1. Cam Newton - One of the best QB's to ever play in the SEC. Never seen a combination of size, speed, and throwing ability like he had.
2. Tim Tebow - Maybe the best CFB player ever. Didn't succeed in the NFL, but he was darn near unstoppable in college.
3. Darren McFadden - No player had me as frightened as he did when he touched the ball. You knew he could house it at any opportunity.
4. Johnny Manziel - Another QB, but JFF was just so darn fun to watch. No matter what he did.
5. Nick Fairley - Had to throw a defensive player in here, and Fairley was downright man beast in 2010.
1. Bo Jackson, RB, Auburn - If your list doesn't start with Bo, then you're doing something wrong. You can say he is the most entertaining running back in the SEC and probably the most entertaining in college football history (him and Barry Sanders would be a good head-to-head matchup). You could sit online and watch Bo Jackson highlights all day long and not get bored. He had EVERYTHING you could ask for in a running back and then some. He was big and could run you over, or he could just blow right by you with his blazing speed. We need how the NFL Combine is presented today back when he participated so we could actually see that sub-4.2 40-yard dash that people claim he ran. You also get the bonus of watching him play baseball later on in the school year.
2. Herschel Walker, RB, Georgia - Poor Herschel. Walker was the first athletic freak to come in at running back in the SEC. It didn't take long for someone else (see No. 1) to take that shine away from him. But make no mistake about it, Herschel was a beast, and hell he still is even at the age of 52. A lot of the things that you said about Bo Jackson, you could apply to Herschel and wouldn't be too far off. Both were about the same size and could beat their opponent in a variety of ways. The 1980s were a solid decade for running backs in the SEC.
3. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn - You know when someone only really plays one season in a conference, yet that someone would make the majority of people's top 5 lists, then they are doing something right. Newton put up 51 touchdowns on his way to sweeping all of the postseason awards up to a commanding win for the Heisman trophy. He followed all of that up with bringing Auburn their first national title since 1957. A guy that is 6'5", 245 lbs. should not be able to move like he did and perform feats of athleticism that he showed on a weekly basis.
4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M - No list would be complete with one of the most polarizing figures in college football history. There weren't many fans that were in-between on the A&M quarterback. You either loved it all or despised what he represented. I was in the former group. I know we will get to see him at the next level, but there was just that allure of a college quarterback making plays that most NFL quarterbacks couldn't even dream of making. Hurdling guys before breaking out the pocket to find an open receiver. Running into his own lineman, bobble the ball, bring it back in and still find a receiver in one of the most hostile environments in college football. The guy was a living highlight reel and even had non-A&M fans tuning into each of their games just so they could see what people were talking about at the water cooler on Monday.
5. Derrick Thomas, LB, Alabama - Okay, I've done enough offense for one list. If there was never a Lawrence Taylor, Thomas would be considered the most disruptive linebacker in football history. Thomas finished his Alabama career as the all-time SEC leader in sacks with 52, surpassing the 49 that Billy Jackson had right before him. Since then, David Pollack has been the closest with only 36. A more impressive number, Thomas only had 7 sacks after his first two seasons. That means his final two years, he delivered 45 sacks, including 27 in his senior year, another number that likely will never be topped.
1. Cam Newton - I'll buck the trend of my last list and pick a guy I've seen play before, but Cam was a kind of all-consuming force on the field. At his best, he was unstoppable, and he certainly was against LSU.
2. Patrick Willis - Another player I watched, and a player I'd prefer never to see again because he did things like this. To this day, the single best LB I've seen in the SEC.
3. Herschel Walker - Maybe the best player in SEC history. A bull with cheetah's speed. Some things in life were just unfair; Herschel Walker was unfair.
4. Lee Roy Jordan - played both ways and as an All-American at both. Doesn't get much more impressive than that.
5. John Hannah - because OL never get any love and Hannah is widely considered the best OL to ever play in the SEC.
1. Herschel Walker. Herschel is the single most important player in SEC history, and neck and neck for the greatest. I won't argue with Bo partisans, even if they are wrong. Herschel Walker is the line between the modern SEC and the past. When Herschel arrived at Athens, the SEC hadn't even been integrated for a full decade yet. He's the guy who put the SEC's past in the past, and all that mattered was how well you can play football. And boy, could he play. He almost single-handedly won a national title for Georgia. He was a freak of nature and a total bad ass.
2. Bo Jackson. Bo is one of the last legendary players. This is not that there are no longer great players, but Bo was beyond descriptors of merely "great". He was a legend, like a walking tall tale. It's hard to explain what sports were like to people raised on SportsCenter and non-stop instant access to even the most obscure highlights, but seeing your favorite players in the 80s was hard. I probably only saw three or four Auburn games during the entire Bo Era. He was a guy that people talked about as if he didn't actually exist. He was Paul Bunyan and the Easter Bunny in shoulder pads. But he was real. And I can't believe it actually happened.
3. Peyton Manning. Speaking of guys we didn't get to see, Manning never played a down against LSU. We are going back to the era in which it is not only possible, but likely, that we miss out on seeing great players ever play against our teams. In fact, neither Bo or Herschel ever played a down against LSU either. That's three of the all-time great players in SEC history, and we never got a chance to see them in the flesh or give them a proper booing. Peyton is the last great SEC player who could ever claim to be underrated, as he was screwed out of the Heisman. Besides, I'd love to see Spurrier make fun of him again.
4. Tim Tebow. He was a force of nature. He wasn't just great, he saved his best games for LSU. You'd think that would make me hate him, but I've always rather liked Tebow. He fed off the emotion of college football more than anyone I can remember, and I loved how he shoved LSU's antics right back in our faces with the whole cell phone bit. He understood this was a game, and games are fun. We need more players like that. Also, make fun of it all you want, but any fan would love for their quarterback to go on a rant like he did after the Ole Miss loss. Say what you will about the guy, but he cared.
5. Lee Roy Jordan. Way before my time, but I would love to see a guy get 30 tackles in a game. Let's clarify, 30 tackles in the Orange Bowl against a powerful Oklahoma squad. I can't even conceive of how that happened. That has to be one of the most untouchable single game records in the SEC, right up there with Josh Reed's receptions and yards in a game.
1. Herschel Walker -- We've all heard the hype and we've all seen the infamous trampling of Bill Bates while Larry Munson passes out. He's the ultimate "wish I coulda seen him" guy. Was he really that big? That fast? Was that 1980 Georgia squad really just Herschel carrying a bunch of guys to a title? Walker has a permanent place in college football lore.
2. Bo Jackson -- Again, a no-brainer for basically all the same reasons as Herschel Walker. Only with the added bonus that I'd probably pay to watch him take some BP as well. I actually remember bits and pieces of Jackson's pro career (Tecmo Bo!) and I'm pretty sure I had a "Bo Knows" shirt as a kid.
3. Darren McFadden -- He's the closest I've ever seen to Nos. 1 & 2. I've never been as afraid of an opposing football player as I was of Run DMC, especially when he dropped into the Wildcat formation with Felix Jones coming in motion. A five-yard run was a sigh of relief, and a 40-, 50- or 60-yarder felt like an inevitability.
4. Cam Newton -- He's on the short list of guys I've seen eviscerate LSU all but by himself. I don't know how much fun it'd be to see that in person, but I know I'd pay for the chance to see if he could do it again.
5. Danny Wuerrful & the '96 Florida offense -- Tebow kind of stole Wuerrful's thunder in Florida QB lore, which is funny given that Danny was always very upfront about his religious beliefs as well, even running a school in New Orleans after retiring from pro football. His Gator teams cut a freaking swath through the SEC back in the mid 90s -- nobody could stop them. Fade route after fade route to Ike Hilliard and Reidel Anthony -- neither of whom was even 6-foot tall! Seeing that against some of LSU's recent defenses would have been damn fun, and that's before we get into the madness of PRIME-LEVEL OBC versus Les Miles.
1. Herschel Walker - 1980 still resonates in the SEC today, and it's because of Herschel Walker. He was the catalyst for that title run and he rightfully earns all the respect he gets. And as if he had something else to prove, at 45 years old he decides to do MMA. And wins. Then does it again at 49, and wins again.
2. Bo Jackson - I'm probably the only person here who would rather watch Bo play baseball. Just a special athlete.
3. Johnny Manziel - Let's face it, the last two years have been a lot of the "What crazy crap is Johnny gonna pull out of his ass?" show. It was fun to watch him create plays out of utter chaos. I paid to see him once, I'd pay to see him again.
4. Jarvis Jones - A nightmare for opposing quarterbacks and a great ball hawk. When Georgia needed a big play on defense, he was always there to force a fumble or come up with a big sack.
5. Archie Manning - It would be nice to see the birth of Manning Face in person.
1. Bo Jackson - A real life superhero that I never got to see play. I feel as if his highlights will never do him justice, and "Bo Over the Top" will always be legendary.
2. Herschel Walker - Another guy whose athletic ability will always be underappreciated by my generation, but his highlights are still fun as hell to watch.
3. Patrick Willis - Some of the hardest hits I've ever seen, one of the best defensive players I think anyone will ever see. But Justin Vincent still got that first down.
4. Peyton Manning - I don't think anyone needs an explanation on this (except for Florida).
5. Johnny Manziel - He was fun to watch (outside of playing LSU), and that's all that matters.