SEC’s top 25 players of 2013: No. 8 Tennessee’s Antonio ‘Tiny’ Richardson

SDS is continually counting down the top 25 players in the SEC for 2013, and we’re not stopping until we get to No. 1. I know you’ll agree with every single one…

No. 8: Antonio ‘Tiny’ Richardson, OT, Tennessee (JR)

Why he’s worthy: For as much pub and ink as Cyrus Kouandjio and Jake Matthews get, I think Tiny Richardson may have a higher ceiling and will be better than both in 2013. Of course, I’m going against the masses who think Kouandjio and Matthews are better than Richardson, and I’m well aware of pushback.

If you look at the job Richardson did against Jadeveon Clowney and Jarvis Jones last year, it tells you how athletic, strong and good of a pass blocker he really is. To minimize Clowney’s impact other than one play is a testament that should be recognized. Of course, neither Matthews nor Kouandjio had that opportunity, but Richardson did, and he took advantage of it.

While I think Richardson is less polished than Matthews or Kouandjio in the run game, he’s a very competitive pass blocker with massive strength and upside. At 6-6, 330 pounds, he’s just a mammoth of a man loaded with potential, who I think blows into the premier caliber tackle in 2013. Better than both Kouandjio and Matthews? We’ll let Richardson determine that with his play.

Richardson was the anchor of one of the most underrated lines in college football last year. The Vols gave up an SEC-low eight sacks the entire year (eight!). Comparatively, the Aggies and Tide both allowed 23, but both were better run-blocking lines. Richardson gave up just two sacks in 12 games.

Tiny looks to overpower defenders on the edge in 2013 until you buy in hook, line and sinker just like I have.

The Countdown:

1.  Biggest freak in college football
2.  Johnny what’s his name?
3.  Best running back in college football
4.  The biggest winner in the rankings
5.  College football’s No. 2 overall running back
6.  A record-setting QB
7.  The Tide’s defensive glue
8.  The best offensive tackle in college football?
9.  Alabama’s O-line anchor
10. Texas A&M’s versatile left tackle
11. The biggest deep threat in the country?
12. Florida’s dancing defender
13. One LB who should explode in 2013
14. Jarvis Jones who?
15. The SEC East’s top receiver
16. Florida’s Honey Badger
17. A receiver who doesn’t drop passes…ever
18. LSU’s freak
19. A Rebel who knows he’s good
20. Funny name; not a funny game
21. Arkansas’ O-line anchor
22. A receiving freak
23. An underrated Tennessee head smasher
24. LSU’s defensive quarterback
25. An unheralded Hog

Photo Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports