Chris Low of espn.com has a terrific post in which he went back and researched just where this year’s All-SEC players were listed in the recruiting rankings. One thing Chris found, “Of the 11 players on the first-team defense this season, only two were ESPNU 150 selections coming out of high school, meaning they weren’t ranked among the top 150 prospects nationally.”
February will be truth month for Florida basketball. The Gators play host to Vanderbilt tonight, then welcome Kentucky to Gainesville on Saturday. Says Billy Donovan, “”Traditionally, I think, with the way the league has been set up in terms of moving into February, they’ve created a lot of very, very challenging matchups,” coach Billy Donovan said. “There’s no question, the team’s that we’re playing going forward, I think everybody would say, are better than the teams we’ve played up to this point in time.”
Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun points out that the Gators have done a February fade in recent years. He writes, “Since winning their last national title in 2007, the Gators have gone a combined 18-23 in games from February 1 to the end of the season. When asked about the losing record, Florida coach Billy Donovan said scheduling has played a role. The Gators still have two games with ranked opponents Kentucky and Vanderbilt remaining on their schedule this season, along with home games against Tennessee, Georgia and SEC West-leading Alabama.”
As we head into signing day on Wednesday, John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel writes that star recruits can make a fast impact. John singles out Jay Vincent, a running back who had a terrific freshman year when LSU won the national title. He talks about Tim Tebow’s freshman year when Florida won the crown. And he sites the recent example of Auburn’s Cameron Newton, who wasn’t a freshman, but was a first-year player for the Tigers as Gene Chizik’s team won the BCS crown.
Speaking of recruiting, Georgia has a lot banking on running back Isiah Crowell, who could take an end-run to Alabama. Still, Mark Bradley of the AJC thinks that Mark Richt, under difficult circumstances, will end up with a good haul on Wednesday. And Georgia’s top recruiter isn’t who you might guess, writes Tim Tucker of the AJC.
But over at Auburn, things only seem to be getting better for the national champions.
New Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin has announced his defensive staff. His coordinator will be William and Mary defensive coordinator Bob Shoop.
Urban Meyer is now a TV star. It’s wonderful how coaches who have less than friendly relationships with the media end up being a part of the media. The ex-Florida coach will be working for ESPN. Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun reports, “ESPN said Meyer will work a weekly regular-season game (specific assignments to be determined) and select bowl games. He will also provide studio analysis throughout the year on ESPN’s daily College Football Live program, NFL Draft, spring games and bowl games, including during the network’s on-site BCS coverage.”
Auburn coach Tony Barbee tells Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News he thinks the NBA will end its age restriction. “Talking to a lot of people I know at that level, I think it’s going to go back to the old day,” Barbee said during a speech at the Birmingham Tip-Off Club. “I think it’s going to come out of this new collective bargaining agreement that the NBA will have to negotiate with the players association.”
Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News also has a column on Barbee, and the coverage of Auburn basketball.
And Arkansas’ Rotnei Clarke sure had an impressive week. He scored 36 at Vanderbilt last Saturday.