Ranking the SEC’s top 10 linebackers for 2013


Player Rankings:

The SEC is known for its fast and physical linebackers, most of which are in the NFL playing on Sundays. The SEC had another strong crop of linebackers in 2013, and here are the 10 best…

One for the show

1. CJ Mosley, Alabama (SR)

CJ Mosley was not only the best linebacker in the SEC, but I thought he was the best linebacker in college football. The weathered veteran senior leader had another fabulous season for the Crimson Tide, leading the team with 108 tackles, including nine tackles for loss. He also added 10 QB hurries and a Butkus Award for the trophy case. Nick Saban will miss his leadership in 2014.

Related: Former five-stars who became first-round picks

Two surprises

2. Ramik Wilson, Georgia (JR)
3. Serderius Bryant, Ole Miss (JR)

Ramik Wilson busted onto the scene as a junior to lead the SEC in tackles with 133, including 11 tackles for loss, four sacks and seven QB hurries. Georgia’s secondary was soft, but the linebacking corps was nasty, headlined by Wilson. He decided that he would return to Athens for his senior season. That’s big news for a defense that returns 10 of 11 starters…Serderius Bryant filled a need for Ole Miss really by necessity. When Denzel Nkemdiche went down week one with a minor knee injury, Bryant took advantage of it. He, like so many other Rebels, is a little undersized, but he led the team with 78 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Bryant also forced three fumbles, and he’s prime for a huge season in 2014.

Related: Former SEC five-stars who didn’t live up to the hype

SEC veterans

4. Trey DePriest, Alabama (JR)
5. AJ Johnson, Tennessee (JR)
6. Lamin Barrow, LSU (SR)

Trey DePriest will replace CJ Mosley as Alabama’s defensive leader next season, and he turned in another strong performance in 2013. DePriest racked up 65 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles. He’ll play on Sundays…AJ Johnson may not have had the best season of his career in 2013, but he continues to eat up tackles. Johnson surpassed the 100-tackle mark for the second consecutive season, racking up 106, including 8.5 tackles for loss. His pass coverage stands to improve, but he has a nose for the football…LSU’s Lamin Barrow finished his career for the Tigers in a big way. Barrow led LSU with 91 tackles and made 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Barrow will be missed next season, and he’ll have a strong opportunity to play on Sundays.

Young guns

7. Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn (SO)
8. Leonard Floyd, Georgia (FR)
9. Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State (SO)

Cassanova McKinzy was Auburn’s best linebacker, and he was very instrumental in helping the Tigers win an SEC Championship. McKinzy made 75 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks and six QB hurries en route to a strong sophomore campaign…Leonard Floyd is the only freshman on the ranking, and he’s going to be a star in Georgia’s 3-4 defense. He’s long, lean and mean, and he made 55 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 22 QB hurries and two forced fumbles. He has one of the highest ceilings for any rush linebacker in college football…Benardrick McKinney is one of the best players you’ve still never heard of. He led the Bulldogs with 71 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks en route to a strong sophomore campaign. I love McKinney’s upside, and he recently said he would return to MSU for his redshirt junior campaign in 2014. In fact, all three of these impact linebackers return for another SEC season.

Defensive leader

10. Andrew Wilson, Missouri (SR)

Andrew Wilson may not wow you with his crazy athleticism, but he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time and led Mizzou’s veteran-laid defense. Wilson racked up 113 tackles, including 6.5 for loss. Gary Pinkel and Dave Steckel will miss his leadership next season.

Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports



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  • What about Skai Moore for USC? I know he was not fantastic, but as a freshman he led the team in tackles and tied for interceptions and was a big part in the defensive turnaround SC had down the stretch. As a fan, I am excited about his role as leader of this defense going foreword after losing Kelcy, JD, Vick, and Jimmy.

  • Coaching. He was never taught to run backward till real late his senior year. Personal confidence. Once he realized his football days might be numbered, he re-invented himself as super-linebacker man. That performance against Oklahoma State… Oh…my….gosh!!!!!!!! Strength. He was always above average but at the end his strength was skyrocketing. Good Luck Andrew Wilson and thanks for the show.

  • Love your publication – y’all do a great job. FWIW – just some thinking out loud here —
    1) Love it when people want to argue about some selections you either did or didn’t include in a “Top” whatever – geezz, it’s not like you are God, it’s just your opinion – I do like to read other opinions but some people want to suggest your an idiot (more likely try to suggest they’re a genius) because of an OPINION!
    2) (Not to be negative) how about a worst 10….no, we don’t need to “dis” these 18 y/o’s. 3) Regarding this list…. I think you should do a second article about these 10 players and find out where (or WHY) their first names came from…….As a very different “First Name Person” myself, I’m not making fun, I just think it would be interesting.(and if I was ever good enough to make a Top 10 list, I wouldn’t mind explaining mine.
    4) Here are a couple of lists for you to come up with – (a bit of a takeoff on the “name” theme) – how about a list of the Top Players whose second initial is “J”, in alphabetical order – like this AJ here or McCarron, BJ (keep it clean), CJ – here again, think there was a DJ at UGA, EJ …etc. and here’s my other offering – how about the Top 10 Bad Coaches decisions of the year (kind of think he BAMA folks wouldn’t like that..i.e. 109 yard bad decision might be #1….and speaking of “1”, the second worse decision might be challenging the clock to get that “1” second (excuse the pun there too) back to allow for #1! Thanks again for a great publication!!

  • Andrew Wilson led mizzoui in tackles for 3 straight years I’m pretty sure. let me repeat that, led the team in tackles for 3 straight years. no he wasn’t that athletic but he had the best nose for the ball of anybody I’ve ever seen. and he never tackled anybody easy. he would flat lay it on you.

  • “Gary Pinkel and Dave Steckel will miss his leadership next season”.
    You got that right.

  • Not really a gripe since I know this is your opinion, but just wondering why no avery williamson. I know the cats had another bad year.

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