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Ranking the SEC's best players

It's like that final exam you've been dreading.

Ranking the 25 best football players in the SEC is a thankless task. Come on, how do you squeeze 40 or 45 deserving players into 25 spots?

That's our challenge, and this time it's the postseason list. The 25 players we select will be the 25 players who had the greatest impact on their teams this season and played the best this season. It's not a list of the top NFL draft prospects in the league, and it's not a list where we're handing out career achievement awards.

If it's close, we may consider a player's entire career.

But for the most part, it's what the player accomplished this season. More weight will be given to performance against SEC competition, and we will also take into account how the player finished the season and other variables such as injuries and suspensions.

As a refresher course, here's what our preseason Top 25 list looked like, which was based more on projected impact for the 2011 season:

No. 1: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

No. 2: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

No. 3: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

No. 4: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas

No. 5: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

No. 6: Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina

No. 7: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

No. 8: Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama

No. 9: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

No. 10: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

No. 11: Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas

N0. 12: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

No. 13: Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas

No. 14: Michael Dyer, RB, Auburn

No. 15: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

No. 16: Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas

No. 17: Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky

No. 18: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia

No. 19: Jerry Franklin, LB, Arkansas

No. 20: Malik Jackson, DT, Tennessee

No. 21: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia

No. 22: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

No. 23: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt

No. 24: Jaye Howard, DT, Florida

No. 25: Janzen Jackson, S, Tennessee

Obviously, there will be some major changes to the postseason order. For starters, Davis missed the entire 2011 season after fracturing his ankle, and Lattimore missed the second half of the season after injuring his knee.

Our new rankings will kick off later today, and we'll count it down daily from No. 25 all the way to No. 1.

We realize that you could put 20 people in a room, and they'd all come up with different lists. Here's your chance to give us a little direction. Maybe we'll agree. Maybe we won't.

But we'll certainly listen.