Here are 14 players to watch next season across the Southeastern Conference

Fri, Apr 26, 2024
NCAAF News (AP)

Here are 14 players to watch next season across the Southeastern Conference

The Southeastern Conference has reloaded from the high school ranks and the transfer portal. Here's a look at some of the league's players to watch coming out of spring practice:

ALABAMA: A young running back like Jam Miller, Richard Young or Justice Haynes will have to step up for the Tide. Alabama lost its two leading rushers, Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams, to the NFL and the transfer portal, respectively.

ARKANSAS: LB Xavian Sorey Jr., a former five-star recruit, has transferred from Georgia. Sorey should help the Razorbacks overcome the loss of their top three linebackers. He had 19 tackles, five quarterback pressures and a sack last season.

AUBURN: WR Cam Coleman, a top recruit, brings some much-needed playmaking abilities to a position that has been severely lacking for the Tigers. A former Texas A&M commit, Coleman enrolled early and made a couple of big plays in the spring game.

FLORIDA: DE Justus Boone was on track for a breakout season in 2023 before tearing a ligament in his right knee and missing the entire season. The Gators finished with 22 sacks, a total that ranked 12th in the conference and tied for 92nd nationally. The 6-foot-4, 267-pound South Carolina native appeared in all 13 games in 2022, starting two, and finished with 24 tackles and a sack. Despite Boone's lack of production, he was given the coveted No. 1 jersey in 2024.

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GEORGIA: The Bulldogs brought in Florida transfer Trevor Etienne to help make up for the loss of leading rushers Daijun Edwards and Kendall Milton. Etienne ran for 1,472 yards and 14 touchdowns in two seasons with the Gators and he gets a fresh place to restart after a March arrest on drunken driving and other charges.

KENTUCKY: Former Georgia starting LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson. He had 126 tackles in three seasons with the Bulldogs, including 17 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

LSU: WRs Kyren Lacy and Chris Hilton Jr. are trying to step out of the shadows of Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas, who are headed to the NFL. Lacy had 30 catches for 558 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Hilton made 13 catches for 225 yards and a pair of scores.

MISSISSIPPI: DT Walter Nolen arrived from Texas A&M as one of the top-rated transfers and bolsters an experienced defensive front. The former five-star recruit started 14 games in two years with the Aggies and had four sacks last season.

MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Bulldogs brought in big-play wide receiver Kelly Akharaiyi from UTEP, where he was a first-team All-Conference USA performer. Akharaiyi had 48 catches for 1,033 yards and seven touchdowns last season and was fifth nationally in yards per catch (21.5).

MISSOURI: Georgia State transfer Marcus Carroll, a first-team All-Sun Belt pick, and Appalachian State transfer Nate Noel are expected to compete for the lead running back duties. The Tigers lost Cody Schrader, who received Heisman Trophy votes after a spectacular senior season.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Freshman edge rusher Dylan Stewart. At 6-5, 245 pounds, he was the highest-rated player in the last recruiting class and has been a standout all spring. He was causing havoc in the spring game and hopes to gain playing time among a group that includes Gilber Edmond, who played at Florida State last season.

TEXAS A&M: Edge rusher Nic Scourton could make a big impact after transferring from Purdue. The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder had 50 tackles for the Boilermakers last season, including 15 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

VANDERBILT: LB Langston Patterson led Vanderbilt in tackles last season. But he may need to be even better for coach Clark Lea, a former Notre Dame defensive coordinator who has been more hands on with the defense. Vandy hosts Virginia Tech, Alabama, Texas and Tennessee this season.

TENNESSEE: WR Bru McCoy had 17 catches for 217 yards in five games last season before a season-ending right ankle injury. But he put up solid numbers in 2022 after transferring from USC, and the Volunteers are hoping he can duplicate that.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

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