Star gazing

Matt Hayes, college football expert for Sporting News, recently revealed his projections for the top 25 players of 2007. Not surprisingly, his list features seven players from the talent-rich Southeastern Conference.

There are two Florida Gators, an LSU Tiger, an Arkansas Razorback, a South Carolina Gamecock and an Auburn Tiger. Heck, there's even a Vanderbilt Commodore on Hayes' list. Noticeably absent is anyone representing the University of Tennessee.

Hayes also mentions six near-misses, a list which includes Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson. Still, there are no Vols anywhere to be found.

The fact a Sporting News columnist ranks no one on UT's roster among the top 31 players for 2007 doesn't doom Tennessee to mediocrity, of course. But it does suggest the Vols may lack a proven star capable of carrying the team, as wide receiver Robert Meachem did for much of 2006.

What follows is Hayes' list:

1. RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas

2. LB Dan Connor, Penn State

3. WR Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt

4. LB Keith Rivers, USC

5. RB Ray Rice, Rutgers

6. DT Glenn Dorsey, LSU

7. QB Pat White, West Virginia

8. QB Colt Brennan, Hawaii

9. RB Steve Slaton, West Virginia

10. CB Antoine Cason, Arizona

11. QB John David Booty, USC

12. RB Mike Hart, Michigan

13. WR DeSean Jackson, California

14. DE Bruce Davis, UCLA

15. RB Ian Johnson, Boise State

16. QB Brian Brohm, Louisville

17. DE Calais Campbell, Miami

18. LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

19. WR Mario Manningham, Michigan

20. DE Derrick Harvey, Florida

21. OT Sam Baker, USC

22. DE Quentin Groves, Auburn

23. LB Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina

24. CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State

25. WR Percy Harvin, Florida

Just missed the top 25: WR Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma; LB Vince Hall, Virginia Tech; QB Andre Woodson, Kentucky; RB Mike Goodson, Texas A&M; S Taylor Mays, USC; RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson.

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