Here are the 10 best players in SEC football for the 2022 season
Even in a league as deep and talented as SEC Soccertalent finds talent.
Maybe that’s why Alabama and Georgia combine to have six of the top 10 players in the league, regardless of position, in a poll of 17 experts who cover the league for the USA TODAY Sports Network.
The Crimson Tide placed four players on the list, including top voters Will Anderson Jr. and Bryce Young. Georgia clinched two, with the two schools that played in last season’s national championship game combining to have the top four. Tennessee also placed two players on the roster.
A total of 35 players from 11 schools received votes: Mississippi State, Missouri, and South Carolina were the only playerless schools to get at least one vote. Ten points were awarded for a first place vote to one point for a 10th place vote.
The USA TODAY Sports Network is counting down to SEC Media Days, scheduled for July 18-21 in Atlanta, by revealing its best players at each position group.
Here’s a look at the top 10 SEC players:
1. Will Anderson Jr.
Alabama, junior linebacker (154 points, 11 first-place votes)
Anderson led the nation with 17½ sacks and 34½ tackles for loss in 2021 and might have won the Heisman Trophy if it weren’t for a traditionally offensive award.
2. Bryce Young
Alabama, junior quarterback (146 points, 5 votes for first place)
Young has the unique challenge of trying to become the second player to win the Heisman Trophy twice after a 2021 season in which he threw for 4,872 yards, 47 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
3. Brock Bowers
Georgia, second tight end (97 points, 1 vote for first place)
Bowers had a monster freshman season with 56 catches for 882 yards and a program-record 13 TD catches.
Georgia, junior defensive tackle (88 points)
Even playing on the defensive line with three opening rounds, the Apoka, Fla. native flashed with 8½ tackles for loss, three sacks and three blocked kicks.
5. Kayshon Boute
LSU, junior wide receiver (77 points)
Boutte is a projected first-round pick and already has 14 career touchdowns despite being halfway through last season.
6. Hendon Hooker
Tennessee, senior quarterback (34 points)
Hooker had the highest passer rating in the SEC last season, and his 31 touchdowns for three interceptions marked the best FBS ratio among quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts.
7. Battle of Jordan
Alabama, senior safety (31 points)
A second-team All-American in 2021, Battle is a dependable safety whose 8.5% missed tackle mark was one of the best among regular starters on the Alabama defense, per Pro Football Focus.
8. Emil Ekiyor Jr.
Alabama, senior guard (27 points)
Ekiyor enters his third season as a starter after allowing zero sacks and five hits in 2021, per Pro Football Focus.
9. Cedric Tillman
Tennessee, senior wide receiver (25 points)
Tillman’s 1,081 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns lead all SEC returning wide receivers.
10. Bigsby Reservoir
Auburn, junior running back (24 points)
Bigsby’s combination of skill and power makes him the centerpiece of Auburn’s offense and one of the top running back prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft.