The SEC's top 25 players: No. 10

We're cracking into the top 10 early on our list. This lineman didn't have much trouble cracking into opposing backfields with the way he played in 2011.

No. 10: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State, Jr.

Preseason ranking: No. 22 in the 2011 preseason rankings

2011 summary: He finished the season with 56 tackles, and was fifth in the SEC with 14.5 tackles for loss. He also led Mississippi State with five sacks. Cox left Mississippi State as the all-time leader in blocked kicks (five), after blocking two last fall. He also forced a fumble and returned one 52 yards. He was a first team All-SEC selection by The Associated Press and a second team selection by the league's coaches.

Why he's here: Cox burst onto the scene in 2010, but exploded in 2011. He caused constant headaches for offensive linemen and basically lived in opposing teams' backfields last fall. He was one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the SEC, leading all linemen in tackles for loss. The spotlight was placed on Cox before the season, but he received some unwanted attention right at the start when he was one of five Mississippi State players suspended for the season opener. He bounced back to have quite the final season in Starkville. He probably saved his best game of the year for the last one of his Bulldog career, when he registered seven tackles, a sack and blocked a kick in Mississippi State's 23-17 win over Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl. He also registered back-to-back games with two sacks against South Carolina and Kentucky during the season's midpoint. Cox is projected to be one of the top defensive tackles taken in April's NFL draft.

  • No. 11: Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky

  • No. 12: William Vlachos, C, Alabama

  • No. 13: Joe Adams, WR/RS, Arkansas

  • No. 14: Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia

  • No. 15: Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas

  • No. 16: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia

  • No. 17: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

  • No. 18: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

  • No. 19: Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia

  • No. 20: Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

  • No. 21: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

  • 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