Best Dressed Players from 2013 SEC Media Days
For some players in Hoover, Ala., SEC media days were less like Fashion Week and more like weak fashion.
But for others, the burning spotlight at the Wynfrey Hotel was a perfect time to strike a pose and display their impressive style.
High fashion has become more and more popular in professional sports, and like any tradition started by multi-millionaire athletes in the Twitter age, it didn't take long for the trend to trickle down to college.
And even though college athletes can't be paid, as we heard ad nauseam throughout the week, some players already have a champagne-taste for clothing.
WR L'Damian Washington, Missouri (Day 1)
L'Damian Washington has the nominal meter of one former NFL Pro Bowler (his name is pronounced at the same rhythm as LaDanian Tomlinson's) and the sartorial bravura of many others.
Outfitted in a beautiful cream suit, black shirt and yellow tie, Washington became the runaway favorite for best dressed on Day 1 in Hoover—and the folks at Saturday Down South (responsible for the picture above) agree.
The look is natty on its own merit, but even better in its incorporation of Missouri's school colors. Bonus points for the Satan beard and (especially) the sideburns.
QB James Franklin, Missouri (Day 1)
L'Damian Washington wasn't the only Tiger with style in Hoover; his quarterback also came dressed to the nines.
Bow ties have made a comeback the past few years, thanks in large part to pastel-obsessed frat boys and endorsements from beloved celebrities like Bill Nye. But Franklin gets points for rocking the old-school bow tie, the formal look instead of the colorful, critter-speckled look of, say, Vineyard Vines.
Franklin handled himself as well as he dressed on Tuesday, fielding and owning incessant questions about his performance in 2012 and his job security in 2013. The coolness of his bow tie only helped endear him to blood-thirsty sportswriters.
LB Mike Marry, Ole Miss (Day 1)
Real men wear pink, but only the realest men wear pink-on-pink-on-pink.
Whatever your opinion on Marry's outfit, you can't deny the cajones it takes to show up in Hoover dressed like a marshmallow peep. He knew the pink suit would open him up to some uncouth criticism, but he held his head high and rocked it with confidence anyway.
Marry was born in March, but appears to be an October baby at heart; should he make the NFL next year, he'll fit right in during Brest Cancer Awareness Month.
Bonus points for the baby blue pants.
DL Dominique Easley, Florida (Day 1)
Dominique Easley was a quote machine on Tuesday, saying that new concussion-cognizant rules were "basically making [players] play flag football," and asking, without a modicum of insincerity, whether Bear Bryant was a cartoon character.
All the while, he successfully rocked what's known as the "senior portrait look." Nothing flashy, no reason to go over-the-top, just the standard white shirt, black jacket with gold buttons and bright, stripy tie.
Easley played it safe with the outfit so he could be risky with the mouth. Props for the esoteric contrast.
DB Toney Hurd Jr., Texas A&M (Day 2)
Teammate Johnny Manziel stole the headlines (shocker) on Day 2 of the media days, but his outfit made it look, perhaps fittingly, like he was heading to some sort of trial.
Luckily, Toney Hurd Jr. was around to pick up the Aggies' sartorial slack.
From the blue-checkered suit to the baller watch with matching cufflinks, tie and pocket square, Hurd's outfit oozed freshness on the second day in Hoover. It gets even better in the full shot, where you can see his preppy cream pants and, the coup de grace, his Gatsby Collection shoes.
Throw in the socks, and Hurd coasts to a spot near the top of this list. His facial expression above speaks a thousand words.
LB Avery Williamson, Kentucky (Day 2)
Mike Marry thought he clinched the "SEC linebackers wearing pastel suits" category on Day 1, but never one to be overshadowed, All-Conference candidate Avery Williamson wore this little number on Wednesday.
The color scheme works perfectly, from the yellow suit and blue-gingham shirt to the yellow and blue checkered bow tie. Unlike that of Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncrief (intentionally excluded for his lime-green monstrosity on Day 1), Williamson's bow tie complements the outfit instead of clashing with it for Peacock points.
Even the ID badge on his left breast and the SEC backdrop behind him manage to blend in, something Williamson either planned for (in which case, props on the dedication) or made happen with chameleon-like harmony.
Either way, he's the runaway favorite for "best matcher" at media days.
OT Antonio "Tiny" Richardson, Tennessee (Day 2)
"Plus-size" Ralph Lauren model Robyn Lawley has taught us, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that big can indeed be beautiful. On Wednesday afternoon in Hoover, Antonio "Tiny" Richardson drove home the point.
Wearing a vest that was black (the most slimming color) with vertical stripes (the most slimming pattern), Richardson didn't quite look like a tailback on Wednesday, but perhaps could have passed for a blocking tight end. He's lost some weight this offseason, but at 315 pounds, that's hardly a trivial feat.
Don't just dress for comfort and style, dress for effect. That's what Tiny always says.
DE Jacques Smith, Tennessee (Day 2)
DE Dee Ford, Auburn (Day 2)
This one is less about the outfit and more about the overall "look."
Dee Ford's suit was natty, but left a little to be desired. On that and that alone, he might be a fringe candidate for this list.
Extra points for playing a jazz number on the piano, which puts his aura over the top and makes him a well-earned member of the best dressed.
Team LSU (Day 3)
In a poetic microcosm of Les Miles's football team, no one LSU player stuck out as overly well dressed, but as a unit they were among the best in Hoover.
Receiver Jarvis Landry (left) does a nice job mixing off-color browns with off-color blues and the tie clip is a suave touch. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger (center) needs to adjust his tie in this picture, but otherwise provides a fitting Baton Rogue homage with the all-purple look. And safety Craig Loston (right) has a safe, dapper, matching ensemble—especially when you throw in the perfectly coordinated wristband.
No one player ever shines much for LSU, but the whole is always better than sum of its parts. Their outfits in Hoover followed suit...literally.
QB A.J. McCarron, Alabama (Day 3)
Missouri's James Franklin earned plaudits for spurning the traditional, logo-dappled bow tie of southern frat boys. But Alabama's A.J. McCarron, southern frat boys' patron saint, is able to pull it off with ease.
His bow tie was emblazoned with pink breast cancer awareness ribbons, a tender shout out to his cousin and a nice complementary color choice. It worked well with the pink shirt underneath, the pink pocket square in his jacket and the naturally gentle features of McCarron's face.
You'd never be able to guess that this was hiding under all those clothes.
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (Day 3)
Jordan Matthews made a statement on the field last season, leading the SEC with 94 receptions and finishing second with 1,323 yards.
He made a different statement, one of the fashion variety, in Hoover this week, sporting a tight fade, a light-mustard suit, a red bow tie and two bi-color pocket squares (shown here from the front).
The seemingly random composite worked, though, and Matthews was undoubtedly one of the chicest players at media days. Anyone who can pull off that combination is truly a remarkable human canvas.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter @BLeighDAT