy (SR): 2,282 yards and 17 TDs, not considered top 2 WR
WR – Bruce Ellington, USC (JR): Led USC in receiving yards with 600
TE – Arthur Lynch, Georgia (SR): Top 10 returning TE in receiving yards
OL – Anthony Steen, Alabama (SR): 24 career starts and 38 career games
OL – Kenarious Gates, Georgia (SR): Versatile lineman who has made 26 career starts
OL – Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (JR): Anchor of an underrated OLine
OL – Jonotthan Harrison, Florida (SR): 27 career starts and staple on Gators’ OLine
OL – Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt (SR): The most versatile lineman in the SEC
K – Cody Parkey, Auburn (SR): Hit 75 percent of kicks and has kickoff duties
AP – LaDarius Perkins, Miss State (SR): Tallied 3,447 career all-purpose yards

Defense

DE – Chris Smith, Arkansas (SR): 52 tackles, 13 TFL, 9.5 sacks and 12 QBH in ‘12
DT – Isaac Gross, Ole Miss (SO): 40 tackles, 10.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks in ‘12
DT – Kelcy Quarles, USC (JR): Combined for 10 TFL and 3.5 sacks in two years
DE – Kony Ealy, Missouri (JR): 37 tackles, 10 TFL and 3.5 sacks in ‘12
LB – Chase Garnham, Vandy (SR): 84 tackles, 12.5 TFL and 7 sacks in ‘12
LB – Lamin Barrow, LSU (SR): 104 tackles, 7.5 TFL and 1 FF in ‘12
LB – Benardrick McKinney, MSU (SO): 102 tackles, 4.5 TFL and 1 sack in ‘12
CB – Jaylen Watkins, Florida (SR): 11 passes defended, 8 breakups and 3 INTs in ‘12
CB – Victor Hampton, USC (JR): 7 passes defended, 6 breakups and 1 INT in ‘12
S – Eric Bennett, Arkansas (SR): 21 starts, 129 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 3 INTs
S – Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss (JR): 25 games, 112 tackles, 5.5 TFL and 4 passes defended
P – Cody Mandell, Alabama (SR): Averaged 44.28 punts on SEC-low 50 attempts

Last year, Vanderbilt’s Zac Stacy was the SEC’s most underrated player, and this year the torch is passed on to South Carolina QB Connor Shaw. 17-3 as a starter, 10-0 at home, and some fans still want a QB controversy with Dylan Thompson. Shaw is out this spring recovering from surgery on his left foot.

Photo Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

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