Archive for February, 2016

Who will win the SEC West QB battles?

Here are the QB battles from each of the SEC teams – even when they’re unwarranted (we see you, Ole Miss) before spring practices begins on March 1st.

Alabama

Blake Barnett vs Cooper Bateman vs David Cornwell 

The biggest conversation in college football will be about the Crimson Tide’s quarterback battle, and Barnett’s the big favorite to win it. He’s got the arm, and according to former QB Greg McElroy, played well on the scout team. Bateman’s speed gives the Tide options, too. Whatever happens, Lane Kiffin’s going to turn this QB into something special. Call him the QB whisperer.

Projected Winner: Barnett

Auburn

Jeremy Johnson vs Sean White vs Woody Barrett vs John Franklin III

After an awful quarterbacking season for Gus Malzahn’s quarterbacks, it’s not surprising when the head coach has said the competition is “wide open.” Frankly, we think that Johnson will get another chance to start, although Franklin’s track speed (he runs a 4.38 40) could be something to watch out for. Certainly he thinks so: “I feel like my speed alone seperates me from a lot of quarterbacks. The fact I have a cannon and can throw the ball a mile because I’ve been playing baseball all my life really helps, so I feel I’m the true definition of a dual-threat quarterback.” So he’s humble, too.

Projected Winner: Johnson

Arkansas 

Austin Allen vs Rafe Peavy vs Ty Storey vs Ricky Town

This is one of the most intriguing battles – especially with the talent on offer. Allen – brother of Razorbacks starting QB Brandon – has some monster assets, including a great arm. According to Saturday Down South, he’s already drawing comparisons to former UA great Ryan Mallett (hopefully this won’t continue to his professional career!). We love the battle that’s going to go on between Allen and Town, who couldn’t get the starting job at USC so promptly came south. Town was a former Alabama commit who decided to play for the Trojans. He was a four-star recruit – the 6th-ranked pro-style QB in the country by 24-7 Sports. If the two player as a dual pair, we hope to be hearing one of our favorite Billy Joel tunes….

Projected Winner: Town

LSU

Brandon Harris vs Danny Etling

It was thought that Harris would battle himself for the LSU starting job. But now Danny Etling’s transferred from Purdue via the graduate transfer, at least the battle’s medium (it’s certainly not hot). If Harris is awful in Spring Training, Etling’s job is his to lose. And if both are awful, they could lose Les Miles his job.

Projected winner: Harris

Ole Miss

Chad Kelly vs Shea Patterson

Kelly, last season’s incumbent, was one of the best quarterbacks in college football last season, so it’ll be difficult to see if this will be so much a battle as Patterson watching to see what Kelly does and learning from him. Oh, and rookie Patterson’s a five-star recruit and will fill in nicely next year. Talk about depth, Hugh Freeze. Last year’s competitors Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade have both left the school, with Buchanan deciding to concentrate on academics and Kincade off to Grambling State.

Projected Winner: Kelly

Mississippi State

Damian Williams vs Nick Fitzgerald vs Elijah Staley vs Nick Tiano

Replacing Dak Prescott is going to be really difficult for the Cowbellers. We all know that. Williams is seen as an early favorite thanks to his 6-1, 228lb build- which according to blog “For Whom The Cowbell Tolls” – compares him more to Dak’s predecessor Chris Relf or any imposing running back out there – while Fitzgerald’s a tiny 6-5, 227lb. Staley also plays for MSU’s basketball team. The blog hints that Fitzgerald should win the job, but God knows.

Projected Winner: Williams 

Texas A&M

Nick Starkel vs Jake Hubenak

Wow. This was very different a few months ago, when we could wait for the Spring battle between Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen. Unfortunately, Jake Spavital managed to enrage both camps, and they both transferred. Sumlin’s move of getting rid of Spavital was too late. Spavital’s now at Cal, so good luck Bears. Anyway, Starkel was a three-star QB while Hubenak has the in-game experience, having played 5 games for the Aggies, including starting the bowl loss to Louisville, where he had an OK game (302 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, QB rating of 58.3). Hubenak might be the favorite in most camps because he’s got the experience, but Kevin Sumlin’s pretty good at throwing in freshmen…

Projected Winner: Hubenak

 

Jones denies Bowles allegations

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has denied allegations that he called former wide receiver Drae Bowles a “traitor” for helping a female student who was allegedly raped by two of his Volunteers teammates.

Jones said in a statement:The assertion that I ever attempted to belittle or demean a young man for taking action to help another person is absolutely false. To the contrary, I did all I could to assist the former student in question. During the course of the judicial process, campus officials, as well as the young man’s own words, will clearly establish that I have done nothing wrong. I will fight all of these false attacks on my character, and I know that once this process has been completed, my reputation will be affirmed.

 

 

Is Butch Jones in legal trouble at Tennessee?

Is Butch Jones in a huge amount of trouble at Tennessee?

Well, if the civil charges against him are true in a latest case, then yes.

Apparently, the Volunteers head coach called Drae Bowles – the player who helped a woman after she was allegedly raped by two teammates – and told him he had “betrayed the team”. He later called to recant, but it doesn’t change the fact that he initially did it.

Bowles had already been assaulted by teammate Curt Maggitt as retribution for his brave decision, according to the Tennessean.

This accusation comes just one day after Jones and his fellow UT coaches called a press conference to say how troubling all the accusations about the players were.

BOTTOM LINE: If Butch Jones knew about the rape and then knew about the assaults on Bowles, then he should be fired. 

Two more females sue Tennessee for covering up sexual assault

Two more females are suing Tennessee for covering up sexual assault or brushing it under the carpet.

In the new accusations the females attack Tennessee for allowing WR Von Pearson back on campus after “an internal investigation found that he had assaulted one of the new plaintiffs”.

According to the Tennesseean, they also say that UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek ignored warnings that Volunteer Hall was an unsafe place for females to go (I was going to use the words “rapists’ playground” but decided not to, because it’s not great journalism), and that the school allowed an underclassman with an arrest record to work at the school.

BOTTOM LINE: I’m not so worried about the final charge as I am about the first two. The lawsuits that are coming out against the school are making the place seem worse and worse. The school HAS to close down Volunteer Hall and make the football players go and live and work amongst other students, or simply raze the place to the ground and rebuild it. Sorry, but hard times equal hard measures.

 

SEC Players To Watch In The NFL Combine

Whoa. It’s the NFL Combine already? Wasn’t it just a minute ago we were thinking about Spring Games and Auburn had a ton of hope for Jeremy Johnson, and Alabama was worrying about who their quarterback would be, and Georgia was being talked about as a play-off contender?

Here’s the list of players, per SEC Country….

We’ll add a little bit about (most of) the players so you know a bit more about them…

Alabama
RB Kenyan Drake – There will be a lot of focus on his 40 and speed drills after Drake’s injury in 2014 to see if he’s FULLY returned. Drake’s numbers weren’t great last year due to the dominance of Derrick Henry.
RB Derrick Henry – 2015 Heisman winner. I expect him to kill it on the bench press, although not exactly move heads otherwise. That’s because those scouts who have seen him play will have seen him enough.
G Domenick Jackson – Part of a monster offensive line that helped Derrick Henry to a Heisman. Simple.
CB Cyrus Jones – This will be all about the 40-yard dash for this playmaker. We’re not quite sure about him in coverage, but we love him as a punt returner.
C Ryan Kelly – Intelligent and sure center. He’ll be tested on his bench press skills and will hope to interview well.
DE D.J. Pettway – Lucky enough to be a part of the Nick Saban Second Chance Club, he returned to be quite a leader on the Alabama defense despite the fact that many thought he shouldn’t be on the team at all. I’m still not sure about whether his past will play well with NFL coaches – even if his on-field talent makes him a 3-5 round pick. There may be too many red flags, though.
LB Reggie Ragland – The leader of the defense, winning SEC Defensive Player Of The Year. And it really wasn’t close. Ragland is so good, and the scouts will be just checking out the numbers to see if the projections of a first round are correct.
DT Jarran Reed – Exceptionally talented DT who made it impossible for running backs to have a good day. Smothered Leonard Fournette and Nick Chubb, two of college football’s foremost running backs.
DT A’Shawn Robinson – A dominant defensive linesman who was part of an insanely good rushing defense at Alabama. The scouts will be drooling.

Arkansas
QB Brandon Allen – Allen led the SEC in passing efficiency rating, passing yards per attempt, and total yards per play, and threw for 3,550 yards last year. He’s definitely capable. It’ll be interesting in scouting interviews if also explains some inexplicably bad plays he had during the season – especially his red-zone play against Toledo.
RB Alex Collins – 12th all-time in the SEC in rushing yards (3,703) isn’t something to be sniffed at, and Collins’ rushing style could be best compared to Todd Gurley- expect we think Collins has more speed. Can’t wait to see that in the 40.
TE Hunter Henry  – We expect Henry – an All-American and receiver of the John Mackey Award for best tight end in the sport – to shine in the Combine. Has already been compared to Jason Witten. Not a bad comparison.
OT Denver Kirkland – Part of a monster offensive line for Bret Bielma that made the Razorbacks one of the best offenses in the SEC, but scouts are worried about his stiffness. Sounds like he’s needs Viagra.
G Sebastian Tretola – People think he’s a better O-Line option than Kirkland, thanks to his physicality, but like Kirkland, they worry about the fact that he’s too stiff. Did Bret Bielema not teach technique?
RB Jonathan Williams – Could have been one hell of a 1-2 punch for the Razorbacks if he hadn’t been injured before the season started. We will see how he’s recovered for the Combine.

Auburn
RB Peyton Barber – NFL scouts have already said that he’s got no “wow” factor. So he’ll need to find it in interviews and the 40.
OT Shon Coleman – Considering the fact that he overcame leukemia in 2012, it’s a miracle that Coleman’s coming to the Draft. NFL teams might hate him for that very reason, but we hope his bench press and agility numbers make the scouts’ mouth’s drop.
OLB Kris Frost – Yeah – so the scouts might keep on looking at what happened against LSU, and think: “I don’t want a guy like this.” He’s better have good explanations.
CB Jonathan Jones – Part of a horrible Auburn secondary, so we’re not holding out a lot of hope.
WR Ricardo Louis – Seen by many as the luckiest WR in college football after lucky helmet and hand bounces against Georgia and Alabama ended up in his hands, but really he’ll need a great 40 to make people perk up.
LB Cassanova McKinzy – Just read what it says about the LSU game.
WR D’haquille Williams – Yeah. We actually love Duke Williams, but he’s also a petulant pain in the ass. His vertical jump and skills might wow people, but the interviews would be great to be a fly-in-the-wall at.
OT Avery Young – A right tackle who started all his games for the Tigers.

Florida
DT Jonathan Bullard – Excellent tackler and all-SEC player. Should be great in the NFL.
CB Vernon Hargreaves – Can’t wait to see his vertical jump numbers for a player that we think was the best CB in college football for the last two years. All-time 2nd in SEC history in passes defended (27), and was a consensus All-American last year. He’s a freak.
DE Alex McCalister – NFL scouts would like to talk to McCalister about why he was booted from Gainseville for violating team rules probably more than they care about his stats. He did lead the team in sacks, though.
TE Jake McGee – Tremendous catcher who played four years at Virginia and Florida. Had 41 receptions, 381 yards and 4 TDs for the Gators.
LB Antonio Morrison – After his injury in 2014, there will be questions about his athleticism. He was another brilliant defensive player for Florida. 10th on the all-time SEC list for assisted tackles during his career, and had 96 tackles in 2015.
S Keanu Neal – Hard-hitting safety. In just 11 games he had 96 tackles, two sacks and an INT. Athletically excellent. We hope this translates to the Combine.
WR Demarcus Robinson – There’s no question about his speed, but are NFL teams really willing to take a chance on a player who was suspended four times in three seasons? I’m not sure.
RB Kelvin Taylor – Where Taylor excels is finding a hole and flying through it. We can’t wait for him at the Gators.

Georgia
DE Sterling Bailey – Didn’t exactly kick ass last year, so we’ll see if he blows people away at the Combine. He’ll need to.
OLB Leonard Floyd – Length won’t be a problem for Floyd, who’s a giant, but scouts will be worried about his thin frame. Needs to visit McDonald’s a lot.
FB Quayvon Hicks – Knee injury that made him miss Georgia’s bowl win over Penn State will be scrutinized by scouts. He will have to be exceptional at the draft to move himself up the FB draft board
OLB Jordan Jenkins – As Jenkins became the linebacker a lot of offensive co-ordinators wanted to avoid, Jenkins’ numbers fell, but don’t get us wrong- he was still really effective. Good speed numbers could vault him into the first round.
RB Keith Marshall – Questions will be about his speed, although there shouldn’t be anything about his heart after Marshall rebounded continuously from injuries. He might just impress enough to be 4-6 round pick.
DT Chris Mayes – Outside chance of his making the NFL.
WR Malcolm Mitchell – He’s a great wide receiver and was a lynchpin for Georgia’s receiving game in 2015 -even as things were going to the crapper offensively. The key will be his explosiveness and speed – the vertical jump shouldn’t be a problem.
OT John Theus – Seen as being a let-down since his arrival at Georgia, and there are worries about his strength.

Kentucky
LB Josh Forrest – Combine profile noted that Forrest had 9 broken tackles and 22 missed ones in the last two years. Had 93 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two INTs and a forced fumble.
S A.J. Stamps – 67 tackles and 1 INT. Down 10 tackles from 2014’s production of 67 (and 4 INTs). It’s said that he only has “fair” speed – so we’ll have to see his 40 and agility drills.

LSU
G Vadal Alexander – The labels on him are that he’s “slow” and one scout said he wasn’t a great blocker, either. We wait for his speed drills -although we have no doubt about his bench pressing drills. Height’s going to excite people – but we can’t stop thinking about his being a part of a LSU line that really wasn’t that great.
OT Jerald Hawkins – Hawkins has medical issues – he played with a bad foot and ankle  – and it’ll be interesting how great he’ll be at the Combine on speed drills.
OLB Deion Jones – The scouts love the athleticism on Jones, although the biggest questions will be his experience (he only started a year at LSU, which seems to send LBs to the draft every 5 minutes). He could well get drafted in the first two rounds – Mel Kiper’s saying that – and we’re expecting great things at the Combine.
S Jalen Mills – Can’t wait to see him in the agility drills. Also there are questions about whether he should have played on the 2015 team at all after being arrested for second degree battery of a woman in 2014. 
CB Rashard Robinson – That fact that he was booted from LSU a year ago will bring up questions about whether he should be at the Combine at all. He was arrested for breaking into a teammate’s house. 

Ole Miss
OT Fahn Cooper – Part of an offensive line that continued to shine in two straight wins against Alabama.
WR Cody Core – Had 644 yards and 4 TDs. Numbers have been increasing over the last four years.
LB C.J. Johnson – Two interceptions last year, but will be good to see vertical jump times. And speed.
DT Robert Nkemdiche – He’ll post high for all the athletic stuff, but he’d better not show up stoned to the meetings.
WR Laquon Treadwell – One of the best WRs in the NFL who should shine in the vertical jump. Injury worries will be addressed.
OT Laremy Tunsil – One of college football’s best offensive linesmen despite being suspended in 2015.

Mississippi State
OLB Beniquez Brown – 93 tackles, two passes defended, 1 INT, and a two kicks blocked. However, even with all these numbers he’s not seen as being that inspiring to scouts. He will have to impress in all categories.
CB Taveze Calhoun – Had 2 INTs and 8 passes defended. Was meant to be a part of a great cornerback duo with Will Redmond in 2015, but Redmond got injured.
DT Chris Jones – Second team All-American with 36 tackles, 2.5 sacks and four passes defended. Started all 13 games – so no worries about his durability.
QB Dak Prescott – Mobile quarterback who can make players miss. A leader who brought MSU to relevance in 2014.
CB Will Redmond – Tore his ACL in 2015. Should be interesting to see how he’ll cope with cuts and speed.
WR De’Runnya Wilson – Sure-handed wide receiver, but there will be questions about speed. Can’t wait to see his 40.

Missouri
C Evan Boehm – Four-year starter, and never stopping going on a lousy team last year. About the only bright spark of Missouri’s offense. Won’t go high, but will start.
OLB Kentrell Brothers – Incredible linebacker for the Tigers. Led the SEC and NCAA with 152 tackles and was 2nd in the SEC in solo tackles.
G Connor McGovern – Part of an atrocious offensive line for Missouri in 2015, but he was a three-year starter so you can blame 2015 on OC Josh Henson, who’s now been fired. Scouts like the fact he can play a number of positions.

South Carolina
TE Jerell Adams – Profiled as a player who doesn’t have the “surest hands”. It’s said Adams might make back-up, but we’re still worried about catching drills.
WR Pharoh Cooper – One of the most underrated wide receivers in college football. He’ll be a bargain if he’s picked anywhere outside of the second round. He would have led the SEC in both receptions and yards if his quarterback was competent.
OT Brandon Shell – He’s seen as being “better suited as a back-up”, which means he’ll have to really impress at the Combine for anyone to believe his starting qualities.
RB Brandon Wilds – There are going to be worries about his injury history. And there are better RBs coming into the draft ahead of him.

Tennessee
OLB Curt Maggitt – The biggest worries will be his medical history. He spent more time on the sidelines than he did on the field…. in two out of four seasons he played in just two games.
WR Marquez North – Hopefully a lot of people will see North’s talent in the vertical jump and the 40 – there are worries about his speed, but injury questions will remain all the way through. I would have loved to see North stay for another year, because he’s really good.

Texas A&M
RB Tra Carson – A Texas A&M player who would have shone more if Spavital hadn’t been his offensive co-ordinator. Will need to do special things in the 40 and cone drills to even get thoughts of a drafting.
G Joseph Cheek- Versatility will be the key for Cheek. In interviews he’ll need to emphasize how well he can play at both guard and offensive tackle, and talk up his time with Johnny Manziel. You know, the college Johnny Manziel not the strip club Johnny Manziel.
CB De’Vante Harris – He’s not a great tackler and if we’re honest, he’s not a great defensive player. He’s been either been invited to the NFL Combine because his dad played in the NFL, or that he played in the SEC. We don’t see him being anything special here – unless he blows up the NFL Combine with his vertical leap, broad jump and 40. Then we’ll still come back to his tackling failures.
G Germain Ifedi – From what the scouts say, Ifedi should have stayed an extra year instead of opting for the cash…but they see him as the best A&M offensive linesman with major potential “on the inside”. He will have to impress on bench press skills and the other cool stuff tested for offensive tackles.
P Drew Kaser – First in the SEC all-time in yards per punt (46.2), and will be the best at his position in the Draft.
CB Brandon Williams – Moved from RB to CB and had 37 tackles and 7 passes defended for the Aggies. His vertical jump could be key to see him move up a little, although we’re not expecting miracles.

Vanderbilt
OLB/DE Stephen Weatherly – Vandy’s “D” may not have been great, but Weatherly stood out with 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 39 total tackles. Seen as a DE or LB. Drills will be key to even hearing his name called, though.

 

Tennessee D-Lineman in assault charge

Tennessee defensive lineman Alexis Johnson was arrested for domestic assault on Wednesday night and has been suspended by the team.

According to The Tennesseean, Johnson was charged with “one count of aggravated assault and one count of false imprisonment after authorities say he attacked a woman he’d been dating”.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel said, quoting a warrant: “The victim, who previously dated Johnson on two occasions, told police she was “play fighting” with him in the living room and the bedroom of his apartment sometime between 3-5 a.m. Sunday when the horseplay turned violent, according to arrest warrants. The episode escalated when the 6-foot-4, 295-pound Johnson placed his hand around the victim’s throat, repeatedly choking her to the point that she could not fight back and felt she was going to pass out, warrants state. A witness said Johnson “appeared to be really punching her,” and that the victim’s lip was “busted.”

The warrant added: “The defendant attempted to repetitively touch and kiss her and she repeatedly stated that she did not want to have sex with him,” the warrants state. “(The) victim attempted to leave the bedroom and said the defendant blocked the door prohibiting her exit. While doing so, the defendant stated, ‘You think I won’t (expletive) you up?

Johnson- a former four-star recruit- hasn’t actually played a down for Tennessee, after spending the last two years in a community college.

 

The SEC to the NFL: Who are the best in their positions?

Now that we’ve got some downtime on the SEC Football Blog, we got thinking about which player made the best transfer from the SEC to the NFL throughout the years. If you’re a Cam Newton fan, then we’re sorry: This is about HISTORY, not in the last 12 months. So chill. Note: Former Florida QBs Wuerffel and Tebow won’t be on the list.

QUARTERBACK

Peyton Manning (Tennessee). He’s beaten every team he’s played in college football and the NFL – apart from one. And that’s Florida. Some people argue for Green Bay’s Bart Starr (Alabama), who was awesome too..and won two Super Bowls (and had two Super Bowl MVPs, too). As for Peyton, he’s blown away touchdown and passing yards records, and he’s won two Super Bowls. If you want to just go for Super Bowls, then his brother Eli (Ole Miss) would be on the list. Joe Namath (Alabama) would bring the beers and guarantee victories.

RUNNING BACK 

Emmitt Smith (Florida). We STILL don’t get why he was only the 17th pick in the NFL Draft, but heck, Dallas got their money’s worth. Not only did he play on three Super Bowl teams alongside Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, but he’s still got the NFL Career rushing yards record (18, 355) and the career rushing touchdowns record (164).

BACK-UPS: We’re going to let two-time Super Bowl winner Terrell Davis (Georgia), Fred Taylor (Florida) and Jamal Lewis (Tennessee) share rushes behind Smith. Should make for one hell of a practice.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Julio Jones (Alabama). He’s probably the greatest wide receiver in the modern game right now. Hines Ward (Georgia) was a four-time Pro Bowler, had 1000 career receptions and 12,083 yards (23rd all-time in yards – that’s the first SEC WR on the list) and was central to Steelers Super Bowl victories. Expect AJ Green (Georgia), Alshon Jeffrey (South Carolina) and Odell Beckham (LSU) to make a lot of lists if they carry on their current trajectory.

TIGHT END

Kellen Winslow (Missouri) This a bit of steal bearing in mind Winslow was playing at Missouri when Mizzou wasn’t in the SEC, but hey, I don’t care. If you want a REAL SEC player, then Hall of Famers Jason Witten (Tennessee) and Ozzie Newsome (Alabama) makes the list.

O-LINE

 

Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jason Peters (Arkansas) is a Pro Bowl regular. If anyone’s got any ideas of any other tackles, let us know. Michael Oher (Ole Miss) isn’t going to make the list after an up-and-down NFL career, although he’s had a great 2015.

Guard John Hannah (Alabama) was one of the greats, making NINE straight Pro Bowls. If you want good centers, then former Pittsburgh Steelers center Dermontti Dawson (Kentucky) made seven Pro Bowls and went to the Hall of Fame in 2012, and center Frank Gatski (Auburn)- who also fought in a war before going to The Plains – is also a Hall of Famer.

PUNTER / KICKER

Shane Lechler (Texas A&M) has 1,280 career punts, and that’s good for fifth on the all-time list. He’s second on the all-time punts list with 60,746. As for kickers, we’re taking George Blanda (Kentucky), who has the record for extra points made with 943.

KICK RETURNER

Dante Hall (Texas A&M) has one of the greatest names in football – the Human Joystick. Had 426 returns for 10,136 yards in just 8 years. We’ll take him. Patrick Peterson (LSU) will be a fun back-up.

DEFENSE

Defensive End

Two sack machines will play on our team: Reggie White (Tennessee) was God, taking home 198 sacks, second on the all-times sacks list, and Kevin Greene (Auburn) who’s third on the all-time sack list with 160 sacks. We expect to add Von Miller (Texas A&M) to this list soon enough.

Linebacker

We’re using Greene as a defensive end (although he’ll drop back as a linebacker if needed), and we’re also going to bring in the late, great Derrick Thomas (Alabama) to help.

SAFETIES

Hall of Famer Yale Lary (Texas A&M) will lead the way with Johnny Robinson (LSU) – 13th on the All-Time interceptions list with 57 after a tidy career with Dallas and Kansas City – and fellow ballhawk Jimmy Patton (Ole Miss), who had 52 INTs – good for 26th all-time- will make quarterbacks want to throw. Tyrann Mathieu (LSU) will learn from them.

CORNERBACKS 

Playing alongside 12-time Pro Bowler and 15-year NFL veteran Champ Bailey (Georgia) will be Lester Hayes (Texas A&M) was a five-time Pro Bowler and shut-down corner with Oakland.

The sad part about this team is that some of the players – particularly on the defensive side (we see you Reggie White, Derrick Thomas, Jimmy Patton) aren’t with us anymore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennessee news: What do we make of it?

Saddening news came out of Knoxville last night that former Tennesssee wide receiver Drae Bowles was assaulted by fellow players after he helped “the woman who accused linebacker A.J. Johnson and defensive back Mike Williams of rape in November 2014,” the Knoxville News-Sentinel has reported.

In November 14 2014 former UT linebacker AJ Johnson and defensive back Mike Williams raped a woman during a party at a football players’ house, in which alcohol and marijuana were used. And then comes the Bowles incident.

According to the lawsuit the victim “received a message from Plaintiff Doe V who was witnessing (at that moment) several football players “jumping” Drae Bowles, a member of the football team that had actually taken Plaintiff Doe IV to the hospital the night of her assault and who had supported her decision to report the incident to the authorities.

The lawsuit added that the victim – a varsity UT sportswoman – had informed head coach Butch Jones and Jon Gilbert (the executive senior associate AD) and Mike Ward – the senior associate AD for administration and sports programs – and even provided the identities of the players, but was told only “we’ll look into it.” The victim added that she “became aware of a second assault on Drae Bowles in the team facility by the same football players“.

Williams said in a police interview that he was told by Geraldo Orta, a former safety (more about him later) “had told Williams that the football team had “a hit” out on Drae Bowles“. “In his interviews with police, UT football player Geraldo Orta stated that he felt Bowles had betrayed the team and that where he (Orta) came from, people got shot for doing what Bowles did. These facts are set forth in the Knoxville Police Department Incident Report,” the suit continues, adding: “During the interview Orta also admitted having approached Drae Bowles in Smokey’s Cafe (the athletic dining facility), getting “in his face” and saying “some threatening things.

UT DE Curt Maggittconfronted Drae Bowles in the team locker room before the team was instructed by Head Coach Butch Jones not to talk to him and before Bowles was “given time away from the team.

The school went ahead and told everybody that they loved AJ Johnson – probably not a wise move in hindsight, bearing in mind both Johnson and Williams now stand trial for rape.

In the lawsuit was filed by FIVE UT female students – who were not named – who said that the university was indifferent to charges by them of sexual assault from football players and other athletes – included four rapes.

These are the rapes in date order, according to the lawsuit:

— Another player in a lawsuit was former UT basketball Yemi Makanjuola, who in 2013, allegedly forced himself onto student nurse on Valentine’s Day in 2013 after the victim said that she rejected his “sexual advances”. And despite a disciplinary hearing and court order, Makanjuola continued to play for the basketball team. “Upon information and belief, the purpose of requesting a disciplinary hearing was to allow Makanjuola to continue to play basketball throughout the remainder of the season and to allow UT to effectuate his transfer to another school, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where UT’s Head of Basketball Operations, Houston Fancher, had accepted a coaching job,” the lawsuit said. And despite there being a protective order, Makanjuola tried to contact the victim five months later, causing her PTSD and to fail her nurses’ exams.

— In April 2013 accuses former UT running back Marlin Lane and safety Geraldo Orta, as well as Izauea Lanier of a rape that happened in Vol Hall, that houses the student athletes. Apparently UT let the players know that they were going to be interviewed: “During the investigation, UT football players were interviewed but only after they had already been made aware of the allegations by UT and had conversations with their teammates.” It adds: “Upon information and belief, these conversations and prior actions by UT allowed the players to “get their stories straight.” In this case, there was consensual sex with Orta, but was raped by Lane, who joined in without consent. “No disciplinary action was taken at all against the football players except a nominal “suspension” on April 13, 2013, when UT football player Marlin Lane was suspended from the football team for what was stated by Head Coach Butch Jones as “disciplinary reasons,” the lawsuit says. “The purely facial “suspension” only consisted of Lane missing four practices and a scrimmage before he was fully reinstated to the team less than two months later at which time Head Coach Butch Jones described him as a “success story,” and Lane has since been promoted to a member of the Vols’ 13-man player staff of team leaders,” it adds.

— In April 2014 there was another rape by an unnamed UT football player, after the victim came back from a frat party. “Plaintiff  informed UTK investigators that when she woke up the morning after the assault, she found a strap had been ripped off her top and the button ripped off her shorts and photographs were taken of the torn clothes,” the lawsuit says. At the time, the player tried to attack the victim by filing two complaints about her accusation, including the “theft” of a sweater. “The completely baseless and retaliatory reports filed by Mr. Doe I were premised inpart on Plaintiff’s actions in leaving the dorm the following morning wearing a sweatshirt, actions she were forced to take because her clothes had been torn off during the sexual assault“. There was a UT investigation, but it found that “as with other UT investigations, Plaintiff’s account was completely discounted and, based on the “collective” (and virtually identical) accounts of Mr. Doe I’s teammates and a time-lapsed video from an unspecified time after the assault (that arguably shows Ms. Doe II tripping while trying to walk, UT determined that, by a preponderance of the evidence, she could not have been incapacitated and, further, that the sexual encounter was consensual“.

— In September 2014 running back Treyvon Paulk was accused of punching a woman in the mouth. He was later suspended and then summarily dismissed from the team. What’s interesting about the Paulk story is that despite being suspended from team activities, Paulk still practiced with the team and participating in team events.

— In February 2015 cornerback Riyadh Jones – now at Georgia Southern – was accused of rape by “Plaintiff VI”. And although the case is now closed after she decided not to prosecute Jones, it seems that the victim was threatened – via her roommate. The lawsuit says: “Plaintiff’s roommate was repeatedly called by Riyahd Jones’s roommates (also football players) who were threatening/pleading (through roommate) for Plaintiff to drop the allegations.” She notes that one of the players trying to “mitigate” the damage was running back Deanthonie Summerhill (a UT running back who was living with Riyahd Jones), who has since left the school.

“Given the preceding events at UT, these players should have been educated extensively (and on multiple occasions) regarding the impropriety of attempts to contact a victim of an alleged sexual assault,” the lawsuit adds.

The lawsuit accuses the school of violating Title IX and being indifferent to all of the charges, and also adds that the school provided alcohol to recruits and underage students in an effort to show them a “good time”, and acted “with deliberate indifference to known sexual assaults so as to create a hostile sexual environment“.

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There is so much frightening when reading through the actual lawsuit. Firstly, the assaults themselves. Anyone who’s not sickened reading about the assaults probably needs to go and see somebody. Secondly, the University of Tennessee itself: It basically covered up every single one of the assaults. Unlike other programs like Georgia, UT let Jones and Paulk stay on campus, as well as AJ Johnson and Mike Williams. Mark Richt would have thrown them out. And the bit about the players getting their stories together before being interviewed? Are you ****ing kidding me? If this is true, we hope that this makes not only institutional change within the SEC, but in college football. And we hope that UT pays the victims a huge amount of money and bans itself from a bowl or two. Or three. Or four. Or five.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Face it, the SEC won the Super Bowl

Face the fact: The SEC won the Super Bowl.

Yeah, we know the SEC lost the Super Bowl, bearing in mind that Auburn QB Cam Newton did his best Jeremy Johnson impression during Super Bowl 50.

But the SEC won it. Tennessee’s Peyton Manning took home his second ring, watched on by Ole Miss’ Eli Manning, who looked like the pouting younger brother from a decent-looking SkyBox. Thanksgiving’s gonna be fun in the Manning household, when Peyton gets to go and watch Eli play football.

Anyway, there was more SEC winning, too.

Texas A&M DE Von Miller showed himself to be the best in the business, picking up the Super Bowl MVP award and a pretty decent check in the off-season, we think. Miller’s going to make more money than that Big Ten guy, Ndamukong Suh. Kentucky’s Danny Trevathan had four tackles and recovered a fumble.

Missouri’s Shane Ray also got a ring. So has Florida’s Andre Caldwell and Max Garcia, Alabama’s Evan Mathis, South Carolina’s Darian Stewart, Tennessee’s Britton Colquitt and Malik Jackson.

But in total – the SEC won. By a landslide. 31 players on the Super Bowl 50 rosters of Carolina and Denver played in OUR conference. Every team was represented, from Alabama to Mississippi State from Florida to Vanderbilt in some way or other, be it the coaching staffs (Denver assistant WR coach is Marc Lubick, who played at Vandy, and two Arkansas players played on both Carolina and Denver practice squads. One of the Arkansas guys is Cobi Hamilton, who we can’t believe isn’t on the playing field right now).

The SEC should bring out a joint advert that says: “You want to play in a Super Bowl? Come play in the SEC”. Heck – we can afford it.

If you’re a big-time recruit, why go for the big school?

It’s National Signing Day, which means that Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson will be topping the charts, and everyone will be talking about their beautiful collection of players. Other than Jim Harbaugh, who’s sleeping with the parents of a potential 2017 recruit in an effort to get the top-rated from Wisconsin to play in Ann Arbor.

Anyway, we know that a ton of players decide to go and play in Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge and Columbus. But we’ve been thinking: If you’re a four or five-star player, why would you want to go to a big school like an Alabama, LSU or Ohio State?

Here’s the reasons why going to the likes of a big-time program is stupid, recruits:

  1. The depth chart: The depth that these schools has is insane, which means that you’ll probably be starting in  your junior year. You’ll probably want to go to the NFL immediately, come out as a sixth round pick, and then not even make it through OTAs. If you’re sensible and make it through to your senior year, everyone’s asking: “Was he not good enough to get out as a junior?” If you go to a smaller school (let’s say a Mississippi State, Penn State or even (laughs) Texas) you’ll get more playing time, which means more exposure, which means more money in the long run.
  2. You’re not going to be The Big Man On Campus: As much as Nick or Les persuade you, it ain’t gonna happen. Unless your name is Jacob Eason or another QB who’s going to start immediately. If you go to a big-time school, the girls aren’t going to give a crap about a guy who’s got no playing time. You’re a nothing.
  3. The next year’s going to suck: This is along the lines of No.1, but it’s likely that Coach Saban’s going to get another 6-5, 300lb DE who’s probably going to overtake you. Why? Because he does that every single year. What does that mean? If you put a foot wrong, you’re not going to start. Why not go to a smaller school where you can make a mistake or two and still play all three or four years?
  4. They offer tons, and deliver little: The big schools are big because they have the facilities to tell recruits how ‘wonderful’ and ‘valued’ they’ll be as part of the team. I call B.S. on that. It’s simply not true. They aren’t valued because everyone’s a 4 or 5 star recruit.
  5. If you play in a big-time conference and succeed, the school won’t matter when it comes to the NFL Draft: If you play for a lower-tier SEC, Big Ten or ACC school and you stand out, you’re going to a high draft and make money in the NFL. NFL scouts are getting better and better at not looking down at kids for where they played. See Jay Cutler at Vanderbilt, for example….
  6. Top NFL players have played at small schools: Kahlil Mack played at Buffalo. Tony Romo at Eastern Illinois. This year Carson Wentz from North Dakota State is getting love. Remember Malcolm Butler, the cornerback who made that incredible play against Seattle in Super Bowl 49? He played for Alcorn State. If you go to a smaller school, you’re going to be hungrier….and that’s better for your career long-term, right?
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