The first position on the SEC Power Poll's selection for All-SEC linebackers goes to Florida's Brandon Spikes. The other position is tied among three players: UGA's Rennie Curran, Bama's Rolando McClain, and Carolina's very own Eric Norwood. Let's take a closer look at the seasons these four deserving players put together.
Spikes has had a tremendous season, leading a renaissance on the Gators' D that had a lot to do with their return to the BCS National Title Game. Spikes leads the Gators with 70 tackles and eight for a loss. Far from being a simple run-stopper, though, Spikes is effective in pass protection. He's one of only three linebackers in the country to have two interceptions returned for a TD. Plus, he knows how to stuff Knowshon.
Curran was one of the bright spots on what turned out to be a soft UGA D. Curran logged 109 tackles with nine for a loss. Curran had one of his biggest moments of the year when in the fourth quarter of a tight game he forced the ball out of South Carolina runningback Mike Davis's hands at the UGA two-yard line and UGA recovered. Asher Allen's recovery likely preserved a Dawgs victory and condemned Gamecock Man to a sad night of drinking cheap whiskey and wishing things had been different.
Although he may be best known for his run-in with the law, McClain was also a stable cog in Bama's powerful defense. McClain led the Tide in tackles. Some might remember him for contributing to this Jarret Lee interception.
Coming into the season, many pundits declared that Norwood, who weighs 270 pounds and played DE last season, would not be fast enough to cover the edges as a LB. That, however, did not turn out to be the case, as Norwood followed up his stellar 2007 with another solid year. Norwood is a versatile performer; he is second on the team in tackles with 66, leads the team in both tackles for a loss with 13.5 and sacks with nine, and is fast enough to play coverage when needed. Gamecocks fans will worry themselves sick over the next few weeks about whether or not Norwood will skip his senior season and head to the NFL.