The race for SEC Defensive Player of the Year is always highly contested. The SEC is typically loaded with defensive talent, but this year seems to be even stronger.
South Carolina’s Skai Moore was the biggest mover on the list after recording 12 tackles last week against Missouri.
Here’s a breakdown of what the race looks like entering Week 6:
1. Myles Garrett, DL, Texas A&M: Garrett has been the most impactful defensive player in the conference to this point. He is a load to block and normally requires a double team, yet still leads the conference with eight sacks. His 25 tackles are impressive considering the attention he draws from opponents. Garrett is the slight favorite, but he still has to continue to be a menace along Texas A&M’s front seven.
2. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida: Need a reason for Florida’s resurgence? Look no further than Hargreaves, who is arguably the best cover corner in the conference. The junior had seven tackles and an interception in the Gators’ win over Ole Miss last weekend. Hargreaves might have the best pro potential of anyone else on this list.
3. Skai Moore, LB, South Carolina: Moore’s play should not be diminished by South Carolina’s 2-3 start. He makes plays all over the field for the Gamecocks. Moore is second in the SEC with 51 tackles and has three interceptions. He will be in the discussion for the entire season if he keeps producing like this. Moore is a tackling machine and a playmaker for the Gamecocks.
4. Kentrell Brothers, LB, Missouri: The senior linebacker is coming off of his worst performance of the season. He had only seven tackles against South Carolina last weekend. That’s a small amount when comparing it to his first four games with double-digit stops. Brothers is a beast and leads the SEC with 59 tackles.
5. Richie Brown, LB, Mississippi State: Brown virtually came out of nowhere and is now one of the anchors on the Bulldogs defense. Brown is third in the conference with 50 tackles and also has three sacks and an interception. The junior isn’t a household name yet, but he could become one by season’s end.
6. Josh Forrest, LB, Kentucky: Perhaps the most underrated defensive player in the conference, Forrest is having a strong season for the Wildcats. He has 49 tackles, three sacks and an interception. Forrest is a dark horse to take home the award with a strong second half of the season.
7. Trae Elston, DB, Mississippi: Elston is an electric defender who isn’t afraid to tackle either. Elston’s three interceptions are tied for the lead in the conference. He shows versatility as a ball-hawking safety and someone who can play in the box as well.
8. Jonathan Ford, DB, Auburn: Ford is a playmaker. He’s currently tied for fourth in the SEC with 49 tackles and has picked off one pass and has forced two fumbles. Ford is one of the lone bright spots on a disappointing Tigers team.
9. Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Mississippi: Nkemdiche is incredibly talented, but his stats are far too inconsistent. Nkemdiche has 16 tackles and 0.5 sacks this season. He may serve as a tremendous NFL pro, but he will need to be more productive to climb back into this race.
10. Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee: Reeves has 21 tackles combined in the three games since recording 21 tackles in one game against Oklahoma. He is one of the top players on Tennessee’s defense and has an opportunity to be a factor in this race.
Just missed: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama; Jordan Jenkins, LB, Georgia