With the close of the regular season, some of us have finally gained temporary relief from the pain of living through a three-month long tire and chemical fire. For those following teams with, at the very least, marginally competent coaching, the season continues for another three to four weeks in locations where the temperature is going to be a total crapshoot. Personally, I hope it's 15 degrees and icy at all bowl locations, but I am bitter and at this point can only get pleasure out of other's misery.
As is custom-ish around here, it's time to recognize those who achieved well and those who achieved well, but not as well as others. This year, we have four tiers, starting with the top tier, that are all classified based on the level of cheating (hey, this is the SEC!) that would occur to get the individual players to sign with a school. Congratulations to all, and my apologies to those who probably should be listed below, but missed the cut due to my lack of thoroughness (and to all offensive linemen; I am much too lazy to learn your names if you do not attend Ole Miss). Names appear in each tier in no particular order.
FIRST TEAM $180,000 FOR THE CHURCH
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
1583 yards, 20 TDs, and an average of 131.9 yds/game, oh, and 136.6 yds/game in SEC games. IT'S BORING, BUT IT'S A PART OF MY LIFE.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Despite being left to fend off rushers without the aid of a running back staying into block, Wilson threw only six interceptions in 407 pass attempts. By the math of my computer's calculator, that's an interception every 67.8 passes. For comparison, Aaron Murray threw an interception every 30.9 passes, and Ole Miss' Zack Stoudt threw one every 15 passes.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Even though he took home the 2011 Jevan Snead Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Quarterbacking Failure, Murray countered those picks with 33 touchdown passes, tops in the conference by 11. If not for Murray, Georgia is a 6-6 or 7-5-ish team, who would have just introduced Kirby Smart as its new head coach.
Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas
Most likely the best wide receiver in the conference, Wright had a tremendous year for the Razorbacks, despite missing one game. However, I would like to point out that his lowest output of the season came against Ole Miss when he had just one catch for 20 yards. Good news though, Hog fans, the man who limited Wright so well, Tyrone Nix, is apparently the leading candidate for your open defensive coordinator position. DOUBLE MORAL VICTORY.
Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky
The defensive unit of which he was a part was generally terrible (unless they were playing Tennessee!), but Trevathan was one of the few defensive players who caused me to watch them during an entire play, as long as they were in the TV screen at the start of the play. And a 143 tackles, 23 more than the next closest player, seems worthy of a visit from Trooper.
Morris Claiborne, DB, LSU
Tyrann Mathieu gets most of the attention, and he certainly deserves it, but Claiborne is by far the better defender in coverage, and probably the best cover corner in the SEC and college football, meaning he doesn't get many blitz opportunities out of the slot like Mathieu does. He's big, fast, and possesses ALL THE SKILLS EVER one needs to be a lockdown corner on any level of football.
Tryann Mathieu, DB, LSU
[insert lines about Honey Badger taking everything he wants + Uncle Verne chortle + Houston Nutt saying "Honey Badger"]
Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
A sophomore that lead the SEC in sacks and tackles for a loss and appeared unblockable at times. He's also solely responsible for Todd Grantham meating out like a pre-Dalton Double Deuce bouncer.
/checks Ole Miss schedule for games against Georgia
/sees "at Georgia" in 2012
/damn you, schedule makers
Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama
I'm pretty sure Nick Saban is always going to have a guy like this on his team. Enormous for his position, way too fast for his position, and can find a way to wreck your team's **** on every play.
FIRST TEAM PHIL FULMER SECURES TEE MARTIN'S SIGNING WITH TENNESSEE
Zac Stacy, RB, Vanderbilt
Stacy sort of snuck up on everyone and piled up 1100+ yards and 13 touchdowns. Had he put up better numbers against the non-horrible defenses he faced, he would have found himself in the $180K tier.
Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee
Much like Stacy, he lit up the bad teams he played and didn't do much against better competition. He was also cursed with trying to catch passes from the arms of Matt Simms and Justin Worley, a task wished upon no wide receiver.
Michael Dyer, RB, Auburn
Dyer deserves a gold star for putting up 1200+ rushing yards with a passing game led by Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley.
Ruebn Randle, WR, LSU
Randle owes gold stars to the LSU offensive line for making LSU's running game so hard to stop, which created one-on-one matchups that, with his physical skills, could be won more often than not.
Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
There's other stuff, but here's the important stuff:
Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Again, lots of other stuff, but here's the important stuff:
Barkeveous Mingo, DE, LSU
Ever wonder what it would be like if a gazelle gained opposable thumbs and decided to start hunting running backs? MINGO IS WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE.
Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
Seriously, does LSU have a lab tucked away on a farm somewhere south of I-10 where these guys are created? It would be just like the farm outside of Clarksdale where Ole Miss grows 5'9" 165-pound cornerbacks, except way better.
Bacarri Rambo, DB, Georgia
Whatever his nickname is, it should immediately be changed to "Over the Top" because that was by far the best Stallone movie.
HE NEEDS ALL THE OSCARS EVER, RIGHT NOW!
Tim Fugger, DE, Vanderbilt
The 'Dores are all over the place! James Franklin! The new Vanderbilt! (imaginary contract requires the use of that language)
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Well, I GUESS he lived up to some of the hype. But not leading the conference in every defensive category? Oceans of room for improvement.
Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas
He only played in nine games and still finished sixth in the conference in sacks. Just imagine what he could have done without Willy Robinson. But we all know it was really Houston Nutt's fault.
Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
Similarly, where would he be without Ted Roof?
LSU Running Backs
All of them.
FIRST TEAM JACKIE SHERRILL WE GOT YOU A HOTEL ROOM FOR THE SEMESTER
Dennis Johnson, RB, Arkansas
Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State
A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Georgia
Marquis Maze, WR, Alabama
Malcom Mitchell, WR, Georgia
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Fletcher Cox, DL, Mississippi State
Casey Hayward, DB, Vanderbilt
Eric Reid, DB, LSU
Drew, Alleman, K, LSU
I suppose we have to have a kicker.
Brad Wing, P, LSU
And a punter, but mostly for this:
FIRST TEAM BILLY BREWER YOUR STRIP CLUB VISIT IS ON US
Chris Rainey, RB, Florida
Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
La'Rod King, WR, Kentucky
Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Jeff Scott, RB, Ole Miss
Jerry Franklin, LB, Arkansas
Winston Guy, DB, Kentucky
Johnthan Banks, DB, Mississippi State
Brandon Boykin, DB, Georgia
Tramain Thomas, DB, Arkansas
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