Berry among Lott favorites

To date, three of the five winners of the Lott Trophy as college football's premier defender were Southeastern Conference players, and there's a good chance this year's winner will be, as well.

Collegefootballnews.com, the ultimate Internet source for fans of NCAA football, ranks two SEC players among the top three preseason candidates for the 2009 Lott Trophy. Tennessee safety Eric Berry checks in at No. 2 and Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes is No. 3.

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

13. Eric Norwood, DE, South Carolina, 6-0, 258

14. Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama, 6-4, 249

15. Jeremy Jarmon, DE, Kentucky, 6-3, 268

16. Jeff Owens, DT, Georgia, 6-3, 298

21. Patrick Benoist, LB, Vanderbilt, 6-0, 222

23. Rennie Curran, LB, Georgia, 5-11, 228

26. Harry Coleman, LB, LSU, 6-2, 205


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