SDS talent evaluators Jon Cooper and Brad Crawford spent several months breaking down last year’s highlights, incoming talent and projected 2014 impact following spring practice to compile a list of the SEC’s Top 100 players heading into fall. Athletes were selected by position then ranked overall counting down to No. 1.
Stick with SDS throughout summer and get in on the action using the hashtag #SDSTop100 as we unveil a new player daily leading up to opening night on Aug. 28.
54. Amarlo Herrera, Sr., LB, Georgia
The second of three Bulldog linebackers in our Top 100, Herrera was Georgia’s defensive player of the year last season according to coach Mark Richt despite fellow inside linebacker Ramik Wilson receiving the unit’s only first-team All-SEC nomination. Wilson generated greater outside attention after a spectacular conference-leading 128-tackle campaign, but it was Herrera’s leadership and responsibilities as a junior captain that outweighed numbers and impressed his coaching staff.
Experience is a major plus for Herrera, a two-year starter who can recognize plays before they happen as the signal caller of Georgia’s defense. His pre-snap routine includes barking out formations and ensuring that teammates are lined up in proper position, a role that’s essential to the Bulldogs’ success under first-year coordinator Jeremy Pruitt this season.
Herrera’s also rubbed off on Leonard Floyd, a lean pass rusher with unlimited potential after an SEC All-Freshman debut. The pair generates quite a play-making tandem along with Wilson and Jordan Jenkins on a unit that rivals any collection of tacklers in the country. Pruitt’s strength is getting his defense to play fast and the Bulldogs have the personnel, especially at linebacker, to do it.
2013 statistics: 107 tackles, 5 TFL
2014 projection: 110 tackles, 6.5 TFL, INT, 2 sacks
Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports