Posted: 10:07 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, 2013
By Gamecock Man
If you haven't seen it yet, here's noted college football prognosticator Phil Steele's preseason All-SEC lists, first-through-fourth teams. Only four Gamecocks show up on the lists, which is a bit surprising when you consider that Vandy and Tennessee have eight apiece and Ole Miss nine, that despite the fact that Steele follows national opinion in ranking us in the preseason top 10, with some of those teams that warrant more individual accolades in his view not showing up anywhere in his top 25. The only explanations would be that Steele (1) thinks our whole will be greater than the sum of our parts, which is fair considering that Coach Spurrier and his staff have done an excellent job the past few years. (2), you have to figure that he believes that Jadeveon Clowney will make up for lacks at other positions on the defense.
In any event, I wonder if Steele is underselling a few of our players. A few thoughts on this, and other things that caught my eye in these lists:
--I really think Victor Hampton will be on this list at the end of the season. Hampton was one of the conference's best cover corners last season. One of the tricks for corners, though, is that shutdown corners who don't get a lot of interceptions oftentimes don't get the same individual accolades as corners who get the interceptions, regardless of whether the ones who got the interceptions were good in coverage otherwise. Hampton bobbled a couple of passes that he should have reeled in last year and thus didn't show up as well in the interceptions category as he might have otherwise. That might change this season.
--Chaz Sutton is another player who I think has a reasonable chance to show up on here. With Clowney drawing so much attention from opposing offenses, Sutton and Kelcy Quarles (Quarles did show up on Steele's list) are going to have a lot of chances to attack the quarterback.
--The fact that Jeff Driskel is on this list has to say something about what Steele thinks about the league's quarterbacks after Manziel, McCarron, and Murray. I think Connor Shaw has a good chance of getting that fourth-team slot if he can play a full season at 100%, which is a big if, of course. As an aside, I'll also say that I would have rated Murray ahead of McCarron. McCarron is obviously a good player, and he might be a great one, but he isn't really asked to do much more than keep the defense honest and not screw things up in Alabama's offense. I just don't feel like I know how good he is, if that makes sense.
--He might not have the stats due to our committee approach, but I think Mike Davis will prove himself to be better than players like Ole Miss's Jeff Scott.
--It would be really great to see one of our WRs step up and make this list--presumably Bruce Ellington or Shaq Roland, if Roland takes the next step.
--How is Florida's converted CB Loucheiz Purifoy on Steele's offensive list? The guy only had a catch or two last year.
Anything else in these lists that jumps out at you?