The SEC's 25 best players: No. 1

There shouldn't be any surprises as to who's the No. 1 player in our countdown.

No. 1: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia, Sr.

2011 summary: The SEC's leader in tackles for loss (19.5) and sacks (13.5), Jones started all 14 games for the Bulldogs. He was a finalist for the Butkus Award as the country's top linebacker and a consensus first-team All-American. He recorded 70 total tackles, forced two fumbles and had 49 quarterback pressures.

Most recent ranking: Ranked No. 6 in the 2011 postseason countdown.

Making the case for Jones: Just as everyone expected, Jones was an instant hit for the Bulldogs in his first season in the SEC. He'd transferred from USC and had to sit out the year before, but was a perfect fit at outside linebacker in Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense. Now that he's been in the system for a while and gone through an entire season in the SEC, he should be even more disruptive in 2012. That's saying something, too, because he made a living in opposing backfields last season and established himself as the best pass-rusher in the SEC. The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Jones has a great first step, and when he gets his hands on you, it's over. He dominated the Florida game last season with four sacks and a forced fumble, and is one of those explosive game-changers on defense that everybody is looking for. Jones probably would have been a first-round NFL draft pick had he come out following last season, but he wanted another year of college football and will spend this fall terrorizing opposing quarterbacks as only he can.

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.

  • No. 12: Eric Reid, S, LSU, Jr.

  • No. 11: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State, Sr.

  • No. 10: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia, Jr.

  • No. 9: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama, Sr.

  • No. 8: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU, Jr.

  • No. 7: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina, So.

  • No. 6: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU, Jr.

  • No. 5: Barrett Jones, C, Alabama, Sr.

  • No. 4: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas, Jr.

  • No. 3: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas, Jr.

  • No. 2: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina, Jr.