College football is approaching an age where redshirt draft-eligible sophomores are making the leap to the NFL, and four sophomores on this list aren’t returning in 2014.
Here were the SEC’s super sophomores in 2013, and nine of the 10 were offensive players:
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Above the rest
1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel may be the first pick in this year’s NFL Draft, and he put up incredible numbers for two seasons in a row. Manziel led the SEC with a 172.89 passer rating, 4,114 passing yards and 37 passing touchdowns. All total, he combined for 4,873 yards and 46 TDs in 2013. What a player, and it will be fun watching his NFL career play out.
Bully running back
2. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
Jeremy Hill played like a boss in 2013, rushing for 1,401 yards and 16 TDs, trailing only Tre Mason in yards and TDs. Hill averaged 6.9 yards per carry and over 116 yards per game. He’s a complete back who may be the first back off the board come draft day.
Heading to the NFL
3. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
4. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Mike Evans morphed from a big-time possession receiver as a freshman to a big-time game-breaking receiver as a sophomore. Evans caught 69 passes for 1,394 yards and 12 TDs, averaging 20.2 yards per reception. Evans was the only receiver in the country who recorded two 200-plus yard receiving games…Greg Robinson became one of the country’s most dominant offensive linemen, and he could be a top-10 pick in this year’s draft. Robinson anchored the country’s most dominant running game, and he protected Nick Marshall’s blindside. Robinson may have the most upside of any player on this list.
5. Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
6. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
7. Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
For half of the season, Mike Davis came out of nowhere and stole the SEC’s show. He’s tough; he’s physical, and his vision is second to none. Davis rushed for 1,183 yards and 11 TDs, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. He finished fourth in the SEC in rushing yards…Dorial Green-Beckham was making a case as the SEC’s most improved player near the end of the season. He, like Mike Evans, looks more like a power forward, but he started to blow up about midway through the season. DGB caught a Mizzou-high 59 passes for 883 yards and tied the SEC-high 12 receiving TDs, and if he can stay on the field (and out of trouble), this young man is going to be great in 2014…Yes, Todd Gurley was injured for about four games total, but it’s obvious to see just how talented and dominant he can be. After rushing for 1,385 yards last season, Gurley totaled 989 yards rushing and 16 total TDs. He’ll enter as the SEC’s most talented player in 2014, as well as a top-five player in college football.
A lone defender
8. Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Landon Collins went from backup safety to one of the best safeties in the country. Once Vinnie Sunseri went down with a season-ending knee injury, Collins tag-teamed with HaHa Clinton-Dix as the country’s best tackling safety duo. He finished second on Alabama with 70 tackles, and he picked off two passes, including a pick-six against Tennessee. He also recorded two forced fumbles.
SEC West ballers
9. TJ Yeldon, RB, Alabama
10. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
TJ Yeldon is one of the best running backs in the country, and he could become the best if he corrects his fumbling issues. After rushing for 1,108 yards and 12 TDs in 2012, Yeldon made an encore with 1,235 yards and 14 TDs in 2013. He’s the complete package…Dak Prescott made the list? Don’t be surprised; this kid can play. Once Dan Mullen made the decision to make Prescott the starter, the offense started rolling. Prescott threw for 1,940 yards and 10 TDs, while rushing for 829 yards and 13 TDs. He combined for 2,769 yards and 23 TDs – not a bad sophomore season. He really only did his damage in eight games.
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