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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Florida Lands D.C. Standout Lewis

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxFlorida received a commitment Thursday from cornerback Marcus Lewis from Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C.

Playing for Gators coach Will Muschamp was an important factor in Lewis’ decision.

“I liked the hands-on recruiting by coach Muschamp and (secondary) coach (Travaris Robinson),” Lewis told Rivals. “I can come in there and play early. They don’t have a lot of defensive backs.

“A few left after last year and Vernon (Hargreaves III) could be gone soon, too. They are constantly putting defensive backs in the pros and they need some more so my ability to come in and step on the field is tremendous.”

Lewis, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 8 cornerback by Rivals, is looking forward to playing alongside Florida cornerback Jalen Tabor. The Washington, D.C., native arrived on campus in Gainesville in January.

“It did play a small role,” Lewis said of Tabor’s presence at Florida. “We’re from the same area and we’re friends. It definitely played a part.”

Lewis, who previously committed to Virginia Tech and also considered Clemson and Miami, is Florida’s sixth commitment for the class of 2015. He’s the highest-rated prospect committed to the Gators, according to Rivals.

Florida hopes the commitment of Lewis will create some momentum with its recruiting on the defensive side of the ball. Cornerback Kareem Ali Jr. told Rivals he’s strongly considering the Gators and credited Tabor for helping sell the idea of playing for Muschamp.

“(Tabor) told me it’s real there and the coaches treat it like it’s the NFL and the coaches are hard on you to motivate you and they move fast,” Ali Jr. said. “He said they had a bad season last year, but they are on the come up with a young team and a good coach and are going to bring it back up this year.”

Ali Jr. said he plans to make his college decision in January.

“I just want to get everything off my shoulders,” he said. “I am just going to take visits and find what the best fit for me is.”


Missouri lands Georgia receiver

Missouri received a commitment this week from wide receiver Daniel Imatorbhebhe from North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Ga.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Five-Star Jefferson ‘Giving Everyone A Chance’

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxCeCe Jefferson has more college options than he can count.

The defensive tackle from Baker County High School in Glen St. Mary, Fla., holds offer from schools such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Florida State, Ohio State and Southern California. That’s just the start of it.

The amount of interest Jefferson is receiving is the reason he plans to keep his options open and wait until national signing day to announce his decision.

“I am still fairly even and that is why I decided to make my commitment on national signing day and don’t have a top five or anything,” Jefferson told “I am just giving everyone a chance to prove to me why I should go to their school. The more visits I take the better I will know what I like and don’t like.”

Jefferson, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle by Rivals, has already begun taking unofficial visits. He has recently taken trips to Florida, Florida State and Georgia.

Jefferson’s visit to Florida last weekend came with a similar message from the Gators’ staff: he is a top priority in the 2015 class.

“They made it real sure they let me know that Florida is going to be coming at me hardest,” Jefferson said. “They said to keep a lookout for them because they are going to come to one or two of my football games and I better get used to them because they are going to recruit me to the end.”

So will Georgia. New Bulldogs defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has developed a strong relationship with Jefferson dating back to Pruitt’s previous stop at Florida State. Jefferson visited Georgia’s campus for the first time earlier this month.

“It was my first time up there and they set the bar real high,” Jefferson said. “I talked with coach Pruitt about his change from Florida State to Georgia and obviously he saw something in their program that made him want to go.

“They showed me a real good time and a lot of great facilities and Coach (Mark) Richt is a real good guy. I wouldn’t mind playing for Georgia.”

Other schools are just hoping to remain in the mix as they try to improve their standing with Jefferson, who doesn’t claim a ranking of any of the schools he’s considering.

Jefferson told Rivals he plans to visit Alabama, Auburn, LSU and North Carolina during the spring. That will only be the start of it.


Livington likes the Wildcats

Kentucky continues to make a favorable impression on offensive/defensive lineman Levon Livingston from Ballou High School in Washington, D.C.

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Mizzou Outlasts Oklahoma State In Cotton Bowl Shootout

postgame-links-150x1501Missouri 41 – Oklahoma State 31. Video Highlights

1. Leading by just a field goal and Oklahoma State driving, defensive end Michael Sam sacks quarterback, forces fumble that leads to game’s final touchdown.

2. Joe Walljasper: “Gary Pinkel became the winningest coach in Missouri football history in the most Gary Pinkel way possible.”

3. Vahe Gregorian: “Simply put, the Tigers had to win this to make this season special.”

4. Bryan Burwell:  ”This was a perfectly delicious way to end a special Mizzou football season.”

5. Berry Tramel:  ”To raise its stock substantially, the Big 12 needs to beat the SEC. “

6. Backup quarterback Maty Mauk provides a spark but plays just two series while starting QB James Franklin struggled most of the night.

7. While Franklin struggled, the running game flourished.  256 yards on the night – average of 5.4 yards per carry.

8. Goodbye Kony Ealy.  Junior defensive end intends to declare for NFL draft.  Fellow defensive end Markus Golden says he’s staying; running back Henry Josey undecided.

9. Gary Pinkel busts a move.

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Missouri 41 – Oklahoma State 31

Video highlights of the Missouri 41-31 win over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl Friday night.

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SEC Headlines 12/17/2013

headlines-tueSEC Football

1. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has looked at film of Florida State. “The thing that jumped out to me is speed, super fast,” he said.

2. Malzahn said he hopes to keep his staff intact this offseason after a successful first year at Auburn.

3. Malzahn, by the way, downplayed talk of his name with the Texas job. He said he’s a good fit for Auburn.

4. Alabama is coming off a loss to Auburn while Oklahoma’s last game was a win over rival Oklahoma State.

5. Alabama’s coaches played a role in helping Oklahoma install its 3-4 defensive scheme.

6. Former Arkansas assistant Charlie Patridge thanked Arkansas fans on twitter after he was announced as the head coach at Florida Atlantic.

7. LSU coach Les Miles backed away from any Texas speculation. “Oh please. Oh please. Let’s not kick my name around,” he said.

8. Miles expects a fight from Iowa when the two teams play in the Outback Bowl.

9. Mississippi State has seen its defense improve recently. The Bulldogs have turned opponents over 14 times in their last four games.

10. Ole Miss is preparing for its matchup against Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl.

11. Pat Dooley writes the deck was stacked against quarterback Tyler Murphy, who has decided to transfer from Florida.

12. Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley and cornerback Damian Swann are both expected to return for their senior years.

13. Oklahoma State is Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Henson’s alma mater. But he’s working to help Missouri beat the Cowboys this time.

14. Texas A&M would have to pay coach Kevin Sumlin everything remaining on his contract if he’s fired without cause.

SEC Basketball

15. Florida has been better in crunch time this year. The Gators might need to be tonight when they play at Memphis.

16. The Kentucky-Louisville game scheduled for Dec. 28 has become very important for unexpected reasons.

17. Alabama is preparing to play undefeated Wichita State tonight.

18. Vanderbilt practices have become more intense as coach Kevin Stallings is looking for a more disciplined team.


19. Mack Brown and Texas are both better off because he decided to exit gracefully, writes Gregg Doyel.

20. Nebraska’s athletic director says the school did not contact Brown after he resigned at Texas.

21. John Infante explains why Chip Kelly’s show-cause penalty makes him an unlikely candidate at Texas.

22. Arizona and Tampa, Fla., will host college football’s 2016 and 2017 national championship games.

23. Athlon Sports has its top 25 freshman for the 2013 season.

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SEC Hoops Roundup 12/7/2013

gfx-hoops-round-upBaylor 67 – Kentucky 62.

1. UK falls in late night game in a mostly empty stadium as ice storm paralyzes Dallas area.  Cats drop to 7-2 after making just 12-of-23 free throws.

2. John Calipari addresses media for four minutes and then walks out of postgame press conference. ”They outhustled us. They outworked us. They deserved to win.”

Oklahoma State 79 – South Carolina 52.  

3. Gamecocks blown out in first half as Oklahoma State began game on 35-9 run. South Carolina falls to 2-3 on the season.

4. South Carolina coach Frank Martin: “They came out and punched us, and our guys didn’t handle that real well.”

Saturday Schedule

Tennessee Tech at Tennessee

UCLA at Missouri

Clemson at Arkansas

Alabama at USF

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MSU’s Russell Says He’s Part Of The Best 2-QB Tandem In America

tyler-russell-and-dak-prescottMississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell finally returned to action last Saturday after suffering a concussion in the Bulldogs’ season-opening loss to Oklahoma State.  He finished 7-of-11 for 146 yards and two touchdowns.  Pretty good for a guy with some rust.

Meanwhile, Dak Prescott — State’s other quarterback — got the start on Saturday and he completed 9-of-20 passes for 106 yards (and an interception).  Prescott added 103 yards and a score with his legs, however.

That’s a pretty good one-two punch at quarterback.  How good?  Here’s what Russell had to say:


“We’ve got two really good quarterbacks.  I’ll say, we’ve probably got the best (two-quarterback combination) in the nation… It doesn’t matter who starts.  Whoever gets in is going to lead the team down there and score.”


And those were his famous last words.

A few weeks ago, Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace said his team could put points on anyone and would score on Alabama.  They went out and got goose-egged by Bama and then lost to Auburn last Saturday.

Russell and Prescott — though they were pretty good last weekend — did lose 59-26 to LSU.  Apparently a really good one-quarterback system beats America’s best two-quarterback tandem.  The pairing of Russell and Prescott will likely thrive this weekend when the Bulldogs face Bowling Green.  They might even do well against Kentucky in two weeks.

But let’s all keep our eyes on MSU’s offense — seventh best in the SEC in scoring — when the Dogs end the season against South Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss.  Thrive in those five games and we’ll gladly rubber stamp Russell’s confident remark.

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MSU’s Mullen Won’t Share His QB Plans For LSU

gfx - they said itTwo weeks ago, Dan Mullen said that despite leading Mississippi State to a 62-7 win over Troy, Dak Prescott had not stolen the starting quarterback job from Tyler Russell.  Russell suffered a concussion in the opener against Oklahoma State (loss) and has missed the Alcorn State (win), Auburn (loss), and Troy games.

Now Russell is set to return as LSU invades Davis-Wade Stadium.  So is Mullen sticking to his plan to hand the starter’s gig back to Russell?  He isn’t saying:


“We’ll figure it out as we go.  The same way we do with (running backs LaDarius Perkins) and (defensive linemen) Josh Robinson and Preston Smith and Ryan Brown.  It’s all the same.  Guys need to be ready to play…

(Prescott’s playing time is) always going to change from game to game.  We’ll figure that out on gameday when we have the final plan ready for LSU.”


Prescott has performed admirably while filling in for Russell.  The dual-threat QB is averaging 177 yards passing and just under 54 yards rushing per game.  He currently ranks ninth in the SEC in passer rating.

So how much will he play against LSU?  Stay tuned.


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ESPN’s Herbstreit Says SEC Fans Should Take Losses As A Group Just As They Do Wins

gfx - honest opinionOn the long list of things that sports fans get angry about these days — and it’s a long damn list — those of us here at find one item hard to grasp.  Southeastern Conference fans take pride in the fact their league has won title after title after title in college football.  Seven in a row at this point.  And next Spring, SEC squads will once again send more prospects into the pro ranks than any other league.  Again, SEC fans will whoop, holler and brag.

Well, for some reason, that doesn’t sit well with people outside the South at all.

“Hey, you can’t take credit for a championship by Alabama unless your a Bama backer!”

“Georgia and South Carolina and Mississippi State and Arkansas, you didn’t win anything!”

The general gist — as far as we can guess — is that people outside of Dixie don’t want to see other people happy.  Think about it.  Isn’t that really what they’re saying.  “We don’t want you to have any more fun than us!”

To hell with that.  Life’s short.  Much of it is miserable.  What’s wrong with taking a little pleasure in knowing that your conference is the toughest in the land?

No one likes bandwagon fans when their team wins a title, especially if they have suffered through lean years with said team.  People feel they’ve earned the right to enjoy big wins a bit more than the Johnny-come-latelys.

But what does it really hurt?  So more people are happy?  And that’s a bad thing?

Apparently ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit thinks so.  The ex-Big Ten quarterback had this to say yesterday on the network’s “College Football LIVE” program:


“The SEC, it’s unique about their fanbase.  There are 14 schools.  When one of them wins a national championship, all 14 carry the flag for the national championship.  They all claim it.  They all claim the national championship like they won it together.  So when Tennessee gets ambushed by Oregon, they need to all get their flag out together and accept that loss to Oregon.”



The SEC lost a game badly to Oregon.  The SEC has also lost at Clemson, at Miami (FL), and to Oklahoma State this year.

And come January, it’s likely that the SEC will play for another BCS title anyway.  If the league’s representative wins, Herbstreit — who I had the pleasure of working with at WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio… good guy — and others will probably hear that now famous “S-E-C, S-E-C” chant echoing across the Rose Bowl.  And that will hurt who exactly?  That’s bad why?  Because we’d prefer more people to be sad or miserable?

Hey, if an SEC team plays and loses in the BCS Championship Game, you can bet the victor’s fans in Pasadena will taunt their rivals with that very same chant.  And at that point, SEC fans will have to take down their flag — as Herbstreit puts it — and go home.  So be it.

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Post Comments » Comments (15) Drops Bombshell #3 On Oklahoma State, Miles (But An Oklahoma Paper Fires Back)

les-miles-osu-capWhat?  You thought we’d forgotten the Les Miles semi-scandal because of the newer scandals at Alabama, Mississippi State and Tennessee?  Come now.

Sports Illustrated dropped the third installment of its investigation into the Oklahoma State football program today.  This one deals with drug use in Stillwater.  Again, several players go on the record to discuss how rampant the problem became… much of it under the watch of then-coach Miles.  Here’s an example:


“It is unclear when marijuana use became so pervasive that a player like (Andrew) Alexander would feel excluded for not smoking.  Andre McGill, a quarterback in 2000 and ’01, says it coincided with the arrival of Les Miles, but that is at least anecdotally false.  Players from earlier years say that marijuana was used before Miles was named coach in December 2000, though they say it increased during his tenure.”


Whew!  There for a second it looked like SI’s writers were going to claim Miles introduced his players to weed.

Frankly, in light of the documented evidence uncovered by Yahoo! Sports — and they really are the best thing going in sports journalism today — this piece seems a bit light.  Especially when you consider the fact that one Oklahoma paper pointed out earlier this week that most of the players who’ve gone on the record to talk about the issues at OSU left the school before their careers were up.  In other words, a lot of those doing the talking have a bone to pick with the school and/or Miles.

Last evening, The Tulsa World interviewed former Cowboy quarterback Aso Pogi about his “interview” with SI’s writers.  Turns out it was more of a hit-and-run than an interview.  At least that’s what the ex-QB says.

Meanwhile, Miles defended his running of the Oklahoma State program during yesterday’s SEC teleconference.  According to USA Today, the coach’s voice cracked while discussing his days on that campus.  “I revered my time at Stillwater,” Miles said.  He added (in vintage Miles-speak):


“And the idea that somebody would characterize the program that was run there as anything but right and correct… Did we work hard?  You betcha.  Did we make tough decisions about starting lineups?  You betcha.  But every guy was encouraged to get his degree, to stay the course and to fight.  And I can tell you that (former players) that were commenting on the state of the program weren’t there long enough to figure it out.  And that they heard me tell them, ‘Attend class and do the right things,’ and heard me routinely.  So, I’m going to withhold a further comment.  I can tell you that staff, families and friends and anybody that sat in our meeting rooms knew that this thing was done right.  I will hold further comment because frankly I want to get a team ready to play against a very quality Kent State, and that’s my push.  I like my practice.  I like my team.”


The fourth part of Sports Illustrated’s investigation will launch tomorrow

Oh, boy.

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