While the SEC may be a bit overrated in the various polls, it is easily the strongest football conference from top to bottom. Many of the schools are loaded with future NFL players. Among those schools are Tennessee and Texas A&M, who meet this week in College Station, Texas.
Texas A&M has the country’s premier pass rusher in Myles Garrett, a true junior who most likely will enter the NFL Draft after this season. If the draft were held tomorrow, Garrett would most likely be the first non-quarterback selected.
Garrett has all the tools that NFL clubs look for in a pass rusher. He is tall with length, has very good speed and athleticism, and great natural strength and power. In four games, Garrett has three sacks and five tackles for loss. Look for him to hit double digits in sacks by the time the season ends.
Tennessee has a good pass rusher themselves. True junior Derek Barnett has 23 total tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. At about 6-3, 265 pounds, he has all the tools. He can play the run and rush the passer.
Other players to watch at Tennessee include quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who is athletic, can make plays with his feet and is a better than average passer. He is more of a developmental type who will go in the mid-to-late rounds. Running back Jalen Hurd is big and powerful with good production. He is also a very reliable receiver out of the backfield. Junior receiver Josh Malone is tall and athletic. He would be better off staying in school another year.
On defense, besides Barnett, one of the best prospects is corner Cameron Sutton, who is out right now with an ankle injury. Sutton has the required height and length to go along with good ball skills. Outside linebacker/defensive end Corey Vereen is a down-the-road type with upside.
For Texas A&M, opposite Garrett is senior Daeshon Hall. At 6-5, 260 pounds, Hall can play defensive end in a 4-3 or play on his feet at OLB in a 3-4. He has had a producitve year to date with 22 total tackles, 3.0 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.
At linebacker, A&M has an interesting player in Shaan Washington. He is big and athletic with instincts. Going into this game, he is the Aggies' top tackler with 38 total tackles. A corner to watch is junior Nick Harvey. Harvey doesn't have any interecptions but he has four pass breakups and 31 total tackles. Another defenisve back to keep an eye on is Armani Watts. As a sophomore last year, Watts led A&M in tackles with 123 total.
One of the interesting players on offense is junior receiver Ricky Seal-Jones, who at 6-5, 240 pounds may well be a move tight end at the next level. His size and speed can create matchup problems for any defense.
This week offers two other games between Top 25 teams. No. 23 Florida State with two losses travels to Miami to play the 10th-ranked Hurricanes while top-ranked Alabama travels to No. 16 Arkansas.
Two juniors who will most likely enter the draft will be featured in the Florida State-Miami game – Miami QB Brad Kaaya and Florida State RB Dalvlin Cook.
Arkansas has an interesting tight end in Jeremy Sprinkle. Like most spread formation tight ends, Sprinkle is not a top blocker, but he is a serious threat as a receiver.