2014 SEC Top 100 Countdown: No. 44 Jalen Mills, LSU
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.
44. Jalen Mills, Jr., S, LSU
The Tigers’ most experienced defensive back has started all 26 games in his LSU career and welcomes a move to safety this season if he returns from an indefinite suspension following an arrest in June. He isn’t on the current roster. Mills became the fourth Tigers’ football player in the last four years arrested for battery after he was accused of punching a woman in the face who knocked at his door at an apartment complex near campus.
Mills’ attorney Brent Stockstill said after the incident that he’s confident charges will be lessened or dropped when more information is revealed through witnesses. “He was not the person who struck the victim”, Stockstill said. “That would be consistent with some of the information I’ve received.”
When LSU is national championship-caliber, its secondary is dominant and this year’s group has the potential to be one of the program’s best despite overall youth if Mills is welcomed back. As a sophomore, Mills picked off three passes and notched 67 tackles after emerging as an elite cover corner. Switching positions to safety this spring allowed for more flexibility in a vast area of coverage and gave Mills a chance at showcasing his athleticism.
If Mills isn’t allowed back, LSU should still boast one of the SEC’s strongest against the pass with solid corners Rashard Robinson and Tre’Davious White along with safety Corey Thompson who is returning from injury.
2013 statistics: 67 tackles, 3 INTs, 4 TFL, 3 sacks
2014 projection: 71 tackles, 5 INTs, 5 TFL