Alabama Crimson Tide: Shawn Williams

DBs from SEC blanket combine

February, 22, 2013

Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites took a look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins today in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Click here to read the entire predraft series. Today: Defensive backs and special teams.

Alabama Crimson Tide

It's hard to imagine that the Alabama secondary in 2011 yielded five NFL prospects. Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and De'Quan Menzie were all drafted a year ago. Dee Milliner and Robert Lester stuck around and won one more ring before hanging it up in 2013.

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Welcome to Atlanta

December, 1, 2012
ATLANTA -- Greetings from the Georgia Dome.

Well, we are back in the hub of the South with the national championship on the line. Stop me if you've heard that one before.

Yes, with No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) taking on No. 3 Georgia (11-1, 7-1) inside the Dome, the SEC championship game has yet again become a semifinal for the national championship.

Today's winner is headed to South Beach for the Discover BCS National Championship to face No. 1 Notre Dame. Only a couple of weeks ago, we were all sitting around wondering if the SEC would get shut out of the national title game and the six-year title streak would end.

Well, after today, the SEC will be returning to the big game.

The team that makes it to Miami will be pretty beat up on the ride back home because someone is going to get popped out there today, as two of the most physical teams in the country will be cracking skulls down on the field.

Alabama brings in the nation's No. 1 defense, while Georgia's defense has returned to elite status after a tremendous November. Those "soft" comments by Shawn Williams before the Florida game really lit a fire under Georgia's defense. In their past three SEC games, the Bulldogs have allowed an average of just 59 rushing yards and just 1.9 yards per carry.

Alabama's defense has shown some flaws in its pass defense against LSU and Texas A&M. That game against A&M really showed the country that Alabama's defense isn't quite what it was last year, as the Aggies gashed that unit through the air and on the ground in the Tide's lone loss of the season.

But none of that matters now. This is a new day and a new game. The national championship is on the line. Alabama might not have been here last year, unlike Georgia, but this team is more than ready for the big-game atmosphere, while Georgia is certainly not the wide-eyed team we saw in the Dome last year.

This one is gonna be good.

Ranking the SEC's safeties

July, 17, 2012
Now that we've ranked the SEC's secondaries, it's time to take a look at the league's top cornerbacks.

Past rankings:
Here are our top 10 SEC safeties:

[+] EnlargeEric Reid
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesLSU safety Eric Reid has tremendous cover skills.
1. Eric Reid, Jr., LSU: He might be the league's best ball-hawking threat and he packs quite the punch. He had a knack for making all sorts of plays in LSU's secondary last year -- none bigger than his game-changing interception in the first game against Alabama. He tied for the team lead with 76 tackles, broke up three passes and intercepted two. Pro scouts love his ability to roam all around the field and his tremendous cover skills.

2. Bacarri Rambo, Sr., Georgia: He had a true breakout season last year and could have easily left for the NFL draft. The first-team All-American led the SEC and ranked second nationally with eight interceptions and was second in the SEC with 16 pass breakups. He takes the deep pass away, but is also very solid in defending the run and shorter passes.

3. Matt Elam, Jr., Florida: The headliner of Florida's defense, Elam found himself playing all over the field in 2011. He was second on the team with 78 tackles, but led the Gators with 11 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He loves contact, but also has improved his coverage skills and can line up at the nickel if needed.

4. Robert Lester, Sr., Alabama: Lester has had a solid career with the Tide so far. He notched an SEC-best eight interceptions in 2010 and flirted with leaving for the NFL after his junior season. He's moving to free safety, but has the speed and ability to play that rover position. He covers a lot of ground and can come in and play in the box as well.

5. D.J. Swearinger, Sr., South Carolina: His move from strong safety to free safety was a plus for the Gamecocks. He turned into a tremendous rover in South Carolina's defensive backfield and wasn't afraid to move closer to the line to hit people -- a lot of people. He's a proven playmaker and has no issues finding the ball, as he's registered 122 solo tackles in three seasons.

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Scout's Take: Atlanta Opening Regional
National recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton joins ESPN's Phil Murphy to discuss top performers from the Nike's The Opening regional camp in Atlanta.