SEC Football history: 50 best players of all time

SEC Football (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
SEC Football (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Eric Berry, Tennessee football
Eric Berry, Tennessee football (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

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35. Best SEC football players of all time: Eric Berry, Tennessee football

When it comes to elite athletes to play in the SEC, you cannot put together a list of the best without former Tennessee star Eric Berry. A dynamic player in the Volunteers’ defensive backfield, Berry was an absolute ballhawk, becoming one of the more feared safeties the conference has ever produced.

Berry arrived in style in Tennessee, taking over as a starter for a fifth-year player, and never looked back. The SEC’s Defensive Freshman of the Year and an All-SEC player in Year 1, Berry proved the party was just getting started, as he began to dominate on a national level as a sophomore for the Volunteers.

A team captain as only a sophomore, Berry was named to his first of two All-Americas, winning the Jack Tatum Award. He hauled in seven interceptions as a sophomore, becoming the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, and even got some work on offense, playing quarterback and wide receiver.

He would go on to be named a unanimous All-American for the second straight season as a junior, winning the Tatum Award again. He would also win the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in college football. He left after his junior season, becoming a top-5 pick of Kansas City, and could find himself in the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.