A look at SEC's top players

With all the talent that is spread throughout the SEC, who will be the best you ask? Here is a list of the top 5 at various positions for the upcoming football season.

What follows are one man's early picks as the top five SEC football players at each position for 2003:

***OFFENSE***
TOP FIVE QUARTERBACKS
1. Eli Manning, Ole Miss (3,401 passing yards in 2002)
2. David Greene, Georgia (2,924 passing yards in 2002)
3. Casey Clausen, UT (2,296 passing yards in 2002)
4. Jared Lorenzen, Kentucky (2,267 passing yards in 2002)
5. Brodie Croyle, Alabama (1,046 passing yards as backup in 2002)

TOP FIVE RUNNING BACKS
1. Cadillac Williams, Auburn (106.4 yards per game in 2002)
2. Shaud Williams, Alabama (921 rushing yards, 7.1 per carry in 2002)
3. Cedric Houston, UT (779 rushing yards in 2002)
4. Ran Carthon, Florida (564 yards, 5.4 per carry in 2002)
5. Kwane Doster, Vandy (SEC Frosh of Year, 798 rushing yards in 2002)

TOP FIVE RECEIVERS
1. Fred Gibson, Georgia (43 catches, 17.6 yards per in 2002)
2. Michael Clayton, LSU (57 catches, 13.1 yards per in 2002)
3. Chris Collins, Ole Miss (55 catches, 10 TDs, 14.8 yards per in 2002)
4. Carlos Perez, Florida (58 catches in 2002)
5. George Wilson, Arkansas (49 catches, 12.8 yards per in 2002)

TOP FIVE TIGHT ENDS
1. Ben Watson, Georgia (32 catches in 2002)
2. Eric Edwards, LSU
3. Hart Turner, S. Carolina
4. Jason Peters, Arkansas
5. vacant

TOP FIVE O-LINEMEN
1. Shawn Andrews, Arkansas (6-5, 371 ... won Jacobs Trophy last year)
2. Stephen Peterman, LSU (6-4, 325 ... first-team All-SEC in 2002)
3. Travelle Wharton, S. Carolina (6-4, 310 ... back for fourth year as starter)
4. Michael Munoz, Tennessee (6-6, 305 ... back for third year as starter)
5. Max Starks, Florida (6-8, 330 ... back for third year as starter)

***DEFENSE***
TOP FIVE D-LINEMEN
1. David Pollack, Georgia (first-team All-American in 2002)
2. Antwan Odom, Alabama (10 sacks in 2002)
3. Chad Lavalais, LSU (66 tackles, 2 sacks in 2002)
4. Jesse Mitchell, Ole Miss (77 tackles in 2002)
5. DeMarco McNeil, Auburn

TOP FIVE LINEBACKERS
1. Karlos Dansby, Auburn (first-team All-SEC in 2002)
2. Tony Bua, Arkansas (131 tackles in 2002)
3. Brooks Daniels, Alabama (109 tackles in 2002)
4. Dontarrious Thomas, Auburn (92 tackles, second-team All-SEC in 2001)
5. Kevin Burnett, UT (missed 2002 with injury)

TOP FIVE DEFENSIVE BACKS
1. Corey Webster, LSU (first-team All-SEC in 2002)
2. Keiwan Ratliff, Florida (first-team All-SEC in 2002)
3. Rashad Baker, Tennessee (first-team All-SEC, intercepted 5 passes in 2002)
4. Charles Jones, Alabama (85 tackles, 3 interceptions in 2002)
5. Guss Scott, Florida (2nd-team All-SEC in 2002)

TOP FIVE RETURN MEN
1. Derek Abney, Kentucky (26.8 per KO return, 15.1 per punt return in 2002)
2. Damien Gary, Georgia (13.5 per punt return in 2002)
3. Kwane Doster, Vandy (25.7 per KO return in 2002)
4. Decori Birmingham, Arkansas (22.8 per KO return, 12.2 per punt return in 2002)
5. Fred Reid, Miss. State (24.5 per KO return in 2002)


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