KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The annual carnival known as SEC Media Days begins on July 16 at the newly renamed Hyatt Wynfrey in Hoover, Ala.
Three players from each of the 14 SEC schools will join the head coaches for the round of interviews. The SEC plans to announce the players the week before the event, although we might know Tennessee’s representatives earlier than that.
Who could represent the Vols?
There are no hard and fast rules on player representation, but here are a few guidelines based on history.
- If there’s a prominent quarterback on the team, he almost always goes. Reporters want to hear from the quarterbacks.
- Seniors or captains often get an invite, even if they aren’t the most prominent players.
- Coaches and media relations people usually select someone who’s good in front of the camera, who likes talking to reporters and who will represent the school well.
- If there’s a player who might be promoted for a prominent award later in the season, it’s smart to bring him to Hoover.
With that in mind, who would be some candidates from Tennessee?
If quarterback Justin Worley gets an invite, I think that would mean something, even if coach Butch Jones says it doesn’t. Officially, the race for the starting job is still on, and it would be unusual for the head coach to bring someone he expects to be the backup.
Among seniors, offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James, defensive back Byron Moore, running back Rajion Neal and defensive linemen Mo Couch and Daniel Hood would all be good candidates (among others).
Really, any of the offensive linemen — including Antonio “Tiny” Richardson, Alex Bullard, James Stone and Zach Fulton — would do a nice job.
Linebackers A.J. Johnson and Curtis Maggitt could also be on the table. Johnson has appeared in many preseason lists because he led the SEC in tackles last year.
In 2012, quarterback Tyler Bray, linebacker Herman Lathers and James represented the Vols. Will James get a second year in Hoover now that he’s a regular on the media circuit?
Let me know if I missed anyone obvious, which is quite possible. You can also add write-in candidates to the poll above.