The SEC's best 25 players: No. 16

The Vols' passing game should be explosive in 2012, and this next guy is a big reason why:

No. 16: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee, Jr.

2011 summary: Prior to suffering a season-ending ACL tear against Florida in the third game, Hunter was leading the SEC with an average of 104.7 receiving yards per game. He finished with 17 catches for 314 yards and two touchdowns.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2011 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Hunter: Had it not been for the injury, the general feeling around the SEC is that the 6-4, 200-pound Hunter would have emerged as perhaps the most feared big-play threat in the league last season. He averaged 18.5 yards per catch in his injury-shortened sophomore season, and as a freshman, he averaged 25.9 yards per reception. He only caught 16 passes that first season, but seven went for touchdowns. Not only does Hunter have great size and speed, but he's an incredible leaper. He's recorded a 7-2 high jump and a 25-3 3/4 long jump. Hunter also has excellent body control and makes the most difficult mid-air adjustments look easy. He's a weapon whether you're in the red zone or need a big play to get you out of your own territory. Hunter has worked hard on his strength and has also gained weight since arriving at Tennessee. There will undoubtedly be some questions about his durability. But if he's all the way back -- and his teammates insist he's even better than before -- then Hunter will have a chance to etch his name up there with some of the best receivers in college football in 2012.

The rundown

  • No. 25: Matt Elam, S, Florida, Jr.

  • No. 24: Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee, Jr.

  • No. 23: Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M, Sr.

  • No. 22: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama, Jr.

  • No. 21: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia, Jr.

  • No. 20: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M, Jr.

  • No. 19: Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee, Jr.

  • No. 18: Jesse Williams, NG, Alabama, Sr.

  • No. 17: Bennie Logan, DT, LSU, Jr.