The SEC's top 25 players: No. 21

Height and athleticism certainly aren't lacking for our next player on our top 25 countdown:

No. 21: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama, Jr.

Preseason rank: Not ranked in the preseason top 25 countdown.

2011 numbers: He finished the season with 30 total tackles, including 24 solo stops and four for loss. He also defended nine passes and forced two fumbles. He was voted a second-team All-American and a second-team All-SEC member as well.

Why he's here: He didn't have eye-popping numbers in 2011, but that didn't mean that Kirkpatrick didn't have a solid final year in Tuscaloosa. He failed to record an interception, but the number of interceptions does not always tell the whole story of a corner's season. Throwing Kirkpatrick's way was usually a no-no for quarterbacks. With his 6-foot-3, 192-pound frame, he made it nearly impossible for quarterbacks to consistently throw toward his side. His aggressive style got the best of him sometimes, but Kirkpatrick had a very short memory on the field and never had an issue bouncing back. Kirkpatrick has real lock-down ability and can take an entire side of the field away with his range. He is also considered one of the top defensive prospects in April's NFL draft.

  • No. 22: Rueben Randle, WR, LSU

  • No. 23: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt

  • No. 24: Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina

  • No. 25: Michael Dyer, RB, Auburn