Senior Superlatives: SEC West edition
Unlike other college sports (read: basketball), college football is still dominated by teams that rely heavily on experience. With that in mind, here are three veteran senior leaders from each SEC West team who are expected to contribute heavily to the 2016 season.
DE Jonathan Allen — Allen received the most All-SEC votes of any defensive player in the preseason, and it’s not hard to figure out why. He’s started for two seasons, had 5.5 sacks in 2014 and then 12 more last year. He also had 6 QB hurries and broke up 4 passes.
LB Reuben Foster — Another First-Team All-SEC pick, Foster became a starter last year. He responded by finishing second on the team in tackles with 73 and adding in 9 passes broken up and 8 tackles for loss.
S Eddie Jackson — Yet another First-Team All-SEC Tide defender, Jackson has started for two years and tied for the SEC lead with 6 interceptions last year. He’ll likely be even better this season.
WR Drew Morgan — While it’ll be a different Allen brother throwing passes this year for Arkansas, Drew Morgan will still be catching them. Morgan grabbed 63 passes for 843 yards and 10 scores last year. He was a Third-Team All-SEC preseason selection.
TE Jeremy Sprinkle — Sprinkle has worked his way up the depth chart and now is a Third-Team All-SEC pick with the chance to put up numbers which will easily surpass his 27 catches, 389 yards and 6 scores from 2015. At 6-foot-6, 256 pounds, Sprinkle is a handful to tackle and may end up being the best tight end in the league.
OT Dan Skipper — Skipper will be essentially a four-year starter for Arkansas. The 6-10, 326 pounder has cleared more paths in Arkansas than the state highway department, and was honored by being chosen first team all-SEC by the media this preseason.
OG Alex Kozan — Kozan was a First-Team All-SEC pick and has started for two years at Auburn. He missed the 2014 season with a back injury, but now that he’s healthy again, he’s as good as anybody in the country in run-blocking.
DT Montravius Adams — The 6-foot-4, 309-pound Adams will end up a three-year starter for the Tigers. Last year, he had 44 tackles, 6 QB hurries, and 2.5 sacks. Adams was a preseason Second-Team All-SEC honoree.
S Johnathan Ford — The athletic Ford has starred in the Auburn secondary over the past two seasons. Last year, he led the team with 118 tackles to go with a pair of interceptions. He was named Third-Team All-SEC this summer.
C Ethan Pocic — A potential three-year starter at LSU, Pocic helps open up holes at the point of attack for Leonard Fournette. He’s good enough at doing so that he was tabbed First-Team All-SEC.
LB Kendell Beckwith — Beckwith has starred over the last two seasons at LSU. In 2015, he was second on the team in tackles with 84 and in tackles for loss with 10 (including 3.5 sacks). He may surpass all three numbers in 2016 and was preseason First-Team All-SEC.
CB Tre’Davious White — A likely four-year starter, White has already accrued 20 passes broken up as a Tiger, including 7 last season. A First-Team All-SEC performer, White may not accrue a ton of stats because he’s so good that teams will try to scheme around him.
QB Chad Kelly — Granted, Kelly has only played one prior season at Ole Miss, but he is the First-Team All-SEC quarterback and has some credentials. Over 4,000 yards passing and 500 more rushing, Kelly does it all, and Rebels fans are hungry for more in 2016.
WR Quincy Adeboyejo — Adeboyejo became a full-time starter last season and responded with 38 catches for 604 yards and 7 scores. He is the top returning receiver on the team and should have an exciting 2016 campaign.
DB Tony Conner — Aside from missing much of last season with injuries, Conner has been a fixture at the Huskie position for four years in Oxford. He has eclipsed 150 tackles for his career, and is at home making big plays in the backfield or breaking up passes in coverage, which is why he ended up being chosen Second-Team All-SEC in the preseason.
RB Brandon Holloway — He’s just 5-foot-8, but he’s speedy and elusive. Holloway is not only the top returning rusher on the team (413 yards in 2015), but he’s also a threat as a kick returner. Without Dak Prescott around, he’ll have to assume more of a leadership role for the Bulldogs in 2016.
WR Fred Ross — Ross has gone from 115 receiving yards in 2013 to 489 in 2014 to 1,007 last year. His 88 catches also led the Bulldogs and were one catch short of leading the SEC. Whoever ends up playing QB for State will be looking for Ross early and often.
LB Richie Brown — A Third-Team All-SEC pick, Brown led the Rebels with 109 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2015. He leads a veteran defensive unit, which could surprise many this fall.
WR Josh Reynolds — The 6-foot-4 Reynolds is a JUCO, so he has only one prior year, but it was a productive season. His 51 catches, 907 yards, and 5 touchdowns (including a 95-yard reception) were the sum of his 2015 campaign, and with Christian Kirk and Ricky Seals-Jones alongside, he’ll have a big impact again this year.
DE Daeshon Hall — Hall became a full-time starter in 2015 and had a big season with 54 tackles, 7 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. Playing in the shadow of all-SEC pick Myles Garrett in 2016, don’t be surprised if Hall does even better.
LB Shaan Washington — A four-year letterman, Washington has accumulated 171 tackles in his career at A&M. He was second on the team with 81 stops in 2015 and also added 7.5 tackles for loss and 4 passes broken up.