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.
82. Jamerson Love, Sr., CB, Mississippi St.
The Bulldogs have three players in the secondary worthy of this list, but Love’s the highlighted threat, a physical corner with great lateral quickness and someone who welcomes the challenge of covering the opposition’s No. 1.
Miss. St.’s top returning defensive back excelled in his first leadership role last season following the departure of second-round picks Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay with a team-leading seven breakups and 10 pass deflections. He tied returning starter Taveze Calhoun with three interceptions — two behind Nickoe Whitley’s total. Love was a leading reason why the Bulldogs had a Top 5 SEC defense in several statistical categories including pass defense, total defense and opponents third-down conversion rate.
Miss. St.’s unit of that side of the football could be even better this fall since Love will have help at the back end from JUCO transfer Justin Cox. Cox has made the move from reserve corner to starting safety after playing as a full-time backup last season. Windows should be smaller against a veteran secondary. Cox’s 4.3 speed and ability to split the difference in seconds means teams will likely go at Love and Calhoun before the sticks and not have much room to operate down the field.
Much of the preseason love the Bulldogs have received is based on their offensive weapons, but there’s plenty of talent on defense too.
2013 statistics: 27 tackles, 3 INT, 7 PBU, 10 PD
2014 projection: 32 tackles, 5 INT, 8 PBU, 8 PD
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