Power ranking the top 10 SEC players through Week 11
Week 11 in the SEC saw Georgia trail by a touchdown for almost 4 whole minutes! That alone made it a week to remember.
There were also some tremendous individual performances, from James Cook eviscerating Tennessee to Jameson Williams’ continued star turn at Alabama. The top spot in these rankings remains the same and it appears we’ll have a 3-man battle for the No. 1 ranking at season’s end — with all of those players lining up on defense.
Last week’s list is here.
There are only 2 honorable mentions per school, which is why some names you rightly think merit consideration aren’t here. It’s also true that ranking the 10 best players in the best conference in America is extremely difficult and somewhat arbitrary. But hey, I’m sure y’all could do a better job!
Honorable mentions (2 per school): Evan Neal, OT (Alabama); Jameson Williams, WR (Alabama); Grant Morgan, LB (Arkansas); Treylon Burks, WR (Arkansas); Roger McCreary, CB (Auburn); Zakoby McClain, LB (Auburn); Dameon Pierce, RB (Florida); Zachary Carter, DE (Florida); James Cook, RB (Georgia); Lewis Cine, S (Georgia); Darian Kinnard, OT (Kentucky); Josh Paschal, DL (Kentucky); Micah Baskerville, LB (LSU); BJ Ojulari, Edge (LSU); Jett Johnson, LB (Mississippi State); Charles Cross, OT (Mississippi State); Michael Maietti, C (Missouri); Isaiah McGuire, DL (Missouri); Sam Williams, DE (Ole Miss); Jerrion Ealy, RB (Ole Miss); Josh Vann, WR (South Carolina); Kinglsey Enagbare, DE (South Carolina); Hendon Hooker, QB (Tennessee); Jeremy Banks, LB (Tennessee); DeMarvin Leal, DL (Texas A&M); Antonio Johnson, CB (Texas A&M); Chris Pierce, Jr., WR (Vanderbilt).
10. Will Rogers III, QB (Mississippi State)
It’s tough not to like Will Rogers.
The Bulldogs quarterback threw for 415 yards and a program-record 6 touchdowns Saturday in leading State to a 43-34 win in Auburn. That’s what the box score says, at least.
What the eye test says is even more impressive.
Down 28-3 in the first half — on the road — Rogers calmly led State to scores on 6 consecutive possessions, sparking a 40 -oint run that gave Mike Leach’s program an immense win.
That’s Rogers’ 3rd victory over a ranked opponent this season, impressive for anyone in college football, let alone in the SEC.
Call him a system quarterback if you’d like. I don’t think he cares.
What he does is win football games. He also leads the SEC in passing yards and has 29 touchdowns against only 8 interceptions on insanely high volume. That earns him a spot in the list for the second time this season.
9. Chance Campbell, LB (Ole Miss)
Campbell, a lightly recruited 3-star linebacker who ranked outside the top 1,000 prospects, has blossomed into one of the SEC’s finest linebackers as a senior. He has stuffed the stat sheet all year, with 79 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries and 17 pressures. Saturday, he paced an Ole Miss defensive performance that reminded us of the “Land Shark” defense days, as the Rebels harassed and harangued Texas A&M starting quarterback Zach Calzada all game long.
The Ole Miss defense is DOMINATING ❌ pic.twitter.com/qkEQNzKl0H
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 14, 2021
Campbell also added a safety, which ended up being really important as the game progressed.
Chance Campbell is such a difference maker for Ole Miss.
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) October 23, 2021
This has been a season-long story, too. Campbell has performed at a high level and improved every week, as has the defense he leads.
8. Damone Clark, LB (LSU)
Clark shined in the Battle for the Golden Boot, collecting a team-high 12 tackles, a sack and 2 tackles for loss. The senior continues to lead the SEC in tackles with 119, but it’s the increasing number of big plays that is moving him up the list. He’s registered a sack in each of LSU’s past 3 games, forced a fumble in 2 of the past 4, and led the Tigers in tackles for loss over the past month. A big-time player for a defense that has played terrific football over the past three weeks, even if LSU is falling just short in the win column.
7. Tyler Badie, RB (Missouri)
Badie is as important to his football team as almost any player in the SEC.
The 2021 season hasn’t been what Missouri fans hoped for but to Eli Drinkwitz’s credit, the Tigers have essentially turned their season over to Badie, their All-American candidate at running back. Badie’s workload has increased significantly over the past month, as he’s had 29 touches or more in 3 of Missouri’s past 4 games. Against South Carolina, he had 39 touches and 231 yards to help the Tigers get within a win of bowl eligibility.
Most 30+ yard rushes among RBs:
1. Tyler Badie, Missouri: 9
2. Breece Hall, Iowa State: 8
2. Abram Smith, Baylor: 8
4. TreVeyon Henderson, OSU: 7
4. Sean Tucker, Syracuse: 7pic.twitter.com/wBoHQgvrzC
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 5, 2021
Badie leads the SEC with 1,239 yards rushing and with 12 touchdowns, is second only to Alabama’s Brian Robinson Jr. (14). Badie also leads all SEC running backs in receptions, with 50 receptions, and he’s added 4 touchdowns in the passing game.
Already a big-play machine, he’ll face a dreadful Florida defense on Saturday in a game that could get ugly fast.
6. Matt Corral, QB (Ole Miss)
Corral was the first to admit Saturday night that Ole Miss rode its defense to a win over No. 11 Texas A&M. Corral had 2 fumbles and Ole Miss struggled mightily in the red zone all night. Still, Corral battled, throwing for 247 yards and guiding an Ole Miss offense that had over 400 yards in the first half against a great Aggies defense. If the Rebels had finished more drives, Corral might have boosted his Heisman hopes Saturday night. As it is, he will settle for a huge win that keeps the Rebels at the heart of the New Year’s 6 bowl picture.
5. Bryce Young, QB (Ole Miss)
When you are a Heisman candidate playing a cupcake, you take advantage of the opportunity and pad numbers. Young did just that Saturday, throwing for 270 yards and 5 touchdowns in Alabama’s blowout of New Mexico State. Young also continues to display insane accuracy: He was 21-of-23 — numbers that even Mac Jones would find impressive. Young’s 3,025 yards passing are 2nd in the SEC and he continues to lead the conference in touchdown passes, with 33.
4. Wan’Dale Robinson, WR (Kentucky)
The “list” took a lot of grief on social last week when it omitted Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks from the Top 10 (Burks was, and remains, in the Honorable Mention section) and included Robinson, who doesn’t average nearly what Burks does per catch. Robinson is open more, however — and he shows up more in big football games. Robinson added 98 total yards against Vanderbilt, along with this touchdown reception.
Wan’Dale Robinson goes undetected across the middle of the field and emerges in the end zone for a Kentucky touchdown!
— PFN Draft (@PFNDraft) November 14, 2021
Robinson continues to grade out as the best WR in the SEC (13th, per PFF, 39 spots ahead of Burks), and he does it despite being the focus of opposing defenses in a run-heavy offense. The Wildcats run on 56.1% of plays and call runs on 58.5%, a number 7% below Arkansas but still the 2nd most run-dominant offense in the SEC. No matter: Robinson is basically uncoverable — ranking 2nd in the SEC in receptions and receiving yards and 5th in yards per target.
3. Jordan Davis, DT (Georgia)
Davis, who added “fixes red-zone offenses” to his list of accolades last week, tallied 2 tackles, including 1 for loss, against Tennessee. He also sealed the “A” gap and commanded double teams on a staggering 95% of his snaps, numbers that helped Georgia contain the Vols improved run game to just 55 yards on 36 attempts.
From a schematic standpoint, he’s the straw that stirs the drink for the Dawgs’ historically good defense. He’s just not on the field as much as the top 2 guys on this list, which is why they are separated by small margins.
2. Nakobe Dean, LB (Georgia)
A week after his quietest game of the season, Dean returned to “monster mode” in the win over the Volunteers. The junior led the Dawgs with 11 tackles. He added a sack, 2 tackles for loss, 4 pressures, and a pass defended to his stat line. The Dawgs trailed 10-7 after a quarter but then Dean and Davis’ defense rallied for double-digit stops to help Georgia score 34 unanswered points and turn an interesting game into a blowout. The key play? Perhaps this brilliant play in pass coverage, which stalled the Vols when they were in a nice offensive rhythm in the first half.
Nakobe Dean should be in the national Heisman discussion. pic.twitter.com/L6KkfWNT7H
— Dayne Young (@dayneyoung) November 15, 2021
Dean won’t get Heisman votes, as the tweet suggests. He should, however, be a consensus All-American.
1. Will Anderson, Edge (Alabama)
Anderson played about a half Saturday and made it count, tallying 2 more sacks to bring his SEC-leading number to 12. Anderson’s second-half tear is a huge reason the Alabama defense appears to have really turned things around over the last month, limiting 3 of their 4 opponents to 14 points or less and climbing back into the top 10 nationally in total defense after a slow start to the season.
Will the SEC Championship Game decide who “wins” this list at the end of the season? It will not, at least entirely. But it will be persuasive, especially if the Crimson Tide pull the upset in Atlanta.