Which players should every team send to SEC Media Days?
We’re one month from Day 1 of the 2019 SEC Media Days in Hoover.
There still are a few details to be settled, the most interesting, of course, being the big reveal of the 3 players who will represent each school.
It’s quite an honor, a very public attaboy that rewards a player’s leadership abilities and character every bit as much as his football prowess. Some choices are easy and obvious. Most years, we see more offensive and defensive linemen than QBs and wide receivers. I hope that changes this year. I want 12 QBs in Hoover.
The official attendee list usually is released a week or so before the event. I always cheer for the best story. As such, here are the players I hope to see in Hoover.
QB Tua Tagovailoa
Alabama hasn’t sent a QB to media days since AJ McCarron in 2013. Tagovailoa, a national champion and Heisman candidate, should be the most obvious selection on this list.
WR Jerry Jeudy
Consider Jeudy the frontman for one of the most explosive WR groups in the country. Any one of the quartet could go. Unfortunately, my guess is the WRs will be left at home, in favor of an OL, but I can hope.
LB Terrell Lewis
How do you reward a guy who refuses to stay down? Let him tell his story of perseverance to the largest audience possible.
DT McTelvin Agim
The Hogs remain in transition. Who better to represent change than Agim, a senior prospect who continues to move around the line wherever the staff and team need him most.
TE Cheyenne O’Grady
Let’s face it, you want your get-off-the-bus guys in Hoover. O’Grady, who is 6-4, 251, looks the part. Another veteran on an otherwise young and overhauled offense, he’s an All-SEC candidate, too.
LB Bumper Pool
Even if he couldn’t play, he has one of the coolest names in college football. (Bonus: It’s his actual name.) Ah, but he can play. Admittedly, De’Jon Harris probably gets the nod. He’s the SEC’s leading returning tackler (118). He deserves it, too. Not enough people know how good Harris is.
QB Joey Gatewood
It won’t happen because he’s still vying to win the starting job, but he’s going to win it and I don’t want the hype to wait any longer than necessary.
DE Marlon Davidson
Auburn might have the best defensive line in the country. That starts with Davidson, who opted to return for his senior season instead of leaving for the NFL.
DT Derrick Brown
Just like Davidson, Brown decided to delay his NFL dreams and return to The Plains. This defensive line looks and plays a lot like Clemson’s DL in 2018. That Clemson line was bolstered by the return of several juniors, who helped pave the way to a second national title in 3 years. That’s clearly the goal for Auburn’s seniors.
QB Feleipe Franks
It’s his team, his time. No sense hiding from the obvious: These Gators will go as far as his rocket right arm can take them.
CB C.J. Henderson
Florida opens with Miami. Henderson grew up in Miami and chose the Gators over his hometown Hurricanes. The viral potential is off the charts.
DE Jabari Zuniga
All he’s done is everything the Gators have asked. He, too, could have entered the NFL Draft but was one of several key Gators who chose to return for his senior season.
QB Jake Fromm
His stats are nice and the back-to-back SEC East titles are impressive. It’s time for Georgia to bury the narrative of their “nice little QB who could.” Let Fromm tell everybody that he’s the best quarterback in the country and the NFL teams that pass on him next April will be making a mistake. Or reveal some fishing tips …
RB D’Andre Swift
Georgia has 2 legitimate Heisman Trophy winners. They share the backfield and, hopefully, the stage in Hoover.
DB J.R. Reed
Why not? He represented Georgia last year in Atlanta, was named a team captain, then decided to skip the draft and return to Athens for his senior year. Early departures hit Georgia hard again this year. Reed’s return is key to the Dawgs’ title hopes.
QB Terry Wilson
It’s time for everybody else to meet the new face of the Kentucky offense. There’s more to Wilson’s game than what he showed in 2018.
WR Lynn Bowden
He’s the league’s most dangerous combo receiver/returner and one of its best-kept secrets. That’s a difficult combo to pull off.
LB Kash Daniel
His personality? All those cameras? He’s my pick to steal the show.
— Kash Daniel (@KashDaniel15) June 16, 2019
QB Joe Burrow
Oh, the stories he could tell. And I hope he does. Urb. Coach O. What he told UCF after that questionable hit …
CB Derek Stingley
There’s no chance a true freshman represents DBU, but Stingley is that good and I really don’t want to wait 2 more years. Grant Delpit will get the DBU nod, and he’s absolutely earned the honor and the right to wear No. 7.
DE Rashard Lawrence
As LSU’s injuries mounted last year, Lawrence was a beast down the stretch, capped by an MVP effort in the Fiesta Bowl win over UCF. He could have entered the draft, but returned for his senior year.
RB Kylin Hill
As recognizable as Mississippi State’s stars were last year, this year’s group will be more of the who’s that? variety. The SEC is so loaded at RB that Hill won’t garner much all-conference attention, but he averaged 6.27 yards per carry last season.
LB Erroll Thompson
Mississippi State had 3 defenders taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Thompson made as many plays as any of them, finishing with 87 tackles and 2 interceptions.
LB Willie Gay
The results haven’t quite caught up with the hype, but there’s no denying the raw tools. MSU is starting over along the defensive line. That creates a burden/opportunity scenario for Gay and Thompson in what could be their final season.
QB Kelly Bryant
Will there be more Clemson questions or Drew Lock questions?
RB Larry Rountree III
Devin West ran for a single-season program record 1,578 yards in 1998. Can Rountree top that in 2019? That’ll be a topic of conversation in July.
TE Albert Okwuegbunam
One more time, for the back of the room, before you move on to the NFL: How do you pronounce your last name?
QB Matt Corral
The Egg Bowl Diary. Chapter 2.
RB Jerrion Ealy
Again, no way it happens, but Ealy is one of the most accomplished dual-sport athletes to enter the SEC in a long time. The fact he’s in Oxford, instead of Clemson or playing baseball, is a story that will be told nonstop this season. I’d prefer to hear it from him. We’ll very likely get Scottie Phillips, and his rise is worth discussing, too.
DT Benito Jones
Matt Luke didn’t send any of his wideouts to Atlanta last year. Instead, he sent an OL and a DL. You know one of the big boys is coming to Hoover. Forget football. I want to hear about this ranch the former 5-star plans to open.
QB Jake Bentley
Is there another face-of-the-program QB who will open the season on the fans’ hot seat? Maybe Franks at Florida, but Bentley’s leash seems to be much shorter, in part because of the hype surrounding his backup, Ryan Hilinski.
WR Bryan Edwards
Did you know Edwards already has as many career TD catches (16) as Deebo Samuel? You better believe Bentley does.
DT Javon Kinlaw
Kinlaw was the Gamecocks’ defensive co-MVP last year and is showing up as a potential first-round pick on several way-too-early mock drafts. The West is known for its run-stuffers, but Kinlaw is one of the best in the East.
QB Jarrett Guarantano
Who better to represent the ups, the downs, the struggle, the progress than Guarantano, whose career has mirrored the Volunteers’. Much like Franks at Florida, Guarantano needs to be the best version of himself for the Vols to have a chance at a Florida bowl.
LT Trey Smith
Is he healthy enough to play? All signs point to that. Smith’s story goes beyond football, and since he arrived, he has been role model material.
WR Jauan Jennings
Let’s give him the nod over Marquez Callaway for a couple of reasons. First, Callaway represented the Vols last year. Second, few have a better redemption story than Jennings. Sure, his bumps might have been self-imposed, but college is a time for growth and maturity.
QB Kellen Mond
If Texas A&M’s schedule were a bit kinder (at Clemson, at Georgia, at LSU, vs. Alabama), Mond might be a dark horse candidate to win the Heisman for a team hoping to reach Atlanta for the first time. I’m hoping he survives the season.
WR Quartney Davis
Alabama has the best receiving corps in the conference, but A&M’s group isn’t far behind. We’ll give Davis the nod because he was the most productive last season, but the reality is as long as somebody in the group is there to talk about LSU, challenging Clemson and Alabama, we’ll be happy.
DT Justin Madubuike
If you’re looking for a breakout candidate in 2019, Madubuike could be your guy. He had 5.5 sacks last year while playing alongside older, more decorated teammates. They’re gone. It’s his show this year.
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn
Are you the best running back in America? Can’t wait to hear the answer to that question.
WR Kalija Lipscomb
What will it take for people to finally respect Vanderbilt’s offense? Sleep on the ‘Dores at your own peril. Lipscomb gets labeled a possession receiver, but only 3 SEC WRs had more TD catches than his 9 last season.
QB Riley Neal
He’s going to be the guy. Granted, Nashville is the coolest city in the SEC, but I doubt he he transferred from Ball State just to enjoy Broadway. I would like to hear him compare a typical night out in Muncie, Indiana vs. his new digs.