The SEC is known for its stars, but what sets the conference apart from any other is the depth of each team.
That depth often leads to backup players having performances to remember and giving you a sneak peek of what’s to come in the next few years in the SEC. Let’s take a look at some SEC position groups that has backups who will shine in 2016.
LSU Running Backs
Everyone knows Leonard Fournette, but the guys right behind him are pretty good themselves. The SEC was introduced to LSU backup running back Derrius Guice last season, as the then-freshman put up 436 rushing yards on just 51 attempts (8.55 yards per rush) and three touchdowns.
Expect Guice to become an even bigger part of the Tigers’ offense this season to give Fournette a break every now and then. Also, you can’t sleep on Darrel Williams, who put up respected numbers last season (4.93 yards per rush, four touchdowns).
Ole Miss Wide Receivers
Although Laquon Treadwell and Cody Core are now in the NFL, Ole Miss still has plenty of talent at wide receiver. Damore’ea Stringfellow, Quincy Adeboyejo and Markell Pack likely will start the season for the Rebels, but there’s not much drop-off when you get lower on the depth chart.
Derrick Jones is a veteran with experience, and there’s a ton of hype surrounding young players like Damarkus Lodge, Van Jefferson, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and Tre Nixon. Lodge played sparingly in his freshman season in 2015, Jefferson redshirted last season and the other three all enter their freshman seasons as 4-star prospects.
Texas A&M Wide Receivers
Like Ole Miss, Texas A&M is absolutely loaded at wide receiver. Unless the Aggies are putting out four wide receivers as starters, one player out of Christian Kirk, Josh Reynolds, Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil will be considered a “backup” in 2016.
Throw in Damion Ratley, who was solid last season, and 4-star recruits Quartney Davis and Clyde Chriss, and it’s easy to see why the Aggies backups at wide receiver have plenty of potential heading into the fall.
Georgia Running Backs
For all the talk surrounding how loaded LSU is at running back, UGA is not in a bad place either. Obviously, the success of the Bulldogs offense will hinge on how Nick Chubb comes back from his knee injury that caused him to miss most of last season, but Sony Michel has shown the ability to be a star in the UGA backfield.
In Chubb’s absence, Michel totaled 1,161 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns on 219 carries. The 5-foot-11, 212 pound Michel also had 26 receptions for 270 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Although his numbers will go down with Chubb back in the fold, there’s no denying Michel’s ability when he’s on the field.
If the debate for who is really DBU had to end in 2016, LSU would have a heck of an argument when you take a dive into the Tigers’ depth chart. Everyone knows how good cornerbacks Tre’Davious White and Kevin Toliver II are, but the talent doesn’t end there for LSU.
Dwayne Thomas is third on the depth chart at corner, but he’s arguably one of the best cover guys in the SEC. Last season, Thomas had 34 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 6 pass breakups. Add in 5-star signee Kristian Fulton and 4-star signees Saivion Smith and Andraez Williams, and the depth chart won’t be lacking for LSU anytime soon.