There are two different types of players on every team as far as contribution is concerned. First are the role players. These are players that play an important role on either side of the ball, but they could be replaced if push comes to shove. Then there are those players that are more than just role players. They are few and far between. Usually only 5 or 6 on a team in a given season. We call these guys standouts. These are the players that can’t just simply “be replaced.” They are game changers, and without them the season would be much different. What determines the category in which any particular player falls into varies depending on the situation. For instance, a standout can be super talented and a “stud,” but if there is a player on the depth chart behind them that is equally as talented then they become, for lack of a better word, replaceable. While the player is truly a great player, because of the talent behind them, said player becomes less vital to the team’s success. Over the next few weeks, I will be placing the spotlight on who I feel are the five major standouts on the 2017 Bulldog football team.
To begin this spotlight piece, I will be listing a couple players who are outstanding athletes and will make this team better, but just didn’t quite make this list. These will be the players who are honorable mention.
A-Train is a dynamic back and has the potential to be an all-SEC running back. There is only one reason he did not make the spotlight list: there is a ton of talent behind him. Nick Gibson and Alec Murphy are guys who have talent that could step right in as an effective option at running back. There are many who feel that given the opportunity, Kylin Hill could be an outstanding back. Hill is one of the most talented freshmen that Dan Mullen has had for the backfield. Aeris, while super talented, simply has too much talent behind him on the depth chart to be considered irreplaceable, or a true standout.
Tolando is another player who almost makes the list. I’m not quite prepared to put him in the spotlight as a standout because we just do not know exactly what we are going to get. His leadership ability alone gets him a mention, but coming off an injury, it will only be time that will tell if he offers up enough to become a standout.
5. Jeffery Simmons-
Simmons is the most talented, game-changing player that the Bulldogs have had on the defensive front since Chris Jones or Fletcher Cox. The stats for Simmons as a freshman, much like Jones, are not eye-popping, however it’s the fact that he has to be double teamed almost every play that makes Simmons an unquestionable standout. His lack of sacks is the only reason he is not higher on the list than number 5. According to sports-reference.com, Simmons had a total of 40 tackles as a freshman with 0 sacks. He did however have 3 tackles for loss. I have no doubt that the sacks will pick up this season. but again, even if they don’t, his ability to demand the double team makes him the Preacher’s Standout Spotlight #5.