Spring position rankings:
- SEC’s All-Spring Team
- Top 10 Offensive Players
- Running Backs
- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive Linemen
- Top 10 Defensive Players
- Defensive Ends
- Defensive Tackles
- Defensive Backs
The SEC says goodbye to one of the top linebackers in college football in Alabama’s CJ Mosley. Mosley was the Butkus Award for the country’s top linebacker.
However, linebacker will become one of the SEC’s strongest positions in 2014 with very talented returners. Players like LSU’s Kwon Alexander, Texas A&M’s Darian Claiborne and Vanderbilt’s Darreon Herring just missed the cut.
This is truly a loaded position for the SEC in 2014, and here are the top 10 returners:
10. Skai Moore, South Carolina (SO)
9. Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (JR)
8. Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (JR)
Skai Moore was an absolute baller for South Carolina during his freshman season. He led the team in tackles (56) and INTs (4), and he just has amazing instincts and incredible athleticism. I love the way this kid plays!…Denzel Nkemdiche didn’t have the 2013 he wanted, but he’s put two strong back-to-back seasons together. Yes, he’s had some legal issues and questions, but he’s a big-time player who has a nose for the football. He was an All-American in 2012, and he fought through a knee injury in 2013…Jordan Jenkins probably hasn’t been the monster we all thought he would be…yet. However, he should have a big year in Jeremy Pruitt’s defense. Jenkins made 45 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five sacks, along with 23 QB hurries last season.
7. Leonard Floyd, Georgia (SO)
6. Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn (JR)
5. Serderius Bryant, Ole Miss (SR)
Leonard Floyd will be a monster in Jeremy Pruitt’s new defense. He’s long, lean and very mean off the edge, and he made 55 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and 22 QB hurries in his freshman season. Look out!…Cassanova McKinzy was the Tigers’ leader at linebacker. He made 75 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two sacks en route to a strong sophomore season…Serderius Bryant seemingly came out of nowhere in 2013, leading the Rebels’ defense in tackles. He may be slightly undersized, but he has a nose for the football. He made 78 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and three sacks during his junior season
4. Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State (JR)
3. AJ Johnson, Tennessee (SR)
2. Trey DePriest, Alabama (SR)
Benardrick McKinney passed up the NFL to return to MSU for his junior season, and he’s probably the best player you still have never heard of. McKinney made 71 tackles last year after making 102 in 2012 as a freshman. He’s a future NFL player…AJ Johnson is the weathered veteran of the Vols’ defense. Yes, he’s good, but there’s a whole lot more he can improve upon. He’s racked up two straight 100-tackle seasons, and he’s ready to help take the Vols’ defense to another level in 2014…Trey DePriest now takes over the reins of the Alabama defense, and he’s had a great three-year career. Specifically in 2013, DePriest made 65 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Nick Saban will rely on DePriest so much more in 2014.
RELATED: 10 SEC Spring football predictions
1. Ramik Wilson, Georgia (SR)
Ramik Wilson had a fabulous year in 2013, leading the SEC in tackles, and he’s coming back for his senior season. Wilson led the SEC with 133 tackles, including 11 for loss and four sacks. He leads a very talented linebacking corps for the Bulldogs this spring.
Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports