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The SEC's 25 best players: No. 4

As we approach the top selection in our countdown of the SEC’s 25 best players, the No. 4 guy on our list has few peers anywhere in the country when it comes to playing cornerback.

No. 4: Patrick Peterson, CB, Jr., LSU

2009 numbers: Recorded 52 total tackles and intercepted two passes. Ranked fourth in the SEC with 15 passes defended.

Most recent ranking: No. 14 on the 2009 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Peterson: He’s exactly what you’re looking for in a cornerback in every facet. Athletically, he’s off the charts. Just this offseason, he was laser-timed at 4.37 in the 40-yard dash, recorded a vertical leap of 39 inches and squatted 535 pounds. The 6-foot-1 Peterson weighed in at 220 pounds, too. He has great ball skills and the upper-body strength to overpower receivers. You won’t find a better tackler from the cornerback position, either. Go back and watch a few of the plays he made on Tim Tebow in the open field last season. His 43 solo tackles were second on LSU’s team a year ago to middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard’s 50. So when he’s not shutting down the opposing team’s best receiver, he’s equally effective in run support and makes up for a lot of mistakes. The other thing that makes Peterson so great is his undying confidence. He has a genuine belief that he’s going to make every play, and that confidence wears off on his teammates. Heading into last season, Peterson might have been overshadowed some by safety Chad Jones in the LSU secondary. But the Pompano Beach, Fla., product motors into the 2010 season as the SEC’s premier defensive back and a guy who many NFL scouts believe might be the most talented cornerback in all of college football.

The rundown

No. 5: Marcell Dareus, DE, Jr., Alabama

No. 6: Julio Jones, WR, Jr., Alabama

No. 7: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Jr., Alabama

No. 8: Mike Pouncey, C/G, Sr., Florida

No. 9: Pernell McPhee, DE, Sr., Mississippi State

No. 10: Jerrell Powe, NT, Sr., Ole Miss

No. 11: Trent Richardson, RB, So., Alabama

No. 12: Stephon Gilmore, CB, So., South Carolina

No. 13: Kelvin Sheppard, LB, Sr., LSU

No. 14: Randall Cobb, WR/QB, Jr., Kentucky

No. 15: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Jr., Florida

No. 16: Mark Barron, S, Jr., Alabama

No.17: Darvin Adams, WR, Jr., Auburn

No. 18: Alshon Jeffery, WR, So., South Carolina

No. 19: D.J. Williams, TE, Sr., Arkansas

No. 20: Cliff Matthews, DE, Sr., South Carolina

No. 21: Clint Boling, OT, Sr., Georgia

No. 22: Greg Childs, WR, Jr., Arkansas

No. 23: Washaun Ealey, RB, So., Georgia

No. 24: Chris Marve, LB, Jr., Vanderbilt

No. 25: Luke Stocker, TE, Sr., Tennessee