So, what rising star possibly could be capable of outshining Berry and Spikes? That would be Southern Cal's Taylor Mays, a safety with linebacker size (6-4, 225 pounds).
Given the SEC's emphasis on defense, it's little wonder that the first two Lott Trophy winners hailed from league schools – Georgia defensive end David Pollack (2004) and Alabama linebacker DeMeco Ryans (2005). Cal linebacker Daymeion Hughes won in 2006 but LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey got things back to normal in 2007. Ohio State linebacker James Laurenatis broke the SEC strangle-hold in 2008, which means the SEC is due to win again in '09.
The Lott ratings, compiled by the CFN.com staff, feature this top five:
1. Taylor Mays, S, Southern Cal, 6-4, 225
2. Eric Berry, S, Tennessee, 5-11, 195
3. Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida, 6-3, 245
4. Ndemukong Suh, DE, Nebraska, 6-4, 300
5. Jerry Hughes, DE, Texas Christian, 6-3, 267
Other SEC players listed among CFN.com's top 42 Lott favorites are:
11. Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama, 6-5, 365
14. Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama, 6-4, 249
16. Jeff Owens, DT, Georgia, 6-3, 298
23. Rennie Curran, LB, Georgia, 5-11, 228
26. Harry Coleman, LB, LSU, 6-2, 205