Former NFL Pro-Bowl safety turned SEC analyst Roman Harper recently appeared on The Paul Finebaum Show to discuss the current state of college football’s best conference.

Harper touched on a variety of topics, including which new SEC East coach he believes will have the most success in 2021.

There are three new head coaches in the SEC East — Clark Lea at Vanderbilt, Shane Beamer at South Carolina, and Josh Heupel at Tennessee.

Heupel is the only one of those three who already has head coaching experience.

So it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Harper, a former Alabama standout, thinks Heupel is the newcomer in the SEC East that will have the most success this upcoming season.

“I think Tennessee has the best roster when you say ‘Alright, who has the best roster, who has the best players to come out and compete week in and week out in the SEC?’ I think you look no further than Tennessee,” explained Harper. “Now, how does Josh Heupel get these guys going? How do they all buy in? I think winning early gives teams a lot of confidence. If they can stack some wins early, maybe some teams that they’re not supposed to beat, and they get out there and play well.”

“All of a sudden now you’d have guys buying into what Josh Heupel is selling at that program,” added Harper. “That is how you end up getting more wins than what you’re supposed to have and I think Tennessee can be that team.”

Harper was hesitant to roll with Heupel and the Vols, thanks to the constant “Tennessee is back” talk that we’ve heard over the last decade.

“I know nobody wants to hear about that and we’re all sick and tired of hearing about ‘Tennessee back and this that and the other,’ but for your question Paul, Tennessee is my pick,” said Harper.

It would be hard to pick Vanderbilt or South Carolina over Tennessee in 2021 — thanks to Heupel’s experience. I also think Heupel has the highest ceiling of any of the new coaches in the SEC East.

Of course, the games will tell the true story. But I agree with Harper that Heupel is the best equipped of the new SEC East coaches to have success in 2021.

Featured image via USA Today


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