- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
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In January, there was all kind of talk that graduate transfers Braxton Miller and Everett Golson were headed to the SEC. Miller was reportedly on his way to Alabama while Golson was planning visits to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina among a host of other schools.
The dust has settled, and neither quarterback will play in the SEC this fall.
Golson transferred to Florida State in May, and Miller stayed put at Ohio State where he hopes to win the starting job.
That doesn't mean the conference was left empty-handed. These five graduate transfers (listed alphabetically) are eligible to play right away and should help shape the league this season.
CB Blake Countess, Auburn (from Michigan): Since defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson arrived from Florida, the Auburn secondary has had five players leave the program. Pair that with injuries to top cornerback Jonathan Jones (foot) and backup T.J. Davis (ACL), and the Tigers are in dire need of some help on the back end. The staff did sign five defensive backs in the 2015 class, and though they are expected to contribute early, none of them have the experience of Countess, a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2013. The senior from Michigan should be given every opportunity to win the starting CB job opposite Jones.
LB Anthony Harrell, Florida (from Georgia Tech): Georgia Tech claims Harrell was suspended from the team. Harrell says he's transferring on his own accord. Regardless of what really happened, Florida is getting much-needed help at linebacker. The Gators lost seniors Michael Taylor and Neiron Ball, and star middle linebacker Antonio Morrison -- the team leader in tackles last season -- could miss the first few games of this season while recovering from a knee injury in the bowl game. That presents an opportunity for Harrell, who has the versatility to play inside or outside for Florida's new-look defense.
S Isaiah Johnson, South Carolina (from Kansas): Things are beginning to look up for a South Carolina defense that was disappointing, to say the least, last season. First, the Gamecocks signed a handful of junior college players, including star defensive end Marquavius Lewis. Then they brought in Jon Hoke to help run the defense. And finally, in April, South Carolina landed a commitment from Johnson, the Big 12 newcomer of the year in 2013. Johnson, who recorded over 70 tackles the past two seasons, has a chance to start immediately for this defense.
QB Greyson Lambert, Georgia (from Virginia): Just because Lambert transferred to Georgia doesn't mean he's guaranteed the starting job next season. Jake Coker transferred to Alabama last summer in hopes to play and never started a game. But it certainly shakes up what was already an intriguing quarterback battle. Lambert, a Peach State native, started nine games for Virginia last season and finished with 1,632 yards passing, 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Cavaliers went 3-6 in those games. The numbers are average at best, but the staff liked him enough to bring him in and give him a shot.
WR Richard Mullaney, Alabama (from Oregon State): This is not the answer to replacing Amari Cooper, but it certainly helps the solution. With Cooper gone, as well as DeAndrew White and Christion Jones, the Crimson Tide have little to no experience returning at wide receiver this season. Chris Black, the team's leading returning receiver, had just 15 catches last fall. Meanwhile, Mullaney caught 52 passes for 788 yards at Oregon State in 2013. Again, he probably won't put up those types of numbers at Alabama, but he adds experience to an already talented group of receivers that includes Black, ArDarius Stewart and Robert Foster.
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