10 SEC basketball players we'd love to see on the gridiron
It’s March Madness time, so there’s plenty of excitement around college basketball these days. It got us thinking. When you look around the SEC basketball courts, there’s got to be a few guys out there who could also contribute on the football field, right?
Actually, there’s probably quiet a few. Many of the league’s basketball players have bodies that could easily transfer to football. And a few of them don’t need much imagining, because they had great high school football careers themselves.
Here’s a list of 10 guys that we would love to see on the football field, if only in our dreams.
Ben Simmons, LSU: OK, let’s start at the top with the basketball talent. When everyone says you can do it all, then why not do it all in football too? Simmons, widely considered the top pick in the NBA Draft this year, had one disappointing basketball season at LSU in 2015-16, so we know for sure that he knows how to handle disappointment in Baton Rouge, which is par for the course this school year. Simmons doesn’t have a football body – he’s 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds – but line him up at slot receiver in the red zone and tell him to run right to the upright and jump. Throw the ball 13 feet in the air and he’s the ONLY guy going up to get it. Plus he averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists a game, which is spectacular. Completing 4.8 passes a game at LSU? That sounds about right.
Alex Poythress, Kentucky: Antonio Gates started the trend of college basketball power forwards being great fits to play tight end in the NFL. They’re big and strong, can run like the wind. Kentucky’s Poythress fits that bill. He’s cut, and though he’s measured at 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds, his body could handle 250 or 260 easy on the football field. And unlike most Kentucky basketball players, he’s actually a senior and knows his way around campus. He’s actually been to more than 10 classes in his lifetime and will make it to the finish line as a college graduate. That’s a rarity at UK.
E.J. Floreal, Kentucky: Need a speedy wide receiver or cornerback? Floreal is your guy. The UK junior was a track star in high school first in Palo Alto, Calif., and then in Lexington, where he moved as a senior. He finished fourth in the 100 meters and third in the 200 meters in the state track meet. Speed is in his blood too. Both of his parents – Edrick Floreal and LaVonna Martin-Floreal – competed in the Olympics as track athletes. His father is the head track coach at UK. Mark Stoops would love to have him.
Terence Davis, Ole Miss: Davis is probably the best true football prospect on SEC basketball courts this year because he’s proven it on the football field. Davis had 62 catches for 1,062 yards his last year at Southaven (Miss.) High School. During his high school days, there was plenty of talk that Davis might try to play both sports in college, but he’s remained true to basketball. But I’m sure Chad Kelly would love to have him out there to catch passes.
Elijah Staley, Mississippi State: OK, we’re cheating a bit here because Staley is already back on the gridiron, though he hasn’t played a major role for the Bulldogs yet. He’s in the mix to replace Dak Prescott at quarterback, and he has a chance now that he’s focusing solely on football after playing basketball for State for a year. He’s a proven two-sport athlete with great size at 6-foot-6 and 248 pounds. He was a first-team all-state basketball player in Georgia and is the half-brother of former college basketball player Patrick Ewing, Jr.
Jalen Jones, Texas A&M: Jones has the body that would translate well to football, too. He’s 6-foot-7 and 225 but would fill out in a hurry with that broad frame. He takes no gruff from people on the basketball court and would probably love mixing it up on the gridiron.
Elbert Robinson III, LSU: Just start with the size at 7-foot-1 and nearly 300 pounds. Same thing in the red zone; just imagine him as a scoring threat on lob balls. Plus he’s got the size to body people up as well. Let Les Miles, the trick-play wizard, get creative with him and you know he’ll come up with something.
Brian Bridgewater, LSU: He’s 6-foot-5 and 282 pounds and could have easily been turned into a left tackle at some point in his life. The Baton Rouge native has spent a ton of time in Tiger Stadium growing up, and would be a perfect fit in the LSU lineup. His older brother played basketball at LSU too, so the Tiger bloodlines run long and deep.
Terry Brutus, Ole Miss: You’d think just the name alone would get Brutus on the list – isn’t that the perfect football name? – but he’s also got some history on the football field. The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder played a year of football in high school at Spring Valley in New York and all he did was lead his team in tackles.
Deandre Burnett, Ole Miss: Burnett, a transfer from Miami, was a schoolboy legend on the basketball courts in South Florida. He’s 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds and never played any serious football, but his bloodlines are right. His brother? That would be Dalvin Cook, the great running back at Florida State who’s a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. Burnett could probably do some great things too.