Heading into the dog days of summer, SEC football fans are ready for the new season.
But it'll be well over a month until the regular season begins, meaning they'll have to settle for some up-close-and-personal interviews with the conferences biggest stars.
Tuesday, July 16 marked the opening of SEC Media Days and featured some heavy hitters, including Jadeveon Clowney, Jeff Driskel and Donte Moncrief.
The hits just keep on coming on Day 2, as Johnny Manziel will headline an impressive group of players who are scheduled to hit the podium.
Here's a look at the entire schedule for Day 2, followed by a closer look at the top players scheduled to take questions from the media:
|WEDNESDAY, JULY 17|
|9:10 a.m.||SEC Coordinator of Officials Steve Shaw|
|9:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m.||Texas A&M||Head coach Kevin Sumlin|
DB Toney Hurd
QB Johnny Manziel
OT Jake Matthews
|9:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m.||Kentucky||Head coach Mark Stoops|
DT Donte Rumph
RB Raymond Sanders
LB Avery Williamson
|12:20-3 p.m.||Mississippi State||Head coach Dan Mullen|
DL Kaleb Eulls
LB Benardrick McKinney
QB Tyler Russell
|12:20-3 p.m.||Tennessee||Head coach Butch Jones|
OL Antonio Richardson
OL Ja'Wuan James
DL Jacques Smith
|3:20-6 p.m.||Auburn||Head coach Gus Malzahn|
CB Chris Davis
DE Dee Ford
FB Jay Prosch
|3:20-6 p.m.||Arkansas||Head coach Bret Bielema|
DE Chris Smith
C Travis Swanson
FB Kiero Small
Johnny Manziel, Quarterback, Texas A&M
Manziel is going to get peppered with some tough questions regarding his behavior since winning the Heisman Trophy.
The 20-year-old sophomore has been making headlines this past winter and spring for all the wrong reasons, and he recently made news when he left the 2013 Manning Passing Academy early, as reported by ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
Then, on Tuesday, ESPN's Joe Schad reported Manziel had, "apologized to the Aggies' coaching staff and is being advised to be honest about what led to his much-discussed departure this past weekend from the Manning Passing Academy."
Really, it's a shame that this young man is generating so much negative press. He's a highly gifted athlete who has a chance to make a huge positive impression on millions of kids and forge a lucrative career for himself in the NFL if he plays his cards right.
Needless to say, Manziel's presser is going to be must-see TV.
Dee Ford, Defensive End, Auburn
After Manziel gets off the stand—I mean, the podium—the rest of the interviews on Tuesday might seem dull by way of comparison. That said, Ford is a player SEC fans should get to know. He's going to be terrorizing SEC quarterbacks all year long for the Tigers.
Ford played a key reserve role as a freshman and sophomore and helped contribute to the team's national championship in 2010. But 2011 turned out to be a difficult year for the young man, as he suffered a back injury that could have been career-threatening, as noted by Phillip Marshall of AuburnTigers.com.
But Ford worked tirelessly to get back onto the field, and he burst back onto the scene in 2012 with 34 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
He'll need to have a huge season if Auburn's defense is to improve. Last year, the Tigers allowed 28.3 points per game, ranking No. 66 in the nation.
Bigger things are clearly expected of him this season. He was recently named to the Bednarik Award watch list—the trophy awarded to the top defensive player in the nation.
Jake Matthews, Offensive Tackle, Texas A&M
If he had declared himself eligible for the 2013 NFL draft, Matthews would have likely been a sure-fire top-10 pick. He's an elite offensive tackle prospect who can play on both sides of the line, and players like him are coveted at the next level.
But Matthews decided to stay in school in 2013—much to the delight of Manziel and fans of Texas A&M.
A second-team All-American, Matthews also earned first-team All-SEC honors, as noted in his official biography on the team's website. He'll have the tough task of keeping Manziel upright throughout the season against the likes of Ford and Clowney.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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