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ESPN Names The SEC's No. 1 Player In 2018

Jarrett Stidham pumps his fist after a big play for the Auburn Tigers.

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 25: Jarrett Stidham #8 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates after a touchdown during the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan Hare Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

With only a few weeks left before the start of the college football season, ESPN has rolled out its list of the 50 best players in the country. The SEC is generally considered the best conference in the country on a year-to-year basis, but it takes a while before we hit the top player from that league: Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham.

Stidham played his first season at Auburn last fall, and it was a pretty strong campaign.

The former Baylor quarterback threw for 3,158 yards, 18 touchdowns, and six interceptions in 2017-18. He added four touchdowns on the ground.

Stidham led Auburn to the SEC West title, and a Peach Bowl berth in his first year as starter. Now, ESPN says he's the best player in the SEC entering this year, and the No. 10 player in college football.

From ESPN's college football player rankings on Auburn's Jarrett Stidham:

After a somewhat slow start to his first season at Auburn, the former Baylor transfer still threw for 3,158 yards and 18 touchdowns. With a year under his belt and more control at the line of scrimmage, his numbers could climb.

With that strong finish to the regular season, there were some Auburn fans concerned that Stidham could jump to the NFL.

Of course, with Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson, it was a very strong draft class at the quarterback position. Shortly after the Peach Bowl loss to UCF, he made the likely-wise decision to come back for another year and improve his stock.

Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa comes in exactly one spot behind Stidham, despite significantly less game experience. It won't surprise many if he ends up much higher on this list next year.

The No. 1 player on ESPN's list doesn't play in the Power Five at all. Houston's Ed Oliver comes out on top, and after two dominant seasons for the Cougars, it is hard to argue with it.