12) Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU, junior (transfer from Butler C.C)
Zach began his career as a Georgia Bulldog but was dismissed due to legal troubles. After a long wait, he has finally returned to the SEC. Even though Jordan Jefferson is atop of the depth chart, I think Zach will give the LSU offense a better look and a better chance to win. IMO, Jefferson is the worst starting quarterback in the SEC, and perhaps out of all the BCS schools. Jefferson threw a total of 7 TDs to 10 INTs in 13 total games. That is absolutely horrible. Zach has the prototype of an NFL quarterback at 6’5 245. He is surprisingly mobile in the pocket and has a very powerful arm. He can make all the deep throws with touch and can connect in the short passing game as well. There is no possible way he can do worse than Jefferson. If LSU wants to be national contenders, they must play Zach. Defense can only take you so far, and we all know Jefferson isn’t that guy that is going to get you six when have to go 80 yards with a minute to go down four. The question is how long Les Miles will wait to pull the trigger on this switch.
11) Kiehl Frazier, QB, Auburn, freshman
Even though Frazier isn’t expected to open the season as the starter, look for Frazier to take over the helm sometime midseason. It’s never easy trying to replace a star quarterback like Cam Newton’s caliber, but I think Frazier will give the Tigers the best chance to win as a true freshman. I don’t think Trotter and Moseley are the type of quarterbacks that will take you over the top, especially in this difficult conference. Frazier on the other hand has playmaking ability. He has the athleticism and speed to make plays with his legs and extend plays in the pocket. He also has a great arm and can make many difficult throws on the run. It will only be a matter of time when it becomes his team.
10) Daryl Collins, WR, Kentucky, freshman
Like ex-Kentucky wide-out Randall Cobb, Daryl Collins has the ability to come into Kentucky and provide them with that all-purpose playmaker. Daryl has blazing speed and will definitely make an impact in both the passing and return game. Although the Wildcat football program isn’t as high-profiled as the other SEC teams, Collins is definitely a player you should keep your eye on.
9) Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia, freshman
With A.J. Green bolting to the NFL, the Bulldogs will need a wide receiver that can stretch the field and look for Malcolm to be that guy. Malcolm played both WR and CB in high school; therefore he is a very physical receiver with great ball-hawking skills. He’s the kind of player that is going to go up and get the ball. He will be very difficult to defend in jump-ball matchups. Malcolm also possesses great speed and can easily get behind a defense. He is definitely the kind of player Aaron Murray wants throwing the ball to.
8) Ray Drew, DE, Georgia, freshman
This kid is exactly what the Bulldog defense needed after struggling to get to the quarterback last season (9th in SEC in sacks overall). At 6’5 243, Ray is a beast and has the athleticism to play both defensive end and outside linebacker. He is very explosive and posses great speed for his size. Not only does he have great athleticism, but he has the intelligence of using proper pursuit techniques. Unlike many young players, Ray wraps up when he tackles. Ray has the potential to make an impact right away for the Georgia defense which has been lacking that elite pass rusher in recent seasons.
7) Trovon Reed, WR, Auburn, redshirt-freshman
The Tigers will be desperate to find a playmaker on the outside after losing two of its top receivers from last season, and Trovon will be that guy. Some expected him to have an impact last season, but he was redshirted due to a nagging knee injury. Trovon had a very impressive spring game, making plays as a slot receiver. He is very speedy and can make little five-yard out routes into big gains. Trovon is also very versatile as he can take reverses and even play some wildcat. With Cam Newton jumping ship to the pros, Auburn will need to find that big playmaker and Trovon has all the tools to be that guy.
6) Marcus Roberson, CB/S, Florida, freshman
With the dismissal of All-SEC cornerback Janoris Jenkins (marijuana), Marcus has the opportunity to see the field right away. At 6’1, he is very long for a defensive back. What is most impressive is his knack for finding the ball. Marcus possesses excellent ball skills and does a great job of keeping receivers in front of him despite his size. He is a very versatile defensive back and could see time at both corner and safety.
5) Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina, freshman
His physical attributes instantly catches one’s attention, as Clowney is 6’6 247 and runs a ridiculous 4.5-4.6 forty. He is also the number 1 overall recruit of the 2011 class. The Gamecocks who already have an impressive D-line just got that much better with the addition of Clowney. Jadeveon is explosive off the snap and can blow by offensive lineman with this impressive first step. He also has a very long wingspan which can club away his blockers. Clowney has all the physical tools to be a serious force off the edge for South Carolina. He reminds me of Jevon Kearse.
4) Ronald Powell, LB/DE, Florida, sophomore
Technically, Ronald isn’t a newcomer but after not being able to live up to high expectations last season, he has a chance to flourish in Will Muschamp’s 3-4 scheme. For those who don’t remember, Ronald was the number 1 overall recruit in the 2010 class, but was unable to make a significant impact for the Gator defense like we had all expected. I think that will change this upcoming season as he will be able to utilize his talents in the hybrid outside DE/LB scheme Muchamp loves to use. He has the strength, speed, and athleticism to beat offensive tackles and should be a force to reckon with. By the end of the season, Powell will lead Florida in sacks and quite possible be in the top five of the nation.
3) Brey Cook, OL, Arkansas, freshman
He has everything you want in an offensive tackle. Brey has excellent balance, agility, and quickness to make an impact for any offensive line. He is also a huge/wide body at 6’7 314. Brey is very explosive at coming out of his stance and will be a dominant force in both the run and passing game. He is what you call a quarterback’s best friend. Brey will definitely be a valued member in Bobby Petrino’s offense.
2) C.J. Johnson, LB, Ole Miss, freshman
After a dismal 4-8 campaign last season, the Rebels are looking to rebuild and it all starts with C.J. Johnson. C.J was one of the nation’s top linebackers in the 2011 class and will make a huge difference on the defensive side of the ball for Ole Miss. The Rebels were ranked 11th in the SEC in total defense and that is very uncharacteristic for an Ole Miss squad. C.J. has the athleticism to make plays all over the field, but what I really like about him is his football instincts. He had a knack of making huge plays in high school and that should be able to translate to the next level. He can play both inside and outside linebacker. By the end of his career at Ole Miss, he might possibly be the best linebacker in red since Patrick Willis.
1) Isaiah Crowell, RB, Georgia, freshman
Better believe the hype as Isaiah was one of the nation’s top running backs in the 2011 class. I have no doubts that he will be inserted into the starting line-up right away and will make a huge impact in the Bulldogs’ offense that lacked a star back. Georgia ranked 10th in the SEC in rushing yards per game and that should change immediately with the arrival of Isaiah. Isaiah has the strength, speed, and build to be an every-down back in this tough conference. He is also a valued threat in the passing game out of the backfield. He is compared as a stronger C.J. Spiller. I can assure you that quarterback Aaron Murray is very glad to have a talent like Crowell behind him.
Georgia is definitely a team everyone should watch out for in the next couple of seasons. With the addition of some highly prized recruits and with Aaron Murray at quarterback, they have nowhere to go but up.