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Clear, Artis-Payne and Cox figure to see major SEC playing time

Dave Martin / Associated Press
RB Cameron Artis-Payne was the MVP of Auburn's spring football game.

A quick look at three junior college transfers entering the Southeastern Conference who are expected to make a major impact this season. For all three, the NFL is well within reach.

Cameron Clear, TE, Texas A&M -- At 6-6, 270 pounds, Clear wouldn't figure to be much of a fit for TAMU's hurry-up, no-huddle offensive attack. But with opposing defenses devising better ways to pressure star quarterback Johnny Manziel, Clear could be a valuable pass protector on the edge, or provide an easy dump-off target when Manziel needs a quick release. But it's run blocking where Clear will help the most. Clear played in 12 games as a freshman at Tennessee in 2011, but was dismissed from the team following a theft charge. He played at Arizona Western Community College last year, primarily as a blocker. But as these JuCo clips show, he's athletic enough at 270 to line up in the slot and play in space.

Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn -- The MVP of Auburn's spring game figures to see plenty of action as new coach Gus Malzahn looks to jump-start the AU offense. Artis-Payne accounted for 164 total yards in the spring game, 117 on the ground, and served notice that his two years on the Plains won't be spent on the sideline. In two JuCo seasons at Allan Hancock (Calif.) Community College, he amassed over 3,400 rushing yards with 43 touchdowns. His presence in the Auburn backfield may also allow new coach Gus Malzahn to use veteran Tre Mason in a role that suits him better.

Justin Cox, CB, Mississippi State -- A rare blend of safety size (6-3, 195) and cornerback speed, Cox has the skills for either position, but is expected to play cornerback for the Bulldogs. He had scholarship offers from nearly every school in the Southeastern Conference after a stellar season at East Mississippi Community College last year. Privately, Bulldogs coaches carry a lot of excitement for what he will bring to the defense, and it's no wonder. Over two years at EMCC, Cox amassed 11 interceptions and 19 pass breakups. Cox will be an unknown to opposing quarterbacks when the season begins, but don't be surprised if they are throwing away from the West Point, Miss., native by midseason.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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