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SEC Football: Preview and Predictions for the 2017 Season – Bleacher Report

    Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    Derrius Guice

    With Leonard Fournette’s injuries through 2016, LSU turned to then-sophomore Guice. All he did was rush for 1,387 yards and score 15 touchdowns in a First Team All-SEC season. 

    Now, with Fournette in Jacksonville, this is Guice’s offense. If new coordinator Matt Canada and quarterback Danny Etling can generate some semblance of a passing game, this could be a special year for the junior. He may just be in the mix for the Heisman Trophy and be next on his way to the NFL.

    He’s good enough to put the Tigers on his shoulders and be the best player in the league.


    Minkah Fitzpatrick

    Of all the talent assembled in Tuscaloosa, none is better or more versatile than the defensive back who makes plays from all over the field. He can be a force against the run; he is a ball hawk; and he can play either cornerback, safety or nickelback, depending on where the Crimson Tide need him.

    He stands out on a defense full of standouts.

    The 6’1″, 202-pound junior had 66 tackles, six interceptions and scored twice a season ago. He is the most impactful defender in a league full of stars. He’s Alabama’s MVP.


    Ralph Webb

    It’s easy to overlook a running back who plays for Vanderbilt, because the Commodores rarely make any national noise. But anybody who plays against the senior from Gainesville, Florida, will tell you Webb is one of the league’s best players.

    There are plenty of elite runners in the league like Guice, the Alabama stable of backs, Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway, Tennessee’s John Kelly and others, but Webb is dynamic and consistent. He’s a near-lock without injury to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards for the third consecutive year in ’17, and as a freshman, he had 907.

    Webb will play in the pros, and his production rarely dips.


    Christian Kirk

    If you’re going to put a receiver on this list, you can’t go wrong with Texas A&M star junior Kirk or Alabama’s stud Calvin Ridley. But Kirk gets the nod because he’s also an elite special teams player.

    Kirk makes his mark on the game in so many ways, and that role may expand with a new starting quarterback in town. Having to pull out all the stops to keep coach Kevin Sumlin in town, they’ll get Kirk the ball a ton.

    He’s been one of the nation’s biggest playmakers since stepping on the field as a true freshman, and he will continue to be in what likely will be his final season. 


    Nick Chubb

    As a freshman in 2014, Chubb was one of the nation’s best players regardless of class who drew comparisons to a young Herschel Walker. But a gruesome knee injury in ’15 kept him from returning to that form a season ago.

    Now he’s healthy, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see the Chubb of old. If we do, he will compete for some of college football’s top awards, and the Bulldogs may become the beast of the East. Chubb returned for his senior year to take care of unfinished business in Athens.

    If Jacob Eason emerges at quarterback and with backfield mate Sony Michel to spell him, it could mean big yards for the runner.

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