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SEC Recruiting Headlines 4/10/2013

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1. A former Auburn commit now says wants to play at Alabama. Jovon Robinson originally signed with Auburn. The running back  left the school after an NCAA investigation into his high school transcripts and is now at Georgia Military College where’s he working to regain eligibility.  Regardless of where goes, he’s not eligible to play Division I football until December 2014.

2. Alabama is also after a 2014 Auburn commit.  Lineman Josh Casher committed to Auburn back on March 31, calling it “the perfect fit.” After earning offensive line MVP honors at the Rivals camp over the weekend, Nick Saban called today. Here’s what his high school coach told AL.com: ”I figured after this weekend, they probably would. They had been recruiting him. They never had backed off him, actually — just as far as an actual offer, they hadn’t yet.”

3. Miami, Florida running back Dalvin Cook flipped from Clemson to Florida over the weekend.  This is a win for the Gators in the Miami area.  If the commitment sticks, Cook will be the first commitment from Miami since  Jabari Gorman in 2011.

4. Hebron, Texas defensive back Jamal Adams has over 20 offers.  Florida is one of the schools he plans to visit over the summer but next week, he’s headed to Texas A&M.  ”I’m excited about heading down to Texas A&M. They are definitely on the rise. Coach (Kevin) Sumlin is getting them right down there. Johnny Manziel doing a great job of leading the team too,” he said. “I’ve been to pretty much all of the Big 12 so I want to see something different. I want to see what the SEC is all about.”

5. Kyler Murray is one of the top prospects in the class of 2015 and a Texas A&M legacy.  Kyler’s father, Kevin Murray, played for the Aggies back in the 1980′s. While the Aggies have not officially offered Murray, he is reportedly high on their radar.

6. Here’s a look at Georgia’s 2014 commitments

SEC Basketball

7. Madisonville, Kentucky guard Dominique Hawkins is headed to Lexington this fall. He announced his commitment to play for John Calipari this morning.  Calipari had offered Hawkins a scholarship back on March 12, but he kept it a secret.  He told just two people -his mom and his girlfriend – that he had received the offer.  ”That’s it,” he said. “I could trust them, so that’s the only two I told.”  Hawkins will be the 17th Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky to play for the Wildcats.  Here’s a Q and A he did with the media after today’s announcement.

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AU Assistants Decline Comment On Rumored NCAA Investigation (Likely Tied To Ex-Tiger Robinson)

On and on it goes.  Worse and worse it looks.

Earlier this week, oddsmaker Danny Sheridan told a Tuscaloosa fan club that the NCAA is once again investigating Auburn and that two Tiger assistants had been pulled from the recruiting trail as a result.  Given a chance to deny the claims, head coach Gene Chizik declined.

Yesterday, Tiger assistants Curtis Luper and Trooper Taylor — the aides believed to have been grounded — followed suit.  Luper said:

 

“We’ve got our commitments, and we have a strategy to keep those guys.  We’re not going to elaborate on any of it, and we’re definitely not going to answer any accusations.”

 

And Taylor said:

 

“Obviously, we can’t comment on any accusations, but I can tell you this.  We have a plan in place for recruiting. We stick to that plan, and what this coaching staff is focused on, outside of recruiting, is winning a football game.”

 

If you’re on the road recruiting, you say so and you shoot down Sheridan’s claims.  Chizik, Luper and Taylor all chose to zip their lips instead.  Their silence speaks volumes.

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The 7-On-7 Coach Of AU’s Robinson Questioned By NCAA

Late last week, word broke that Auburn freshman running back Jovon Robinson had been pulled from practice pending an investigation into his high school transcript.  A guidance counselor at Wooddale High in Memphis resigned after admitting to doctoring the young man’s records.

Early this week, it became known that the NCAA is focusing in on the city of Memphis and the recruiting — much of it rumored to be filthy — that goes on there.

Yesterday, in a totally unrelated matter, we told you that while college basketball coaches decry the influence of many AAU programs on recruits, college football has a growing issue with 7-on-7 tournaments on its hands.

Now, everything seems to be coming together in a brand new story.

According to The Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the NCAA questioned Byron De’Vinner of Nashville who coached Robinson over the summer.  De’Vinner told the paper:

 

“It wasn’t about Jovon Robinson in particular.  It was basically just asking questions about how are 7-0n-7s run, things in those nature…

They were asking about different players, coaches and different practices, because I’ve been around the recruiting process a while and what not.  And the 7-on-7, that was something they discussed.”

 

So was this interview simply tied to Memphis and 7-on-7s or is Robinson at the crux of all these talks?  De’Vinner can say Robinson wasn’t the focus “in particular,” but only he and the NCAA investigators know what was asked behind closed doors.

For Auburn fans, the more questions that pop up about and around Robinson, the more worrisome this issue becomes.  Don’t get me wrong.  No one is suggesting the AU staff did anything wrong here.  But where there’s smoke, there’s often fire — Cam Newton’s case being the exception to the rule — and there seems to be a bit more smoke surrounding Robinson, his contacts, and his background every couple of days.

Robinson was expected to become AU’s #3 running back this fall before being sidelined due to the transcript issue.

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Tide, Tigers Face Academic “Scandal” Issues In The Same Week — Odd Timing, No?

What a strange coincidence.  What odd timing.  What a bizarre jump from one “scandal” to the another.

On Tuesday of last week, defensive line prospect Darius Paige switched high schools.  Immediately, an assistant at the high school left behind came forward to suggest that Alabama assistant coach Jeremy Pruitt had instructed Paige to make the move… because his new school could “take care of him academically.”

For the next couple of days, different views were tossed about.  The most prevalent?  That Foley High School offered more potential credit hours than Washington High School could, which meant Paige would have had legitimate reasons to transfer.  Regardless, Washington High’s athletic director reported the matter to both the Alabama High School Athletic Association and to the NCAA.

Ah, but by Friday, a new scandal was making headlines.  One with — seemingly — more meat on the bone than the previous one.  Only this one had to do with an Auburn signee.  On Friday, it was reported that a Wooddale High School guidance counselor had admitted to creating a false transcript for Tiger freshman running back Jovon Robinson.  The guidance counselor resigned from the Memphis school as a result.  Auburn has pulled Robinson from practice pending the investigation.

But here’s the fun part according to The Memphis Commercial-Appeal: “The statement (from Memphis City Schools) said the city was contacted by an NCAA representative on Tuesday afternoon regarding the allegation of a falsified transcript and that Supt. Kriner Cash assigned staff to investigate it.”

Tuesday, huh?  Same day as the Paige’s transfer and his ex-coach’s comments.

So was this all just coincidental timing?  Pure happenstance?

Maybe.  Or maybe this was just the latest in an ongoing tit-for-tat battle between Tide and Tiger fans.

With apologies to Sean Connery in “The Untouchables” — “You tell the NCAA one of mine is getting academic help, I’ll tell the NCAA one of yours definitely got academic help.  That’s the Yellowhammer State way.”

Now, it’s likely that the NCAA did not just hear of the accusations about Robinson’s transcript on Tuesday and decide to call on that very same day.  Heck, it would be an awfully quick turnaround from the coach in the Paige case going public with his Bama concerns to the allegations in the Robinson case reaching the NCAA.

But is it really far-fetched to think that someone with Alabama ties — angry that a high school coach claimed UA was bending rules — could have responded by raising a crimson red flag regarding an Auburn signee?  Whether that’s what really happened or not… no, it’s not far-fetched to expect that kind of thing to happen in the Iron Bowl rivalry.  Not at all.

 

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