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SEC Headlines 12/24/2013

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1. Georgia suspends two defensive backs for the Gator Bowl.  Starting safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and cornerback Sheldon Dawson will miss the game due to violation of “team regulations.”

2. Georgia reserve quarterback Christian LeMay and former Bulldog safety Shaquille Fluker reportedly transferring to Jacksonville State.

3. Suspended Alabama defensive end LaMichael Fanning will reportedly transfer to Jacksonville State. Made news in 2012 for slamming Missouri running back Russell Hansbrough to the turf.

4. Former LSU running back Jeryl Brazil headed to East Mississippi Community College.

5. Florida coach Will Muschamp interviewed Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper on Monday. Roper began his coaching career at Tennessee.

6. More honors for Auburn coach Gus Malzahn – named on Monday as the Associated Press Coach of the Year.

7. Five former coaches at Tulsa have left and gone on to win national titles at other schools in the last 20 years. Gus Malzahn was Tulsa’s offensive coordinator in 2007.

8. South Carolina running back Mike Davis trying to get healthy for the bowl game.  ”I hope I’ll be 100 percent by the time we get to Florida.”

9. Will he or won’t he?  Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy weighs the pros and cons of leaving school early for the NFL draft.

10. Mike Davis and Missouri’s defense are among the groups with the most to prove in the bowl games.

11. The Liberty Bowl will be the last game at Ole Miss for backup quarterback Barry Brunetti: “With the opportunity I had, I fulfilled it.”

12. One way to gauge interest in bowl games? Look at hotel search data.

13. Some questions and answers about college football’s new playoff format that will start next season.

SEC Basketball

14. Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein on coming back after the Christmas break to play Louisville: “It’s the worst scheduling ever. That’s my opinion.”

15. Kentucky has had a heavy reliance on first-year players against Louisville in recent years.

16. When Arkansas returns from Christmas break, Razorbacks will have two more games before beginning conference play.

17. Seth Davis: “ I usually caution against overreacting to one bad game, but Tennessee’s loss at home to N.C. State was as bad as they come.”

Extras

18. Mack Brown was forced out at Texas after University of Texas president Bill Powers abruptly withdrew his support.

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USC’s Lattimore Misses Practice With A Bruised Hip

Just a day after telling you that South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier was talking about giving running back Marcus Lattimore a bigger workload this weekend against Florida, the word out of Columbia now is that the Gamecock star might not even start in Gainesville.

Lattimore bruised his hip last Saturday at LSU.  Spurrier said he was “running around OK” at Monday’s practice.  But the Ol’ Ball Coach held Lattimore out of Wednesday’s practice altogether.

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Report: UAB Could Make A Run At UM’s Kennedy

One SEC coach has been fired.  Another has chosen “on his own” — ahem — to retire.

Might a third SEC coach be on his way out of the league this March?

UAB has just announced that Mike Davis has been fired after his sixth season with the Blazers.  Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com already reports that “sources have told CBSSports.com that UAB might try to lure Andy Kennedy from Ole Miss.”

Why Kennedy?  Because after transferring from NC State, the current Ole Miss coach played under legendary Blazer coach Gene Bartow at UAB from 1988 through 1991.

Kennedy just wrapped up his sixth season in Oxford.  In that time he’s won 20+ games five times (also losing double-digit games in each of those seasons).  He’s never finished better than 9-7 or worse than 7-9 in the SEC.  He’d led the Rebels to five NITs including a one-game stay in that tourney this year and two previous trips to the semifinals in New York.

Would Kennedy be interested in Alabama-Birmingham’s job?  Well — if you read our take on Rick Stansbury earlier today — you can probably guess that we think he should be.  In this day and age, coaches need to move whenever they get a chance.  Every five or six years, it’s time to restart the clock in a new venue before the fans grow restless.

Mississippi will soon be bringing in a new athletic director to replace Pete Boone, the man who hired Kennedy and stood by him after an embarrassing arrest for a booze-fueled altercation with a Cincinnati cabbie in 2008.  Here’s the thing about new athletic directors: most like to hire their own guys.  And if Ole Miss hadn’t just replaced its football coach and wasn’t currently looking for a new AD, it’s quite possible Kennedy’s goose would have already been cooked for missing the NCAAs again this season.

Kennedy’s contract runs through 2014 and he did not receive an extension after last season.  He currently makes $1.3 million annually to coach in the worst arena in the Southeastern Conference.

Davis made just $625,000 a year and his contract had no built in bonuses for winning the C-USA title or other individual honors.  Would UAB be able to shake loose enough money to get Kennedy’s attention?

Either way, Kennedy should listen to his alma mater if it comes calling.  Pay cut or not, it’s easier to find a job when you have a job.  And in another year — if things don’t go well in Oxford in 2012-13 — Kennedy may well be out of a job and looking for a new one.

It’s a step down from Ole Miss of the SEC to UAB of Conference USA.  There’s no way to spin that one.  But it might beat being forced by a new boss to step off a plank a year from now.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 1/19/12

1. Alabama leads the SEC with 12 commitments on the updated ESPNU 150 list.

2. Defensive lineman Arik and Armond Armstead have delayed their college decisions for 2012.

3. Florida coach Will Muschamp is trying to remold Florida’s roster through recruiting.

4. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel used a helicopter to visit star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who will visit Arkansas this weekend.

5. New Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin discusses his recruiting strategy with Bryan Fischer of CBSSports.com.

6. Will South Carolina running back commit Mike Davis still visit Georgia and Clemson?

7. Linebacker Khalid Henderson has visits scheduled to Ole Miss and Kentucky in the next two weeks.

8. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson will stick with his final three: Alabama, Georgia and Georgia Tech.

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Mike Davis Defends Himself In ‘Jersey-Gate’

It was kind of an odd story on Rivals.com on Monday.

The story by Tom Bergeron accused several players from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, of being upset about the jersey numbers they had received.

One player mentioned is running back Mike Davis from Stone Mountain, Ga. Bergeron wrote:

“Mike Davis of Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson made such a fuss about his assigned No. 16 that he was given a new number (14), making him the only player without his name on his jersey. But that didn’t help – neither was the No. 28 he wanted.”

Davis wasn’t quoted in the story and he understandably wasn’t happy about it.

Davis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was never interviewed for the Rivals story and wasn’t upset about the number (16) he was given by bowl officials.

Davis said he asked a bowl official if he could have No. 28 because it wasn’t assigned to another player on the roster.

“I didn’t fuss about it,” Davis told the AJC. “I just asked him. I don’t know where they got where I was fussing about it. The reporter never talked to me about it. Go read the story – I’m not even quoted in it. It’s just not true.”

Davis said it’s also untrue that his jersey number will be a factor in his college decision. He told the AJC he hasn’t spoken to any college coach about a preferred jersey number.

“It wouldn’t be important at all,” Davis said. “The only thing I’m looking at is playing time and the place where I feel at home. Picking a college number isn’t something that’s serious to me.”

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Mike Davis Knows Where He Will Go To School

Running back Mike Davis from Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Ga., has decided which school he will attend.

But the former Florida commit doesn’t plan to announce his choice until National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

“It’s the school I feel most comfortable at,” Davis told MrSEC.

It should be pretty easy to keep his decision from leaking. Davis said he hasn’t told anyone which school he has chosen.

Davis has already taken official visits to Tennessee and Florida State and plans to visit Georgia, South Carolina and Clemson next month.

Davis is ranked the No. 6 running back in the country by Rivals.com.

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 12/8/11

1. Georgia has running back Keith Marshall committed. And the Bulldogs want to add another tailback to the class.
1b. Clemson has offered a scholarship to that UGA target, Mike Davis.

2. Arkansas’ recruiting is starting to heat up while Bobby Petrino works on his coaching staff.

3. Tennessee found its point guard of the future in Travon Landry from Madison, Ala.

4. Can Georgia’s basketball team make a run at highly-touted forward Tony Parker?

5. South Carolina remains in the mix for linebacker Keilin Rayner from Leland, N.C.

6. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are in play for defensive end A.J. Jefferson from Summit, Miss.

7. College coaches are changing the way they recruit at high school championship games.

8. Zach Abolverdi answers recruiting questions for the Gainesville Sun.

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Florida Commit Davis Plans To Visit Other Schools

Running back Mike Davis is still committed to Florida despite his decision to visit other schools this fall.

Davis told the Atlanta Journal Constitution he plans to take visits with his teammates at Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, Ga.

“There’s nothing there with me committing to another school,” Davis told the AJC. “It’s just me going to have fun with my teammates while they are having fun. I want to enjoy the time with them because I know this might be my last time with them. Of course I’m committed to the Florida Gators. I’m not trying to go anywhere else.”

Davis said he doesn’t know which schools he will visit this fall. He had considered Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Penn State before he committed to Florida in February.

Davis said he showed his loyalty to Florida last Friday during a 14-3 win over Parkview High School. It came at the end of a 71-yard touchdown run.

“I did the Gator Chomp in the end zone after I scored,” Davis said. “I had everybody doing it in the stands.”

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