Pad Poppers: Identifying the SEC's most feared hitters
The SEC is continuously ranked the most physical conference in college football, and these big hitters are a huge reason why.
Keanu Neal, Florida: Vernon Hargreaves III made opposing quarterbacks weary for his elite coverage abilities, but pass catchers will need to watch out for Neal. Running backs better keep an eye out for Neal as well, as Alabama’s Derrick Henry can attest.
Jamal Adams, LSU: The Tigers always have a player on these big-hitters lists, and Adams is a worthy representative for 2015. Adams didn’t get a ton of playing time as a freshman last season, but when he did, he let his presence be known. The safety had a number of big hits in the secondary and on special teams, including this block against Kentucky.
Tony Conner, Ole Miss: People are finally starting to realize Conner’s greatness. NFL.com named him the No. 2 most physical player in college football, tops for an SEC player. With another solid secondary partner in Trae Elston handling the deep routes, Conner will be free to wreck havoc closer to the line of scrimmage.
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: This list isn’t exclusive to defensive backs and linebackers. Garrett, a 6-foot-5 weak-side end, registered 11 1/2 sacks as a true freshman last season. Assuming John Chavis can draw up schemes that alleviate double teams, Garrett will continue to make SEC quarterbacks very, very sore this season.
Reuben Foster, Alabama: Foster takes the cake among the SEC’s top hitters. He’s a wrecking ball from the middle linebacker spot, and also sets the tone on kickoffs. His hit on LSU’s Leonard Fournette, himself a running back who knows how to use the truck stick, is still sending shockwaves throughout SEC Country.