SEC Football: 10 best returning players for the 2020 season

Derek Stingley Jr., LSU Tigers. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Derek Stingley Jr., LSU Tigers. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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SEC football best returning players
SEC football (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

10. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

The simple truth about Jaylen Waddle is that he’s a powder-keg waiting to explode at this point. Despite his elite and obvious talent, he’s been sitting behind an elite group of wide receivers at Alabama for the past two years. Now it’s his time to shine after posting 33 catches for 560 yards and six touchdowns along with starring as a kick and punt returner for the Crimson Tide as well.

Waddle isn’t higher in the top 10 for two reasons. First, there are some minor questions at quarterback after Tua Tagovailoa‘s departure. Moreover, we’ve never seen Waddle perform outside of a minimal role as a deep threat in the offense, which leaves some questions. However, given his game-breaking athletic ability, there is no reason to believe he’s not ready to be a star and should prove as much when the 2020 season kicks off.

9. Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama

Alex Leatherwood could have conceivably left Tuscaloosa after last season for the NFL Draft but elected to give it one more year with the Crimson Tide. He’ll be the anchor for the Alabama offensive line at left tackle and should continue to make things hum in the trenches for this offense both as a pass-protector and road-grading run-blocker. He’s that darn good.

In 2018, Leatherwood waited his turn at tackle but was too talented to not get on the field, leading him to start 15 games at guard. He took over for Jonah Williams at left tackle in 2019 at left tackle and filled those big shoes admirably. Leatherwood was a first-team All-SEC performer last season and anything less than that — and perhaps and All-American nod as well — would have to be considered a disappointment for 2020.