Being in a devy league means never being able to stop your evaluation process. Every season, players graduate, leave for the NFL, fall out of favor with their coaches, and some coaches leave for new programs. With spring football practice underway across the country, we decided to take a look at each conference for any insights to help you get a leg up on your devy leagues. We will try to pinpoint each conference’s biggest story line, highlight key position battles and most importantly, try to figure out who is the next devy player to target in your drafts. Having discussed the ACC already let’s now take a look at the SEC East.
Florida – In his third season at Florida, Jim McElwain is running out of time to put together a complete offense. The issue isn’t that they don’t have the individual pieces. Antonio Callaway and Tyrie Cleveland are both legit Devy targets at WR. The running game sorted itself out last season around the time of the LSU game with Jordan Scarlett taking the lead role and Lamical Perine playing the role of complement. The issue is that Florida doesn’t have a proven quarterback and they haven’t for some time. Luke Del Rio has been dealing with a shoulder injury since near the end of the 2016 season and will miss spring practice following another surgery. It looks like Kyle Trask and Feleipe Franks, both redshirt freshmen, will battle for the starting job. Early enrollee Kadarius Toney brings a different dynamic to the position and could carve out his role by fall.
Georgia – The top priority has to be establishing some continuity on the offensive line. That would go a long way to help everything else fall into place. A stronger offensive line would allow Eason to focus on his development. Georgia returns a ton of talent at the running back position. Spring practice should give everyone an idea of how healthy Nick Chubb is. They say that you aren’t back to 100% until the second season after an ACL injury and 2017 is that season for Chubb. Sony Michel and Elijah Holyfield round out an incredibly deep backfield. Four-star WR Jeremiah Holloman enrolled early, and he should be an excellent compliment to a receiving corps already featuring Terry Godwin and Riley Ridley.
Kentucky – Coming off their first bowl appearance in 6 years, the Wildcats need to keep building positive momentum. Both Stephen Johnson and Drew Barker are back at quarterback. Leading WRs Jeff Badet and Garrett Johnson are back. Boom Williams left for the NFL opening an opportunity for Benny Snell to expand his role. He was very successful in the Wildcat/goal line role last season, but I’m excited to find out if he is capable of being the lead back.
Missouri – Similar to South Carolina and Florida, Missouri has individual talent at every position. Could 2017 be the year they put it together over the course of a season? QB Drew Lock has shown some promise but has been mostly inconsistent. Missouri also returns 1,000-yard rusher Damarea Crockett and 1,000-yard receiver J’Mon Moore.
South Carolina – Will Muschamp’s teams aren’t known for their offensive proficiency, but he’s assembled quite the collection of talent on the offensive side of the ball. If you play in a college fantasy league you’ll want a piece of this offense. Starting with QB Jake Bentley, most of the talent is pretty young. Bentley still has some work to do to get his legs underneath him. The Gamecocks add four-star WR Ortre Smith to a group of pass catchers that already includes Bryan Edwards, Deebo Samuel, and Hayden Hurst. The most significant position battle is the one at running back between sophomores Rico Dowdle, A.J. Turner, and Ty’Son Williams.
Tennessee – The competition for the starting QB job between Jarrett Guarantano and Quinten Dormady is just beginning. I highly doubt Butch Jones will name a winner until August, at the earliest. We’ll see if Jauan Jennings is mature enough to enough to handle being the leader. John Kelly should enter camp with an opportunity to solidify his role as the starter at running back. He’ll need to impress if he’s going to hold off freshman Ty Chandler when he enrolls in the fall.
Vanderbilt – Kyle Shurmur seems to have finally locked down the gig of starting quarterback. Ralph Webb returns for his senior season. He already owns Vandy records for rushing yards in both a single season and a career. With nine touchdowns this season, he would break Zac Stacy’s school record for career touchdowns. As good as Webb has been, most of the hype has been around redshirt freshman RB Jamauri Wakefield. Wakefield impressed coaches last season as he routinely frustrated Vandy’s defense while playing the role of scout team running back. The running game should be the strength of the offense again this season, and the backfield is in good shape moving forward.