Dooley’s Dozen: 12 top SEC players you probably aren’t familiar with

·5 min read

You can call it upheaval or evolution or simply new football. But we all know that rosters are made to be broken in this different world.

With the transfer portal and coaches poaching players off rosters with NIL deals (believe me, this is happening), you really can’t tell your favorite team without a scorecard.

And in America’s League, it is enough to make your head spin. He’s playing there? But I thought he was here. You almost have to study the rosters of the SEC just to refresh your memories on the starting quarterbacks for each team.

This is college football, and it’s not going to make us root any differently. We just have to get to know the players a little better.

I know that there are fans who know who the next great players are going to be all around the SEC. But not many. Most SEC fans are going to see a play happen and wonder, “Where’d he come from?’

For this edition of Dooley’s Dozen, we give you 12 players you may not know but should get to know. You have all summer to find out about these dudes.

Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Georgia Bulldogs

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This is the next great linebacker for the Bulldogs. He was mostly a special teams player last year but earned valuable experience as a backup. His nickname is “Pop” because when he hits people you can hear the pads pop.

Antwane Wells, South Carolina Gamecocks

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First of all, guys like Spencer Rattler are not on this list because you know all about him. This is the guy who will be on the receiving end of a lot of his passes. He was great at James Madison catching 15 touchdowns and should be the go-to guy in the Gamecock offense.

Byron Young, Tennessee Volunteers

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This edge rusher is posed for a special year on a defense that needs to improve if the Vols are truly going to be a contender. Last year, he was kind of getting his feet wet after transferring from junior college and still had 11.5 tackles for loss.

Princely Umanmielen, Florida Gators

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The writers in the press box for Gator games will have to learn spelling and pronunciation with this guy. He’s been in the program for two years and every time he is in the game you notice him. Word is he’s having an incredible summer and is ready to take off.

Donovan Kaufman, Auburn Tigers

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If the Tigers are going to be better this season, the secondary will have to be better. Kaufman transferred from Vanderbilt where he was a solid safety despite being only 5-feet-10-inches tall. He has an awareness for where the ball is going which will be a huge asset for Auburn.

Zach Evans, Ole Miss Rebels

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OK, I’m going to assume you watched very few plays during TCU’s season last year. If you did, you saw Evans averaging 7.3 yards a carry and catching a ton of passes out of the backfield. Now, he’s in Lane Kiffin’s offense. He might be a dark-horse candidate for first-team All-SEC.

Luther Burden III, Missouri Tigers

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I didn’t include many true freshmen on the list, but Mizzou fans can’t wait to see what this five-star can do. He has the tools and the talent to have a huge impact on a program that needs an offensive jolt.

Shemar Turner, Texas A&M Aggies

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Recruitniks know exactly who this is because he was a huge get for the Aggies in the recruiting class before the controversial one. The defensive lineman didn’t play a lot last year because A&M was loaded up front, but he still made the All-SEC freshman team. That’s how good he is, and the opportunity is right there in front of him this year.

Ketron Jackson, Arkansas Razorbacks

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Jackson could be one of the best athletes in the SEC and this year he will have an opportunity to show it after only recording five catches as a true freshman wide receiver. He reminds me of some of the bigger receivers in this league except he’s probably faster than most of them.

Jaylen Moody, Alabama Crimson Tide

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Moody jumped into the transfer portal and decided to return to the Tide. He has been in the program for four years and was looking for a change, but when Drew Sanders transferred to Arkansas it made sense to stay. Now, he will be a starting inside linebacker with an attitude.

Mekhi Garner, LSU Tigers

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[autotag]Billy Napier[/autotag] is familiar with this cornerback because he had him at Louisiana. He should be the next in line to step into a secondary that was depleted during last season and lost two stars for this season. Garner seems equipped to handle the SEC.

Carrington Valentine, Kentucky Wildcats

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Valentine is an established starter and Gator fans should remember him from his eight-tackle performance against the Gators. But they probably don’t. The defensive back seems on the verge of an All-SEC type year now that he has two seasons under his belt.

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