Who is really No. 1? The SEC’s best to wear numero uno
Long before jersey No. 1 became a statement of stardom for the Florida Gators, well, it was just another uniform. But because being No. 1 is officially a thing, we wondered who was really No. 1? Of the tons of SEC players who wore the number, here are 10 of the top SEC to wear No. 1.
Percy Harvin, Florida
Perhaps the No. 1 of Gator No. 1s, Harvin was an all-purpose star who was a threat from anywhere on the field. In his three years at UF, he rushed for 1,852 yards and 19 touchdowns, and also caught 133 passes, including 13 more touchdowns by the air. His 9.5 yards per carry average is simply scary, and it left the Minnesota Vikings to pick Harvin in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
One of Steve Spurrier’s best pass catchers ever, Jeffery was a memorable receiver during his three seasons in Columbia. His 183 catches, 3,042 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns are impressive numbers. But even more impressive was his nearly superhuman 2010 campaign, when he led the SEC in catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns. In fact, his 1,517 receiving yards is the third best single-season total in the history of SEC football.
Sony Michel, Georgia
Sure, he ended up just shy of a national title, and he spent much of his time at UGA splitting carries. But those career totals — 3,613 rushing yards, 39 touchdowns, and 6.1 yards per carry — rank him among the best players in program history. Hey, Herschel Walker is No. 1, but Michel actually wore it.
Eric Moulds, Mississippi State
When Mississippi State is mentioned, big player receivers aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. But Moulds was an exception to that rule. His 2,022 receiving yards, 17 touchdowns, and impressive 17.1 yards per catch numbers would have been even better, had State used the forward pass more than very occasionally. As things were, Moulds went pro and was taken in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, for whom he caught many more passes.
Leonard Little, Tennessee
Oddly, the best No. 1 lineage in the SEC probably belongs to Tennessee. Little, who starred in the mid-to-late 1990s, was far from the first Vol to don numero uno, but he did with a style that few could equal. The pass-rushing specialist ended his UT career with 28 sacks, second only to Reggie White on the Vol sack list at that time. He was an All-American and Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 1997 and played a dozen seasons in the NFL.
The iconic photo of Tennessee Defensive End LEGEND Leonard Little standing over Auburn receiver Tyrone Goodson in live action from the 1997 SEC Championship game pic.twitter.com/mO6ry9Td6J
— Under Cover Vol Fan (@ClosetVol) June 6, 2018
Jason Witten, Tennessee
His UT numbers are fairly modest — 68 catches, 797 yards, and seven touchdowns — but the writing was on the wall for an NFL career that has already included over 1,100 catches, over 12,000 receiving yards, and 68 touchdowns. If that’s not list-worthy, then what is?
Jayson Swain, Tennessee
Swain was a sneaky-good player. In four years in Knoxville, he racked up 126 catches, 1,721 receiving yards, and ten touchdowns. That’s good enough to rank sixth still in UT’s career receptions list. Others may have been flashier, but Swain was a #1 worth remembering.
Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
The loss of Samuel for most of the 2017 season was a heartbreaker for Carolina. In 2016, the speedy receiver showed how good he was — 59 catches for 783 yards in the air, six rushing touchdowns, and 26.9 yards per kickoff return. Samuel had returned two kickoffs in 2017 before he was injured — and both went for touchdowns. He’ll be a No. 1 to watch in 2018.
Is South Carolina's Deebo Samuel the SEC's most electrifying playmaker? pic.twitter.com/Q4DGZqv8La
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) September 13, 2017
A.J. Brown, Mississippi
Similarly, Ole Miss’s A.J. Brown may be the top pass target — and top No. 1 — in the SEC this fall. All Brown did in 2017 was snag 75 passes for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns. The physical Brown can outfight nearly any player for the ball — as he did on a last second game winner against Kentucky in Lexington.
Justin Fields, Georgia
Hey, we’ve got to watch the future as well as the present. Sure, Fields is a true freshman who is on this list based on hopes and expectations. But a year ago, we could have said the same thing about a pair of true frosh QBs named Jake Fromm and Tua Tagovailoa. Fields will be too good to sit for too long in Athens. Watch for him.