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.
100. Ricardo Louis, Jr., WR, Auburn
Likely Nick Marshall’s fourth option in the Tigers’ talent-stacked passing game behind two physical field stretchers and tight end C.J. Uzomah, Louis’ shining moment as a sophomore last season came on his miraculous 73-yard touchdown reception on a tipped pass to beat Georgia. The fourth-down reception kept the Tigers in the SEC West — and national title — hunt and spoiled the Bulldogs’ 20-point, fourth-quarter rally.
It’ll be tough to match those dramatics, but Louis is capable. Now a junior, eliminating the drops that haunted him at times last fall is paramount in hopes of elevating his game as a third-down threat.
Louis is a popular jet sweep option for the Tigers and acts as one of the Auburn’s best pass-catching blockers in Gus Malzahn’s run-heavy attack. He averaged 10.4 yards per carry and sparkled in Atlanta after galloping for first downs on 19 and 23-yard bursts during the first half of the Tigers’ shootout win over Mizzou in the SEC Championship Game.
He’ll become even more of an asset in an evolving run game this season that will be without the services of 1,800-yard rusher Tre Mason.
2013 statistics: 28 catches, 325 yards, 2 TD; 19 carries, 198 yards
2014 projection: 34 catches, 449 yards, 3 TD, 28 carries, 230 yards, TD
Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports