Meet the SEC's All-Name Team: Kavosiey, Tevita, Racey, Z'Core ... and more
Every year, there are names that simply stand out.
But the SEC, like in many other areas, seems to have a surplus of unique names, and this is nothing new.
Some of the all-time greats are Booger McFarland and Barkevious Mingo from LSU, Toquavius Gilchrist and Foxy Foxworth from South Carolina, Chandler Shakespeare at Auburn, Mister Cobble and Bookie Cobbins at Kentucky. We can’t forget Georgia’s unbelievable quartet of Champ Bailey, Catfish Jackson, Mudcat Elmore and Pulpwood Smith.
Recent additions include LSU’s Greedy Williams, Kentucky’s Jackson High and South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel.
Quality all-namers even appear among the coaching ranks. They include Missouri’s Brick Haley, Mississippi State’s Tem Lukabu, Georgia’s Charlton Warren, Alabama’s Holmon Wiggins and Sal Sunseri and Tennessee’s Tee Martin; and don’t overlook Jimbo Fisher because he’s well known.
The best make their unique names second nature for fans to the point where they become household names.
Yours truly took note of Vanderbilt’s Keithian Starling and Texas A&M’s Keeath Magee II.
This year, there’s no shortage of memorable names, and once again, the origins typically come from family:
Alabama: Tevita Musika
At first glance, this is a good rhyme time example. But looking under the hood, the AJC reported that Tevita is the Tongan version of David. Tevita Musika grew up in the same household as second-year NFL player Vita Vea of Tampa Bay. Vea is 6-5 and 347 pounds, while Musika is 6-1 and 338 pounds, the family decided to give them nicknames that suited their body frames. “Their nicknames are ‘Tall Vita’ and ‘Wide Vita,’” College of San Mateo coach Tim Tulloch said. “Vita Vea is ‘Tall Vita’ and Tevita Musika is ‘Wide Vita.’”
Arkansas: Bumper Pool
Bumper is an example of one of those household names. He made plenty of contributions as a freshman last season, with four starts at weakside linebacker in the 10 games he appeared in. His father, Jeff recalled that, beginning as a sophomore in high school, he would tell anyone who would listen that if he had a son he was going to name him Bumper Pool. No one would believe him as he grew up until the actual Bumper came along, and he made good on his word.
Auburn: Prince Tega Wanogho
Not many have a more inspiring or colorful background for the native of Nigeria who dreamed of playing in the NBA, but has since settled in as the Tigers’ left tackle. His late parents were named Prince Philip U.D. and Princess Onome Wanogho, he has 8 siblings, including one named Princess. Wanogho played 13 high school football games after he arrived in America, and had to completely learn the sport, including how to wear football equipment and the terminology. Then he won a state championship, and received 28 Division I offers, AU Now reported.
Florida: Keon Zipperer
A bit undersized as a tight end, the 6-2, 242 pound Zipperer is more like a tall fullback. He’s difficult to tackle, especially when he looks for yards after a catch. He often doesn’t go down on first contact. With that kind of rumbling capability, look for some commentators to reach for the “zip up” puns as the Gators look to him to close out wins in the coming years.
Georgia: Lewis Cine
The Bulldogs don’t often reach into Texas for recruits, but Kirby Smart has built much of his career around having top-shelf defensive backs, and Georgia fans expect Cine to be another one. Athens is also an ideal landing spot for Cine because it’s home to an independent movie theater in downtown by the same name. The Ciné web site describes the theater this way: Ciné plays a key role in the cultural landscape of downtown Athens, bringing people together to enjoy both the art of good cinema and the refreshment of a good drink. Perhaps no two things summarize Athens more than Georgia football and the greater cultural community. Lewis Cine covers it all.
Kentucky: Kavosiey Smoke
Does his name sound more like a French wine, or a barbecue restaurant? One of the players tasked to replace Benny Snell, Jr. Smoke is one of two SEC players to feature that name following Auburn’s Smoke Monday. Kentucky’s Smoke is one where you definitely need to reach for a crutch from the pronunciation guide. It’s kah-VAH-see-ay. For an added wrinkle to his bio, Smoke is also part Native American.
LSU: Racey McMath
McMath is one of the too often heard stories of his name coming from his behavior in utero. His parents named him Racey because during his mom’s pregnancy, he never stayed still. “It felt like he was just racing in my stomach, so we said, ‘OK, that’s going to be his name – let’s call him Racey,'” she said, according to his bio from LSU. The wide receiver/tight end is looking to make a splash this season after two catches for 42 yards in 2018.
Mississippi State: Powers Warren
Warren makes the rare feat of making an appearance on the All-Name Team for a second consecutive year. With a name like Powers, that may sound like enough of a cool factor, but consider his nickname, Powow? The 6-3, 245 tight end from Minnetonka, Minnesota has yet to record a catch for the Bulldogs.
Missouri: Z’Core Brooks
Can’t you hear a battery company, or a heavy machinery company, using an advertising slogan like this: “You may be hardcore, but are you Z’Core?” The defensive lineman from Dallas was rated as a 3-star recruit in the 2019 class, and was the fourth defensive lineman to commit to the Tigers. The Tigers expect him to fill out his 6-6, 220-pound frame.
Ole Miss: Snoop Conner
Last year’s representative from Ole Miss was Sincere David, but Conner, whose given name is Jarod, is the reigning 5A Mr. Football from Mississippi. He was primarily a quarterback at Hattiesburg High. Still, he enrolled early and saw action in the Grove Bowl. If he sees action this season in a talented backfield, look for Conner to add depth.
South Carolina: Jazuun Outlaw
The walk-on defensive end and redshirt junior also goes by Jay. But imagine a public address announcer, a la Michael Buffer, calling this name at player introductions, or even following a sack, as they stretch out the “uuuuuu.” Throw in “Outlaw” for a defender and it’s an ideal name combination.
Tennessee: Henry To’oto’o
The Volunteers had no shortage of possible all-namers, as Solon Page III and Airin Spell were in consideration. To’oto’o drew attention in a signing day ceremony when, as one of the last top uncommitted linebackers, he chose the Vols over Alabama as the No. 7 player in California, according to the 247 Sports Composite. His last name is pronounced TOE-o TOE-o, and he’s 1 of 7 siblings.
Texas A&M: Baylor Cupp
It might have been fitting for the 6-6, 245 pound tight end to play for another school in Texas, but he can at least notice the signs for the school in Waco on his five-hour drive from his hometown of Brock on the way to College Station. Cupp contributed 20 catches for 492 yards and 6 TDs in 2018.
Vanderbilt: Deuce Wallace
Too often you hear about the “Trey” nickname for people who are the third in their family to go by a given name. But Deuce is underrated in that regard. That’s what we have here in Randall Wayne Wallace II. As a bonus point, it’s always convenient when your number matches your name. Most people can’t pull that off.