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SEC Headlines 7/24/12

1. Georgia coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs are interested in Penn State’s players.

2. Georgia AD Greg McGarity hopes lessons are learned from the Penn State story.

3. Some schools have already begun aggressively pursuing some of Penn State’s players.

4. One SEC school started its pursuit Monday morning, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach.

5. If a school wants to land Penn State running back Silas Redd, it will likely have to battle Southern Cal.

6. Ole Miss tight end Jamal Mosley has been suspended after another arrest.

7. Here’s a sneak peek of Mississippi State’s new football uniforms.

8. Will Mississippi State pursue Penn State players? Here’s an early look.

9. Michigan – Alabama’s opening opponent – has suspended its starting running back.

10. Will Auburn see Clemson’s star wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the opener?

11. Here’s a podcast with SEC coaches Gene Chizik, Gary Pinkel and Kevin Sumlin.

12. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley knows why people speculate about his job.

13. LSU coach Les Miles is showing confidence in quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

14. South Carolina basketball forward Carlton Geathers will have right knee surgery.

15. Florida coach Will Muschamp will go through the “Car Wash” at ESPN on Tuesday.

16. Some Penn State players will decide to leave. Here are some possibilities.

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SEC Headlines 4/28/12

1. The NCAA chose not to add on to South Carolina’s self-imposed penalties.

2. Once highly-touted quarterback Phillip Sims has decided to transfer from Alabama.

3. Another Alabama defender, this time Courtney Upshaw, went quickly in the NFL draft on Friday.

4. Recruits were paying attention to Alabama’s success in the draft on Thursday night.

5. Here’s a look at the SEC defenders selected in the NFL’s first round.

6. Tony Barnhart of CBSSports.com believes Nick Saban’s team is helping provide hope to Tuscaloosa.

7. One writer believes former Gator Janoris Jenkins – taken by St. Louis - will be the next Pacman Jones.

8. Outside of Jankins, Florida saw its draft drought continue into the second day of the draft.

9. Here’s a preview for Texas A&M’s upcoming spring game at Kyle Field.

10. We’ll get a new look at Texas A&M’s defense on Saturday.

11. Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga News-Free Press shows us a nice side of Tennessee coach Derek Dooley.

12. Bill Belichick believes former Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette will be productive in New England.

13. Arkansas hasn’t had any receivers selected in the draft. That will change today.

14. Matt Hayes of Sporting News believes it’s time for college football to finally land a commissioner.

15. The LSU Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved an expansion of LSU’s Tiger Stadium.

16. SEC coaches can use the NFL draft as a three-day recruiting tool.

17. Former Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn will help where needed in Buffalo.

Extra:

18. Here’s a look at the conference champion only idea for the future BCS.

19. Here’s another preview of Missouri’s offense as it enters the SEC.

20. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin will surely use Casey Heyward’s drafting in recruiting.

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Vanderbilt’s Jenkins To Enter NBA Draft

Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins announced Monday he plans to forgo his senior season and enter the NBA Draft.

Jenkins plans to sign with an agent, which would eliminate any possibility of Jenkins return to college.

“This was a very difficult decision for my family and I to make, but I am ready to dedicate myself fully to achieving my dream of playing in the NBA,” Jenkins said. “The last three years have been the time of my life, and I will always cherish my time at Vanderbilt and the relationships I have made along the way.”

Jenkins will have a chance to be drafted in the first round of the draft, which will take place on Thursday, June 28.

Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranks Jenkins as the No. 40 prospect in the nation and projects Jenkins as a “late first round pick.” Ford recently wrote the following analysis of Jenkins:

“Jenkins may be the best shooter in the entire draft. He has ridiculous range and isn’t afraid to let it fly from just about everywhere. If he were a little taller, a more explosive athlete or more of a point guard, he’d be a lock for the first round. Going back to school isn’t going to change any of that. As it stands he’s on the first-round bubble.”

The latest projection from DraftExpress.com has Jenkins being selected with the second pick of the second round.

Jenkins’ decision means Vanderbilt will have to replace its entire starting lineup from the 2011-12 season. Guard Brad Tinsley, forwards Lance Goulbourne and Jeffery Taylor and center Festus Ezeli all depart as seniors.

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Vandy Plans New Hillside “Berm” Seating For Football

The forward momentum at Vanderbilt keeps on keeping on.

Thanks to new life breathed into the program by second-year coach James Franklin, the school has announced plans to build a hill or “berm” at the open end of Vanderbilt Stadium for fans attending Dores’ games this fall.  The project will begin after Vandy’s spring scrimmage next week.

New SEC member Missouri has berm seating at one end of Faurot Field.  Groves Stadium at Wake Forest — where Vandy played last season with a number of its administrators on hand — also features a berm area.  Ditto Clemson’s and Virginia’s stadiums.

“I wouldn’t call it a hill,” VU de facto AD David Williams said at the announcement.  “But it certainly won’t look like it’s looking now.  Ours is on the line of, but not to the same effect as Wake’s.  Wake’s is a natural hill.  Ours is something we’re creating.  With Wake’s, I think you enter at the top.  Ours won’t be like that.  I don’t think there’s any place that has it like this because ours is not going to be that huge.”

Hillside tickets are already available and Vanderbilt is targeting families for the area.  According to Steve Walsh, the school’s director of sales and marketing:


“We want to appeal to fans with young kids… where their kids can run around and they can still watch the game and keep an eye on the kids.  We want to make it more of a ‘blanket in the park’ thing.”


The Dores’ coach would like bigger and better things added to the stadium eventually, but Franklin says this is a start.  “There have been discussions of building a football complex there.  There have been discussions of closing the stadium in (with permanent seating).  But until we prove we have a demand for those things, it’s hard to justify.”

He added: “This is a way to do something inexpensive, relatively speaking, that isn’t permanent.  It can be bulldozed if we decide (to do something different in the future).”

Vanderbilt fans proved last bowl season that they would travel by gobbling up their allotment of tickets for the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.  Now they’re being given another chance to step up and support what Franklin, Williams and Vanderbilt are attempting to build.

And that’s an honest to God SEC football program in Nashville.

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Franklin Wants An Easier Schedule At Vandy

This fall, Vanderbilt will have non-conference games against Northwestern, Presbyterian, UMass, and Wake Forest.  James Franklin wishes the Dores’ schedule were even easier:


“Most people in this league are playing one BCS game or one tough game and then three games they should win.  We’re playing two.  We should just be playing one of those.  I can make an argument, if you studied our schedule, that we have one of the toughest out-of-conference schedules, and we shouldn’t.”

Missouri is the only other SEC school scheduled to face two BCS-member teams this fall — Arizona State and Syracuse.  The Tigers will also play Southeastern Louisiana and Central Florida.

Fans want wins and bowls, but for $50+ a ticket they also want to see something more than a glorified sparring session with a tomato can.  Coaches would line up 12 such chumps if they could.

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Franklin Says VU Recruiting On “A Whole Different Level”

James Franklin was a “whodat?” when he was hired.  But his fiery temperament, his upbeat attitude, his energy, and — for Vanderbilt’s level — his success have made him one of the most talked about coaches in the country.  All for a 6-7 first-season.

Ah, but a 6-7 first season at Vandy is good enough to make headlines.  It’s also good enough to get Franklin talking about bigger goals.  Add those two things together and they’re good enough to get a new type of athlete interested in the school on Nashville’s West End:


“Between what we’ve done on the field and what we’ve done in recruiting, our (talent) pool has changed.  The first year we got here, there were only certain kids willing to listen to us.  Then after this first season and what we did on the field, there were a lot more kids interested.  Now, it’s on a whole different level. 

We’ve taken steps, but we still have a long ways to go.”


Last Friday, we pointed out that the Commodores had already gathered four commitments for the class of 2013.  Another player has jumped onboard since then.  According to Rivals.com, Vandy currently has two 4-star commits and three 4-star commits in line.  Four come from Georgia, one from Florida.

Whether Franklin can keep the ball rolling or not remains to be seen, but there’s no arguing with his point that Vanderbilt is enjoying earlier, better success on the recruiting trail today than ever before.

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Report: Vandy Assistant Muller In Play At Mississippi State

Vanderbilt assistant coach Dan Muller is the latest candidate to replace Rick Stansbury as Mississippi State’s head basketball coach, according to a report from CBSSports.com.

Muller, who’s been a member of Vanderbilt’s staff for 12 seasons, also serves as the Commodores’ recruiting coordinator. Muller played for Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings at Illinois State from 1995-98.

Murray State coach Steve Prohm and Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew are the latest coaches to choose not to pursue the job at Mississippi State.

Could it be Dan Muller and Dan Mullen in Starkville? Perhaps.

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Quarterback O’Brien Chooses Wisconsin

Former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien has decided to transfer to Wisconsin.

O’Brien, who reportedly considered Ole Miss and Vanderbilt along with Penn State, made the decision after visiting Wisconsin during the weekend.

“The vibe I got at Wisconsin was special,” O’Brien told ESPN.com. “Being with the players on the team, the coaching staff, the city, the campus was great. It was everything I was looking for. It was the complete package: the style of offense, the coaches I connected with, the players I connected with, it’s a great area.”

As for the tampering charges filed by Maryland toward Vanderbilt and head coach James Franklin, that talk should die down now that O’Brien has decided not to play for his former offensive coordinator.

Vanderbilt forwarded its own findings to the SEC office earlier this month. Don’t be surprised if those findings are never forwarded to the public with O’Brien headed to the Big Ten.

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Vandy Finishes Probe Into Tampering In O’Brien Case

Earlier this year, when former Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien announced that he would transfer from the school, head coach Randy Edsall told him and two other departing Terrapins that they could not go to Vanderbilt.  The court of public opinion weighed in and the coach backtracked.

But after giving the players the green light to go wherever they liked, Edsall and Maryland filed an official complaint against Vanderbilt and ex-Terp offensive coordinator James Franklin for tampering.  The complaint went to the ACC which then filed it with the SEC.  VU officials were instructed to dig into the matter.

This afternoon, Vandy vice chancellor David Williams released a statement saying that the school had finished its internal investigation:


“We did a thorough review.  We looked closely at months of phone and email records, and Twitter accounts.  We interviewed all of our coaches with University of Maryland backgrounds and we also interviewed the student-athlete (O’Brien).”


And?  And? 

Vandy would not say if the report — which has been forwarded to the SEC office — revealed that tampering had taken place or not.  That said, I think we can all guess what Vanderbilt’s verdict would be.

“Our reputation is our primary concern,” Williams said.  “We have a long and proud history of playing by the letter and the spirit of the rules.  Coach Franklin feels the same way.  He and his staff were most cooperative.”

If Vandy found no tampering and the SEC finds no tampering, then it’s doubtful that the NCAA will dig further to determine if a secondary violation — and that’s what it would be — has taken place.

If/when O’Brien transfers to Vandy, he will have two years of eligibility remaining.

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Stallings Gets Emotional After Vandy’s Tourney Title

When the 2013 SEC Tournament begins next year in Nashville — with 14 teams — expect to see that image at left over and over and over again in television opens and in “this is what the tourney means” montage pieces produced by ESPN/ABC.

Kevin Stallings’ surprising show of emotion prompted David Climer of The Tennessean to write: “… we saw a coach who cares very, very deeply about his players, his program, his university.  And the feeling is mutual.”

Indeed, back in 2009 Stallings’ turned down a $100,000 salary bump that was due him so Vanderbilt could use that cash for an offseason basketball tour of Australia for his team instead.  The guys cares about his players and his program.

As for his emotions on Sunday, Stallings said:

“When you invest a lot, you care a lot.  What I’m most proud of is the investment that’s occurred by this group of young men in our program.  To see those guys get to experience what they experienced, that was a great feeling for me.”

Stallings also had to be feeling a bit of relief.

In 12 seasons at VU, the coach has led the Commodores to five NCAA Tournaments.  Twice they made the Sweet Sixteen.  Three times — including the last two seasons — they’d gone one-and-done in March Madness.

Vandy fans wanted more from a veteran squad that was projected as a Top 10 team in the preseason.  Throughout the regular season, they failed to live up to expectations.  But yesterday in New Orleans, Stallings and his players showed their potential.

We have no doubts that Stallings wept for his players’ joy.  But finally experiencing a “breakthrough” tourney moment of his own had to play some role in his emotional display as well.

Congrats to him and to Vanderbilt for their upset and their SEC Tournament crown.

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