Video: Top SEC returners of the last decade
The SEC has featured an overload of electric kickoff and punt returners in the last decade.
While it’s impossible to name every great returner in the last 10 seasons, here are some of our favorites.
Marcus Murphy, Missouri: He broke Jeremy Maclin’s school record with seven total return touchdowns during his college career. The 5-foot-9 jitterbug managed 5,112 all-purpose yards at Mizzou, second all-time.
Javier Arenas, Alabama: The SEC’s all-time leading punt returner (1,752), Arenas scored an unbelievable seven touchdowns on punts alone during his career with the Tide. A consensus All-American in 2009, Arenas also set Alabama’s school record with 2,166 kickoff return yards.
Joe Adams, Arkansas: What a season Adams put together in 2011. The SEC Special Teams Player of the Year and a consensus All-American, Adams returned four different punts for touchdowns in one season, tying Derek Abney’s SEC record. He finished his career with five such touchdowns, tied for third all-time in the SEC.
Brandon Boykin, Georgia: The Paul Hornung Award winner as the nation’s most versatile player in 2011, he also returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in ’09 and finished third in SEC history with 2,663 kickoff return yards.
Brandon James, Florida: A two-time first-team All-American as a returner, James led the Gators in punt and kickoff return yards all four seasons. He finished as the SEC’s all-time leader in combined return yards with 4,089, edging out Arenas. Both of their careers spanned from 2006-09.
Felix Jones, Arkansas: A first- or second-team All-SEC return specialist in three different seasons, Jones returned four kickoffs for touchdowns during his career. He holds the SEC’s career record for yards per kickoff return as well.
Andre Debose, Florida: He finished his career with 2,111 kickoff return yards and five total return touchdowns, becoming a full-time punt returner as well in ’14. With 37 career punt returns, he only signaled for a fair catch three times.
THE LSU CLAN
Trindon Holliday, Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, Odell Beckham Jr., Skyler Green, LSU: It’s impossible to separate the Tigers’ terrific returners in the last decade, and I won’t try here. Green, Peterson, Mathieu and Beckham Jr. all earned All-American status as a kick or punt returner between 2005 and 2013. Holliday, one of the fastest and shortest players in recent SEC history, added two punt return touchdowns and two kick return touchdowns in his own career.
Debate which team is “DB U,” or any other position in the SEC. But there’s one clear-cut “Returner U” in the conference within the last decade.