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.
77. Shane Ray, Jr., DE, Mizzou
The heir apparent to Michael Sam and Kony Ealy, Ray partners up with Markus Golden this season to make up one of the East’s best bookend tandems, both locks for the 2015 NFL Draft.
Ray spends most of his snaps in a three-point stance but has the build and speed of a linebacker, elements he showcased late in the fourth quarter of last season’s Cotton Bowl when he scooped and scored from 73 yards out to seal Mizzou’s 41-31 victory. Mizzou’s coaching staff expects much of the same this season from their fastest player up front as his role increases for the defending division champs.
Ray’s father, Wendell, starred at Mizzou in the late 1970s, but his son has the bigger upside. In Todd McShay’s first 2015 mock draft, Ray’s tabbed as a late first-round selection thanks to his pro potential as a hybrid defender in coverage or as an outside pass rusher.
2013 statistics: 39 tackles, 9 TFL, 4.5 sacks
2014 projection: 45 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 6 sacks
Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports