Athlon ranks the SEC's top 40 players

Who's the best player in the SEC?

Better yet, who are the 40 best players in the SEC?

We're currently counting down the players we think at ESPN.com will be the 25 best players in the SEC this season, but Athlon Sports has already unveiled its list of the top 40 players.

At the top of Athlon's list is South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery.

Alabama led the way with eight players among the top 40 -- running back Trent Richardson (No. 3), offensive lineman Barrett Jones (No. 4), safety Mark Barron (No. 6), linebacker Dont'a Hightower (No. 8), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (No. 12), linebacker Courtney Upshaw (No. 15), center William Vlachos (No. 18) and safety Robert Lester (No. 22).

Arkansas was close behind with seven -- running back Knile Davis (No. 9), defensive end Jake Bequette (No. 10), linebacker Jerry Franklin (No. 14), receiver Greg Childs (No. 17), receiver Joe Adams (No. 23), quarterback Tyler Wilson (No. 30) and safety Tramain Thomas (No. 33).

Also, South Carolina had three of Athlon's top five players -- Jeffery (No. 1), running back Marcus Lattimore (No. 2) and defensive end Devin Taylor (No. 5).

Here's a link to the entire list.