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SEC Recruiting Headlines 2/28/2013

recruiting-headlines-gfx1. Kentucky has added  a JUCO defensive lineman to its 2013 class.  Melvin Lewis has played the last two years at Fullerton Community College in California.  According to Lexington Herald-Leader, Lewis also received offers from Miami and Washington.  Kentucky now has 23 signees for its 2013 class.

2. Alabama’s new $9 million weight room is impressing recruits.  Tallahassee, Florida running back Justin Vickers told, “My favorite part was the weight room.”

3. Opelika, Alabama teammates Stephen Roberts, a cornerback, and Jakell Mitchell, who calls defensive end his “dream position” both visited Auburn last weekend. Roberts said he and Mitchell have talked about going to the same school. 

4. Several prospects expected to visit Arkansas – here’s the rundown.

5. River Ridge, Louisiana cornerback Terrance Alexander has an offer from Arkansas.  Alexander, timed at 4.4 seconds in the forty, also has offers from several other schools, including Tennessee, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt.

6. Hugh Freeze and his staff at Ole Miss will lose six offensive linemen after the 2013 season and are making that position a priority for 2014.  The Rebels already have one verbal pledge from an in-state lineman in DeSoto Central’s Tyler Putnam and are recruiting  the state’s top line prospect, Callaway’s Rod Taylor. Taylor tells the Oxford Eagle,  “I’ve been up (to Oxford) four times. Ole Miss is a good offer, I just don’t know where I want to go yet.”

7. Florida has six commitments in its 2014 class. The Palm Beach Post has a breakdown.

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Bobby Petrino on Western Kentucky: “We Can Be Boise State”

bobby-petrino-smilesDennis Dodd of catches up with Bobby Petrino in Bowling Green, Kentucky where the former Arkansas coach is now in charge of the Western Kentucky program.  It’s a long piece that you can see here.  As you undoubtedly know by now, Petrino was forced out at Arkansas after having an affair with a 25-year old staffer and crashing his motorcycle with her onboard.  As Dodd frames it, Petrino went from “an SEC program with a top-five national ranking to a fifth-place program in the Sun Belt.”

Here were a few of the quotes that caught our eye.


What if he had immediately confessed the affair to Arkansas A.D. Jeff Long?

“There were a lot of things going on that didn’t allow me to do that. I was in the hospital, medicated.”


On son Nick, a student coach at Arkansas last year.  

“I thought it was the hardest thing for him more than anything else. I took something away from him.”


On communicating with his replacement at Arkansas – John L. Smith

“I tried to stay away. I’d send him a text.”


On the kind of program he can create at Western Kentucky

“We can be Boise State. Why not?. We beat them all the time when I was at Idaho.” (That was 1989-91 when Petrino was an assistant)

“My vision for the program is to go to a bowl game every year. I figure I’ve got 14 more years left to go.”


Western Kentucky AD Todd Stewart on Petrino

“We’ve got a guy in the prime of his career. He’s 51 years old and has been to the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl in the last six years. Sometimes a school will get somebody like that, but they are 20 years removed.”


Stewart had a binder prepared with 75 candidates when former coach Willie Taggart left for South Florida.  But Petrino was his first choice.  ”He called back in five minutes.”

Petrino’s Hilltoppers are scheduled to open against Kentucky and then face Tennessee the following week this fall.

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SEC Headlines 2/28/2013

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Former Chicago Bears assistant Tim Spencer interviewed for the open running backs coach spot at Tennessee. Spencer also spent several years as an assistant at Ohio State, his alma mater.

2. Other remaining candidates at Tennessee are current coaches - search could be wrapped up soon.

3. South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney on the cover of a spring football preview issue of Sports Illustrated (and what does that say when spring football gets an SI cover?). The famous hit at the Outback Bowl was “a last breath of football sanity for Clowney.”

4. 15,000 tickets already gone for spring game at Kentucky – “that’s abnormal.”

5. With Keith Marshall nursing a hamstring injury, Georgia will open spring practice with just one healthy recruited scholarship tailback on the roster, Todd Gurley.  

6. Alabama’s new $9 million weight room is 21,000 square feet on the bottom floor, 16,000 square feet on the second floor.  It was built in five months.

7. Alabama strength coach Scott Cochran: “It’s the biggest, baddest weight room in the country. There is no question about that.”

8. Spring practice at Alabama starts on March 16 – toe injuries likely to limit cornerback John Fulton and wide receiver Kevin Norwood.

9. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott likley to miss spring drills – had surgery on a toe this week.

10. We updated our story yesterday with a report about Mississippi State assistant Tim Brewster leaving for Florida State. MSU officials finally notified this morning.

11. With both starting safeties gone, how good will Florida’s secondary be in 2013?

12. Former Auburn player Kodi Burns is now a grad assistant at the school but he has higher aspirations.  ”I want to be an offensive coordinator one of these days here pretty quick, and soon after be a head coach. You want to run your own program.”

13. Lawyer for dismissed Alabama player D.J. Pettway releases statement:  ”DJ is committed to putting this incident behind him and to proving to all of those fans, coaches, and teammates that were disappointed by this incident that it is not a reflection of the man he is.”

NFL Scouting Combine

14. Why Tyrann Mathieu may have helped himself as much as any other prospect and why Dee Milliner is the most NFL-ready of the cornerbacks.

15. This mock draft has Milliner going fifth to the Lions, with former LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo going next to the Cleveland Browns.

16. Former Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope runs a 4.34 40-yard dash and the reaction is ”straight-line speed/acceleration are only average”?

17. Mel Kiper’s post-combine rankings of SEC players.

SEC Basketball

18. Ole Miss freshman forward Anthony Perez will have MRI today after injuring his knee last night.

19. Tennessee leading scorer Jordan McRae on the steady demeanor of coach Cuonzo Martin: “You guys see our practices, the way Coach Martin is, you would think we hadn’t won a game yet this year.” Dale Ellis’ jersey will be retired at Tennessee.

20. Missouri at South Carolina tonight – must-win game for the Tigers?  Phil Pressey: “If we don’t beat them then that’s where the problems start coming in to play.”

21. Frank Martin seems hesitant to put a timeline on rebuilding at South Carolina: “If I told you two years, and two years from now, we’re still not quite there, then you’re going to ask me that question, ‘I thought you said two years from now.’ ”

22. ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford says four Kentucky players could go in the first round. ”Willie Cauley-Stein is the diamond in the rough.”

23. Kentucky’s 1996 team finally gets championship rings but what about Rick Pitino and the coaches?  John Calipari: “I don’t know what they did with that. But I do know (player) Scott Padgett, who takes every free lunch he can get, called and said, ‘Am I getting a ring?’ ” (He didn’t.)


24. After getting torched for 62 points by Oregon, former USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin told his son and head coach Lane Kiffin he was leaving at the end of the year.

25. Former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro’s tab at the school - NCAA estimates he provided $170,000 in impermissible benefits. Ohio State A.D. on NCAA – “bureaucratic monster.”

26. Ever wonder why you always see those “big heads” at college basketball games? How it all got started.

27. Just how bad are these new Adidas basketball uniforms?

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USC’s Spurrier Gives Props To UGA Recruiting. Wait. What?

gfx - they said itFebruary 27, 2013.  Mark down the date.  South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier — long a needler of Georgia’s football program — decided to say some nice things about the Bulldogs’ in-state recruiting yesterday.

(We’ll pause for the shock to wear off.)

Asked if beating Georgia in three consecutive seasons helped his Gamecocks recruit the Peach State, Spurrier told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:


“I don’t know how much winning three in a row against them helps there.  It just helps that we’ve gone 11-2.  I don’t think we out-recruit Georgia very seldom.  We may get one every now and then that could go to Georgia.  But overall, Georgia gets most of the Georgia kids.  Not all of them, but they’ve almost always recruited the state well, the ones they are after.

You know, there’s a whole bunch of guys there, and they can’t recruit them all.  And I tell people all the time, if there’s 40 defensive backs that sign, how do we know who is going to the best in college?  Someone is going to rate a 5-star and another one a 3-star.  But again, who knows until they go to college and start playing?

There are so many good players in that state. Maybe Georgia gets the most of the top-ranked ones.  But there’s plenty of outstanding players after that.”


Spurrier is correct in saying that UGA usually locks up the best players within its home state.  This past year, however, was an exception.  The Dawgs signed just one of the top 12 players in Georgia (as ranked by  Still, Mark Richt and crew inked the #12 ranked class in the country.  Carolina’s class finished just behind them in the #16 slot.

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A&M Bumps Sumlin To $3.1 Million

mrsec-breaking-newsThe contract is now public record and the numbers are available for all to see.  Kevin Sumlin’s new contract at Texas A&M isn’t quite a $3.5 million deal as had been speculated, but it’s close.

Going into 2012, A&M’s coach had a contract worth $2 million per year.  After an 11-2 first season in College Station, that number has been bumped to $3.1 million.  But there’s also the potential bring in nearly $800,000 in bonuses.

The pact has also been extended to run through the 2017 season.

Sumlin has also been given $700,000 more dollars to dole out to his assistant coaches beginning this season.

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Good News, Gators… Full Strength Ahead

clean-bill-of-health-doctor-giving-the-thumbs-upFlorida finished up a Tuesday night road loss at Tennessee without the services of Will Yeguete, Michael Frazier II, and Casey Prather.  It was the Gators’ third SEC loss since February 5th, probably costing the Gators a #1 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament… for now.

The upside?  All three banged-up players have now been cleared to resume practice.  This as the Gators prepare for a Saturday home date with Alabama who now sits just one game behind them in the SEC standings.

Prather left Tuesday’s game late after colliding with a teammate and suffering a forehead gash.  Frazier missed the Tennessee contest altogether with a concussion he suffered Saturday as Florida hosted Arkansas.  Yeguete played just one minute of UF’s road loss at Arkansas back on February 5th.  He had surgery to remove bone chips from his knee three days later and his been out ever since.

After starting SEC play 8-0, Billy Donovan’s squad has gone 4-3 since Yeguette’s early exit at Fayetteville.

If Florida can get everyone back on the floor and back into the groove they’d found prior to the injuries, there’s still time for the 22-5 Gators to make another push for a top seed in the NCAA tourney.   Defense and rebounding will be the key.  With Yeguette, Frazier and Prather healthy, UF allowed just 48.6 points per game in its first eight SEC games.  That’s a ridiculous number.  But without his full complement of players, Donovan has seen his squad give up 60.4 points per game in the seven contests since Yeguete’s brief cameo at Arkansas.

If Florida is healthy and their defense returns to pre-injury form, look out for the Gators at the SEC Tournament.

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Vandy’s Franklin: “They Told Me I Could Never Win There”

gfx - they said itSpeaking at the Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, South Carolina earlier this week, Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin opened up about the warnings he said he received before accepting the Commodores head coaching job… and his method for turning things around in Nashville:


“They told me I could never win there; it was the toughest job in all of college football.  Over and over and over again, we heard that constantly…

I’m a guy that’s got a chip on my shoulder, so I like proving people wrong.  That’s part of our message about how we were able to turn the thing around, by trying to take that negativity and flip it, by bombarding our guys with the same consistent positive message over and over and over again.”


Franklin is 15-11 in two years at Vandy.  He’s led the Commodores to their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1974 and 1975.  He’s led VU to consecutive bowl games for the first time in school history.  His nine-win campaign this past season was Vanderbilt’s first nine-win season since 1915.

According to, Franklin also notched the 29th-best signing class in America in 2012 followed by the 19th-best class this year.

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Surgeon Andrews Says Youth Injuries On The Rise

youth-football-as-prosIs this an SEC story?  No, it isn’t.

So what’s it doing on an SEC site?  Well, posting it here might help bring additional attention to the words of Dr. James Andrews, the most well-known sports surgeon in America.  And here are just a few of the words he recently shared with The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“I started seeing a sharp increase in youth sports injuries, particularly baseball, beginning around 2000.  I started tracking and researching, and what we’ve seen is a five- to seven-fold increase in injury rates in youth sports across the board.  I’m trying to help these kids, given the epidemic of injuries that we’re seeing.  That’s sort of my mission: to keep them on the playing field and out of the operating room…

I want parents and coaches to realize the implications of putting a 12- or 13-year-old through the type of athletic work done by a 25-year-old.”


Andrews suggests young kids get anywhere from two to four months off from their sport per year.  “Give them time off to recover.  Please.  Give them time to recover.”

With the cost of college tuition going up, pro salaries on the rise, and the amount of media attention given to youth sports these days, many a family has decided that Junior should be dedicated to his sport year-round at a very young age.  But from a world-famous surgeon like Andrews to a hall-of-fame athlete like Cal Ripken, the list of people who say that is 100% the wrong thing to do is growing.

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SEC Hoops: Kentucky Dominates, LSU Hangs On, Ole Miss Wins, Vanderbilt Hits Last Second Shot

basketballKentucky 85 – Mississippi State 55. Video Highlights

1. Ryan Harrow leads Kentucky with 19 points.  Five players hit double-figures as UK enjoys it largest margin of victory in conference play this year.

2. Losing streak for Mississippi State hits 13 games.  Coach Rick Ray: “We continually take more 3s than any other team, but yet we are the worst shooting team in the SEC.”

LSU 65 – Arkansas 60. Video Highlights

3. Up by 22 points at one time, LSU hangs on for the victory and climbs over .500 in conference play for the first time this year. Career-best 26 points for Charles Carmouche.

4. Marshawn Powell led the Razorbacks with 17 points.  Arkansas now 1-8 on the road and 1-10 outside the state of Arkansas.

Ole Miss 82 – Texas A&M 73. Video Highlights

5. Marshall Henderson comes off the bench for the second straight games - hits six 3-pointers to lead Ole Miss with 18 points. Freshman forward Anthony Perez left the game with an apparent knee injury.

6. Elston Turner, Jr. led the Aggies with 25 points. A&M coach Billy Kennedy: “You’ve got to give Ole Miss a lot of credit. They’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

Vanderbilt 63 – Georgia 62. Video Highlights

7. After trailing by 17 points, Vanderbilt rallies at home.  Freshman Kevin Bright hits a shot with 0.8 seconds left to give the Commodores the win.Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings: “We were lucky to win this one.”

8. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Coach Mark Fox: “I don’t think we handled the lead very well.”

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Ole Miss 82 – Texas A&M 73



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