SEC Media Days is a week away, and the players attending the annual event have officially been revealed. Tennessee Football is taking two offensive players and one defensive player.
Joe Milton III, Jacob Warren and Omari Thomas will accompany Josh Heupel to the event in Nashville. UT takes the stage on the final day, Thursday, July 20, along with the Ole Miss Rebels and South Carolina Gamecocks.
While Warren, Milton and Thomas are all worthy choices, Cooper Mays could have also been a good choice, as Dave Hooker wrote last week. After all, the starting center is the leader of the offensive line and now an overall team leader with Hendon Hooker gone.
Why, then, were these three chosen? Well, there are questions about Milton’s game despite the fact that he’s the projected starter to succeed Hooker and is entering his final year of eligibility. Not taking him would be a huge red flag of no confidence.
At least one defensive player has to go to SEC Media Days just so the Vols can make the case they are prioritizing that side of the ball. Thomas is one of the most underrated defensive tackles in the league, so that move makes sense.
For the final decision, Heupel was likely going to prioritize a starter who is in his final year of eligibility. Mays could technically come back next year, but Warren, the full-time starter at tight end this year, can’t.
Considering the fact that Warren is a natural leader of the team, he makes sense as a worthy choice among players in their final year of eligibility. As a result, this trio makes sense.
What’s most shocking is that Jaylen McCollough didn’t get the nod over Thomas. McCollough is in his final year of eligibility on defense, has started at some point of every season since 2019 and will be the leader of the secondary this year at safety.
However, Thomas still makes plenty of sense as a decision given how good he can be this year. Heupel seems to have chosen him based off of those expectations alone.
Click here to see the full list of players on every team attending SEC Media Days. Milton is one of just five quarterbacks attending the event, the others being K.J. Jefferson of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Jayden Daniels of the LSU Tigers, Will Rogers of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Spencer Rattler of the South Carolina Gamecocks.