Sleeper picks for the SEC

Identifying under-the-radar teams, players and units for the 2013 season

Updated: June 27, 2013, 10:35 AM ET
By Travis Haney | ESPN Insider

Jadeveon ClowneyJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesWith a game-changing threat like Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina could challenge for the SEC title.

Nothing has changed over the past seven years. The Southeastern Conference is still the league to watch, and beat, in college football. But that doesn't mean it's entirely predictable. Who could have projected that newcomer Texas A&M would take the league by storm in 2012?

The Aggies were the only team to defeat the Crimson Tide -- in Tuscaloosa, no less -- with a lot of help from the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. It's hard to believe that a year ago at this time, we still didn't know much about Johnny Manziel.

Which teams could be this season's A&M? Which players could be this fall's Manziel? Here are some SEC sleepers to ponder as we continue the countdown until preseason camps open.

1. Outside of Manziel, which SEC player has the best shot to win the Heisman trophy?

There are a number of ways to go here, but Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is the name that rises in my mind.

• Joined ESPN as Insider's national college football writer in April 2012
• Previously wrote for The Oklahoman and The Post and Courier