SEC Football: Will ‘bought’ players be difference-makers in ’22 season?


To be clear, any discussion of bought SEC football players from the 2022 signing class starts and ends with Texas A&M players. Other schools may have bought players through an NIL collective, but the only picture clear enough from which to base a bought claim comes from Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies program.

This post focuses on potential 2022 freshmen difference-makers. Other than the Aggies, the list below does not include any believed to be bought players.

Avoid any quick reaction from Jimbo Fisher’s claim he did not buy any players. He also said he did not know what collectives are doing. In addition, Fisher said,

"We never bought anybody, no rules were broken, nothing was done wrong."

An immediate question is, if Fisher does not know what collectives are doing, that would have to include any collective created for Texas A&M. So if he does not anything about the A&M collective, how can he know no rules were broken?

Before Nick Saban’s bold claim about Texas A&M, there had been months of ‘quiet’ accusations made by insiders at several SEC schools. Ostensibly, their sources for information were SEC assistant coaches who were told about offered A&M deals by recruits. The quiet accusations about A&M are quickly becoming louder.

So much for NIL and buying players, let’s look at freshmen in the 2022 class who could make an impact in the coming SEC season.

Recently Chris Hummer discussed freshman impact players with 247Sports experts across the college football landscape. A list of 100 true freshmen was compiled. There was no mention of methodology, but it appears past, recruit ratings were considered for each player. The list considers the needs of each team. It does not list the 100 ‘best’ true freshmen.

In the group of 100 players, 23 are on SEC football teams.

SEC Football Freshman Players by Team

  • Texas A&M Aggies – Wide Receiver, Evan Stewart, Tight End, Jake Johnson, Defensive Tackle, Walter Nolen and Safety, Bryce Anderson. Nolen was the No. 2 player overall in the 247Sports Player Rankings. Nolen may not start from day one but he is expected to be active in the Aggies’ d-line rotation. Stewart was ranked No. 11 and is a probable starter at wideout.
  • Missouri Tigers – Wide Receiver, Luther Burden (ranked No. 3 overall), Offensive Lineman, Armand Membou and Quarterback Sam Horn. Burden has the tools to be not just a starter, but an impact player.
  • Georgia Bulldogs – Defensive Lineman, Mykel Williams and Safety Malachi Starks. Williams was ranked No. 5 and Starks was ranked No. 19.
  • LSU Bengal Tigers – Linebacker, Harold Perkins (No. 8 overall) and Offensive Lineman, Will Campbell (No. 36 overall). 247Sports projects Campbell as a Week 1 starter at left tackle.
  • Vanderbilt has three players on the list and Kentucky has two, including the highly-rated (No. 38 overall), offensive lineman, Kiyaunta Goodwin.
  • Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina have one player each on the Top 100 list. Auburn’s is Defensive Back, Caleb Wooden, rated as the No. 867 player overall in the 2022 class. What a statement that is about Bryan Harsin’s roster.

A single Alabama football freshman is included. He is No. 35 ranked Wide Receiver, Aaron Anderson.

Next. An un-muzzled Steve Spurrier sides with Saban. dark

Without adding to the discussion of bought players, it is fair to conclude the four A&M guys listed above will be under considerable scrutiny, especially if they become difference-makers as 247Sports suggests.