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.

47. Serderius Bryant, Sr., LB, Ole Miss

Projected as the SEC’s fifth-best linebacker on our list, this senior’s heading into his second and final season as a starter on the outside and led the Rebels in tackles last fall. A headache to contain off the edge, his 12.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage was also a team-high.

An All-SEC second-teamer by the Associated Press, Bryant was arrested and suspended in February along with linebacker teammate Denzel Nkemdiche after the two were charged in separate, disorderly conduct-related incidents during the same weekend. At the time, it was a severe blow defensively to a program on the rise and a disappointing affair to coach Hugh Freeze. Bryant returned to the team a different player shortly thereafter who ‘took full responsibility for everything’ he did according to the Clarion-Ledger.

Ole Miss has a star at each tier of its defense with Robert Nkemdiche up front, Bryant on the outside and Cody Prewitt deep, but it’s Bryant who is the unit’s most important player this fall. Likely given the task to spy on opposing quarterbacks, Bryant’s experience level and knowledge of the game has major influence on his production. Staying healthy is crucial to the Rebels’ success and most all, necessary if Denzel Nkemdiche continues a tumultuous offseason that already cost him the season opener against Boise State.

2013 statistics: 78 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 3 FF
2014 projection: 70 tackles, 13 TFL, 4.5 sacks