SDS Roundtable: Which school's all-time position group is the best in SEC history?
Each SDS roundtable discussion involves the SDS staff providing individual answers and comments to questions covering a wide range of sports and non-sports topics. In this discussion, we ask the question: Which school’s all-time position group is the best in SEC history?
Previous roundtable discussions:
- If you could change 1 thing about college football, what would it be?
- What are you watching right now?
- Who is your favorite SEC football player of all-time?
- What are your 3 favorite postseason moments involving SEC teams?
- Which 4 SEC athletes are on your Mount Rushmore?
- What is your most painful sports memory?
- The greatest team I ever saw …
Jon Cooper, SDS co-founder
Everybody else can choose from an all-time roster, but I’m giving a shoutout to a single group that actually played together. I’m going with Arkansas’ 2007 backfield, which featured 3 NFL players with a ridiculous amount of talent — junior running back Darren McFadden, junior running back Felix Jones and senior fullback Peyton Hillis.
Run DMC rushed for 1,830 yards and combined for 21 touchdowns between rushing, receiving and passing during the season. All total during his spectacular career, McFadden rushed for 4,590 yards and combined for 50 touchdowns.
Jones, on the other hand, rushed for 1,162 yards and 11 touchdowns during the season, and Hillis rushed for 347 yards and 2 touchdowns.
All 3 went on to have fantastic NFL careers, too, but that 2007 backfield was something special.
Connor O’Gara, Senior national columnist
Is it boring to say Alabama’s offensive line? I don’t care.
If you want to stick with just the Nick Saban era, Alabama has 4 Outland Award winners (and 5 in the past 20 years). Since Saban arrived, Alabama had 6 1st-rounders on the offensive line and 15 drafted overall.
That doesn’t include the fact that they paved the way for a pair of Heisman Trophy winners in Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry.
It’s fitting that Alabama won the first year of the Joe Moore Award in 2015. And just so you don’t think this is complete recency bias, I should probably add that John Hannah, who was one of the best offensive linemen in the history of the sport, was a 2-time 1st-team All-American at Alabama. There are plenty of other successful pre-Saban offensive linemen like Chris Samuels, Evan Mathis and Dwight Stephenson. But really, this comes down to the most impressive dynasty in the sport’s history being built on the foundation of that offensive line. That makes the case.
Chris Marler, The SDS Podcast co-host
Let me start by saying I am purposely excluding LSU and UF DBs. Thoughts and prayers to anyone who chooses one of those because the internet will explode over that debate. There are some really good options here: Auburn and LSU RBs, Arkansas OL, Mizzou DL, Florida WRs, Alabama LBs, etc. Pretty much any position group at Alabama that doesn’t involve special teams. You could make a case for UGA kickers as well.
But this is a no-brainer for me, and it’s Georgia’s running back room. I don’t understand the debate over RBU. I know UGA doesn’t have the most Heismans, Doak Walker Award winners or national championships. But the Dawgs had an elite or at least All-SEC caliber RB on every team since the Nixon administration. Herschel, Gurley, Chubb and Michel. Everyone likes to bring up those backs first, but don’t forget: Knowshon, Garrison Hearst, Terrell Davis, Robert Edwards, Musa Smith. Heisman Trophy winners, 1st-round picks, NFL MVPs. And, that’s just the past 40 years. The list is even more impressive when you bring up old-timers like Charley Trippi and Frank Sinkwich.
Michael Bratton, News editor
Georgia running backs.
Their accomplishments are lengthy and led by Hershel Walker, who is still revered by seemingly everyone associated with the SEC to this day.
The list of elite running backs from Athens is wild: Garrison Hearst, Thomas Brown, Rodney Hampton, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and D’Andre Swift, just to name a few. Robert Edwards would have been a star in the NFL if he didn’t get hurt.
Georgia’s depth at running back is so deep, future NFL MVP Terrell Davis only ranks 20th in rushing yards in school history.
While Alabama has had a nice string of running backs in recent seasons, Georgia still holds the title of RBU in the SEC.
Adam Spencer, Newsletter editor
I’ll go with LSU’s wide receiver room. I know the Tigers didn’t really utilize a lot of these guys to their full potential outside of this past season, but the names that have gone through that position group are impressive — Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Dwayne Bowe, Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall Jr., Josh Reed, Michael Clayton, Reuben Randle, Brandon LaFell. The list goes on and on.
Imagine if the Tigers had been running the 2019 version of their offense when OBJ and Landry were around? Chase won the Biletnikoff Award this past season, and he’ll have a chance to defend his title in 2020 (hopefully). Can he move up the LSU receiving ranks? He’ll join some legendary names if he does.
Chris Wright, Executive editor
Florida’s all-time QB room is beyond compare. Their pro careers didn’t pan out, but Florida is the only SEC program to produce 3 Heisman Trophy quarterbacks, including 2 who combined to win 3 national titles.
Florida’s 3 QB Heisman winners (Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Tebow) nearly matches the rest of the SEC combined 4 (Auburn’s Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and LSU’s Joe Burrow). Don’t forget, the Gators were grooming Newton, too, before that plan went out the window.
The Gators’ QB Heisman haul remains the most by any position group in the SEC. Auburn has 2 QBs, and Alabama and Georgia each have 2 RBs who won the Heisman.