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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Vandy Recruits Begin To Look Around

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxVanderbilt’s recruiting is on hold as the college football world waits for James Franklin’s final decision.

Multiple reports have Franklin leaving Vanderbilt to become the head coach at Penn State. That would be a tremendous blow to Vanderbilt on the recruiting trail, where Franklin has made the Commodores relevant for the first time since recruiting coverage became a thing.

Vanderbilt commitments have already begun hearing from schools ready to take advantage of the idea of Franklin bolting for Penn State. And those prospects appear to be listening.

Defensive tackle Michael Sawyers from Ensworth School in Nashville, Tenn., is one of those prospects. He told Rivals.com he plans to visit Ole Miss and Texas and is considering trips to Tennessee and Notre Dame.

“I was thinking Vanderbilt was more of a long-term thing with Coach Franklin,” said Sawyers, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 17 defensive tackle by Rivals. “That’s kind of getting to me right now. I’m still committed to Vanderbilt and I feel like if we keep this class together we can still be good, but I’ve just decided that I’m going to take a couple of official visits and see how things play out.”

It will be interesting to see how Trent Sherfield’s recruitment plays out. The athlete from Danville (Ill.) High School told 247Sports on Thursday he planned to open his recruitment after hearing the reports about Franklin’s departue.

Vanderbilt could still be in play for Sherfield, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 45 safety by 247Sports.

Other Vanderbilt commitments to watch as Franklin’s status remains in question: defensive backs Kyle Gibson from Seffner, Fla., and Emmanuel Smith from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and running back Mikale Wilbon from Chicago.

All three prospects are highly-touted and would have several options if they decided to look at other schools.

One key prospect Vanderbilt can feel good about is quarterback KJ Carta-Samuels from San Jose, Calif. The younger brother of former Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels reaffirmed his commitment – at least for now – to Vanderbilt.

 

Gators add Tabor, lose Lammons 

Florida received good news Thursday when cornerback Jalen Tabor from Friendship Christian Academy in Washington, D.C., announced he will enroll at Florida next week.

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SEC Hoops Roundup 1/9/2014

gfx-hoops-round-up2Florida 74 – South Carolina 58.

1. Florida opened with a nice win but now wonder about point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who injured his ankle late in the game.

2. South Carolina coach Frank Martin saw his team fight against Florida.

Kentucky 85 – Mississippi State 63.

3. Mississippi State actually led at halftime before Kentucky went on a tear in the second half.

4. Kentucky is still trying to break out of its bad habits. Coach John Calipari: “Our habits stink.”

5. Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said his team has to learn to fight for 40 minutes.

Georgia 70 – Missouri 64 (OT).

6. Georgia coach Mark Fox was very emotional following the win. His father was buried on Tuesday.

7. Lackadaisical play for Missouri had been a concern for coach Frank Haith. It might have cost the Tigers against Georgia.

Texas A&M 69 – Arkansas 53.

8. Physical practices helped Texas A&M get ready for the start of conference play. The Aggies handled Arkansas on Wednesday.

9. Arkansas’ road woes continue. Coach Mike Anderson: “In our locker room we’ve got some guys that are really kind of upset and mad at themselves.

Thursday’s Schedule

Auburn at Ole Miss

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SEC Headlines 1/8/2014

headlines-wedSEC Football

1. Johnny Manziel has picked a contract agent and a marketing group.  Will reportedly announce his NFL intentions today.  Gil Brandt says Manziel’s paperwork is in. Apparently not his only big decision, though.

2. Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher on Nick Saban: “I think he’s a tremendous coach and a tremendous guy, and he and I will always stay close friends.”

3. Good news for Auburn – bad news for everyone else.  For the first time in his college coaching career, a Gus Malzahn team will return its starting quarterback. But should Malzahn split snaps between Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson?

4. Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton in the mix at Georgia Southern? Would appear so.

5. Florida announces its spring game - set for April 12th. What’s the outlook at safety for the Gators?

6. One recruit and one transfer are on campus and taking classes at Ole Miss.

7. Bowl game attendance on the decline for the fourth straight season- lowest since 1978-79.

SEC/NFL Draft

8. Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson is NFL bound.  Could go in the first 10-to-15 picks.

9. Teammate and fellow lineman Reese Dismukes will return for his senior year.

10. What will running back Tre Mason decide? If he’s leaving, went out with a “statement game.”

11. Missouri running back Henry Josey’s draft projections came back fourth round or later – but he’s leaving anyway.

12. Running back Jeremy Hill is reportedly staying at LSU.An official announcement on Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. could come as soon as today.

13. Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson will return for his senior year.

14. Record 80 underclassmen have already declared for draft.

SEC Basketball

15. Arkansas opens SEC play on the road at Texas A&M.  Will the Razorbacks be a better road team this season?

16. South Carolina opens on the road at Florida without Bruce Ellington who’s decided to enter NFL draft.  ”He brought that leadership that our team is kind of lacking in certain areas.” Is Ellington the last of the two-sport stars?

17. Why Florida needs to be ready for a “puzzling” South Carolina team.

18. Mississippi State travels to Kentucky – first ranked team Bulldogs have played this season.

19. Missouri opens conference play with Georgia.  Tigers have had at least six days between every game for the past four weeks.  Now will have to adjust to two games a week.

20. For the fourth time in the past five years, Georgia plays a ranked team to open the SEC schedule.

21. Pete Thamel: Forget freshman, transfers are the new prized recruits in college hoops. (Pretty sure Missouri coach Frank Haith agrees)

Extra

22. James Franklin isn’t the only candidate that Penn State has interest in.  Reportedly will interview San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. One report says he’s already interviewed.

23. Believed to be five finalists for the Louisville football head coach’s job or maybe it’s just three? Either way, Bobby Petrino makes the cut. Update: Yahoo! Sports says hiring of Petrino is “imminent.”

24. Painful.  Auburn fan doesn’t hedge bet that would have paid him $50,000 if the Tigers had won Monday night.

25. Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner fires his trainer.  The guy is his brother-in-law.

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SEC Headlines 1/2/2014

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. Are the Cleveland Browns targeting Gus Malzahn or James Franklin for their next head coach?

2. Vanderbilt A.D. says people have contacted him about talking to Franklin. Penn State makes Bill O’Brien’s departure official.

3. Former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer attended practice at Florida State in September.  What he saw reminded him of his days in the SEC.

4. The Auburn-Florida State game that never happened - Bowden vs. Bowden.

5. Gregg Doyel: “Alabama is the best team in the country.” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops agrees.

6. With Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans likely gone to the NFL, what’s the future look like for the Texas A&M offense?

7. Five predictions for the 2014 Aggies.

8. Mississippi State’s senior class going out in style – four straight bowl games after just one in eight years.

9. Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief and safety Cody Prewitt are both expected to soon make decisions on whether or not to enter the NFL Draft.

10. Missouri lineman Max Copeland on the distraction of the enormous scoreboard at AT&T Stadium: “The first time I walked out here for our first practice, it was like a chicken in the rain.”

11. Several Mizzou players reportedly invited to NFL Combine – but they’ve yet to hear the news. Running back Henry Josey may leave early for the NFL.

12. South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington may decide to leave early to the next level.

13. Connor Shaw finished his South Carolina career with a 27-5 record as a starting quarterback.

14. Conflicting reports about AJ McCarron’s status for the Senior Bowl.

15. Florida’s downfall started one year ago at the Sugar Bowl.”It was an embarrassing night for the Gator Nation before the game ever kicked off.”

Extra

16. Is Lane Kiffin headed to Tampa Bay?

17. Time to change the rules for NFL extra points?  Bill Belichick thinks so.

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Connor Shaw Leads South Carolina To Capital One Bowl Victory Over Wisconson

postgame-links-150x1501South Carolina 34 – Wisconsin 24

1. For the third straight year, South Carolina finishes 11-2 and 6-2 in the SEC.  Steve Spurrier: “It’s been a wonderful time for all of us.”

2. Spurrier: “That state championship ain’t bad, either.”

3. Quarterback Connor Shaw throws three touchdown passes, responsible for a total of five on the day.

4. Part-time high school receiver Shaw had one last item on his college wish list.  ”I wanted a receiving touchdown.” That wish came true on New Year’s Day.

5. Shaw found out after the game he’s been invited to the NFL combine.

6. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is also bound for the NFL: “I miss every bit of it already.”

7. One-handed grab by South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington.

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SEC Headlines 12/31/2013

headlines-tueSEC Football

1. Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo reportedly set to talk to Georgia Southern about its head coaching vacancy. Makes $575,000 a year at Georgia under a three-year contract. Mark Richt: “I’m not shocked that Mike’s getting some attention in that regard.”

2, Bobo on Jacksonville: “Our philosophy is Jacksonville is just an extension of Georgia.”

3, Is LSU coach Les Miles still a Big Ten man at heart? LSU A.D. Joe Alleva on Miles: “He has five years left on his contract, and I expect him to be our coach for a long time to come.”

4. Enjoy the Johnny Manziel to Mike Evans connection tonight.  Could be the last time you see them in Texas A&M uniforms. The Aggies Malcome Kennedy nearly two months ago: “It was fun playing with them.” Watch them tonight in person for under 10 bucks.

5, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin once interviewed at Tennessee for the wide receivers coaching position.  Job went to Pat Washington (now at Missouri) instead.

6. A win for Dan Mullen today would give the Mississippi State head coach the most bowl victories in school history.

7. One of the reasons why the SEC is going for its 8th straight title?  Avoiding major NCAA penalties.  ”This can’t be overstated enough.”

8. Who benefits most from the four-week layoff before BCS title game?  Kirk Herbstreit says it’s Florida State’s defense.

9. Herbstreit on Alabama-Oklahoma:  ”I think the game will be much, much closer than what a lot of people who I’m listening to or talking to think.”

10. Is Alabama junior safety HaHa Clinton-Dix NFL bound?  Says he’s yet to make up his mind.

11. Alabama’s struggles at the cornerback position this year are something new for defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

12. South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward to Jadeveon Clowney: ”I told him, ‘You’ve gotta slow down.’ Life is precious.”

13. Why exactly is Wisconsin favored to beat South Carolina?

14. LSU and the Outback Bowl: “For a litany of reasons, some that still don’t make a ton of sense, the interest in this game has been lukewarm from the LSU fan base.”

15. Missouri’s L’Damian Washington has been bothered with a sore foot but expected to play in the Cotton Bowl.

16. With all starters coming back, the linebacking corps projects as a position of strength at Florida.

17. The future at Ole Miss: “The team’s top two rushers, top two receivers and 15 of its top 20 tacklers all have eligibility remaining…”

SEC Media

18. ESPN hires Tim Tebow as analyst for the SEC Network.

19. Richard Deitsch: “ESPN’s research department has pushed a singular mantra when it comes to college football: You can never have too much SEC. ”

Extras

20. University of Texas A.D. Steve Patterson says he hopes to have a replacement in place for Mack Brown by January 15. Cross Jimbo Fisher off the list?

21. Why Peyton Manning could lose his record for single season passing yardage.

22. Want to read the University of Kentucky’s entire contract with Nike?

23. What would you name a newborn in Alabama?  Krimson Tyde of course.

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SEC Hoops Roundup 12/31/2013

gfx-hoops-round-up1. Tennessee 87 – Virginia 52. Video Highlights35-point margin largest of the Cuonzo Martin era.  Vols improve to 8-4.

2. South Carolina 92 – Marshall 65. Gamecocks get to .500 (6-6) behind 18 points each from Ty Johnson and Brenton Williams .

3. Ole Miss 79 – Western Kentucky 74. Rebels get a combined 47 points from Jarvis Summers and Marshall Henderson. Ole Miss now 9-3 on the season.

4. St. Louis 57 – Vanderbilt 49.  Commodores lose three-point lead with just over five minutes to go, watch Billikens go on 12-0 run.  Lowest home point total for Vanderbilt (7-4) since 2002.

5. Auburn 91 – Arkansas Pine Bluff 59. Video HighlightsTigers shoot 65 percent from the field – best performance of the Tony Barbee era. Auburn improves to 7-3. 

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SEC Hoops Roundup 12/29/2013

gfx-hoops-round-up1. Kentucky 73 – Louisville 66. Video Highlights.  Kentucky gets 17 points from Julius Randle in first half but cramps sideline him in second half. John Calipari: “We grew up today.”

2. South Carolina 78 – Akron 45.  Gamecocks beat the Zips for the second time in four days.  South Carolina gets a season-high 24 points from senior Brenton Williams.

3. LSU 79 – McNeese State 52. Tigers overcome sluggish start.  Get 14 points and 10 rebounds from freshman forward Jarell Martin.

4. Arkansas 89 – High Point 48. Video HighlightsRazorback defense generates 25 turnovers and 17 steals. Arkansas completes undefeated calendar year at Bud Walton Arena for just the third time.

5. Missouri 68 – North Carolina State 64. Video Highlights. Tigers rally from double-digit deficits twice.  Jabari Brown hits go-ahead three pointer with less than a minute to go.  Jordan Clarkson had a team-high 21 points.

6. Colorado 84 – Georgia 70. Colorado makes all 26 of their free throws, Bulldogs make just 9-of-18. 

7. UCLA 75 – Alabama 67. Crimson Tide falls on the road despite a season-high 34 points from Trevor Releford.  Game was tied at 67 with less than two minutes to go but Bruins score last eight points of the contest.

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SEC Headlines 12/27/2013

headlines-fri-150x150SEC Football

1. Another speeding ticket for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.  Was going 84 mph in a 55 mph zone.

2. Steve Spurrier on Clowney: “He needs to go to driving school doesn’t he?”

3. Will suspensions for safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and cornerback Sheldon Dawson carry over to the 2014 season at Georgia?  Coach Mark Richt won’t say.

4. What will new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper bring to Florida?  Expect a fast-paced offense.

4. Quarterback Will Grier is a Florida commit – spent two summer camps with Roper at Duke.

5. Gus Malzahn doesn’t want a repeat of Auburn’s slow start from the last time the Tigers battled for a national title. “Hopefully we can learn from that experience, and get off to a faster start.”

6. Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee on coaching quarterback Nick Marshall: “There was no ego, there was no laziness, he wants to work hard…”

7. Is wide receiver Sammie Coates one of the keys to Auburn beating Florida State?

8. Florida State receiver has advice for Auburn’s defense: “I’d be more of a zone guy to try to cover us.”

9. Nick Saban on former Alabama assistant and current Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt: “Doesn’t surprise me at all that he’s doing extremely well there with their defensive players because he did a fantastic job here.”

10. The appearance by Dick Butkus at Alabama’s team banquet made linebacker C.J. Mosley’s parents happy.  They grew up in Chicago.

11. Alabama, Oklahoma and the star power of the 1962 Orange Bowl. It included President John F. Kennedy.

12. Only once in the past eight games did South Carolina’s defense allow a 100-yard receiver – happened against Tennessee and Marquez North.

13. Oklahoma native and Missouri wide receiver Levi Copelin will see some familiar faces when the Tigers face Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

14. Tigers also have plenty of Texas natives excited to be coming home.

15. Ole Miss is in Nashville for practice.  Players will board a boat and eat ribs after practice.

16. Iowa preparing for trick plays from LSU and coach Les Miles. Another wildcard for the Hawkeyes – LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings.

17. Did LSU and Iowa players really combine to eat more than 5,000 pounds of food at Outback? (Simple math suggests not likely).

SEC History and Traditions

18. When was the last time the SEC didn’t win the BCS Championship? “Johnny Manziel had just turned 13 years old. Jameis Winston was about to celebrate his 12th birthday. Tim Tebow had yet to play a down in college.”

19. Tennessee – Florida and Steve Spurrier’s last home game in the Swamp back in 2001.

SEC Basketball

20. Breaking down the Kentucky-Louisville matchup. Who runs a better athletic department - Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart or Louisville’s Tom Jurich?

21. Is Kentucky still a national title contender?

Extra

22. Sad story. Bobby Bowden’s grandson killed in one-car accident. Second Bowden grandson to die in a car accident.

23. Former Tennessee and current Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox reportedy taking the same job at Southern Cal.

24. Budget hotel rooms in New Jersey will cost about a $1,000 a night for the Super Bowl.

24. It’s good to be Michael Jordan.  Hasn’t played basketball in over 10 years – makes about $80 million a year.

26. New York Times: ESPN has received about $260 million in state tax breaks and credits over the past 12 years.

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SEC Headlines 12/23/2013

headlines-monSEC Football

1. Florida State is an ACC team but it has plenty in common with Auburn and the SEC power teams.

2. Auburn kicker Cody Parkey has been checking off goals during his senior season.

3. Nick Saban on D.J. Pettway returning to Alabama: “We felt that this one person, because he did the things he was required to do, deserved a second chance.”

4. Alabama will hold a simulated game Monday to help bridge the gap between Auburn and Oklahoma.

5. Jeremy Hill’s 49-yard touchdown run was the No. 5 play for LSU this season.

6. Zach Mettenberger won’t play for LSU in the Outback Bowl but he is helping mentor Anthony Jennings before his first start.

7. Mississippi State freshman QB Damian Williams is trying to learn from Dak Prescott and get better.

8. Standout Texas A&M freshman linebacker Damian Claiborne has been suspended following a drug charges.

9. Dwight Collins looks at program game-changers in the history of the SEC.

10. Ready for a sneak peak into 2014? Athlon has its very early top 25 for next season.

SEC Basketball

11. Auburn surged past Boston College Sunday and never looked back. The Tigers won 77-67.

12. Ole Miss lost by three points to Mercer on Sunday.

13. Mississippi State beat South Florida 71-66. Mississippi State will play UNLV on Monday.

14. South Carolina gave Saint Mary’s its first loss of the season in Honolulu. South Carolina will play Boise State on Monday.

15. Tennessee will be trying to find the right “flow” when it takes on Morehead State on Monday.

Extra

16. Bowl ticket guarantees are “a hard business model that we keep fighting,” according to Ohio State AD Gene Smith.

17. Dan Wolken has nine names you should see on Texas’ list but won’t.

18. Standout guard Jerian Grant won’t play the rest of the season for Notre Dame’s basketball team because of academic issues.

19. Saturday’s Louisville-Kentucky basketball game will headline Saturday’s basketball action.

20. The accusation against Boise State QB Joe Southwick, who was sent home from Hawaii, is an unusual one for sure.

21. Need to rebuild a program. Here are the 30 best coaches to get the job done.

22. Steve Sarkisian will make another run at Ed Orgeron. Sarkisian: “When the emotions settle down, Ed’s a great Trojan and he’s meant a lot to the Trojan family.”

23. Happy Festivus, everyone.

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