SEC’s top 25 players of 2013: No. 25 Arkansas’ Chris Smith

SDS kicks off ranking 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. 25 – Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas (SR)

2012 stats: 52 tackles, 13 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 12 QBH
Projecting 2013 stats: 15 TFL and 12 sacks

Why he’s worthy: Arkansas’ front seven in 2012 was overlooked because of horrendous secondary play. The Hogs actually finished in the top five in SEC run defense, but because of awful secondary play, no one noticed. And the one player who progressed throughout 2012 and became Arkansas most improved player is rising senior defensive end Chris Smith.

While Smith may boast a simple name, there’s nothing simple about his game. He quietly racked up 52 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and 12 QB hurries. He finished fourth in sacks and tied for fifth in tackles for loss among conference members. This is certainly an impact player to keep an eye on in 2013.

One can argue Arkansas’ overall roster may not be talent-ridden, but this club boasts a strong front four and should take a giant step forward on defense, especially seeing Bret Bielema’s track record and knowing how good of a coordinator Chris Ash really is.

The defense’s second most important player is fellow defensive end Trey Flowers. That’s great news for Smith, because combined these two will only make each other better and help create more havoc in opponents’ backfields in ‘13.

Smith was a good defensive end and pass rusher in 2012, but he’s looking to take his game to an elite status in 2013.

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: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE