michael kors factory outlet online shopping Florida's Tim Tebow was one of the SEC's best offensive players in the BCS era. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) |
This is the year the SEC is supposed to return to its roots.
With all the elite quarterbacks gone -- the league lost seven of its top eight passers -- it might seem like this would be the year the SEC goes back to what you think of when you think of Southern football.
That is, a Bo Jackson or Hershel Walker lined up in the I-formation, running right at a physical SEC defense in a battle of muscle, meanness and sheer will.
Well, maybe it's time to rethink that stereotype.
When reviewing the best offensive players in the SEC during the BCS era, I kept coming back to the fact that it's been a long time since that stereotype has held true. By my count, half of the top 10 offensive SEC players of the BCS era have been quarterbacks.
Do you agree with my count? Here are my top 10 offensive players of the last 16 seasons, an era that has ended as we move to a college football playoff system:
1. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (2006-2009)
Accomplishments: 9,285 passing yards; 2,947 rushing yards; 2007 Heisman Trophy; two-time national champion
Tebow won individual awards -- he also won the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien Awards -- and he won championships. In his Heisman Trophy season, he set an NCAA record for total touchdowns (55) and yards (since broken). The combination of dominant statistics on a dynasty team makes Tebow the top choice.
2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A M (2012-13)
Accomplishments: 7,820 passing yards; 2,169 rushing yards; 2012 Heisman Trophy.
Manziel's Heisman Trophy freshman year statistics are absurd. He not only passed for over 3,000 yards, he also led the SEC in rushing. In his sophomore season, his rushing numbers took a dip, but no worries, he became the second SEC quarterback (after Tim Couch) to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. If Manziel stayed for a third season, his career numbers would likely have surpassed Tebow, but Tebow gets the edge for leading his teams to championships, something Manziel did not do for the Aggies.
3. Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas (2005-07)
Accomplishments: 4,590 rushing yards, 43 total touchdowns
The greatest SEC running back of the BCS era, McFadden was a two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up and he's the second-leading rusher in SEC history. His influence goes beyond that. One can argue that the innovation of the "Wildcat" offense, created for McFadden, indirectly led to more mobile quarterback plays, which led to the rise of dual-threat quarterbacks like Tebow and Cam Newton.Cam Newton's one year at Auburn was memorable. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) 4. Cam Newton, QB, Florida-Auburn (2008, 10)
Accomplishments: 2,908 passing yards; 1,586 rushing yards; Heisman Trophy; national championship
One can argue Newton is the greatest one-year wonder in college football history. After being dismissed from Florida's team and spending a year in junior college, Newton carried Auburn to a national championship in his only season on the Plains, accounting for 54 touchdowns and winning just about every individual honor a quarterback can win. It was almost like he continued the progression of Tebow's career, which is notable, considering he started as Tebow's backup at Florida.
5. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama (2009-12)
Accomplishments: 3 national championships, Outland Trophy, Rimington Trophy
The most accomplished offensive lineman of the BCS era, Jones started at three positions for three national championship teams. He was a freshman All-American guard on Alabama's 2009 national championship team. He was the Outland Trophy winner at left tackle on the 2011 championship team and the Rimington winner as the nation's best center on the 2012 title team. We may never see that kind of versatile dominance from an offensive lineman again.
6. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida (2006-08): The best multi-threat receiver of the BCS era, Harvin was versatile with 1,929 receiving yards and 1,852 rushing yards as a major weapon for two Florida national championship teams.
7. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama (2010-13): His 36-4 record as a starter included two national championships (he got a third ring as a backup) and the record would have been even better had the Tide not lost their last two games of the McCarron era. He ended his career as Alabama's all-time leading passer.
8. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (2009-11): The best back in Alabama's deep stable of running backs during that stretch, Richardson started just one year and still rushed for 3,130 career yards, including 1,679 on the 2011 national championship team, his one year as a starter. He became the first SEC running back to rush for 20 touchdowns in a season that year.
9. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (2010-13): In an era of great quarterbacks, it was Murray who became the SEC's all-time leading passer with 13,166 yards in a career that saw Georgia win the SEC East twice. In the process, he set league records for total offense and completions.
10. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (2010-13): In the same year Murray became the SEC's all-time passer, Matthews became the league's all-time leading receiver, catching 262 passes for 3,759 yards in his four years. He capped it with an SEC-record 112 catches in his senior season, doing it while catching throws from Austyn Carta-Samuels and Patton Robinette, hardly A-list passers.
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