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The SEC's best 25 players: No. 9

We've cracked the top 10 of our countdown, and the player coming in at No. 9 acts like a veteran, but is only a sophomore. He's the ultimate leader and might be the most talented quarterback in the conference:

No. 9: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

2010 numbers: He started all 13 games completing 209 of 342 passes for a Georgia freshman record 3,049 yards (second in SEC history by a freshman) and 24 touchdowns. Murray also rushed 87 times for 167 yards and four more scores. He ranks first in Georgia freshman history with 3,216 total offensive yards, which also ranked second in SEC history. He also tied for first in school history for touchdown responsibility in a season with 28 and his 24 touchdown passes ranked tied 2nd in school history for a single season. Murray's passing efficiency of 154.48 ranked 14th nationally and fourth in the SEC.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2010 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Murray: Murray enters his second season as Georgia's quarterback as the leader among returning starters around the league with 24 touchdown passes from a year ago. Murray might not have the greatest height, barely standing 6-foot-1, but he has some of the best technique and touch on his throws of any quarterback in the league. Despite Georgia's 6-7 record last year, Murray was one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the SEC, statistically. Murray used the spring to improve all aspects of his game, like adding extra zip on his passes, developing better timing with his receivers, and refining his footwork, which has been lauded by opposing SEC quarterbacks. He also improved his leadership skills. Murray took his teammates aside this summer to work three to four times a week to run through drills, 7-on-7s and watch film. He won't have A.J. Green to throw to this fall, but Murray has the ability to make those around him better. He's already seen vast improvements out of receiver Marlon Brown and has developed a great on-field relationship with tight end Orson Charles and receiver Tavarres King. With depth issues at running back and offensive line, Murray will have to do even more with both his arm and feet this fall to keep the Bulldogs in the SEC hunt.

  • No. 10: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

  • No. 11: Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas

  • No. 12: Stephon Gilmore, DB, South Carolina

  • No. 13: Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas

  • No. 14: Mike 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