As we approach the final days of the offseason, national pundits are getting in their last preseason predictions.
CBS Sports got its college football staff together to award some preseason superlatives to SEC personalities. While there are compelling arguments to be found in their piece, we have summarized what the majority of the expert panel decided for each superlative:
Best offensive player: Leonard Fournette, LSU, RB
The panel made the LSU running back a unanimous pick for this superlative, and for good reason. He’s arguably the best college football player in the nation. With Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry out of the picture and Georgia running back Nick Chubb recovering from a serious knee injury, Fournette was the easy choice.
Best defensive player: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
This one was not unanimous, but it was close. Only one other defender received a vote, and it was Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. No love for Tennessee’s Derek Barnett or Florida’s Jalen Tabor from the panel.
Top newcomer: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
The crew relied on 247Sports national writer Barton Simmons to make this selection. He pointed to the early enrollee’s ability to win a starting job during spring practice as evidence that a big season is ahead for the lineman.
Best coach: Nick Saban, Alabama
How could you not point to the man with five national titles and back-to-back SEC championships? Nick Saban is the safe choice, but there were others. Both LSU coach Les Miles and Florida coach Jim McElwain received mention from the CBS Sports panel as worthy candidates for this distinction.
Best assistant: Lane Kiffin, Alabama
Everyone’s favorite SEC assistant coach was the choice here. He’ll be challenged to break in a new starting quarterback for the third consecutive year as the Alabama offensive coordinator. He’s 2-for-2 so far. The CBS Sports panel also gave serious consideration to LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis.
Most entertaining: Bret Bielema, Arkansas
Former South Carolina and Florida coach Steve Spurrier appears to have passed the torch to the Razorbacks coach. He’s quotable and he’s a wildcard, which makes him fun to follow. Though LSU coach Les Miles has a strong argument for this title, and he did draw strong consideration from the panel. Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk also received mention for his electric play-making ability on the field.