Every year the Clarion Ledger picks the top 12 high school football players in the state and names them as its Dandy Dozen.
Hugh Kellenberger, Clarion Ledger
The SEC announced on Wednesday which players will go to SEC Media Days next week, thus setting off the dumbest five-minute controversy of the year — just narrowly edging out “when the opposing coach, in hindsight, deliberately obfuscated about the health of a player during a Monday press conference.”
Ole Miss will send Jordan Ta’amu, Sean Rawlings and Josiah Coatney. Mississippi State will send Nick Fitzgerald, Gerri Green and Mark McLaurin.
This is all fine, if something less than desirable considering the three players from Mississippi schools all expected to be NFL first-round draft picks next year — Ole Miss’ A.J. Brown and Greg Little, and Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons — will all be somewhere other than Atlanta to talk to the collected horde of print, online, radio and TV media.
Where are they now?: The 2015 Clarion Ledger Dandy Dozen
Ole Miss offensive lineman Greg Little is a likely preseason All-American pick. (Photo: AP)
I could make an argument that it’s a marketing opportunity lost, specifically for the Rebels. It’s a program that could use a dose of positive publicity, and the best chance of that is trotting out your two preseason All-Americans/future millionaires. Still, I doubt it would much matter in terms of the scope of the coverage, and also: no one really cares who the media wants to talk to anyways.
There will be 27 seniors and 15 juniors at SEC Media Days, and that’s no accident, as coaches and sports information directors favor the veterans for their experience handling the media and what can be an exhausting and bewildering experience.
“Can you talk to me about your new defensive coordinator?”
“What do you think of your teammate on the other side of the ballroom?”
“What do you remember about playing Alabama?”
“Jordans or Air Maxes?”
(OK, I’ll own up to it: that last question was mine. I thought it’d be fun and different. If nothing else, comparing various Air Max models with a Kentucky linebacker remains a top-5 SEC Media Days moment for me.)
What coaches and SIDs are not interested in, particularly, is anything that makes news. They want the storyline to be their presence, not what they actually said. And so they’ll send who they’ll send, and we’ll talk to them. It’ll all be fine.
More SEC coverage
Baseball: Carter Stewart bypasses MLB, could join J.T. Ginn at Mississippi State
Women’s basketball: Mississippi State’s Vic Schaefer becomes one of highest paid women’s coaches
Ole Miss: Rebels garner commitment from the first defensive tackle of its 2019 recruiting class