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D-Coordinator Shoop Heading To Penn State With Franklin, But We Know Who VU Should Pursue

greg-schianoAccording to Bruce Feldman of, Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Bob Shoop will not be the man to take over for James Franklin in Nashville.  That’s because he’s going to join Franklin at State College as Penn State’s new defensive coordinator.  

Shoop was expected to be on David Williams’ list of possible replacements for Franklin, but with the ex-Vandy coach taking as many Commodore commitments as possible with him, it might be best for a clean break from the previous regime.  And there’s certainly no shortage of potential candidates (at least in terms of who the media has been throwing out):


* Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh head coach who just finished his first year

* David Cutcliffe, Duke head coach with an SEC background at Tennessee and Ole Miss

* Herb Hand, Vanderbilt offensive line coach who was a holdover from before Franklin’s era

* Mark Hudspeth, UL-Lafayette head coach and former Dan Mullen aide at Mississippi State

* Pete Lembo, Ball State head coach

* Jim McElwain, Colorado State head coach and former Nick Saban offensive coordinator at Alabama

* Mike MacIntyre, Colorado head coach for one year whose father once served as Vandy’s head coach

* Derek Mason, Stanford’s defensive coordinator appears to be an early favorite for the job

* Chad Morris, Clemson’s offensive coordinator who some view as a potential Gus Malzahn clone

* Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State defensive coordinator

* Greg Roman, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator

* Kirby Smart, Alabama defensive coordinator


There is one name that’s popped up on very few lists and gotten little attention.  But it’s the one name we believe Vanderbilt’s athletic director should have at the tip top of his list — Greg Schiano.

Schiano’s no-nonsense approach didn’t work with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  In going 11-21 he never gave the grown men on his roster a reason to buy into his dictatorial system.  No surprise.  Nick Saban and Bill Belichick can shhh and criticize their players because they win.  Guys who take that approach and lose are typically run out of town on a rail (Derek Dooley, being a recent SEC example).

Forget Schiano’s brief NFL tenure.  The man built Rutgers — traditionally the very worst football program in Division I — into a program that’s now respected.  Before Schiano the Scarlet Knights had been to one bowl game in school history.  Since Schiano took over they’ve been to eight (six under the man who built them and two under his replacement, Kyle Flood).

Schiano — a former Miami assistant — recruited South Florida heavily and likely still has plenty of connections in that talent-rich area.  After a four-year building phase, Rutgers posted winning records in six of the coach’s last seven years at the New Jersey school.

Could a coach who just bombed out of the NFL afford to try and kickstart his career at a school with a sad tradition?  Good question.  Schiano might believe there are better gigs than the one at that toughest academic school in the toughest conference in America which also boasts some of the smallest and oldest facilities.  VU has made plenty of recent improvements, yes, but enough to lure in someone like Schiano?

Also, how would he handle the academic restrictions he would face on the recruiting trail as Vandy’s coach?  On that front, we suspect pretty well.  Hey, if you can sell South Florida kids on going to the worst D-I program in the country — in New Jersey — you can sell kids on getting a world-class education in a world-class city while playing football in a world-class conference.

Williams has shown that he can spot talent.  He offered Malzahn the Vandy gig three years ago and when Malzahn balked, Williams found Franklin.  Franklin came from way off the radar.  Vanderbilt’s next hire might come from off the radar, too.

But if we were manning the controls in Nashville, we’d make sure Schiano was on the radar and then we’d contact him.  Immediately.

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Is Arkansas’ Allen Ready To Play? Has Texas A&M’s Defense Improved?

question-marksAs its SEC opener with Texas A&M nears, it appears that injured Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen is no closer to returning to action.  Allen did not throw during yesterday’s practice.

Juco quarterback AJ Derby got the start in last week’s loss at Rutgers.  The Razorbacks’ run game — with little threat of the pass to support it — slowed considerably in New Jersey.  Derby will again be the starter against A&M this weekend if Allen does not improve from a bruised shoulder he suffered two weeks ago against Southern Miss.

Meanwhile, the folks in College Station are hoping their defensive woes are behind them.  Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder — while accentuating the positive — hasn’t completely forgotten the negatives that came from his unit’s last tangle with a power-run team (Alabama won 49-42).

“The fear’s gone,” Snyder said this week.  “It’s behind us in my eyes.  Hopefully we gained some experience the last few weeks.  This week will be telling.  We’ve played spread teams and now we’ve got to face a power team, which we didn’t fare well against the first time.  We’ve faced about everything you can face during a football season.”

Arkansas’ offense will be tougher to face if Allen’s health improves.

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2012 Signing Class: Arkansas’ Target Zone

target-with-dartsArkansas added 23 players from 9 different states on Wednesday and Thursday.  A breakdown of the Razorbacks’ “target zone” is below:


Arkansas = 7 recruits

Florida = 4

California = 3

Texas = 3

Kansas = 2

Colorado = 1

Georgia = 1

Hawaii = 1

New Jersey = 1


In-State Signees = 30.4%

Out-Of-State Signees = 69.5%



Bret Bielema successfully locked down his state’s borders.  As a small state, Arkansas doesn’t produce a great deal of local prospects.  Those top players inside the state need to be held onto.  The Hogs signed seven in-state kids overall and they just happened to be seven of the eight highest-ranked players in the state.  Unfortunately, Alabama came in and grabbed the state’s top running back in Altee Tenpenny.  The bizarre signing of Alex Collins from Florida should help to make up for that loss.  Moving forward, let’s see if Bielema and crew are able to pull more kids from Texas and Oklahoma.

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2013 Signing Class: LSU’s Target Zone

target-with-dartsLSU added 27 players from 11 different states on Wednesday and Thursday.  A breakdown of the Tigers’ “target zone” is below:


Louisiana = 12 recruits

California = 2

Florida = 2

Georgia = 2

Mississippi = 2

North Carolina = 2

Illinois = 1

Nebraska = 1

New Jersey = 1

Tennessee = 1

Virginia = 1


In-State Signees = 44.4%

Out-Of-State Signees = 55.5%



Aside from Nick Saban, is there anyone in the SEC who makes recruiting look this easy year-in and year-out?  Credit Saban for kickstarting the juggernaut on the Bayou, but Miles has continued to land just about any top Louisiana prospect he goes after.  This year he inked seven of the state’s top 10 recruits and it would have been eight if defensive back Jeremy Cutrer hadn’t had to go the juco route to qualify.  There’s nothing mad about Miles’ recruiting hat.  He wears it well.

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Where The SEC’s 2012 Signees Came From

No area of the country produces more NFL talent than the Southeast.  So it’s no wonder that SEC schools once again cherry-picked the best recruits from their own backyards on signing day.  But before we look at where all of this year’s signees came from, let’s first check out which SEC teams were able to stay closest to home.

Below you’ll find the 14 SEC programs ranked according to the percentage of homestate signees they inked yesterday.  This can be a little misleading because one school might reach for some lesser-ranked in-state prospects while another school might decide to chase better athletes outside its state’s borders.  Still, it’s interesting for the sake of comparison:



School   Percentage of In-State Signees
Texas A&M   78.9%
LSU   61.9%
Georgia   57.8%
Miss. State   57.1%
Florida   52.1%
Ole Miss   41.1%
Auburn   31.5%
Vanderbilt   28.5%
Missouri   27.7%
Alabama   26.9%
Arkansas   21.7%
S. Carolina   16.0%
Kentucky   15.3%
Tennessee   15.0%


Below is the list of states that produced SEC signees this year, ranked from most to least:


State   SEC Signees Produced
Georgia   65 (21.2%)
Florida   40 (13.0%)
Texas   33 (10.7%)
Mississippi   31 (10.1%)
Alabama   25 (8.1%)
Louisiana   21 (6.8%)
Tennessee   20 (6.5%)
N. Carolina   10 (3.2%)
S. Carolina   7 (2.2%)
Missouri   6 (1.9%)
Arkansas   5 (1.6%)
Kentucky   5 (1.6%)
Ohio   5 (1.6%)
California   4 (1.3%)
Oklahoma   4 (1.3%)
Pennsylvania   4 (1.3%)
Maryland   3 (0.9%)
Virginia   3 (0.9%)
Kansas   3 (0.9%)
Indiana   3 (0.9%)
Arizona   2 (0.6%)
New Jersey   2 (0.6%)
Illinois   2 (0.6%)
Michigan   2 (0.6%)
Colorado   1 (0.3%)




* More SEC signees came from Georgia than South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, California, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Kansas, Indiana, Arizona, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado and all of the other zero-signee states combined.

* Expect the number of signees from Texas to increase in 2013.  When coaches were making connections with players this time last year, Texas A&M was still looked like a Big 12 cornerstone.  SEC programs will focus much more on that state this year.  Just as more Texas athletes will pay attention to SEC games on television.

* It was a down year in Louisiana which impacted LSU’s signing class and resulted in the Pelican State producing just one more SEC signee than Tennessee.

* The number one non-SEC state for SEC talent?  North Carolina produced 10 SEC signees in 2012.  Ohio was next with five.

* Year-in, year-out, you can expect the staffs at Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt to do more long-distance recruiting than their SEC brethren.  That doesn’t mean it can’t be done — witness Arkansas and Carolina now, Tennessee until the past decade — but it is a tougher slog.

That’s one reason SEC newcomer Missouri plans to send out mass “propaganda” to SEC-region high schools in “numbers you can’t imagine.”

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SEC Recruiting Headlines – 10/13/11

1. There’s a perception that Florida’s football program is down right now.

2. 2013 quarterback prospect Cord Sandberg already has offers from SEC and ACC schools.

3. Defensive end JaMichael Winston explains why he committed to Arkansas.

4. SEC defensive end prospect Kenderius Whitehead plans to visit Clemson.

5. Baltimore receiver Deontay McManus will visit several schools despite his commitment to West Virginia.

6. One of the top basketball prospects in South Carolina is no longer considering the Gamecocks.

7. Here’s an update on two of the top prospects from Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey.

8. An AJC poll shows 75 percent of voters don’t like watching prospects commit at ceremonies.

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Vandy Will Tackle The Jersey Shore In November

Kevin Stallings’ Vanderbilt basketball team has signed up to play in the 2011 Legends Classic at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey this November.  Vandy, Texas, NC State and Oregon State will each host two games in their home arenas and then move on to the semifinals of the “tournament” which will be played in Jersey the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Vandy — as well as the other aforementioned schools — will all move on to Jersey regardless of the outcomes of the two games they’ll play on their home courts… so this isn’t a true tourney in the traditional sense.

Oh, for a publicity shot of Snookie kissing Stallings’ brilliant bald head.

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South Carolina Lands Two New Jersey Commits

South Carolina received commitments from quarterback Tanner McEvoy from Oradell High School and defensive back and Sheldon Royster from Jersey City High School in New Jersey.

McEvoy had also considered North Carolina while Royster chose South Carolina over Rutgers.

South Carolina has 30 commitments for the 2011 class.

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