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Best Player in History at Each SEC School

For the conference known for its football, the SEC has had many talented players run through its conference since its beginning in 1933. Although every SEC school doesn’t always bring the greatest competition in the tough conference, each school does boast some legendary players.

Following are the best players from each SEC school and their accomplishments at their respective schools.

Best Player in History at Each SEC School
Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers - Chris Graythen/Getty Images/afp

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Alabama Crimson Tide: Linebacker Derrick Thomas

For all the greats that have been produced by the Alabama football program, Thomas surpasses them all. Thomas set the NCAA single-season record for sacks in a season with 27, while his 39 tackles for loss in a season and 52 career sacks are Alabama records that still stand. A Butkus Award winner in 1988, Thomas was also named an All-American.

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Arkansas Razorbacks: Running back Darren McFadden

McFadden became the seventh running back in SEC history to record 1,000 rushing yards in his freshman year, and his career rushing yards are first in Arkansas history, while his rushing touchdowns is second. A two-time All-American, McFadden won the Doak Walker Award and set school records for rushing yards in a season and most 100-yard rushing games during his time at Arkansas.

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Auburn Tigers: Running back Bo Jackson

Jackson holds the record for career rushing yards at Auburn with 4,303 total rushing yards, and four of his single-game rushing performances are on Auburn’s top 10. A consensus All-American one year and a unanimous pick another, Jackson won the Heisman in 1985 despite Auburn going 8-4 that year, and his jersey is now retired at the school.

Florida Gators: Quarterback Tim Tebow

A three-time Heisman finalist, Tebow led the Gators to two national championships, including one his freshman year. Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman after throwing for 3,286 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushing for 895 yards and 23 scores in 2007. A two-time All-American, Tebow broke five NCAA, 14 SEC, and 28 Florida records during his career.

Georgia Bulldogs: Running back Herschel Walker

The Bulldogs have put many great defensive players in the NFL recently, but none top Walker. With his 1,616 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, Walker led Georgia to an undefeated record and national championship his freshman season. Walker won the Heisman his junior year with 1,752 rushing yards, and set 41 school, 16 conference, and 11 SEC records during his three-year career, leading the Bulldogs to a 33-3 record.

Kentucky Wildcats: Quarterback Tim Couch

Kentucky is more famously known for its basketball program, but Couch was one who helped transform Kentucky’s offense, becoming one of the school’s most successful quarterbacks. Couch broke multiple passing records at the school, and he still holds the record for single-season passing yards with 4,275.

Louisiana State Tigers: Quarterback Joe Burrow

Recency bias may be affecting this pick a bit, and running back Billy Cannon is a strong contender, but what Burrow did in his one year as a starter is hard to forget. Amid leading the Tigers to an undefeated season and national championship, Burrow set NCAA records in total offense, passing touchdowns, and passer rating, also setting a number of school records. Burrow’s play was rewarded with the Heisman Trophy at the end of the season.

Mississippi Rebels: Quarterback Archie Manning

The Manning legacy is strong at Ole Miss, but the man who started it all gets top billing for best all-time Rebel. Manning was part of the first college football game on national primetime, and he set the SEC record for total offense gained in a game with 540 total yards, a record that stood for over 30 years. A two-time All-American and SEC Player of the Year, Manning’s jersey is retired at Mississippi while the campus speed limit was made 18 miles an hour in his honor of his number.

Mississippi State Bulldogs: Quarterback Dak Prescott

Prescott led the Bulldogs to a school-record 19 wins over two seasons as well as a No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history. Prescott closed out his college career with 38 school records and is seventh in rushing yards and second in rushing touchdowns, also finishing third in SEC history in total yards.

Missouri Tigers: Quarterback Chase Daniel

Daniel captured many of Missouri’s passing records following his career at the school, leading the Tigers to a school-record 12 wins and No. 4 national ranking his junior season. A Heisman Trophy finalist that year, Daniel followed it up by throwing for 4,335 yards and 39 touchdowns his senior season, setting a Missouri record.

South Carolina Gamecocks: Wide receiver Sterling Sharpe

Sharpe set multiple school records during his time at South Carolina, including nearly all the receiving records. He remains fourth all-time with 2,497 receiving yards and is still in the top 10 in touchdowns. Sharpe recorded 10 games of 100-plus yards receiving and he holds the school record for longest play of any kind with his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in 1985.

Tennessee Volunteers: Defensive end Reggie White

Whether you favor offense or defense, quarterback Peyton Manning could also earn this title with the records he set while at Tennessee. However, White takes the cake for his disruptiveness on defense, setting numerous sack records. White won the SEC Player of the Year his senior season after he recorded 100 total tackles and set a school record with 15 sacks.

Texas A&M Aggies: Quarterback Johnny Manziel

You don’t earn the name “Johnny Football” without having the chops to back it up. Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy after throwing for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushing for another 1,410 yards and 21 scores that year. He improved on his passing his sophomore year, setting the school single-season record for passing yards and touchdowns with 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Vanderbilt Commodores: Quarterback Bill Wade

Wade is the only Vanderbilt football player to ever be selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft after breaking records with the Commodores. Wade threw for 1,609 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior year, a number that still places him on Vanderbilt’s top 10 passing leaders today, while his five-touchdown game his junior year is a record that still has yet to be broken.

With many more talented players likely to come through the SEC, the college football season should be another exciting one in 2023. Don’t forget to go to the sportsbook to make your college football predictions on how it will all go down.

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