Category Archives: SEC Football

The smoke thickens at Ole Miss.

I’m not sure I’d say there’s a full-blown fire, but at least you can see the smouldering embers.

Mississippi’s football program was cited by the NCAA in 13 of the 28 rules violations levied against the school in the notice of allegations the university recently received, with nine of the violations occurring during current coach Hugh Freeze’s tenure.

The breakdown of violations by sport was first reported Tuesday by The Associated Press by a person with knowledge of the investigation, and later confirmed for ESPN.com by multiple sources.

The violations are a mix of Level I, II and III; the NCAA considers Level I violations the most serious. Many of the violations have already been self-reported by the school and, as sources told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy on Tuesday night, the ones that took place under Freeze’s tenure are low-level violations.

Ole Miss officials reiterated that there “were no surprises” in the NCAA’s report.

Yeah, well, except for the fact when the news first broke, the current staff wasn’t implicated for anything other than Laremy Tunsil’s poor judgment.  Not to mention that “many of the violations” being self-reported ain’t the same as “all of the violations”.  So Ole Miss has some maneuvering to do with the NCAA.

There is some good news for the school, though, assuming this is accurate.

Sources confirmed to ESPN.com’s Chris Low on Tuesday that Ole Miss was not cited for the more serious failure-to-monitor charge and that Freeze was not personally named in any of the charges.

Still, there’s enough in all of that, particularly the bit about a booster illegally transporting a recruit to campus, to give the NCAA something to dig its teeth into.  I doubt the end result will be anything too overwhelming, but it won’t be nothing, either.  And that means Freeze’s recruiting will face heightened scrutiny going forward.

Gee, I wonder if anyone will mention that on the recruiting trail.

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Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

“This seems completely counter to the dialogue.”

The SEC is urgently requesting the NCAA to block Michigan from holding part of its spring practice in Florida because it doesn’t want Jim Harbaugh’s ugly mug getting extra exposure at IMG Academy it would be held during spring break.

No, really.  Cue Greg Sankey’s sad tears:

“We have work to do on [giving athletes a] day off. We have work to do on, how do you provide a postseason break? It seems where this is one where reasonable people could say we just shouldn’t be in this space.”

That is so sweet.  And if the NCAA doesn’t do it for the kids, then what?  Then Sankey intends to get medieval on Harbaugh’s ass.

“The net of that is to say the Southeastern Conference is not going to be outpaced in recruiting,” Sankey said. “If the national approach is that we want to have more aggressive summer camps and coaches touring around all summer, then we will not only engage in that behavior, we will certainly engage in that behavior more actively — probably more effectively than others.”

Sounds reasonable to me, Greg.

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UPDATE:  The SEC actually has a rule prohibiting its members from doing what Michigan is doing.

I guess we know what Sankey’s first move will be if the NCAA turns down his request.

40 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Georgia recruiting and the first rule of holes

For those of you who felt, like me, that Mark Richt’s stretch of chronic undersigning was the biggest mistake of his head coaching career, I’ve got some numeric evidence for you to review.  But first, a little context:

Between 2007-11, SEC teams averaged 25.4 players per signing class. Auburn (30.2 signees a year), Ole Miss (28), Mississippi State (28), Alabama (27.2) and LSU (26.8) were the biggest oversigners.

Since the signing cap with loopholes began in 2012, SEC schools are averaging 24.2 players per class.

So where does Georgia fit in?  Not at that end of the pool.

SEC Average Signing Class Numbers
Team Average Class 2007-11 Average Class 2012-16 Difference
Auburn 30.2 24.2 -6.0
Ole Miss 28.0 24.0 -4.0
Mississippi State 28.0 23.6 -4.4
Alabama 27.2 25.8 -1.4
LSU 26.8 24.4 -2.4
Arkansas 26.6 23.8 -2.8
Kentucky 26.0 25.6 -0.4
South Carolina 25.6 24.4 -1.2
Florida 24.2 24.4 +0.2
Tennessee 24.2 25.4 +1.2
Missouri* 24.2 22.4 -1.8
Texas A&M* 23.8 24.2 +0.4
Georgia 20.8 24.6 +3.8
Vanderbilt 20.2 22.0 +1.8

 

That’s right – from 2007 through 2011, the only conference team that averaged fewer signees than Georgia did was Vanderbilt.  During that period, Auburn signed about ten more kids a year.  That’s almost beyond absurd, and it should have taken someone other than Jeremy Pruitt rolling in a couple of years ago to scream bloody murder about it.

The good news is that Georgia sports the largest increase in period over period signings.  But that’s just a start on filling up a deep hole that was voluntarily dug.  (Don’t forget that even with the uptick over the last five years, the 2013 class has largely vaporized.)  Kirby Smart still has some filling left to do.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

There’s loaded. And then there’s LOADED.

The top recruit in the class of 2016 signed with Michigan, but beyond him, the SEC did alright last week.

* SEC schools signed the top two pro-style quarterback prospects and three of the top five.

* SEC schools signed each of the top three dual-threat quarterback prospects, along with four of the top six.

* SEC schools signed four of the top six and six of the top 14 running backs. And league schools signed two of the top eight all-purpose backs.

* Robertson is the top wide receiver and he has yet to sign. As it is, SEC schools signed three of the top six, four of the top nine, five of the top 18 and six of the top 20 receivers.

* SEC schools signed the top tight end, along with four of the top nine and eight of the top 17 at the position.

* SEC schools signed three of the top four safeties.
* SEC schools signed three of the top five cornerbacks, as well as six of the top 10 and 11 of the top 20 at the position.
* SEC schools signed the top inside linebacker, as well as six of the top 15.

* SEC schools signed two of the top five outside linebackers.

* You’ll notice we skipped over the linemen. That’s because as well as SEC schools did at the other positions, they absolutely dominated in the trenches. SEC schools signed the top two offensive tackles, along with three of the top six, five of the top 10 and seven of the top 18. SEC schools signed three of the top 10 guards. SEC schools signed five of the top eight centers. Finally, SEC schools reeled in a boatload of top defensive linemen. League teams signed eight of the top 12 and 11 of the top 17 defensive tackles, along with four of the top six, five of the top 10 and six of the top 11 defensive ends.

Actually, that’s pretty staggering. And it’s how you wind up with this:

* Tennessee was 14th in the nation in recruiting — but that was good for just seventh in the SEC, smack dab in the middle. Consider this, though: That No. 14 finish puts put the Vols third in the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 and second in the Big 12.

Hugenin points out that Georgia reeled in its third top ten class in a row.  That’s nice, but…

Alabama has finished in the recruiting top 10 nine years in a row. FSU has finished in the top 10 in seven consecutive years; Ohio State has finished in the top 10 in six consecutive years. LSU has finished in the top 10 four years in a row, while Auburn, Georgia and USC have finished in the top 10 three years in a row.

When the day comes that college football delivers a sixteen-team playoff, you’ll likely see the field loaded with SEC teams.  In the meantime, with a four-team field, if Georgia can’t separate itself from the middle of the conference pack, it’s likely that its dreams will die regularly in Atlanta.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

The year of the (potential) quarterback

If you think that one big reason the SEC appeared to be down last season is because of the relatively sparse great quarterback play – and when you read something like this

The conference had a high water mark in 2013 with eight quarterbacks having a season passing efficiency of at least 140, headlined by the likes of Johnny Manziel, Zach Mettenberger, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Nick Marshall, and Connor Shaw. Not included in those eight were Bo Wallace, who’d top the 140 mark in Ole Miss’s breakout 2014 season, and young versions of Brandon Allen and Dak Prescott, who were two of the best signal callers this past year.

In 2015, only five SEC quarterbacks hit 140: Allen, Chad Kelly, Prescott, Jake Coker, and Greyson Lambert. Lambert’s splits show that he only squeaked out a 141.5 because he torched bad teams to make up for mediocre-at-best performances against good teams. Florida’s Will Grier had a shot at beating 140, but then he got busted for PEDs and has since transferred.

… it’s hard to argue against that proposition – then the 2016 recruiting class may help the conference’s perception dramatically in the coming years.

This year, though, the SEC is bringing in one of its best quarterback bunches in recent memory. It should be a cause for excitement. Here are the headlining quarterbacks of the 2016 class. The stars and ratings are from the 247SportsComposite, and “EE” means early enrollee.

Player Team Style EE? Stars Rating
Shea Patterson Ole Miss Pro Yes 5 0.9979
Jacob Eason Georgia Pro Yes 5 0.9973
Feleipe Franks Florida Pro Yes 4 0.9721
Jarrett Guarantano Tennessee Dual No 4 0.9612
Brandon McIlwain South Carolina Dual Yes 4 0.9254
Jalen Hurts Alabama Dual Yes 4 0.9231
Woody Barrett Auburn Dual No 4 0.9149

Only seven quarterbacks achieved a rating of at least .9600, and SEC schools have secured at least a firm commitment from four of them. Patterson and Eason are the only 5-star quarterbacks, and they’ve already enrolled.

That is an impressive haul.  We’ll see if it pays off.

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Filed under SEC Football

Meet the SEC’s Mr. Popularity.

Bert’s gonna Bert, people.

This year’s SEC Media Days are shaping up to be a real hoot.

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UPDATE:  In the flesh…

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UPDATE #2:  And now we enter “Bert, you’re fulla shit” territory.

Riiiiight.

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Filed under Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, Recruiting, SEC Football

Second chance alert!

Anybody need a former SEC starting quarterback?

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Filed under SEC Football