SDS Mailbag: Arch Manning reaction, SEC 2023 NBA Draft class, underrated SEC football breakout candidate
The College World Series final is set. Ole Miss, for the first time ever, has made it to the final series. The Rebels will face red-hot Oklahoma. That’s going to be a tough series, but the Rebels will have plenty of motivation to win it all.
Whatever happens, I’m predicting the series will go all 3 games. We’ll see if I’m right!
For now, let’s dive into this week’s Mailbag questions:
Arch Manning is committed to Texas. If he ends up going to Austin, will he bring a title to the Longhorns?
Landing the top player in the 2023 recruiting class this early in the cycle is only going to help Steve Sarkisian on the recruiting trails. Players will want to commit to play with a 5-star quarterback and one of the best recruits in recent history.
But, winning a national championship is hard, especially when you’re not in the SEC. Oklahoma couldn’t overcome SEC squads in the Playoff semifinals despite having future No. 1 pick Kyler Murray and former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts. Even Ohio State and Clemson haven’t reached college football’s apex in a few years.
Nick Saban is showing no signs of slowing down at Alabama. Kirby Smart is putting together a juggernaut at Georgia and will be eager to snag a second championship. Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M just signed the best recruiting class in the history of the rankings.
So, I’m going to go with no, Arch Manning won’t win a title with the Longhorns. He’ll help Texas improve from the point where it is at right now, but the ultimate prize will elude him, even when the Longhorns move to the SEC midway through his career.
The national championships will continue to run through the SEC (and potentially Ohio State).
Jabari Smith is heading to Houston! Which SEC men’s hoops player will be the first off the board in the 2023 NBA Draft?
When it comes to the NBA Draft, freshmen are king. The top 3 picks on Thursday night were all freshmen. So, let’s start there, and let’s start in Fayetteville with the Arkansas Razorbacks.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hogs’ trio of freshmen – Nick Smith Jr., Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh – all went in the lottery. Kentucky’s Cason Wallace will also be in lottery contention. And, keep an eye on Jaden Bradley at Alabama. All of those guys should get plenty of playing time from the start of the 2022-23 season.
I could see a guy like Oscar Tshiebwe sneaking into the end of Round 1, but I’d bet he won’t be one of the first 3 SEC guys off the board next year.
If I had to pick right now, I’d go with Smith. But, Black and Wallace are numbers 2 and 3 in my rankings as things stand the day after the 2022 draft. We’ll see how things change over the course of this next season!
Which SEC football player do you think should be getting more attention ahead of the 2022 season?
There are a ton of guys who I think should be getting more buzz, so don’t yell at me when I don’t pick a guy from your school. But, the guy I’m going with is WR Jalin Hyatt of Tennessee.
The Vols have star WR Cedric Tillman Jr. returning this fall, and he should work his way into the Round 1 NFL Draft discussion before the 2022 season is over. But, the Vols also have to replace Velus Jones Jr. and deep threat JaVonta Payton.
That’s where Hyatt steps in. He had major expectations heading into 2021, but didn’t really live up to them, recording 21 catches for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns. I’d be shocked if he didn’t have more production in 2022.
QB Hendon Hooker returns, and he’s also looking to improve his NFL Draft stock. Hyatt can help with that. There will be plenty of opportunities for him in Josh Heupel’s offense. We’ll see if he can get up to 800 yards or more.
What is the worst month for sports and why is it July?
Well, I think that depends on how much you love the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest and the MLB All-Star Game!
Seriously, though, even for the most diehard of MLB fans, July can be a slog. The postseason is still a couple of months away and the optimism of spring is gone for all but a few successful franchises. Meanwhile, there’s no college baseball, no college football, no major men’s basketball… it is a bit of a sports graveyard.
When NFL training camp stories are some of the most-read stories in the month of July, you know it’s not a great month for sports. So, that’s absolutely the right answer.
Unfortunately, July is quickly coming up, so maybe make some plans to get outside more often, hit the beach, host a cookout, find a new book to read. It’s going to be a long month before August arrives and football season is almost here!
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.