The SEC's 25 best players: No. 8

With the No. 8 choice, we introduce you to the second offensive lineman in our countdown of the SEC’s 25 best players.

No. 8: Mike Pouncey, C/G, Sr., Florida

2009 numbers: A second-team All-America selection by The Associated Press, Pouncey was part of a Florida offensive line that paved the way for the Gators to lead the SEC in total offense with an average of 457.9 yards per game.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in preseason or postseason countdown for 2009.

Making the case for Pouncey: The Gators’ recruiting class this past February was outstanding, but their most important get may have been the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Pouncey deciding to return to school for his senior season. His twin brother, Maurkice, did elect to go pro and went in the first round to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike will slide over from guard next season to take over for his brother at center. He played both right guard and left guard a year ago for the Gators and has started in 28 consecutive games. Maurkice won the Rimington Award as the nation’s top center last season, and it’s not out of the realm to think that Mike could follow in his brother’s footsteps. This is the first time the Pouncey twins have been split up since they started playing football. As valuable as Mike will be in the middle of that offensive line, one of the best and most experienced in the league, he’ll be just as valuable in the locker room with his leadership. Florida coach Urban Meyer will tell you that the Pounceys were players the Gators built their program around these past few years and now Mike remains as the anchor of their offensive line.

The rundown

No. 9: Pernell McPhee, DE, Sr., Mississippi State

No. 10: Jerrell Powe, NT, Sr., Ole Miss

No. 11: Trent Richardson, RB, So., Alabama

No. 12: Stephon Gilmore, CB, So., South Carolina

No. 13: Kelvin Sheppard, LB, Sr., LSU

No. 14: Randall Cobb, WR/QB, Jr., Kentucky

No. 15: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Jr., Florida

No. 16: Mark Barron, S, Jr., Alabama

No.17: Darvin Adams, WR, Jr., Auburn

No. 18: Alshon Jeffery, WR, So., South Carolina

No. 19: D.J. Williams, TE, Sr., Arkansas

No. 20: Cliff Matthews, DE, Sr., South Carolina

No. 21: Clint Boling, OT, Sr., Georgia

No. 22: Greg Childs, WR, Jr., Arkansas

No. 23: Washaun Ealey, RB, So., Georgia

No. 24: Chris Marve, LB, Jr., Vanderbilt

No. 25: Luke Stocker, TE, Sr., Tennessee