This weekend’s SEC schedule features several great games, including Alabama-Texas A&M. It’s true; every player is worth watching, but let’s point to seven players who are interesting for different reasons…and none of them include Johnny Manziel.
Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina: By now you know Mike Davis, and you can’t help but be impressed with him. Davis is the only player in college football to have two 70-plus yard runs, and it’s especially surprising coming from a guy who nobody thought had breakaway speed. Davis has rushed for 264 yards and two TDs, and he must have a big game for the Gamecocks against pesky Vanderbilt.
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: The biggest advantage the Aggies have on offense is the receivers’ ability to exploit the Tide’s secondary. Last year, Bama played Mike Evans tough, limiting him to just five catches for 40 yards. Through two weeks, Evans has caught 13 passes for 239 yards and two TDs, and at 6-5, he has a big height advantage over Bama’s smaller corners John Fulton, Geno Smith and Deion Belue. Evans catches everything thrown his direction, and Johnny Manziel will target him early and often.
AJ Johnson, LB, Tennessee: Tennessee’s defense has been fantastic on the short year against lesser opponents. They’ve allowed just 10 points and 125 yards per game rushing. But they haven’t faced anything like Oregon presents. Vol LB AJ Johnson will be the focal point of the defensive attack, and making tackles in the open field will be primarily key in not letting Oregon explode for 20- and 30-yard gains.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt: Georgia’s passing offense shredded the Carolina secondary last week, and Jordan Matthews and Austyn Carta-Samuels have to be licking their chops. The Dores are fourth in the SEC in passing offense, averaging over 286 yards per game. In particular, Matthews leads the SEC in receptions (16) and yards (289), and we’re asking ourselves whether he’s the best receiver in the country. Matthews’ ability to stretch the field will open things up for the running game.
CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama: Alabama’s most experienced, decorated and athletic linebacker will have the tough task of ‘spying’ on Johnny Manziel. SEC quarterbacks rarely are spied upon in defenses, but none of them have the athleticism and creativity of Manziel. Mosley said earlier this week that it’s an ‘honor’ to spy the Heisman winner. Good luck, CJ. Not many have been successful yet.
Tyler Russell, QB, Mississippi State: If MSU’s offense is going to take flight in conference play, it starts with Tyler Russell. Russell did not play last week after a head injury suffered in the first week. Any SEC game on the road is tough, and Russell must rise to meet the challenge. He’s MSU’s leader, and he’s going against a much-improved Auburn defense Saturday. Russell threw for 133 yards, no TDs and one INT against Oklahoma State before exiting with an injury.
Bo Wallace, QB, Ole Miss: The improved Bo Wallace has been a focal point of Ole Miss’ 2013 offense. Last year, Wallace threw 22 TDs and 17 INTs, but thus far he’s been sharp and accurate with his passes. He has completed nearly 63 percent of his passes, thrown two TDs and zero INTs through two weeks against Vanderbilt and SE Missouri State. His continued evolution from a gun slinger to a game manager has been obvious in the last two weeks. Texas will be his biggest challenge yet, but this could be a statement for both Wallace and Ole Miss.
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