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La'El Collins, Cedric Ogbuehi lead SEC seniors to watch


Spring practice has started at universities across the country, and we're using the kickoff of spring drills to get you reacquainted with some of the top college players in the nation.

Specifically, we're taking a look at notable seniors on a league-by-league basis. Today, it's the SEC.

The league's seven-season streak of national titleists ended in 2013, but the league still is filled with high-caliber players and coaches.

Going into 2014, the league's top two seniors are offensive tackles -- and, frankly, it wouldn't be a surprise if those two are the only SEC seniors chosen in the 2015 first round. The reason for that, of course, is that so many stud SEC underclassmen turned pro. Still, there are some interesting prospects at linebacker, tight end and defensive end, too.

What's not here is a senior quarterback. After an embarrassment of riches at the position in 2013, quarterback play is a giant question mark in the SEC in 2014.

Wednesday, we'll look at the Pac-12.

A reminder that this is a list of notable seniors who already are on the radar of NFL scouts. And by no means is this an all-inclusive list.

10 SEC seniors to watch

TE Cameron Clear, Texas A&M

Particulars: 6-foot-6, 270 pounds

Buzz: Clear clearly is a huge tight end, and he runs better than you'd think for a 270-pounder. He caught only four passes in 2013 but should become a much bigger part of the offense this fall as the Aggies look to replace some key offensive playmakers. Having a 6-6, 270-pound security blanket should appeal to whomever wins the starting quarterback job -- and having a 6-6, 270-pound tight end who can run will appeal to numerous NFL teams. Clear played extensively as a freshman at Tennessee in 2011 before transferring to Arizona Western CC in 2012 and finally to A&M.

OT La'El Collins, LSU

Particulars: 6-5, 315

Buzz: He will head into the season as one of the top three or four tackles nationally, and his physical nature and aggressiveness gives him a chance to be No. 1 by season's end. He started at guard in 2012 and moved to left tackle in 2013; one notable trait is that he is a mauler in the running game. Collins was one of the nation's top offensive line prospects coming out of high school in Baton Rouge, La., in 2011, and he has lived up to billing.

ILB Trey DePriest, Alabama

Particulars: 6-2, 245

Buzz: He's not the most athletic linebacker on the Tide's roster, but he is tough and physical and a load against the run. He might be the best linebacker in the SEC in 2014. DePriest, an Ohio native, was third on the Tide with 65 tackles in 2013, his second season as a starter. C.J. Mosley, the Tide's defensive star in 2013, has said DePriest should truly blossom as a senior: "He'll evolve into that every-down linebacker role, so people will be able to see his true talents." DePriest played a bit lighter in 2013 than he did in 2012, and it showed. He never will be mistaken for a fast linebacker, but he flows well to the ball and delivers a blow when he gets there.

C Reese Dismukes, Auburn

Particulars: 6-3, 297

Buzz: Dismukes, who has started since he set foot on campus, could be the top center in the nation. He is an above-average run blocker who is comfortable with shotgun snaps and playing in an up-tempo offense. He needs to become a better pass blocker, but he moves well and can mow down guys on the second level.

DE Trey Flowers, Arkansas

Particulars: 6-4, 265

Buzz: Flowers thought about turning pro after the 2013 season but decided to stay after he said he was given a third-round grade. He had five sacks and led the Hogs with 13.5 tackles for loss. His big-play ability appeals to scouts, but he could stand to become more consistent: Flowers had only one sack in the final six games. He will be a three-year starter for Arkansas, and while he isn't an elite athlete at end, he is a steady performer who has done solid work against the run in addition to flashing big-play ability. If he can add some weight and bulk, he is a potential three-down end at the next level.

DE Markus Golden, Missouri

Particulars: 6-3, 260

Buzz: Golden played behind Kony Ealy and Michael Sam in 2013, yet still managed 6.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. He also had 55 tackles and eight quarterback hurries and appears poised to post a double-digit sack total. He runs well, has good speed off the edge and has all-league potential. Golden played linebacker in 2012, his first season with the Tigers after transferring from a junior college, and has gained 30 pounds since arriving on campus. He was a star running back in high school in the St. Louis area but didn't have the necessary grades to attend Mizzou right away.

OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M

Particulars: 6-5, 300

Buzz: He was a part-time starter at guard as a redshirt freshman in 2011, a full-time starter at guard in 2012 and the starter at right tackle in 2013. He will move to the left side this fall and should be the third consecutive Aggies player at that position to be a first-round pick, following Luke Joeckel (No. 2 overall in 2013) and Jake Matthews (a potential top-10 pick in May). Ogbuehi (whose last name is pronounced Ah-BOO-hee) toyed with the idea of turning pro after the 2013 season but wisely decided to return and play left tackle. He is a solid run blocker and will get a chance to show off his athleticism on the left side this fall. As with LSU's Collins, he will go into the season as one of the nation's top three or four tackles.

Mississippi has produced numerous outstanding football players. Take a look at the top 10 former Rebels that are currently in the NFL.

FS Cody Prewitt, Mississippi

Particulars: 6-2, 220

Buzz: Prewitt might fit best as a strong safety at the next level. He is coming off a season in which he had six interceptions, 71 tackles and seven pass breakups. He will be a three-year starter for the Rebels. Prewitt is solid in run support and a big hitter who showed an unexpected flair for big plays in 2013. He lacks top-flight speed but overcomes that with good instincts.

OT Corey Robinson, South Carolina

Particulars: 6-8, 348

Buzz: Obviously, the guy is massive, and his sheer size is a (a-hem) huge selling point to scouts. Robinson isn't the most fluid player, and he needs to show better in that facet this fall to remain on the left side at the next level. At the least, though, he looks like a big-time right tackle prospect. He didn't play at all in his first two seasons on campus, then began to emerge as a sophomore in 2012. He started every game in 2013. Despite his size, he was not a sought-after recruit, with South Carolina gaining his signature over the likes of East Carolina and North Carolina State. He played guard in high school in North Carolina.

ILB Ramik Wilson, Georgia

Particulars: 6-2, 232

Buzz: Wilson was far and away the leading tackler in the SEC in 2013, finishing with 133, 20 more than anyone else. He isn't an elite athlete, but he is a tough, physical presence and always seems to be around the ball --- Wilson is especially good against the run. He had five games with double-digit tackles in 2013, including an 18-tackle outing in a loss to Auburn. He had four sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Wilson barely played in his first two seasons before emerging as a first-team All-SEC player in 2013. Georgia has had success with Tampa natives the past few seasons (Orson Charles and Aaron Murray), and Wilson continues that lineage.

Five other seniors to watch: G A.J. Cann (6-4, 314), South Carolina; DE Alvin Dupree (6-4, 252), Kentucky; DT Brandon Ivory (6-4, 310), Alabama; LB A.J. Johnson (6-3, 243), Tennessee; FS Ronald Martin (6-1, 218), LSU.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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