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Kevin Sumlin: “This Class Addresses Our Needs Across The Board”

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin meets the media to discuss National Signing Day 2014.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Elam Chooses In-State Kentucky

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxKentucky received the news it had been waiting for on Thursday when defensive tackle Matt Elam from John Hardin High School in Elizabethtown, Ky., announced his commitment to the Wildcats.

Elam chose Kentucky over Alabama.

“The whole time I was just struggling to pick a school,” he said, according to the Lexington Herald Leader. “It’s hard to turn down Alabama, and it’s crazy that I did. But I feel my heart is at the University of Kentucky — that was the main thing.”

Elam became a main target for Kentucky’s coaching staff early in the recruiting process. The Wildcats knew keeping him from leaving the state would be difficult.

“Coach Stoops is doing something right,” John Hardin coach Chad Lewis told the Herald Leader. “He can’t build this program in one year. The way the program was … it was on a downhill slide.

“It’s going to take some time to rebuild it. The way to rebuild a program is to recruit the best players, and you have to go after the best players. When you land these type of kids, your program’s going to change.”

Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has certainly helped improve the Wildcats’ recruiting. Kentucky has 27 commitments for the 2014 class, which is ranked No. 13 in the nation by

Elam’s commitment means Kentucky has landed three of the state’s top five prospects for 2014. He believes that will be a key in Stoops’ attempt to turn the program around.

“I feel like that’s one of the main reasons why I stayed is just to help out my home-state program, because to have a good program you need great players,” Elam said. “And it has to start with those in-state kids just to be the cornerstone of that. So I feel like me and Drew, we stayed home, and I feel like we’re definitely gonna help out Coach Stoops and the UK program.”


Humphrey chooses Alabama

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey from Hoover (Ala.) High School announced his commitment to Alabama this week.

Read the rest of this entry »

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SEC Headlines 1/15/2014

headlines-wedSEC Coaching News

1. One prediction on the impact of Georgia hiring defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt: ”Might as well go ahead, beat the rush and make Georgia your favorite to win the SEC East in 2014.”

2. Pruitt replaces Todd Grantham who left for Louisville.  ”As a straight trade, it’s roughly comparable to swapping George McClellan for Ulysses S. Grant.” Pruitt was Georgia’s first and only choice.

3. Mississippi State offensive coordinator Les Koenning reportedly headed to Texas to join Charlie Strong’s staff.

4. How does Strong’s contract compare to the one at Texas A&M for Kevin Sumlin?

5. Mike Bianchi on why Strong didn’t get  a particular SEC job: “He was told that he didn’t get the job because he was a black man who had a white wife…”

6. Stewart Mandel on Lane Kiffin to Alabama: “The massive disconnect between the public perception of Kiffin and the opinions of those that know him have long fascinated me.”

7. LSU reportedly offers its offensive line coach position to Virginia Tech offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. 

8. Aggies make it official – announce the hiring of Terry Joseph as defensive backs coach.

SEC Football

9. Don’t expect the drug felony investigation involving Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to be resolved anytime soon.

10. Expect South Carolina’s linebackers to lead the defense in 2014.

11. Alabama freshman quarterback Luke Del Rio is leaving the Crimson Tide program. Son of Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.

12. Former Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy headed to Boston College.

13. Here are the nine early enrollees already on campus at Florida.


14. Jadeveon Clowney to the Texans?  Houston owner is a South Carolina grad.

15. Early defections at LSU are up to six players - includes wide receiver Odell Beckham – but offensive tackle La’El Collins is staying for his senior season.

16. Total SEC underclassmen departing approaching 30 – deadline to declare is today.

17. Alabama receiver DeAndrew White says he’ll return for his senior season.

18. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron won’t play in the Senior Bowl – wants to focus on NFL draft.


19. Are college sports telecasts essentially” informercials under the guise of entertainment”?

20. The Sports Illustrated series detailing allegations at Oklahoma State has cost the school more than $100,000.

SEC Basketball

21. Auburn walk-on forward Alex Thompson is getting a scholarship.

Tonight’s schedule:

22. Auburn at Tennessee.  Can the Tigers get over the hump and break their 12-game SEC losing streak?

23. Mississippi State at Alabama.  Bulldogs haven’t won a conference road game in over a year.

24. South Carolina at Texas A&M. Two teams going in different directions;  South Carolina 0-2 to start SEC play – Texas A&M 2-0.

25. LSU at Ole Miss.  Rebels regret missing out on Johnny O’Bryant.  Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy: “We spent a lot of time and energy recruiting Johnny.”

26. Our earlier roundup of Tuesday night SEC hoops.


27.  USA Today: The financial divide between the top five leagues in FBS and the other five leagues…is expected to grow dramatically with the SEC’s new TV money and the advent of the College Football Playoff, which begins next season.”

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The Best (And Worst) SEC Quarterback Situations Entering 2014

quarterback-silhouette-question-markUsing statistics from a previous season is not always the best way to predict which school will thrive at the quarterback position in an upcoming year.  There are injuries to consider.  Not just to the QB but to his offensive line or receivers.

There are always surprises, players who come from nowhere to become stars.  Two years ago there was a four-way battle for the signal-caller spot in Kevin Sumlin’s brand new Texas A&M offense.  The winner was a small fella who Texas had actually recruited to play safety.  But Johnny Manziel went on to win the Heisman in just his first season.

Last offseason, Auburn’s quarterback battle appeared to be a four-way battle as well.  But the two holdovers from 2012 were quickly chucked from the race.  A pair of newcomers — the runner Nick Marshall and the thrower Jeremy Johnson — wound up duking things out.  The former Georgia defensive back, Marshall, earned the starting gig and led the Tigers to the brink of a BCS championship.

Before we look at 2014, let’s take a quick look back at 2012 and 2013.  Below you’ll find the 2012 total offense numbers for each school’s top returning QB.  Farther to the right you’ll find the 2013 total offense numbers for each school’s top quarterback for comparison.  Again, be careful not to draw too many conclusions:


  School   Top 2012 QB Returning   Total Off. 2012   Yds/Gm 2012   Top 2013 QB   Total Off. 2013   Yds/Gm 2013   SEC Rec.   Overall Rec.
  Texas A&M   J. Manziel   5116   393.5   J. Manziel   4873   374.8   4-4   9-4
  Georgia   A. Murray   3825   273.2   A. Murray   3261   296.5   5-3   8-5
  Ole Miss   B. Wallace   3384   260.3   B. Wallace   3701   284.7   3-5   8-5
  Alabama   AJ McCarron   2937   209.8   AJ McCarron   3041   233.9   7-1   11-2
  Miss. State   T. Russell   2892   222.5   D. Prescott   2769   251.7   3-5   7-6
  LSU   Z. Mettenberger   2401   184.7   Z. Mettenberger   2949   245.8   5-3   10-3
  S. Carolina   C. Shaw   2391   217.4   C. Shaw   3005   231.2   6-2   11-2
  Florida   J. Driskel   2054   171.2   T. Murphy   1277   141.8   3-5   4-8
  Missouri   J. Franklin   1684   187.1   J. Franklin   2939   267.1   7-1   12-2
  Kentucky   J. Whitlow   1007   100.7   J. Whitlow   1492   124.3   0-8   2-10
  Auburn   J. Wallace   872   96.9   N. Marshall   3044   234.2   7-1   12-2
  Vanderbilt   A. Carta-Samuels   225   37.5   A. Carta-Samuels   2382   238.3   4-4   9-4
  Arkansas   B. Allen   183   36.6   B. Allen   1581   143.7   0-8   3-9
  Tennessee   J. Worley   134   26.8   J. Worley   1295   161.8   2-6   5-7


As you can see, the numbers from one year don’t always mean very much heading into the next year.  So even though the list below of returning total offense leaders is stacked up by total yards gained, you’ll find that our grades don’t always mesh with those 2013 stats.  Here’s our quickie take on the best, worst, good and bad SEC quarterback situations rolling into 2014:


  School   Top 2013 QB Returning   Total Off. 2013   Yds/Gm 2013   Our View of Situation
  Ole Miss   B. Wallace   3701   284.7   Good, Just needs to keep cutting down on turnovers
  Auburn   N. Marshall   3044   234.2   Best, But Marshall still needs to improve as a passer
  Miss. State   D. Prescott   2769   251.7   Good, Prescott was a solid leader in ’12 when healthy
  Arkansas   B. Allen   1581   143.7   Worst, Injuries were an issue, but Allen needs work
  Kentucky   J. Whitlow   1492   124.3   Bad, Likely an open race as Whitlow’s health always a ?
  Missouri   M. Mauk   1300   100.0   Good, Mauk showed he’s a solid heir to the job
  Tennessee   J. Worley   1295   161.8   Bad, An open race once between up to 4 guys
  Georgia   H. Mason   960   240.0   Good, Mason wasn’t great, but he should be ready for ’14
  Vanderbilt   P. Robinette   856   85.6   Bad, If Franklin walks out how will new coach see/use him?
  S. Carolina   D. Thompson   810   101.2   Good, But not great… he’s not been a Shaw clone to date
  Florida   J. Driskel   515   171.6   Bad, New OC and likely an open competition
  Texas A&M   M. Joeckel   293   73.2   Good, Whoever gets the nod should excel in Sumlin’s system
  Alabama   B. Sims   228   28.5   Good, The people around Bama’s QB will help a lot
  LSU   A. Jennings   199   22.1   Good, Beat Arkansas and Iowa and run game will help


We’re not factoring in freshmen because we’ve yet to reach signing day and who knows which commitments might flip-flop between now and then?

One thing is clear looking at this SEC quarterback chart — the league should shift back to more of a defense-first conference next season.  In 2013, a combination of young defenses, veteran quarterbacks and the proliferation of hurry-up offenses inside the league conspired to “soften” the SEC in terms of defense.  In 2012, SEC defenses allowed 42,609 in conference-only games.  That number ballooned to 46,600 yards in 2013.  On average, SEC defenses allowed about 70 yards per game more in 2013 than they did in 2012.

With newcomers expected to take over at so many schools and with defenses that should be a bit more veteran in 2014, we suspect that total-yards-allowed number to drop a bit, even with all of the hurry-up offenses currently being utilized across Dixie.  That’s because only about half of the league’s teams — Ole Miss, Auburn, Mississippi State, Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina and LSU — have a pretty firm grasp on who’ll be taking their offense’s snaps in the season ahead.

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Johnny Manziel’s Message To His Teammates: “Don’t Look At The Scoreboard”

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, along with players Johnny Manziel and Toney Hurd Jr. meet the media following the Aggies 52-48 win over Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

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Kevin Sumlin: “Couldn’t Be Happier With How We’ve Been Treated”

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and a few players meet the media in Atlanta at a Chik-fil-A Bowl press conference Saturday.

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SEC Gameday Links: Saturday Night Lights 11/30/2013

gameday-links-150x150Clemson at South Carolina

1. Gamecocks have dominated this series in recent years - look to make it five in a row tonight.

2. “Perhaps the most lopsided mismatch on the field will be South Carolina’s defensive line against Clemson’s offensive line. “

Tennessee at Kentucky

3. Winners of this rivary game used to celebrate with a wooden beer barrel.  But that all ended in 1998.

4. Tennessee running back Rajion Neal just 10 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark.

5. With neither team in a position to go to a bowl game, both programs look at this game as a springboard to next season.

Texas A&M at Missouri

6. Prediction: “The goalposts come down at Faurot.”

7. Of Missouri’s 19 seniors, seven of them came to Columbia as two-star recruits or walk-ons.

8. Texas A&M has never lost back-to-back games under coach Kevin Sumlin.

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SEC Conference Call: Kevin Sumlin Talks LSU

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks LSU – Week 13 SEC coaches conferences call.

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Southern Cal Targeting Kevin Sumlin?

Kevin SumlinIs Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin the top target at Southern Cal?  That’s what “sources” are telling the Los Angeles Daily News.

USC is hoping to have a new coach in place by December after firing Lane Kiffin at the end of September.  In addition to Sumlin, Southern Cal has reportedly reached out to…wait for it…Jon Gruden.  Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has denied that he’s interviewed for the job. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has also been mentioned in connection with the position as has Boise State coach Chris Peterson and Denver Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio.

Here’s what Pac-12 network analyst Rick Neuheisel had to say about Sumlin this week.


“I’m hearing lot of names around the NFL, but I would say a guy like Kevin Sumlin might be the perfect choice.”


The Los Angeles Daily News says Sumlin makes $3.1 million at A&M but could potentially double his salary at USC.  A report surfaced earlier this week indicating there could be a growing rift between Sumlin and Texas A&M A.D. Eric Hyman. (H/T football rumor mill)

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Kevin Sumlin: “Stress Level In This Job..It’s Hard To Describe”

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin meets the media as the Aggies prepare to face Mississippi State this weekend.

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