Even the coolest SEC football players shared their uncool moments at media days

Nick Suss
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

ATLANTA — Speaking as famed rock critic Lester Bangs in the 2000 film "Almost Famous," Philip Seymour Hoffman immortalized the following line:

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool."

College football players are cool. At SEC Media Days, they come off like the coolest dudes on earth. They sign autographs, go on TV and dress sharp. They're followed by hordes of reporters like they're the Beatles in 1964 and get whisked from room to room by a team of handlers catering to their every whim. 

In short, it's awesome.

But forget that. Let's focus on the uncool.

Cool guys are still human. And even the coolest humans have their uncool moments. 

After four days at SEC Media Days, I've collected some of the least cool, most unflattering, generally preposterous tidbits possible about some of the SEC's best players.

Here's what I really learned from SEC Media Days.

Serve the servers

Vanderbilt quarterback Mike Wright and linebacker Anfernee Orji have a unique tradition: Whenever they go out to eat, they make sure to take a picture with their server.

"We say, 'Hey, can we take your picture?'" Orji explained. "They say, 'Oh yeah, we'll take your picture for you.' We say, 'No, no, no. Can we take your picture?' It's just a funny thing. They usually have a big smile on their face. It's something we like to do."

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The two had the opportunity for plenty of waitstaff photos the week before media days. Along with Wright's brother and defender Alex Brown, the two took an impromptu four-day trip to Orlando to swing through Disney World and Universal Studios.

Orji, an obsessive Harry Potter fan, treated the trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter like a pilgrimage. He rode the rides, bought some wands and drank a mess of butter beer, which he calls "the greatest concoction on earth."

"We even ran into our head coach down there," Wright added. "It's a small world, right?"

It's unclear if Wright is aware of the fantastic pun he made.

Hygiene and flying high

Ole Miss receiver Jonathan Mingo puts an elaborate amount of effort into his smile.

"Mingo doesn't go anywhere without those little green floss things," Ole Miss guard Nick Broeker said. "I've never seen somebody just have one in as much as he does. Even the whole plane ride here he had one in."

"Yeah, you know, hygiene is very important," Mingo said in his own defense. "I always try to make sure I floss after every meal. I might have a floss pick in my mouth during workouts or something. Coaches get on to me."

While Mingo is thinking about his pearly whites, Broeker has his eyes on the skies. 

"Before ("Top Gun: Maverick") even came out he was trying to find out his "Top Gun" nickname," Mingo said. 

Broeker eventually had to give himself his own name. He's planning on taping his choice to his helmet in fall practices. Be on the lookout.

All eyes on you, better look good

Defending national champion center Sedrick Van Pran knows a thing or two about his Georgia teammates. But when asked what he thinks the world doesn't know about quarterback Stetson Bennett IV and linebacker Nolan Smith, he went straight to vanity.

"I think they both care a lot about their appearance," Van Pran shared. "A lot of people may not recognize that. Football players care a lot about their appearance. Because ultimately you want to make your mom proud, you want to make your family proud. If you're showing up in the media with 4X pants and you weight 180, it doesn't look very good."

Suit choices are always a focus at SEC Media Days. Some, like Wright and Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson, come dressed like they flew in straight from Paris Fashion Week. Others, like Mississippi State teammates Nathaniel Watson and Jaden Crumedy, choose to keep things simple and wear all black everything.

"I said I was wearing all black," Watson said. "Next day, he came to me saying he was wearing all black. I asked him if he was going to wear a tie. He wasn't going to do no tie, and I said I wasn't going to do no tie either. The next day I was like, 'Find me a tie.'"

Crumedy initially wanted to go with a light gray suit but opted for the simple choice. Even though he and Watson dressed the same, he wants the world to see a slight distinction.

"He's really a knucklehead," Crumedy said. "Just like he looks."

Dream big

Alabama safety Jordan Battle probably already knows what he's going to do after college. He's going to keep playing football. USA TODAY Sports Draft Wire has him projected as the second pick in the second round in its way-too-early 2023 NFL Draft mock. And there's no reason he can't play his way into the first round.

Still, Battle has a backup plan. He thinks he's funny. Funny enough to be a comedian. 

Linebacker Will Anderson Jr., who himself is in the conversation to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, doesn't think Battle's future is in comedy. He belongs elsewhere in the performing arts.

"I think Jordan would be a dancer if anything," Anderson said. "He's got some funny jokes, but he's a better dancer than anything."

Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or nsuss@gannett.com. Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.