The SEC West's top redshirt seniors
Published: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 4, 2011 at 11:56 p.m.
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There are just a handful of redshirt seniors still in the Southeastern Conference who were highly touted recruits from the Class of 2007. Here's a rundown of SEC West seniors with one last chance to shine. We looked at the SEC East on Friday.
Alex Watkins, Rivals' No. 5 DE: Watkins redshirted his first year, didn't play his second season and recorded one tackle in 2009 as a backup linebacker. He finally broke through with 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season and is expected to contend for playing time in 2011 despite missing much of the spring with a knee injury that required surgery.
Brandon Gibson, Rivals' No. 13 WR: For the second straight year, Gibson performed well in the annual A-Day spring game. Now it's time to make an impact in games that count, and the opportunity is there as Julio Jones moved on to the NFL. Gibson redshirted his first year and played in three games with no stats in 2008. He has just six catches for 64 yards in the last two seasons, but coaches are banking on his athleticism and knowledge of the passing offense to finally shine through.
William Vlachos, ESPN's No. 3 OG: Vlachos redshirted in 2007 and has more recently started 27 consecutive games at center, was named to the All-SEC second team and has little more to prove in college football. At this point he's playing for more rings and to prove to NFL scouts that he's a legitimate pro prospect despite measuring 6-foot-1 and 294 pounds.
Alfred McCullough, Rivals' No. 24 DT: McCullough played as a true freshman and recorded one tackle. He redshirted in 2008 as he transitioned to the offensive line and played a backup role in 2009. Last season, McCullough played in 12 games and started four. This fall he will compete to be the Tide's starting left tackle.
Grant Freeman, Rivals' No. 14 TE: At 6-foot-7 Freeman stepped on campus and began to convert to offensive tackle. He redshirted his first season and added about 30 pounds to get up to 277. Though he played as a reserve the last three seasons, Freeman is now up to 305 pounds. He'll have an opportunity to take one of the starting tackle spots this fall.
Eltoro Freeman, Scout's No. 7 MLB: Freeman did not qualify academically and instead went to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where he won a share of the JuCo national championship as a true freshman. He redshirted in 2008 to keep three full seasons of eligibility and enrolled at Auburn in January 2009. Over the last two seasons, Freeman has appeared in 22 games with 12 starts and 68 tackles. He brings speed and athleticism to the linebacker position but is still not guaranteed of starting full-time in 2011.
A.J. Greene, Scout's No. 34 DE: Greene redshirted in 2007 and did not play in 2008. He converted to the offensive line in 2009 and appeared in two games. Last season, Greene started the first three games of the season at right tackle before a broken left ankle ended his season. With four lineman graduated, Greene will be counted on as a starter in 2011, perhaps at left tackle.
Enrique Davis, Rivals' No. 2 RB: A Parade All-American, Davis signed with Auburn but didn't qualify academically and went to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia in 2007. He ended up in Oxford, Miss., but has yet to fulfill his promise. Davis, who has a mere 691 yards and eight touchdowns on 178 carries in 27 career games, has scuffled the last two seasons with leg injuries. The much less-heralded 2007 recruit Brandon Bolden has relegated Davis to backup status.
Kentrell Lockett, Rivals' No. 8 DE (2006): Lockett has been a difference-making pass-rusher for the Rebs ... when healthy. He redshirted in 2006 due to a shoulder issue and was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after missing most of last season with a torn ACL. In between he's had 23.5 career tackles for loss and nine sacks in 35 games with 31 starts.
Robert Elliott, Scout's No. 8 RB: Elliott was expected to be a premier playmaker but redshirted in 2007 and then played in only four games in 2008 because of a knee injury. He's never truly emerged from backup status, as junior college transfer Vick Ballard took over with nearly 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and looks to start in 2011.
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