The SEC's 25 best players: No. 23

Time for the big fellas to get some love. And very few were better in the trenches the past two seasons than this guy.

No. 23: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State, Sr.

2013 summary: Jackson became the first offensive lineman in the 18-year history of the Conerly Trophy to win the award, handed out annually to the top player in the state of Mississippi. Why? He didn't give up a single sack during the 2013 season. Against then-No. 1 ranked Alabama, he graded out at 86 percent with three knockdowns.

Most recent ranking: Ranked No. 18 in the 2013 preseason countdown

Making the case for Jackson: You can't build a career any better than Jackson, who has been the heartbeat of the Mississippi State offensive line for what seems like a decade now. The 6-foot-4, 340-pound lineman went from an unranked prospect (the 125th-best offensive tackle, according to ESPN) to a four-year starter under head coach Dan Mullen, starting all 52 games of his college career at left guard. He was first-team All-SEC as a senior and a junior, second team All-SEC as a sophomore and a freshman All-SEC in 2010. In 2013, he helped Mississippi State set 10 offensive single-season records, including most passing yards (3,178), most completions (253), most total offensive yards (5,647) and most touchdowns scored (48).

The rundown

No. 25: E.J. Gaines

No. 24: Kenny Ladler