Nobody did SEC Media Days like Tim Tebow.
Ole Miss’ three player representatives at SEC Media Days are CJ Johnson, Mike Hilton and Evan Engram, three guys who will make a big impact on the 2015 season.
Notably absent are the three who are projected first-round draft picks next spring – Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell and Laremy Tunsil.
Tunsil’s absence is understood. He’s made too much news lately.
There are a lot of folks here he would like to have heard from Nkemdiche and/or Treadwell.
As far as next year’s draft, Nkemdiche, Treadwell and Tunsil are getting the most attention among Ole Miss underclassmen right now.
But there’s a lot of buzz about Tony Conner too. Right now NFLDraftScout.net has him rated the No. 1 strong safety prospect.
NFL.com calls Conner the nation’s second-most physical defensive player and has this to say about him: “He and senior Trae Elston give the Rebels the most punishing secondary duo in the nation, bar none. Conner sometimes struggles in coverage, but, man, can he lay the lumber. He is a big hitter who is quite comfortable playing in the box. And he makes his presence known on basically every tackle. Conner was recruited as a safety but played mostly nickelback last season, a position Rebels coaches call the “Huskie.” Huskies are mean dogs, and Conner plays like a mean junkyard dog — and we mean that in the most complimentary manner.”
Evan Engram isn’t getting a lot of NFL talk right now, but don’t be surprised if he’s weighing his options at the end of the year.
Chuck Dunlap, the SEC’s communications director, says the league doesn’t mandate who teams bring to Media Days but does encourage in the case of some high-profile players. The bar is pretty high for SEC intervention, though. You have to be a returning Heisman Trophy winner.
“The only thing we’ve mandated is if you have a returning Heisman Trophy winner. We reached out to make sure (Johnny) Manziel and (Tim) Tebow would be here,” Dunlap said.
The SEC will sometimes take that high-profile player, the one around which most Media Days attendees will gather, and let him do his thing from the podium. That doesn’t always happen. Manziel was at one of the smaller tables, and it was a train wreck trying to get to him.
As much hoopla as there was around Manziel in 2013, it didn’t match Tebow in 2009, Dunlap said.
“Manziel certainly was a frenzy from a media standpoint, but Tebow, from the minute he stepped off the plane fans were gathering. They had figured out which air strip the team would land on. Manziel didn’t have that component.”