The SEC's best 25 players: No. 2

We're almost to the finish line and if you were in a foot race with our next player, you'd probably lose. He is finally getting his shot to be the guy in the backfield with national championship implications on the line:

No. 2: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

2010 numbers: Richardson was a second-team All-SEC selection as both an all-purpose back and a return specialist. Behind starter Mark Ingram, he rushed for 700 yards with six touchdowns, and averaged a team-high 6.2 yards per carry. He also averaged 63.6 yards per game, which ranked 11th in the SEC. Richardson also hauled in 23 passes for 266 yards and four more scores. He recorded 32 first-down carries and had nine first-down receptions. Richardson also averaged 26.42 yards on kickoff returns (24 for 634 yards).

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2010 postseason rankings.

Making the case for Richardson: The 5-foot-11, 224-pound tank of an athlete is finally getting his shot to run Alabama's backfield. In his third year with the Tide, he's gaining a ton of national recognition -- and he's been a career backup to this point. The feeling in Tuscaloosa is that he could be a more complete back than Ingram, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2009. When talking to opposing players around the league, Richardson's name consistently came up as one of the toughest players to take down. He's not afraid to run straight through defenders, but he also has the quickness and agility to shake defenders out of their shoes. He might be built like a downhill runner, but he has the speed of a track star. He battled some nagging injuries last season, but plans to fix that by running even harder. Defenders beware. Richardson isn't just a terror in the backfield, he's also a dynamic returner. He registered 634 yards on 25 kick returns with a touchdown in 2010. Richardson has more responsibility this season, but he's embraced that and the lofty expectations. His name has been associated with the Heisman this season and he's poised to make a run at it.

  • No. 3: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

  • No. 4: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas

  • No. 5: Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama

  • No. 6: Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina

  • No. 7: Mark Barron, S, Alabama

  • No. 8: Barrett Jones, OG, Alabama

  • No. 9: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

  • No. 10: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama

  • No. 11: Greg Childs, WR, Arkansas

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

  • No. 13: Jake Bequette, DE, Arkansas

  • No. 14: Mike Dyer, RB, Auburn

  • No. 15: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

  • No. 16: Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas

  • No. 17: Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky

  • No. 18: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia

  • No. 19: Jerry Franklin, LB, Arkansas

  • No. 20: Malik Jackson, DT, Tennessee

  • No. 21: Orson Charles, TE, Georgia

  • No. 22: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

  • No. 23: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt

  • No. 24: Jaye Howard, DT, Florida

  • No. 25: Janzen Jackson, S, Tennessee