The Southeastern Conference didn’t have the same kind of week that the Pac-12 managed in their last season of existence (possibly), but things went pretty well overall. The conference finished 11-3 in Week 1, with every loss coming against a ranked opponent. There are a few more ranked games to keep an eye on and several players to watch in Week 2.
SEC Players To Watch in Week 2
The Ole Miss Rebels face off against a ranked Tulane team. Alabama plays Texas in Tuscaloosa. And Texas A&M plays the real Miami, as was decided just one week ago.
Kool-Aid McKinstry, Terrion Arnold, and Malachi Moore Face Tough Texas Trio
Texas QB Quinn Ewers was the top recruit in the nation for his class. Xavier Worthy, Adonai Mitchell, and Ja’Tavion Sanders all appear primed to threaten the top 100 picks in the NFL Draft. And the Longhorns’ offensive coordinator just so happens to have an intimate understanding of the Crimson Tide defense after spending time as the team’s OC.
Kool-Aid McKinstry might be the first cornerback off the board in 2024. But a player like Worthy is an outstanding test for the potential top-10 pick. Worthy might be built like a stalk of asparagus, but he’s explosive and knows how to tempo routes and make plays in the air.
Terrion Arnold and Malachi Moore fit into the bucket many Alabama secondary players tend to. They’re not elite talents, but playing in Alabama’s secondary puts them in the spotlight, and they’ll be discussed whether they’re primed NFL Draft prospects or works-in-progress.
Moore is the biggest wild card, and he may have the most difficult matchup of the bunch. The former four-star recruit shined as a freshman but has struggled since. Sanders, meanwhile, is a nightmare matchup for slot defenders with his outrageous size-adjusted athleticism.
Can Ulysses Bentley IV Recapture His SMU Form?
Quinshon Judkins is the top dog at Ole Miss. Heck, he might be the top RB in the entire college football landscape right now. But Ulysses Bentley IV had a lot of fans (including College Football Network bloke Oliver Hodgkinson) when he transferred from SMU.
Bentley’s explosiveness is his calling card. But despite landing on the lighter side of the position, he also possesses some intriguing leg drive upon contact that’s unexpected for a 200-pound player. Bentley won’t get a ton of opportunities because Judkins is so unbelievably dynamic, so he must take advantage of the opportunities he does receive.
Tulane’s defense allowed just 2.3 yards per carry in 2022. A few nice chunk runs against a talented non-conference defense could spark the NFL Draft interest Bentley once garnered.
Can Layden Robinson Return to Form Against Leonard Taylor III?
Layden Robinson was outstanding when he got the call to start at right guard as a redshirt sophomore. However, his junior season was less-than-stellar. The offensive line around Robinson crumbled, and the lack of continuity to his left and right hurt his efficiency. What was once high praise and legitimate NFL Draft hope had turned into cold silence.
Leonard Taylor III was one of the highest-rated interior defenders in the nation heading into the season. He’s an athletic but underdeveloped interior rusher, and that could play into Robinson’s experienced hands.
Ainias Smith and Moose Muhammad III Have Their Hands Full With Kamren Kinchens
Kamren Kinchens is one of the best safeties in the country, and he was all over the place against the fake Miami. Ainias Smith and Moose Muhammad III frequent the middle of the field, the area Kinchens flourishes in most.
Will they hear the heavy footsteps that come over the middle when testing someone like Kinchens, who enjoys the violence that comes with playing the game? Can they make him miss when they get the ball in their hands?
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