Ranking the SEC's Safeties for 2014
Individual Position Rankings
- RUNNING BACKS
- WIDE RECEIVERS
- TIGHT ENDS
- OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
- DEFENSIVE ENDS
- DEFENSIVE TACKLES
Ranked in terms of talent and potential impact, here’s how the SEC’s top safeties stack up this season:
Just outside the Top 5: Derrick Moncrief, Auburn; Jabari Gorman, Florida; Brian Randolph, Tennessee; Rohan Gaines, Arkansas
5. Jalen Mills, LSU: Recently reinstated after East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore reduced a original felony second degree battery charge to misdemeanor simple battery, Mills is the star in a young, but talented LSU secondary. He’s one of three players at the back end capable of performing at an all-conference level and heads into his junior season with a unit-best 26 starts. Mills has five career interceptions, but makes his living moving sideline to sideline as a running back smasher.
4. Tony Conner, Ole Miss: A hybrid defender on the Rebels’ defense according to coordinator Dave Wommack, Conner has a chance to lead his team in sacks this season as a heavy-blitzing safety. He started 12 games as a true freshman last fall at the ‘Huskie’ position and ranked second among SEC first-year players in tackles with 66 total stops. The former five-star recruit has certainly looked the part of a can’t-miss ballhawks early in his collegiate career.
3. Braylon Webb, Mizzou: When Webb steps on the field, he brings it as the Eastern Division’s best player you’ve never heard of. While Sheldon Richardson and Michael Sam stole the headlines on the Mizzou defense the past two seasons, Webb was quietly the Tigers’ top playmaker at the back end, posting 153 total tackles as a hard-hitting safety. Webb enters his senior season as a multi-year impact player with a team-leading 30 career starts to his credit.
2. Landon Collins, Alabama: Certainly deserving of the top spot in this list, Collins is one of the nation’s top juniors on defense. Prolific in run support, the Crimson Tide’s best in the secondary has yet to hit his maximum potential and mirrors other all-league Alabama defensive backs Mark Barron and Hah Ha Clinton-Dix before him. Collins, who intercepted two passes last season including a pick-six against Tennessee, finished second to C.J. Mosley in tackles with 70 and could improve on that number this fall.
1. Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss: The top pick may surprise folks outside of Oxford, but the veteran leader of the Ole Miss secondary is the SEC’s best at reading quarterbacks and stepping in the middle of passing lanes, tallying off a conference-leading eight interceptions since the start of the 2012 season. Last fall, Prewitt ranked seventh nationally with six picks en route to first team All-America honors and is one of the primary reasons the Rebels are projected as a Western Division darkhorse this season.