Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with a look at 10 SEC players he’s excited to watch this fall, the 10 best defensive backs commitments from the transfer portal and the most marketable players in college football for the Name, Image, Likeness change.
1. TEN SEC PLAYERS I AM EXCITED TO WATCH THIS SEASON
Let’s break down the SEC after my Big Ten list the other day went over so well. Here are 10 players I’m excited about after the spring.
1. QB Bryce Young, Alabama — Young had the spring the coaches were hoping he’d have and has established himself as the clear No. 1 QB for the playoff favorites.
2. LB Mohamoud Diabate, Florida — No, it’s not Emory Jones that I’m focusing on as I believe the Gators’ defense has a chance to be nasty and Diabate could turn into a star. His 67 tackles last season was just a preview.
3. WR Braylon Sanders, Ole Miss — I like Sanders a ton as the guy to replace Elijah Moore in the offense as Matt Corral’s main target.
4. WR Demetris Robertson, Georgia — I’m avoiding true freshmen as that’s a list for another time so Adonai Mitchell will wait his turn. The former five-star Robertson has persevered and his versatility will be key with a rash of injuries at the wideout position.
5. LB Edgerrin Cooper, Texas A&M — Cooper had two tackles in a redshirt season last year but had nine and 2.5 for a loss in the spring game. He could be on his way to great things.
6. DT Joe Evans, LSU — There are so many names to choose from but interior defensive lineman Evans is going to be huge for the LSU defense.
7. WR Ja’Varrius Johnson, Auburn — It’s a new offense for Auburn and that means more wide receiver involvement. Johnson will get plenty of looks as a speedy slot option.
8. QB KJ Jefferson, Arkansas — Jefferson had a solid spring and showed flashes in the spring game of what could be as he leads an improved offense.
9. WR Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky — He’s always the focus it seems from his days at Nebraska and now his impressive ability at the SEC level.
10. WR Lideatrick Griffin, Mississippi State — Griffin exploded this spring and has become a dangerous weapon in Mike Leach’s offense as shown in the spring game with five catches for 107 yards.
2. THE TOP TRANSFER DEFENSIVE BACK COMMITMENTS
I wrap up my look at the top 10 transfer commitments this cycle with the defensive backs. But I might have to circle back around eventually as the portal moves so fast.
1. Key Lawrence, Oklahoma — Lawrence brings his talent from Tennessee and could have an impact on the national title race as a cog in what should be a defense that continues to improve.
2. Tykee Smith, Georgia — The former West Virginia star joins a nasty defense where the secondary was one of the question marks.
3. Dreshun Miller, Auburn — Another former West Virginia player, Miller is a big corner and a plug-and-play guy for Auburn.
4. Jaiden Lars-Woodbey, Boston College — The former five star loves Jeff Hafley from his recruiting days and will be the most talented safety since Justin Simmons as he heads on from FSU.
5. Tyrique Stevenson, Miami — Stevenson will be a key outside corner for the Hurricanes and has the ability to be All-ACC over from Georgia.
6. T.J. Carter, TCU — Carter is a big get from Memphis and should help a secondary that lost some key players to the NFL.
7. Kenyatta Watson II, Georgia Tech — The Texas transfer has a ton of talent and heads back home to the Atlanta area to help a struggling secondary.
8. Xavion Alford, USC — Another Texas transfer, Alford has big-time ability as a safety and he’s a hard hitter which should help the USC defense get a bit more physical.
9. Jammie Robinson, Florida State — Robinson was a freshman All-SEC pick in 2019 at South Carolina and can also help in the return game.
10. Brendan Radley-Hiles, Washington — He’s often criticized for bad penalties but he has a ton of talent and Washington develops defensive backs well.
3. THE FIVE MOST MARKETABLE PLAYERS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Finally, with Name, Image and Likeness likely to be approved by the NCAA this summer I wonder who are the five most marketable players in college football? Here’s my top five.
1. QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma — An odd choice as Rattler has a reputation of being a bit selfish but he’s in an offense where he will put up monster numbers, push for a Heisman Trophy and perhaps contend for a national title.
2. QB Sam Howell, North Carolina — The North Carolina football market is growing and Howell is an absolute star who would be of interest to anyone as this offense continues to grow.
3. RB Bijan Robinson, Texas — The best Texas running back since Ricky Williams? He could be and that’s huge in that market.
4. WR Chris Olave, Ohio State — The most recognizable name at the best and biggest program in the Big Ten should garner some interest.
5. DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon — The Oregon market isn’t as big as others but he’s been projected as the No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick in 2022 by some.