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SEC Headlines 4/14/2014

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1.  Alabama coach Nick Saban appears to be very pleased with the spring performance of running back Derrick Henry.

2. Auburn defender Justin Garrett is back on the field and feeling healthier after dealing with foot injuries.

3. Auburn’s coaching staff expects a lot of the Tigers’ wide receivers this year.

4. Which Georgia players helped themselves this spring? Seth Emerson takes a look.

5. Quarterback Hutson Mason showed he’s ready to lead Georgia, writes Barrett Sallee.

6. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel following the dismissal of Dorial Green-Beckham: “I’ve got to protect the integrity of the program.”

SEC Basketball

7. Bruce Pearl landed his first commitment at Auburn. The prospect was accused of eating marijuana during a January traffic stop.

8. Pat Dooley looks back at the top moments from Florida’s run to the Final Four this season.

9. Jerry Tipton is live tweeting John Calipari’s Monday media tour.

10. ESPN’s Chad Ford on Kentucky guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison will go to the NBA, but “I don’t think either of those kids should leave.”

SEC/NFL Draft

11. An anonymous NFL personnel man called Jadeveon Clowney “spoiled” and “lazy.

12. Clowney goes No. 1 to the Houston Texans in Josh Norris’ latest NFL mock draft.

13. Peter King looks at the draft in this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback.

Extra

14. Dennis Dodd looks at Jameis Winston’s busy weekend, which included a 56-pass spring game and save in a baseball game.

15. Ohio State quaterback Braxton Miller poked fun at rival Michigan over its spring game attendance.

16. Where is outrage about college sports coming from? “Much of it comes from academia and the media, which doesn’t make it wrong.”

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SEC Headlines 4/8/2014

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1. Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has been indefinitely suspended ”for a violation of undisclosed team policies.”

2. What helped Amari Cooper have a big scrimmage on Saturday? The Alabama receiver credited Lane Kiffin’s offense.

3. Here’s a practice report from Alabama’s workout on Monday.

4. Auburn offensive tackle Avery Young is back after suffering a painful broken hand injury in the BCS title game.

5. Jonathan Mincy and Jermaine Whitehead are two leaders in Auburn’s secondary.

6. The LSU quarterback job is freshman Brandon Harris’ to lose, writes Barrett Sallee.

7. Here are five Ole Miss players who showed up as surprises this spring.

8. Kelvin Taylor appears to be “The Guy” at tailback for Florida.

9. Georgia has high hopes for linebacker Leonard Floyd as a pass rusher this fall.

10. Georgia’s coaches have challenged running back Todd Gurley to give it his all on the field.

NCAA Championship Game

11. UConn winning the national title proves the regular season doesn’t mean much, writes Pat Dooley.

12. UConn’s men drew inspiration from the women in their lives, writes Nicole Auerbach.

13. Kentucky fan Tyler Austin Black is keeping the “2014 Nati9nal Champions” tattoo he got before the tournament began.

14. Kentucky’s group of freshmen is already a thing of the past as several are expected to leave for the NBA.

SEC Basketball

15. Bruce Pearl says there have already been some “cultural changes” with Auburn’s approach to practice.

16. Auburn legend Chuck Person has joined Pearl’s staff. Pearl: “This is a pretty special day for Auburn basketball and the Auburn family.”

SEC/NFL Draft

17. Offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and his former teammates are preparing for Tuesday’s Pro Day at Alabama.

18. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger will visit several NFL teams following LSU’s Pro Day.

19. Safety Craig Loston wants to show NFL teams he can cover as well as hit.

Extra

20. Former NFL linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo believes Nick Saban traded him from the Miami Dolphins because he took paternity leave.

21. An Ohio bill says college athletes aren’t employees under state law.

22. UConn star guard Shabazz Napier said “there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving.”

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SEC Headlines 3/24/2014

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1. For the first time since 2010, there’s a competition for the starting quarterback at Georgia.

2. Even though the number of competitors has dropped from five  to three - a quarterback race is on at LSU as well.

3. One week into spring practice, Florida’s offense remains a work in progress.

4. Former Alabama offensive guard Chad Lindsey could be headed to Michigan where he would be reunited with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

5. Of the 40 best players in the SEC during the BCS era, was Tim Tebow No. 1?

6. Is Auburn’s Nick Marshall talented enough to play quarterback in the NFL? Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee:  ”Oh, I think without question.”

7. Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson on his freshman season: “It’s a big spring for me because last year, I was a little bit disappointed with my performance and I can’t wait to get better.”

8. Should coaches bonuses be tied to academic performance?  Education Secretary Arne Duncan makes the case.

SEC Basketball

9. Georgia freshman basketball player J.J. Frazier was arrested late Sunday night on a charge of driving without a license

10. Florida will meet UCLA Thursday night . Fourth time since 2006 these two teams have met in March.

11. “With his 3-0 run this March, (Tennessee coach Cuonzo) Martin has equaled Jerry Green’s victory total in four NCAA appearances. Only Bruce Pearl (eight) and Don DeVoe (five) have more.”

12. Kevin Scarbinsky: “Who knew that Bruce Pearl and Cuonzo Martin both would be big winners this month?”

13. LSU plays SMU tonight in the NIT.  ”Simply put, there might not be two more talented teams remaining in the NIT field.”

14. Arkansas gets a rematch with Cal tonight in the NIT.  The Golden Bears beat the Razorbacks in the Maui Invitational in November.

15. Texas A&M at Illinois State tonight in the CBI.  Aggies just 1-8 in road games this season (but that one win was over a Sweet 16 Tennessee team).

SEC Media

16. Sweet 16 rundown – TV, tip times, and announcers.

17. Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy will join the SEC Network as an analyst.

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SEC Headlines 3/14/2014

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1. The frenzy over Tennessee redshirt freshman quarterback Riley Ferguson. “He is Peyton Manning with quicker feet, Heath Shuler with more accuracy, Casey Clausen with a bigger arm.”

2. Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian on wide receiver and JUCO transfer Von Pearson: “Von’s very, very, very talented.”

3. High winds do some damage to Neyland Stadium’s Jumbotron.

4. Who will replace Cyrus Kouandjio at left tackle for Alabama?

5. Jonathon Mincy will be expected to provide leadership in the Auburn secondary this fall.

6. Texas A&M and UCLA will play a home-and-home series starting in 2016. LSU and Syracuse working on a deal.

7. Nine SEC staffs had some turnover this offseason.  Here’s a rundown of who’s in and who’s out.

SEC Basketball

8. Bruce Pearl’s top six programs in the SEC apparently don’t include Auburn.

0. Former Auburn coach Sonny Smith on the challenges the program faces: ”What makes the job somewhat difficult is the area that it’s located in.”

10. An argument to give Alabama coach Anthony Grant one more season.

11. LSU and Kentucky will meet for the third time this season. Tigers forward Johnny O’Bryant: “Oh, man, I can’t wait. Can’t wait.”

12. Would a signature victory over Florida be enough to push Missouri in to the NCAA Tournament?

13. Florida forward Casey Prather:  ”I feel like as long as we continue to stay on the path we’re going, then we’ll have no trouble.”

14. Atlanta-area starters a big part of Georgia’s success this season. Bulldogs beat Ole Miss by one point in their only regular season matchup.

15. Tennessee opens tournament play with South Carolina.  Coach Cuonzo Martin: ”I think the guys are loose.”

16. This breakdown of the NCAA Tournament says Arkansas’ loss yesterday has cost them a bid.

SEC/NFL

17. ESPN’s Mel Kiper projects three Texas A&M players going in the first ten picks of the NFL draft. Expects three Alabama players to go in first round.

SEC Media

18. Brent Musburger out – Chris Fowler in as play-by-play announcer for  ABC’s Saturday night college football broadcast.

Extra

19. Former chief executive of the Fiesta Bowl is headed to prison.

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SEC Headlines 3/11/2014

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1. SEC officiating coordinator Steve Shaw said rule changes need to be about what’s best for the game in the long run.

2. Former Alabama lineman Kellen Williams called the Paul Finebaum Show to defend Nick Saban.

3. Here’s a look at what Alabama has to work with in its secondary this spring.

4. Auburn will have to replace defensive end Dee Ford this season. Here’s a look at how the Tigers will do it.

5. LSU’s quarterback battle continues as the Tigers look for Zach Mettenberger’s replacement.

6. Ole Miss players Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche, who are brothers, have filed counter suits against their accuser in an alleged assault.

7. Tennessee sophomore quarterback Josh Dobbs discussed his work on and off the field with Bruce Feldman.

8. The Vols will need defensive end Corey Vereen to step up this year.

9. Vanderbilt has a few players changing positions as the Commodores transition into a base 3-4 defense.

10. Dave Matter addresses several questions regarding Missouri as it prepares for spring practice.

11. What’s life at Texas A&M going to be like now that Johnny Manziel is gone? George Schroeder takes a look.

SEC/NFL

12. Tre Mason showed his toughness playing running back for Auburn. He hopes that impresses NFL teams.

13. Tape of the 2013 Alabama-Texas A&M game will show plenty of NFL prospects.

SEC Basketball

14. So you’re saying there’s a chance? SEC teams with double-digits losses in conference play have won the tournament before.

15. Auburn is a double-digit loss team in the SEC that is preparing for the tournament while coach Tony Barbee is on the hot seat.

16. Billy Donovan wants an extra day off for teams playing conference title games on Sunday.

17. Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin will likely be named the SEC player of the year.

18. Florida’s seniors are motivated heading into the SEC tournament. The Gators could be the first 21-0 SEC team.

19. LSU forward Johnny O’Bryant hasn’t announced his future plans but says he feels “ready” for the NBA.

20. SEC coaches raved about the job done by Georgia coach Mark Fox.

21. Georgia will need to win the SEC tournament to reach the NCAA tournament. An NIT invitation looks like a sure thing.

22. Kentucky keeps talking about trying to get its “mojo” back. It better hurry.

23. South Carolina senior guard on coach Frank Martin’s behavior around players: “We don’t take it personally at all.”

24. Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin said guard Josh Richardson is defending on an “elite” level.

25. Forward Tony Criswell won’t be with Missouri in the SEC tournament.

Extra

26. A back injury will keep Kansas’ star freshman center Joel Embiid out of the Big 12 tournament. His NCAA tournament status is in question.

27. Here’s a look at conference tournament schedules around the country.

28. Which college basketball teams are the most overrated? Brad Evans takes a look.

29. Athlon Sports has a list of the best SEC quarterbacks of the BCS era.

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SEC Headlines 3/8/2014

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1. Report: Dan Mullen and Mississippi State in contract talk extensions.

2. Texas coach Charlie Strong wants to renew the rivalry with Texas A&M.  ”When there’s been so much tradition there, you’d like to see it continue on.”

3. No Johnny Manziel but still plenty of options at quarterback for the Texas A&M.

4. John Theus is moving from right tackle to left tackle for Georgia.

5. Tennessee coach Butch Jones on competition at the quarterback spot:  ”That competition, that’s how you get better, that’s how you grow.”

6. Plenty of options at running back for Ole Miss.

7. Early signing period for college football?

SEC/NFL

8. Couple of NFL draft analysts now have Johnny Manziel going fourth overall to the Cleveland Browns.

SEC Basketball

9. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive: “One of the primary focuses that we have is changing the perception of our basketball over the next several years.”

10. Andy Staples on Florida: “These Gators won’t overwhelm anyone with their athleticism, but they might overwhelm a team with their defensive stubbornness.”

11. Auburn A.D. Jay Jacobs will sit down with coach Tony Barbee at the end of the season.  Is his job in jeopardy?

12. An argument to keep South Carolina coach Frank Martin suspended until he cleans up his “expletive act.”

13. If LSU beats Georgia today, Tigers will clinch the sixth seed in the SEC Tournament. And if Georgia loses and Tennesse wins, Vols claim third place in the SEC.

14. Missouri has received more points and rebounds from this freshmen class than any of the past four seasons.

15. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy on the future of his program: “I’m really high on some of our young guys.”

16. Jerry Palm on bubble teams and potential bid stealers.

Extra

17. Paul Finebaum’s book on the SEC goes on sale in August.  Here’s a look at the cover.

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SEC Headlines 2/27/2014

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1. Poll results: Only 25 of the nation’s 128 FBS head coaches are in favor of a rule proposal that would slow down the game.

2. Most departing seniors of any SEC East roster?  Tennessee.  South Carolina has the fewest but the most early NFL draft departures.

3. Several changes at the coordinator position for SEC schools - what will the impact be this year?

4. Soaring expectations at Tennessee for this fall?

5. Florida and Florida State extend their annual football series through 2018.

5. Andre Debose – the “next Percy Harvin” - will be a senior at Florida this fall.

6. Georgia freshman quarterback Jacob Park played high school football in South Carolina but was not offered a scholarship by the Gamecocks.

7. Ole Miss guard Aaron Morris and defensive end C.J. Johnson granted redshirt years.

SEC/NFL

8. Tell us how you really feel, Barry.  Switzer on Johnny Manziel:  ”I think he’s an arrogant little prick.” But he loves the way he plays the game.

9. “A fully engaged, fully motivated (Jadeveon) Clowney is the sort of beast that can out-and-out dominate any game in which he plays, even in the NFL. ”

10. Former Auburn tackle Greg Robinson’s mother couldn’t make the trip to the BCS Championship Game because she couldn’t afford it.  ”There’s something wrong with that picture.” Also see Fuzzy Math at the NCAA.

11. Latest USA Today mock draft has Jadeveon Clowney and Greg Robinson going first and second overall.

12. Zach Mettenberger a good fit for the Arizona Cardinals?

13. Defense end Kony Ealy’s profile matches up best with which current NFL players? Paula Deen like Michael Sam?

14. Is the pro future of Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall at another position?  ”I know I can play quarterback.”

15. When you get booted from your team before the season, who hosts the pro day?  ”Agent Chris Turnage said (Chris) Boyd will be healthy enough to fully compete at his pro day workout next month.”

SEC Basketball

16. When it comes to NCAA Tournament chances, is Georgia “the tallest midget in the circus?” An assessment of Georgia’s chances.

17. Ole Miss point guard Derrick Millinghaus received an indefinite suspension before last night’s game against Alabama.

18. Arkansas at Kentucky tonight.  Last time Razorbacks won at Rupp – Nolan Richardson’s 1994 championship team.

19. Arkansas game part of the revenge tour for Kentucky?

20. A plea from Kentucky – bring back Bruce (Pearl).

21. Military family reunited in timeout of Alabama/Ole Miss game.

22. Florida’s Dorian Finney-Smith best sixth man in the country?

23. One take on Missouri: “There is no evident or effective leadership on the floor. There is no apparent chemistry. Players don’t seem to trust one another. The team seems adrift.”

Extras

24. Georgia governor on Confederate battle flag license plates:  ”Hopefully, those who take offense at it will look at the fact that it is a part of a cultural heritage of our state.”

25. Richie Incognito smashes his own Ferrari with a baseball bat.

26. Why was St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny cleaning the clubhouse toilets?

27. Jeff Gordon and the Pepsi Max crew are at it again…

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Tennessee’s Jones: “We Treat Georgia As A Home State For Us”

gfx-they-said-it4Tennessee enjoyed a recruiting revival earlier this month when the Vols signed what most services considered to be a top 5 class.  Worries about Butch Jones — a Michigan native — being able to recruit in the South were nixed.

As usual, the Volunteers dipped into the state of Georgia for some of their newbies.  Four Peach Staters total signed on with neighboring Tennessee.  Asked by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his sales pitch inside the state, Jones said the following:

 

“We treat Georgia as a home state for us.  You look at the proximity from Georgia to the University of Tennessee.  This is home territory for us, and I think we’ve proven we’ve had great success with players from the state of Georgia when you look at players like Jamal Lewis, Inky Johnson, Chuck Smith, Deon Grant and I could go on… Eric Berry and Willie Gault.  You look at the success now with Ja’Wuan James that he’s having in pursuing his goal to play in the NFL.  And Ja’Wuan also has his degree from Tennessee as well.  You look at our past history, the proximity, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for the high school coaches in that state and the produce that they produce.  And they obviously have great players as well.”

 

Kudos to Jones for knowing the names of so many ex-Tennessee Georgia natives.  One wonders if Derek Dooley could have named one.

As we’ve noted on several occasions, the state of Georgia is raided by numerous schools each February.  South Carolina and Auburn snare top prospects from the state.  Alabama has had greater success since Nick Saban opened his football factory.  Pre-Mark Stoops Kentucky targeted Georgia more than it did Ohio.  Vanderbilt has gone into Georgia.  Missouri is trying its best to make inroads with billboards and mailers.

For years, the state boasted only two FBS programs in Georgia and Georgia Tech.  With the amount of talent produced in the state, there were enough top players left over for all those schools mentioned above to pluck a few stars.

Now there is a third — Georgia State.  Sure, GSU is a fledgeling, struggling FBS program now.  But based in Atlanta, the Panthers have the opportunity to improve quickly just as South Florida (Tampa) and Central Florida (Orlando) have done.  Obviously, GSU won’t be on equal recruiting footing with SEC schools anytime soon.  But that does not mean Georgia State won’t be able keep at least one or two Peach State natives at home each February; recruits that might otherwise have left the state.  In 10 years, it will be interesting to see if schools like Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee are finding it any more difficult to nab Georgians for their own rosters.

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SEC & NFL: Who Impressed At The Combine?

Did former Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans have a better NFL combine than former teammate Johnny Manziel?  Boomer Esiason breaks down the reasons why he believes he did.




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Top Five Running Back Signees For 2014

This was a difficult group to rank.

The SEC signed some of the nation’s top talent at running back, which is expected to happen each year. The 2014 class is no different.

The biggest upset of the list: Alabama isn’t represented. That doesn’t mean the Crimson Tide failed to sign a top back. Bo Scarbrough is one of the nation’s best and should make a big impact at Alabama.

His absence here shows the strength of the SEC’s 2014 running back class.

Here are the top five running back signees in the SEC in the 2014 class.

1. Leonard Fournette – LSU

Fournette (6-1, 224) is already talking about winning the Heisman Trophy his freshman season at LSU. He also mentioned the national championship as a goal for year one. Those are high expectations for a guy who’s still in high school, but there’s a reason he believes it. The hype surrounding Fournette has exploded. With Jeremy Hill gone to the NFL, Fournette will have a chance to start at LSU right away. He expects it to happen.

2. Sony Michel – Georgia

Michel has it all. He has size (5-10, 205) to go with his speed, which makes him a dangerous threat every time he touches the ball. Michel will have a chance to help Georgia right away. Todd Gurley will return for his junior year, but Keith Marshall is still recovering from a knee injury. Gurley won’t be able to do it all by himself.

3. Roc Thomas – Auburn

Thomas seems like the perfect replacement for Tre Mason, who left Auburn early for the NFL draft. Thomas (5-11, 202) is a big-play talent who will be able to help the Tigers as a runner and receiver. Auburn made a move for Thomas before in-state rival Alabama did. The move paid off for the Tigers.

4. Jalen Hurd – Tennessee

Did you see Derrick Henry against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl? Tennessee hopes Hurd (6-3, 227) can run like Henry (6-3, 238) from day one. Hurd enrolled early at Tennessee and will battle for the starting position this fall. He should be the home run back Tennessee’s offense has lacked in recent years.

5. Nick Chubb – Georgia

Chubb (5-10, 215) already looks like an SEC running back. He’ll have plenty of competition when he arrives on campus thanks to the Georgia running backs mentioned above. But Chubb has plenty of ability and at the very least can help the Bulldogs fight for tough yards. He has everything needed to be an every-down back in the SEC.

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