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.
62. Derrick Moncrief, Jr., S, Auburn
A possible starter for the Tigers at the boundary safety spot, Moncrief’s made a substantial impression on his coaches despite only being on campus for a semester. Auburn assistant Charlie Harbison raved about the physical 6-foot-2, 220-pounder’s work ethic during spring practice and said the JUCO transfer’s learning curve was minimal despite a deeper defensive playbook.
The Tigers got Moncrief in a package deal from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College along with star wideout Duke Williams this offseason, two players Gus Malzahn saw as instant impact guys for the defending SEC West champs. Moncrief provides much-needed depth at his natural position if nothing else and can help other players like Brandon King and Johnathan Ford — both cornerbacks turned safeties — iron out the kinks learning a new position.
Jermaine Whitehead has Auburn’s field safety position locked down, but Moncrief will be in a battle for the opposite side during fall practice with last year’s boundary starter Josh Holsey. Holsey played well in six starts as a sophomore before a knee injury ended his season.
2013 statistics: No. 1 JUCO safety according to 247sports; Recorded 66 tackles and three interceptions over two JUCO seasons.
2014 projection: Earns the starting boundary safety role and finishes with the second-most tackles in the Auburn secondary.
Photo Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports