New “SEC Nation” Desk Revealed; New Roles for Maria Taylor, Laura Rutledge and Kaylee Hartung

SEC Network

New “SEC Nation” Desk Revealed; New Roles for Maria Taylor, Laura Rutledge and Kaylee Hartung

SEC ESPN Network announced several new assignments for studio shows and college football games from the Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla. ESPN’s Maria Taylor will join analysts Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears and Paul Finebaum as host of the network’s traveling pregame show SEC Nation. Laura Rutledge will also join the SEC Nation team as a reporter, in addition to her new primary role as SEC Now studio host. Kaylee Hartung has been added to the SEC Network Primetime Football Game with legendary broadcaster Brent Musburger and analyst Jesse Palmer. Musburger also extended a multi-year deal with ESPN (previously announced).

SEC Nation

SEC Nation enters its third college football season with a new host. Maria Taylor (bio) will anchor the traveling pre-game show, navigating the Saturday morning conversations of returning analysts Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears and Paul Finebaum. Joe Tessitore has been the show’s host since launch (2014) and will now be providing play-by-play for the ESPN College Football Primetime game (previously announced). Greg McElroy, who joined the show in its second season, will work as a game analyst and continue to contribute to SEC Now. Details of his new assignment will be released in coming weeks.

Over the last two years, Taylor hosted the network’s news and information show SEC Now, logging more than 200 hours of time at the desk. A two-sport athlete at the University of Georgia, Taylor has been the lead studio voice at the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament the last two years. She was also the sideline reporter for SEC Network’s Primetime Game. In Taylor’s new multi-year deal with ESPN, she will contribute in a larger way to women’s basketball coverage across networks, in addition to her role on SEC Nation.

SEC Network’s Laura Rutledge also begins traveling with the show this fall, providing live reports of the sights and sounds of southern tailgating. Kaylee Hartung will continue to contribute to the show with features.


Beginning in July, viewers can expect to see Laura Rutledge (bio) at the SEC Now desk with fellow hosts Dari Nowkhah and Peter Burns. She joins the studio crew after two-years as a sideline reporter on the SEC Network football commentating team of Tom Hart and Andre Ware. She gained national attention early on in her career at ESPN for holding her ground during a marching band stampede. Since joining the network, Rutledge has regularly contributed to football, basketball, gymnastics, softball and baseball coverage. She will now be based in Charlotte, N.C.

SEC Primetime Game

Kaylee Hartung’s (bio) rise continues with the addition of the SEC Network Primetime Football Game to her weekly calendar. Hartung will provide on-the-field reports for the network’s marquee event. Broadcasting icon Brent Musburger (bio) and analyst Jesse Palmer continue their coverage for the third year as booth partners. Musburger, who has worked for ABC and ESPN for more than 25 years, recently signed a multi-year deal to continue lending his legendary voice to the biggest SEC game of the week.

In addition to her role as sideline reporter on the SEC Network Primetime Football Game, Hartung will expand her on-site reporting for SportsCenter and continue contributing special content for SEC Nation.

Additional SEC Network football assignments will be announced at a later date.


Media contact: [email protected]; Interviews and additional photos available upon request.

Gracie Blackburn

Gracie is the Communications Manager for ESPN’s College Networks. She handles all media requests and questions concerning SEC Network and Longhorn Network. Gracie also supports on college sports airing across ESPN networks.
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