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Josh Heupel Set To Bring Three Veteran Players to SEC Media Days in Dallas

Cooper Mays
Tennessee center Cooper Mays. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

Josh Heupel will be flanked by nearly 900 pounds of enforcement for SEC Media Days 2024 in Dallas, TX, next week.

Tennessee’s three student-athlete representatives for the festivities include senior offensive lineman Cooper Mays, redshirt senior linebacker Keenan Pili, and senior defensive lineman Omari Thomas.

Tennessee’s turn at the SEC Media Days rotation will take place on Day 2 (Tuesday, July 16) alongside Georgia (Kirby Smart), Missouri (Eliah Drinkwitz), and Oklahoma (Brent Venables). Tennessee’s group will be the last of the participants of the day.

More from RTI: Tennessee Making Progress For Top Ranked Two-Way Player in 2026 Class Lamar Brown

This will be the first SEC Media Days for Mays and Pili but the second consecutive event for Thomas. Tennessee sent the trio of Thomas, Joe Milton, and Jacob Warren during the 2023 event and the trio of Hendon Hooker, Cedric Tillman, and Trevon Flowers in 2022. This will be the first year that Tennessee’s players are defense-heavy under Heupel as Tennessee only sent Velus Jones Jr. and Alontae Taylor during the 2021 event.

As far as expectations go for the players at SEC Media Days, each of the three will get time on stage in front of the media but will also have a separate chance to meet with the local media at a different location. Some players may even have the chance to be interviewed on one of the various television shows such as SEC Now or the Paul Finebaum Show.

There will be news to come out of the event from each of the 16 teams, especially with the addition of Texas and Oklahoma into the mix. As a whole, though, SEC Media Days is meant more to drum up fan excitement with new outlooks, fresh ideas, and exciting innovations dished out by each coach and player that steps underneath the lights.

This will be Josh Heupel’s fourth SEC Media Days event as the Tennessee head coach and the first in a new “era”, if you will. Tennessee had Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton III on their roster in some capacity for Heupel’s first three seasons but now move on without either in the program. In their place stands rising second-year quarterback Nico Iamaleava, a highly-touted recruit and one of the most anticipated names to take the field in 2024. Tennessee also brings back daunting EDGE rusher James Pearce Jr., who will legitimately compete for a Top 5 NFL Draft pick if everything goes smoothly this season.

Rocky Top Insider will have boots on the ground in Dallas for Tuesday’s event featuring Josh Heupel and the Tennessee players so make sure to stay locked in for complete coverage.

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