The SEC's best 25 players: No. 12

This next guy in our countdown is one of the top safeties in college football.

No. 12: Eric Reid, S, LSU, Jr.

2011 summary: In his first season as a starter at free safety, Reid tied for the team lead in tackles with 76. He also had two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Reid was named a second-team All-American by Rivals.com and was a second-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press.

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

Making the case for Reid: His spectacular interception in the 9-6 overtime win at Alabama was the play of the game and introduced Reid to the college football world once and for all. He's a big hitter from his safety position and also covers well. In his last two outings of the 2011 season in the SEC championship game and BCS National Championship Game, he combined for 18 tackles. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Reid has ideal size to play the safety position, but he also has terrific instincts. With Tyrann Mathieu no longer back there, Reid is now the unquestioned leader in the Tigers' secondary and the kind of player who helps cover up others' mistakes. There's not a better safety in college football.

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.

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

  • No. 15: Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas, Sr.

  • No. 14: Chris Faulk, OT, LSU, Jr.

  • No. 13: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn, Jr.