Rating the gridders

Five of the top 100 players in college football this fall will be wearing Volunteer orange. So say the experts at collegefootballnews.com.

All told, the popular website lists seven Vols among the NCAA's finest 200 players.

Leading the way for Tennessee is defensive tackle Jesse Mahelona, rated the NCAA's 12th-best player by CFN.com. Here's the explanation given:

"Mahelona came in from the JUCO ranks and immediately dominated as a tremendous interior pass rusher and anchor of the line. His experience turned into a godsend for the young line becoming the focus of everyone's blocking scheme. He's a smart player with the athleticism of a defensive end."

The other Vols recognized by CFN.com are defensive end Parys Haralson (No. 49), tailback Gerald Riggs (No. 53), cornerback Jason Allen (No. 58), linebacker Kevin Simon (No. 95), linebacker Omar Gaither (No. 143) and quarterback Erik Ainge (No. 145).

CFN.com's top five players offer no major surprises: 1. QB Matt Leinart of Southern Cal, 2. RB Reggie Bush of Southern Cal, 3. RB Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma, 4. RB Laurence Maroney of Minnesota, 5. QB Vince Young of Texas.

Other than Mahelona and Haralson, SEC players rated among CFN.com's top 50 are LSU defensive tackle Kyle Williams (No. 10), Auburn offensive tackle Marcus McNeil (No. 16), South Carolina safety Ko Simpson (No. 25), Auburn linebacker Travis Williams (No. 28), LSU offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth (No. 29), Auburn defensive end Stanley McGlover (No. 37), Georgia guard Max Jean-Gilles (No. 41), LSU safety LaRon Landry (No. 43) and LSUdefensive tackle Claude Wroten (No. 48).

Florida quarterback Chris Leak just missed the top 50, checking in at No. 56.

Heralded Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams, who visits Neyland Stadium on Nov. 12, is ranked No. 18.


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