July 19, 2012; Hoover, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban signs autographs for fans before the final day of the 2012 SEC media days event at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

SEC Media Days: Are The Star Players Holding Out?

SEC Media Days is the much-needed drop of rain in college football’s arid desert of an offseason. The event – originally designed to gather the small group of press members that cover SEC football full-time – has become one of Birmingham’s largest annual tourist attractions.

Super fans along with a mix of vast local and national media outlets will converge on Hoover, Alabama’s Hyatt Regency/Wynfrey Hotel for a three-day media frenzy filled with press conferences, radio interviews and autographs.

But all this attention brings up an interesting question: has SEC Media Days outgrown its intended purpose? Last year alone, several of the conference’s star players didn’t make the July trek to Hoover along with their head coaches. Notable absentees from last year’s Media Days included Alabama’s AJ McCarron, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and Georgia quarterback Aarron Murray. LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu was also notably absent, but we would learn later that he had been dismissed from the Tiger’s football team indefinitely.

There is no word on why these top stars didn’t attend SEC Media Days, but it was likely a decision by their respective head coaches. So, is this holdout right?

Granted, these players are college athletes, but this is the biggest media event of the year for the SEC. Media members expect to have each team’s top players in Hoover at their disposal.

Bleacher Report‘s Barrett Sallee raises the question of whether Johnny Manziel should attend Media Days after an offseason filled with media coverage galore.

After a whirlwind offseason that has taken the redshirt sophomore to New Orleans for the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras, Cabo San Lucas, celebrity appearances throwing out first pitches at two Major League Baseball games and to quarterback coach George Whitfield, Jr. in San Diego, there could be one more stop on the “Johnny Football” World Tour. Hoover, AL.

I expect Texas A&M’s biggest player since John Kimbrough to be the Aggies second appearance in Hoover, but there is a chance that the reigning Heisman Trophy winner will stay in College Station.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has normally been accompanied by a star group of senior athletes in past years. Last year he was joined by Barrett Jones and Michael Williams. Could this be the year McCarron finally makes an appearance in the interview room? We’ll have to wait and see.

SEC Media Days are July 16-18 in Hoover, Alabama at the Hyatt Regency/Wynfrey Hotel. Nick Saban and his accompaniment of Tide players will meet with the media on July 18.

Football is coming, ya’ll.

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