Eight players from the SEC have been named to the 2011 Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list.
The award, which honors the top defensive player in the country, is named after Pro Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and takes into account integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.
Making the list from the SEC were a pair of Alabama teammates -- linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Mark Barron.
Also selected were Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette, South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore, Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins, Vanderbilt linebacker Chris Marve, LSU safety Brandon Taylor and Tennessee cornerback Prentiss Waggner.
This list is a solid representation of the defenders I think will have the greatest impact in the SEC next season, but there were also some glaring omissions.
Right at the top of that list is the quartet of Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward, South Carolina defensive end Devin Taylor, Kentucky linebacker Danny Trevathan and Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
Hayward was second in the league last season with six interceptions and led the league in passes defended with 17. Taylor is the top returning player in the SEC in terms of sacks (7.5) and tackles for loss (12) in league games a year ago. Trevathan led all SEC players with 144 total tackles, including 16 for loss. Upshaw, slowed by a high ankle sprain earlier in the season, finished with 14.5 tackles for loss, including seven sacks. He was right behind Taylor in league games with 11.5 tackles for loss.
Others from the SEC who could have (and probably should have) been on the list are Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, Arkansas linebacker Jerry Franklin and Ole Miss defensive end Kentrell Lockett.