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ESPN’s McShay Says Carolina’s Clowney “At A Different Level” From Other Players

jadeveon-clowney-helmet-off-meanSouth Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney entered the 2013 season as a long shot Heisman candidate.  Now, three weeks of football in the books, he’s faced questions about his effort, his conditioning, and his injured foot (which will require surgery to repair bone spurs after the season).

Readers of this site know that we believe Clowney has played just fine.  It’s the hype that got out of control.  All offseason, we were force-fed  video of Clowney’s game-changing tackle/forced fumble/fumble recovery versus Michigan in the Outback Bowl.  It was an incredible play.  It was one of only a few big plays he made that day.

And that’s the rub when it comes to pushing defensive linemen for the Heisman Trophy.  Quarterbacks and running backs and receivers make numerous highlight-worthy plays per game.  Defensive linemen?  And end like Clowney has had a great day if he records a pair of sacks.  So when the camera is on him for 60 minutes each Saturday, there are going to be a lot of plays that won’t wow the masses.

In Clowney’s case, though, he’s still wowing the NFL draft analysts like ESPN’s Todd McShay.  The man brought in to mix it up with Mel Kiper believes Clowney will still be the top player chosen in next year’s draft, so long as the team picking first isn’t desperate for a quarterback:


“Clowney’s at a different level than everybody else physically and he’s playing a little bit harder than people are giving him credit for.”


Through three games, Clowney has recorded two sacks for 16 yards.  Only two SEC players — Kentucky’s Za’Darius Smith and Arkansas’ Chris Smith — have more.  Clowney has three tackles for loss to his credit so far, plus one forced fumble.

Considering the fact that every team the Gamecocks face tries to go in whichever direction he is not, Clowney’s “disappointing” start to the season has been greatly overblown.

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SEC Headlines 2/14/2013

headlines-thuSEC Football

1. LSU expected to make the hiring of Cam Cameron official on Friday.

2. Should Jadeveon Clowney challenge the NFL rule that prevents him from entering the draft before 2014?

3. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s spin on his defense that lost 12 guys that started at least two games: “We’ve got nine starters coming back who started in one game or more last year.”

4. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen on new assistant Billy Gonzales.“Just about everywhere he’s gone, his receivers have broken records. The opportunity to get one of the best receiver coaches in the country is huge.”

5. Bulldogs could lose one of their quarterback signees – Cord Sandberg could go in the first round of the baseball draft.  Mullen: “If he goes really high, if he goes in the first round of the baseball draft, hey, I’m happy for him, proud for him.”

6. Mark Stoops has lost one of his four JUCO signees.  Cornerback Nate Willis headed to Division II. 

7. Florida lost three of its top four receivers, but with five freshman coming in, there should be healthy competition this fall.

8. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema issued a statement Wednesday night on defensive end Austin Flynn’s DWI arrest: “I will review the matter and it will be handled swiftly and decisively.”

9. Former coaches of arrested Alabama players give their reactions.

10. Stadium expansion at Arkansas – “why expand a stadium that doesn’t sell out regularly?”

11. With Bo Wallace recovering from shoulder surgery, Barry Brunetti will get plenty of reps this spring for Ole Miss.

12. Athlon breaks down this fall’s schedule – for the East and the West.

NFL Draft

13. Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Damontre Moore could be the first teammates drafted 1-2 by the NFL since 2000.

14. Alabama guard Chance Warmack’s talent is top 10 - but his NFL draft slot may no longer be, according to Mel Kiper.

15. Kiper thinks Auburn defensive end Corey Lemonier could land in the second round of the draft.

Nerlens Noel Reaction

16. Deadspin on Nerlens Noel season-ending torn ACL. “Noel won’t be the last player we see writhing on the ground in pain, his future possibly evaporating in front of him while NCAA and NBA cash in.”

17. ESPN draft analyst on Noel: “I’d be shocked, unless something happens in rehab, if he goes lower than No. 5.”

18. Sports Illustrated writer:  ”Before the injury, he was going to be a top-five pick in this year’s draft. After the injury … same deal.”

19. Florida coach Billy Donovan on Noel: “The injury came from a hustle play and it kind of embodies who he is as a player.”

20. Dick Vitale on Kentucky’s chances without Noel: “They could still be a good team, but not an elite team.”

SEC Basketball

21. Kentucky travels to Tennessee Saturday.  Vols have won back-to-back conference games for the first time this year.  Cuonzo Martin: “I think we can beat any team in this league now.”

22. UK will be wearing alternate uniforms when they come to Knoxville.

23. Concern now at Ole Miss about their tournament chances – “there really aren’t going to be anymore chances for the Rebels to make themselves look better.”

24. What do Alabama’s NCAA tournament chances look like?  Short answer – not great.

25. Tony Barbee used some variation of the the word “disappointing” five times in the first 73 seconds of his post-game news conference last night.

26. Missouri’s win over Mississippi State last night the first of four road games for the Tigers in 16 days.

27. LSU travels to South Carolina - starts a stretch of three games in six days.

28. South Carolina tries to break four-game losing streak tonight against a team they’ve already defeated on the road. With a 12-11 record, this looks to be Frank Martin’s first non-20 win season in six years as a college head coach.

NCAA/College News

29. NCAA basketball committee chairman on the 68-team field: ”I would tell you that I feel no compunction at all to think about expanding the tournament.”

30. What to expect when the NCAA deregulates communication between coaches and recruits in August?  ”It’s going to be like the wild, wild West.”

31. Is the decision by the Big Ten not to play FCS opponents the death of FCS football as we know it?


32. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim refuses to answer question from ESPN reporter – calls him an “an idiot” and “a disloyal person.”

33. Four shots in 24 seconds – last one from half court. Auburn student pulls it off and wins $5,000.

34. Who are your top 5 sports movie villains?

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SEC Headlines 12/12/2012

Coaching News

1. Bret Bielema hires his first assistant coach at Arkansas - Defensive coordinator Chris Ash will follow the new Razorbacks coach from Wisconsin.

2. Was Gus Malzahn the best SEC coaching hire this offseason?  That’s what Athlon Sports says.

3. When it comes to Twitter – LSU’s Les Miles is the most popular coach in America (Mark Richt, Butch Jones, Dan Mullen, Bret Bielema and Will Muschamp all in the Top 10).

4. Nick Saban will get inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

5. Looking like either Texas A&M coordinator Kliff Kingsbury or Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris as the next coach at Texas Tech. Morris interviewed Tuesday.

6. Tee Martin turned down Tennessee but he could return some day.  John Adams: “One day, he could be recruiting the Southeast on behalf of the Vols. Now, just isn’t the right time.”

7. Kentucky has a new offensive line coach – former UK player John Schlarman.

8. Missouri posts an official help wanted ad. Assistant coach Josh Henson and former OC David Yost both offered coordinator jobs.

9. Upset stomach? Thinking about Skyline Chili? “The waitress brought our food out, and we thought (Tuberville) went to the bathroom, but he never came back to dinner.”

10. Barry Alverez gets a one-time bump of almost $120K for coaching and athletic director duties at Wisconsin.

NFL Draft Prospects

11. South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore has a 4 p.m. Eastern news conference scheduled - expected to enter 2013 NFL draft.

12. Mel Kiper on Lattimore’s draft prospects: “Right now I write wild card by his name.”

13. Mel Kiper on Lattimore’s teammate: “ Obviously, Jadeveon Clowney, if he was in the draft, he’d be No. 1 overall. He’ll be the No. 1 guy in the draft hopefully after his junior year.”

14. Mel Kiper on Tyler Bray: “I would say right now another year at Tennessee would benefit him.”

15. Mel Kiper on Aaron Murray:  “If he wants to be a first-round pick and improve his stock, you go back.”

16. Mel Kiper on LSU – “a ton of (NFL draft) prospects.

17.  Rumors about Eddie Lacy and DJ Fluker at Alabama. Arkansas running back Knile Davis is turning pro.

18. Kentucky guard Larry Warford is the first All-American lineman for UK since 1989. Here’s how Kentucky O-lineman have fared in the NFL draft.

 SEC/College News

19. How big a role did Texas A&M’s victory over Alabama play in Johnny Manziel’s Heisman? “Without the Alabama win, Manziel is just another freshman phenom who doesn’t make it to New York City for the ceremony.”

20. When it comes to bowl games, LSU is like Jerry Seinfeld- Even Steven: “LSU just got the short end this year. In other years, it got more of a bowl than it deserved.”

21. Tigers resume practice Thursday.

22. Mississippi State A.D. Scott Stricklin on the Bulldogs football attendance: “What’s really exciting, I don’t have the updated numbers, I know going into this season, 17 of the 20 largest crowds we’ve ever had at Mississippi State have been since Dan’s been our head coach.”

23. Think of the Music City Bowl as a homecoming for Vanderbilt – “one that actually is better than the real thing.”

24. If this way-too-early forecast has any merit, the SEC will be very good in 2013.

25. Three names to watch in 2013 at Ole Miss.

26. Alabama freshman linebacker Denzel Devall drawing comparisons to Courtney Upshaw.

27. Darius Rucker, former lead singer of Hootie & The Blowfish turned country music performer, will sing the National Anthem when South Carolina plays Michigan in the Outback Bowl.


28. Highest ratings ever for ESPN and their coverage of the Heisman ceremony Saturday night.

29. Some of the best quotes from the Bo Jackson documentary.

30. ESPNU will air a documentary on former Kentucky star Sam Bowie.


31. “The bottom-line is this: the Big East’s basketball schools are screwed, no matter how you slice it.”

 SEC Basketball

32. LSU 80 – Tennessee-Chattanooga 67.  Point guards Andre Stringer and Corban Collins combine for  29 points and  7 assists.

33. Auburn 92 – Grambling State 42.  Tigers largest margin of victory since January, 2000.

34. Sharief Adumu dismissed from Auburn team. Fourth player dismissed or let go in 2012 by coach Tony Barbee.

35. Junior-college prospect that signed with Mississippi State in November released from his scholarship.

36. Tennesssee averaging 61.4 points a game – that’s 288th in the country.

37. Missouri’s team is a lot taller than last year’s edition – and that’s produced some growing pains. Tigers expected to get boost from Oregon transfer Jabari Brown.

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Nonsense Alert: Five SEC Teams Picked For 2013 NCAA Tourney Field’s resident Bracketologist Joe Lunardi is pretty good at what he does.  In fact, like Mel Kiper, he’s kind of created his own field in which to star.  But even for a master bracket-predictor, lining up the 2013 NCAA Tournament field 11 months in advance might be just a tad silly.

Still, Lunardi’s done just that and he expects to see five SEC schools in the Big Dance next year:

Kentucky — a #1 seed in the West

Florida — a #2 seed in the Midwest

Missouri — a #5 seed in the East

Tennessee — a #9 seed in the South

Ole Miss — a #13 seed in a play-in game in the Midwest

Uh, yeah.  Mark it down.

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When It Comes To Senior Stars, The Tide, Hogs And Dawgs Are Loaded

Yesterday, NFL draft guru Mel Kiper posted the top five returning seniors for each position going into the 2012 season.  Of those players listed, 22 are from the SEC and nearly 60% of those senior stars come from three schools — Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia:

Barrett Jones, #1 OG
Robert Lester, #4 S
Chance Warmack, #3 OG
Jesse Williams, #2 DT
Michael Williams, #2 TE

Knile Davis, #2 RB
Chris Gragg, #1 TE
Cobi Hamilton, #4 WR
Tyler Wilson, #3 QB

Sanders Commings, #5 CB
John Jenkins, #3 DT
Abry Jones, #4 DE
Bacarri Rambo, #2 S

Caleb Sturgis, #2 K

Larry Warford, #2 OG

Alex Hurst, #3 OT

Mississippi State

Johnthan Banks, #1 CB

Zavier Gooden, #5 OLB

Ole Miss
Tyler Campbell, #4 P

South Carolina
Devin Taylor, #5 DE

Dallas Thomas, #4 OT

Texas A&M
Sean Porter, #4 OLB

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