Ranking the top 50 SEC players in 2015
Derrick Henry won the Heisman Trophy and carried — often literally — Alabama to the national championship.
Leonard Fournette might have won the Heisman Trophy had he played in the SEC East and not run into — often literally — Alabama.
And Dan Mullen might be looking for a job had Dak Prescott not single-handedly turned the Bulldogs into a legitimate threat.
Those three stars each received a first-place vote in balloting by SaturdayDownSouth.com staff members as we crunched numbers to compile a ranking of the Top 50 players in the SEC in 2015.
Alas, there can only be one No. 1 …
The Top 10
1o. Kentrell Brothers, LB, Missouri: Led the SEC by wide margin with 152 tackles — in just 12 games.
9. Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida: Florida’s “other” shutdown corner returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns.
8. A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama: Anchored the best defense, best run defense in America.
7. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: The most unblockable force in the SEC, led the league and finished tied for fifth nationally with 12.5 sacks.
6. Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama: Whatever Robinson missed, Ragland took care of. Led Alabama with 102 tackles.
5. Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss: Set school record with 4,042 passing yards in first year in the league. Will try to become the first SEC QB to top 4,000 yards twice in a career.
4. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss: Recovered from horrific leg injury to set school records and lead SEC in receiving yards (1,153) and touchdown catches (11), not to mention passing (3 for 3, 134 yards, 1 TD).
3. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State: Turned the Bulldogs’ record book into an autobiography, finishing 2015 with 4,381 total yards and accounting for 39 touchdowns.
2. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: Chased Herschel Walker’s SEC rushing record for most of the season. Somebody else broke it (spoiler alert), but Fournette finished with 1,953 yards in just 12 games.
1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama: Henry broke Walker’s record, becoming the first back in SEC to top 2,000 yards. He finished with 2,219, and he finished in style. He ran for 693 yards and seven touchdowns in Alabama’s final four games.
Not only was Henry the most spectacular player in the SEC in 2015, he was the most valuable.
Not an easy choice for No. 1 on our Top 50 SEC players for 2015, but certainly a deserving one.
No. 11 Laremy Tunsil, LT, Ole Miss: Missed half of the season serving a suspension, but spent the final half showing why he’s a possible No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
No. 12 Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas: Threw for 3,440 yards and 30 TDs, led the Razorbacks’ late-season revival.
No. 13 Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee: More compact physically than Garrett, he finished fourth in the SEC with 10.0 sacks, equalling his 2014 output.
No. 14 Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee: Finished fifth in the SEC with 2,962 total yards. Dobbs led SEC QBs with 11 rushing TDs to go with 15 TD passes.
No. 15 Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida: Disruptive force up front, finished third in SEC with 17.5 tackles for a loss.
No. 16 Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama: The other half of the Tide’s dominant interior had the second-best run-grade in the country, according to Pro Football Focus.
No. 17 Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas: Ran for 1,577 yards — third-most in Arkansas history and one of 20 best single seasons in SEC history.
No. 18 Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee: Bruising sophomore punctuated a 1,288-yard season with a 2016 preview performance against Northwestern in the Outback Bowl.
No. 19 Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: A subpar performance in the championship game can’t dampen a record-breaking freshman year in which he led the SEC with 89 catches and finished with 1,045 yards and seven TDs.
No. 20 Robert Nkemdiche, DE, Ole Miss: Safe to say 2015 didn’t end the way he envisioned, but the sum is better than the parts.
No. 21 Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M: Fellow freshman was every bit Ridley’s equal in the passing game (1,009 yards, 7 TDs).
No. 22 Charles Harris, DE, Missouri: Sophomore finished second behind Garrett in tackles for a loss (18.5).
No. 23 Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas: Led SEC tight ends in receptions (51) and yards (739) and threw the most valuable bounce pass in Arkansas history since Kareem Reid was running the show for Nolan Richardson.
No. 24 Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida: Hargreaves hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his side of the field this season, and QBs generally acquiesced.
No. 25 Marcus Maye, S, Florida: A metrics darling who often was overlooked in the Gators’ secondary, Maye received Pro Football Focus’ second-highest position grade, in part because of his combo skills.
The rest: Nos. 26-50
No. 26 Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
No. 27 Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
No. 28 Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
No. 29 Drew Morgan, WR, Arkansas
No. 30 Fred Ross, WR, Mississippi State
No. 31 Cam Sutton, S, Tennessee
No. 32 Vadal Alexander, OL, LSU
No. 33 Sebastian Tretola, OL, Arkansas
No. 34 Cyrus Jones, DB, Alabama
No. 35 Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia
No. 36 Eddie Jackson, DB, Alabama
No. 37 Ralph Webb, RB, Vanderbilt
No. 38 De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State
No. 39 Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
No. 40 Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
No. 41 Marquis Haynes, DE, Ole Miss
No. 42 Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
No. 43 Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
No. 44 Skai Moore, LB, South Carolina
No. 45 Evan Berry, S, Tennessee
No. 46 Chris Westry, CB, Kentucky
No. 47 Malachi Dupre, WR, LSU
No. 48 Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
No. 49 Boom Williams, RB, Kentucky
No. 50 Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia: Would have challenged for No. 1 had he been healthy all season. Let’s hope that’s the case in 2016.