This week on the SEC blog, we're reviewing the top 25 SEC players from the 2015 season, as chosen by our staff of reporters. On Monday we looked at players 21-25; today we turn our attention to players 16-20 on the list.
16. WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: The true freshman stepped in and became an instant playmaker for the Aggies. He finished third in the SEC in receiving yards (1,009), had 80 catches and seven touchdowns. He was also a dynamic punt returner, averaging an impressive 24.3 yards per return with two touchdowns and six returns of 20 or more yards. He was named SEC Freshman of the Year and was a second-team all-conference selection by the league's coaches.
17. DE Jonathan Bullard, Florida: The senior was a big-time playmaker for the Gators, leading the team in tackles for loss (17.5) and tying for the team lead in sacks (6.5) while ranking fifth on the team in total tackles (66). Bullard also had two pass breakups and six quarterback hurries. He helped lead a defense that allowed only 18.2 points per game and Bullard earned first-team All-SEC honors and third-team Associated Press All-American for his efforts in 2015.
18. DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss: The 6-foot-4, 296-pound junior was a consistent force on the Rebels' interior defensive line though he missed two games (one for injury, one for suspension). He finished the season with seven tackles for loss, three sacks, seven quarterback hurries, a blocked kick and two pass breakups. Nkemdiche was a second-team All-SEC and second team AP All-America pick. He also scored three offensive touchdowns and was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award (given to the nation's most versatile player). He'll likely be a high draft pick for an NFL team in search of defensive line help.
19. C Ryan Kelly, Alabama: The senior was regarded as the nation's best at his position, winning the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation's most outstanding center. Kelly also shared the SEC's Jacobs Blocking Trophy with Arkansas guard Sebastian Tretola. He graded out at an average of better than 88 percent this season, missed fewer than 10 assignments in more than 1,000 snaps and didn't allow a sack in the 2015 season.
20. QB Brandon Allen, Arkansas: The senior jumped into the top tier of SEC quarterbacks in 2015, making his case to be considered the league's best this season. He threw 30 touchdown passes (second in the SEC only to Chad Kelly's 31) and only eight interceptions and led the league in Total QBR (87). Against SEC competition, he threw a league-best 21 touchdown passes and only five picks and had the best passing efficiency (159.1) and yards per pass attempt (8.3) in SEC play.