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The SEC’s top 50 players for the 2017 season: Players ranked 21-30

Shaun Dion Hamilton

SHAUN DION HAMILTON, courtesy of Alabama athletics

23. Alabama LB Shaun Dion Hamilton

Particulars: 6-0, 233 pounds, senior
Recruiting background: 4-star prospect in 2014 signing class, from Montgomery (Ala.) Carver
The skinny: Hamilton would rank a bit higher except that he is coming off a torn ACL suffered in the SEC championship game. He was a part-time starter in 2015, then moved into a starting role full-time last season. Despite missing half of the SEC championship game and both playoff games, he was fifth on the Tide with 64 tackles and with nine tackles for loss. He also had two sacks and two interceptions. Hamilton is at his best against the run; he is instinctual, well-versed in shedding blocks and has a nice short-area burst. He also has impressive lateral quickness. Coming back 100 percent from an ACL isn’t a given. But if Hamilton can do so – or get close – he and Rashaan Evans will form the best inside linebacker duo in the SEC.

RELATED: The toughest and easiest SEC home and road schedules for 2017

ANTONIO CALLAWAY, by Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

24. Florida WR Antonio Callaway

Particulars: 5-11, 197 pounds, junior
Recruiting background: 3-star prospect in 2015 signing class, from Miami Booker T. Washington
The skinny: Callaway was a relatively unheralded recruit who has been a key Gator since stepping on campus in 2015. He is a legit big-play threat — one of the best in that facet in the league — even if he didn’t necessarily show it last season. As a true freshman, he averaged 19.4 yards per catch, had four TD receptions as a complementary guy (including an electrifying game-winner against Tennessee on a fourth-down catch) and scored twice on punt returns (against Alabama and LSU). He led the Gators with 54 receptions last season, but his per-catch average dropped 6 yards (to 13.4) and he had just three TD receptions, one fewer than in 2015. He also struggled as a return man. But his presence means other Gators are going to get less attention, which opens up the passing attack. Callaway can get deep, and he is shifty and explosive. He also has had off-field issues, and he needs to become more mature.

RELATED: Florida’s Jim McElwain compares Antonio Callaway to Julio Jones

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