While fans anxiously await the start of the college football season, the SEC Media Days will at least give an indication that actual games are right around the corner.
The four-day event features press conferences from coaches and players from all 14 teams in the conference as they all explain how excited they really are for the upcoming season. None of the personnel are going to divulge too much information about their plans going forward, but you can still get a good sense of how everyone is feeling at this stage in the year.
After three days of interesting moments, the final set of interviews will take place Thursday with Georgia, Ole Miss, Alabama and Kentucky all having its time in the spotlight. Within these groups, there are a few players who will stand out from the crowd.
Here is a look at the full lineup for Day 4, along with the people we most want to see.
SEC Football Media Days Information
When: July 14-17
Where: Hyatt Regency Birmingham—The Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|Session I||10 a.m. - 1 p.m. ET|
|Georgia||Mark Richt||Head Coach|
|Georgia||Chris Conley||Wide Receiver|
|Georgia||Todd Gurley||Running Back|
|Ole Miss||Hugh Freeze||Head Coach|
|Ole Miss||C.J. Johnson||Defensive End|
|Ole Miss||Cody Prewitt||Safety|
|Ole Miss||Bo Wallace||Quarterback|
|Session II||1 - 4 p.m. ET|
|Alabama||Nick Saban||Head Coach|
|Alabama||Amari Cooper||Wide Receiver|
|Alabama||Christion Jones||Wide Receiver|
|Kentucky||Mark Stoops||Head Coach|
|Kentucky||Bud Dupree||Defensive End|
|Kentucky||Jordan Swindle||Offensive Tackle|
|Kentucky||Za'Darius Smith||Defensive End|
Top People to Watch
Todd Gurley, Georgia
There might not be a more realistic Heisman candidate out of the SEC than Todd Gurley. The Georgia running back is one of the most intimidating players in the country at 6'1", 232 pounds with as much strength as anyone in the country.
Phil Murphy of ESPN notes that he already has plenty of respect from opposing defenders:
Gurley has totaled 2,374 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns in two seasons for the Bulldogs, an impressive feat considering he has split time in the backfield for much of his career. He also missed three games last season due to injury, which resulted in two losses and an overtime win for Georgia.
With Aaron Murray now playing in the NFL, Gurley becomes the most important player on the roster and, arguably, the conference. If Georgia wants to have any success this season, then it will have to come on the back of the North Carolina native, who should get at least 20 carries every single game.
Meanwhile, Gurley is also playing for his future as a potential first-round draft pick. Even his coach, Mark Richt, admitted that the running back is likely gone after this season, asking, "What are the chances of Gurley staying around a long time?" via Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If he can post another big season, there is little doubt he will have a job on Sundays before long.
Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
The conference lost most of its big-name quarterbacks from last season, including Murray, A.J. McCarron, Johnny Manziel, Zach Mettenberger and others. Considering only five of the teams decided to bring a quarterback to media day, it is clear there is room for someone to step up and take over.
One of those quarterbacks in attendance is Bo Wallace, and he is already getting national recognition, as noted by John Davis of the Oxford Citizen:
Bo Wallace one of five SEC QBs named to the Davey O'Brien Watch List. Total of 39 QBs there, including FSU's Jameis Winston.— John Davis (@oxfordcitizenjd) July 16, 2014
Wallace has had two strong seasons for the Rebels, and his improvements have greatly helped the team as well. Although his touchdowns dropped from 22 in 2012 to 18 in 2013, he also had seven fewer interceptions to help Ole Miss go 8-5 last season.
The quarterback also showcased his dual-threat ability with 86 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Music City Bowl against Georgia Tech.
If he can step up and be a consistent performer, Ole Miss could be a legitimate contender in the SEC West. However, it will first be important to see his level of leadership on display in Hoover.
Nick Saban, Alabama
Just having an opportunity to listen to Nick Saban should be a treat for any college football fan. Whether you love him or hate him, it is hard to argue against the Alabama coach's record.
After successful stops with Toledo, Michigan State and LSU, Saban has been almost unstoppable at Alabama, winning three of the last five national championships while accumulating a 79-15 record. Amazingly, six of those losses came in his first season, while the other nine were spread across the last six years.
Despite his success, though, he will still face a barrage of questions throughout the day. Most of which will concern his current team, including questions about the quarterback situation and bouncing back from a disappointing finish last season.
One thing he did put to bed was his future with Alabama despite potential interest from Texas. SEC Network's Paul Finebaum explained in his new book (via Bob Carlton of AL.com) that the Longhorns were willing to pay a whole lot to bring in the veteran coach:
Texas was dead serious about trying to money-whip Saban. Depending on whom you talk to -- Bama big hitters or Texas big hitters -- the Longhorns were prepared to give Saban somewhere between a $12 and $15 million signing bonus and a salary package worth $100 million (plus performances).
Someone might ask about this situation at the media day, but you can be certain everyone now believes that Saban is staying right where he is.
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