Recruiting: Georgia grabs one recruit, loses another to USC

Georgia has beaten Georgia Tech to the commitment for 4-star linebacker Naim Mustafaa, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported.

He told the AJC: “I made my decision about a week ago; I just had to come down to Georgia and tell them face to face. It just came down to where I wanted to be, really. Georgia Tech and Georgia are both great schools. I had to choose one.”

Mustafaa is the son of seven-year NFL veteran Reggie Rutland, who played for Georgia Tech.

However, Saturday was not all good news for Bulldogs fans.

They had battled it out for in-state offensive linesman JP Vonashek with South Carolina, and ultimately lost the battle to their SEC rival.

Vonashek told the AJC: “It was either going to be South Carolina or Georgia, and I felt South Carolina was the best place for me. I went there for a visit and I really enjoyed it. It’s close to home and I think they are going to have a great program for the next couple of years.”

He added: “I’ve been to UGA a couple of times, and I went to South Carolina today … Nothing really [went wrong] with UGA. I won’t say anything bad about them. I just liked South Carolina better, to tell you the truth.”

BOTTOM LINE: Vonashek is a big win for South Carolina – as it gives the team more help for the running of Marcus Lattimore up front – especially as they are still improving at quarterback.

Scheduling: SEC games open ESPN’s CFB season

ESPN will be showing two SEC games on the first night of the season, the network announced.

South Carolina’s tricky trip to Vanderbilt and Texas A&M first game of its SEC existence – against Louisiana Tech- will be shown on ESPN and ESPNU respectively. We’ll go out on a limb and say that we expect the Aggies- yes, even with THAT defence – to win that one comfortably.

You should also keep an eye out for September 13th, when former Auburn offensive co-ordinator Gus Malzahn takes his Arkansas State team on the road to noisy Lincoln, Nebraska for a showdown with the mighty Nebraska Cornhuskers. Later that day, Mississippi State go to Troy (you can watch it online on ESPN3).

Here’s the full list. We’ll go as far as saying that thus far, it’s a little uninspiring.

BOTTOM LINE: The early season showdown between South Carolina and Vanderbilt’s going to be great for two reasons. One, it’s an early sighter to see if Steve Spurrier’s men are ready for to be a SEC/National Championship Contender. Two, it’s a way to see how good James Franklin truly is, and if his rating in our SEC Top-5 coaches is truly justified.

Recruiting: Atlanta media frets over Henry’s visit to Alabama

The Atlanta media is already fretting about Georgia recruiting, and it isn’t even football season yet.

On the AJC’s website, the paper says: “Derrick Henry: Should UGA be worried about 5-star tailback visiting Alabama?

Henry, you remember, was seen as one of Georgia’s biggest recruiting coups when he plumped for the Bulldogs in July.

But Alabama has four things in its favour. Firstly, the Tide have  just won a National Championship – its second in three years. Secondly, the school’s last two running backs were Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson – who ended up being quite good, by the way. We hear Eddie Lacy could be something special, too. Thirdly, they’ve got the best recruiter/ coach in the land in Nick Saban. No five-star recruit is safe in an opposing school’s stable if Saban’s about. Fourthly, If you’re good and you go with Nick Saban, it virtually guarantees you a big payday in the NFL. Just ask Richardson, Julio Jones, and the Alabama defense.

Henry told ESPN: “I’m very excited because I finally get a chance to see the campus, get the whole nine yards, see the players, talk to them and get their side of it, and meet with the coaches. I’m ready to get down there.”

BOTTOM LINE: No recruit’s safe with Saban about. Anyone in the SEC knows that. And if we’re honest, we think he’s going to flip and wear Crimson. 

 

Georgia extends Richt’s contract

The Georgia Bulldogs have extended the contract of their sometime under-fire coach, Mark Richt, the school announced today.

The three-year extension will mean that Richt – who still has two years running onto his contract – will stay with the Dawgs until the 2016 season – if he’s not let go (which is always a risk in the SEC).

Last year Richt led Georgia from a 0-2 hole to winning the SEC East. They played well in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta before dropped passes eventually got the better of them and LSU won handily.

Chip Towers at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted on Twitter that the biggest bit of the story is “is no buyout for him if he chooses to leave on his own”, while Gentry Estes of Georgia24-7 noted that Richt would be paid out $4.8m if he’s fired at the end of the 2012 season, a number that falls to $800,000 each season thereafter.

Estes notes that Richt would have had to pay Georgia $2m if he’d decided to walk to another school.

“Mark Richt is not only the dean of SEC coaches, he is a person who has represented the University of Georgia extraordinarily well since he arrived in December of 2000,” said Georgia president Michael Adams.   “He has compiled a very strong record of wins and losses over that period. I am glad we were able to work out this contract extension which I believe is good for the University, good for football and good for Mark.”

Also signing a deal was Greg McGarity, Georgia’s athletic director, until December 2017. He will make around $500,000 per year.

BOTTOM LINE: This year Georgia is loaded and has recruited well, making it one of the favorites for the SEC East crown – although South Carolina and Florida will push them all the way.

SEC finalizes 2012 schedule

The SEC released its 2012 schedule.

We’ll be going through it at a later date, but right now, read, digest, and imagine. And cancel your Saturday weddings.

Aug. 30
South Carolina at Vanderbilt
Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech (Shreveport, La.)

Aug. 31
Tennessee vs. N.C. State (Atlanta, Ga.)

Sept. 1
Alabama vs. Michigan (Arlington, Texas)
Jacksonville State at Arkansas
Bowling Green at Florida
Buffalo at Georgia
North Texas at LSU
Central Arkansas at Ole Miss
Jackson State at Mississippi State
Southeastern Louisiana at Missouri
Auburn vs. Clemson (Atlanta, Ga.)

Sept. 2
Kentucky at Louisville

Sept. 8
Auburn at Mississippi State
Florida at Texas A&M
Georgia at Missouri
Western Kentucky at Alabama
Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas (Little Rock)
Kent State at Kentucky
Washington at LSU
UTEP at Ole Miss
East Carolina at South Carolina
Georgia State at Tennessee
Vanderbilt at Northwestern

Sept. 15
Alabama at Arkansas
Florida at Tennessee
Florida Atlantic at Georgia
Western Kentucky at Kentucky
Idaho at LSU
Texas at Ole Miss
Mississippi State at Troy
Arizona State at Missouri
UAB at South Carolina
Texas A&M at Southern Methodist
Presbyterian at Vanderbilt
Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn

Sept. 22
LSU at Auburn
Rutgers at Arkansas
Kentucky at Florida
Vanderbilt at Georgia
Missouri at South Carolina
Florida Atlantic at Alabama
Ole Miss at Tulane
South Alabama at Mississippi State
Akron at Tennessee
South Carolina State at Texas A&M

Sept. 29
Ole Miss at Alabama
Arkansas at Texas A&M
Tennessee at Georgia
South Carolina at Kentucky
Towson at LSU
Missouri at Central Florida

Oct. 6
Arkansas at Auburn
LSU at Florida
Georgia at South Carolina
Texas A&M at Ole Miss
Vanderbilt at Missouri
Mississippi State at Kentucky

Oct. 13
Alabama at Missouri
Kentucky at Arkansas
Auburn at Ole Miss
Florida at Vanderbilt
South Carolina at LSU
Tennessee at Mississippi State

Oct. 20
Alabama at Tennessee
Auburn at Vanderbilt
South Carolina at Florida
Georgia at Kentucky
LSU at Texas A&M
Middle Tennessee at Mississippi State

Oct. 27
Ole Miss at Arkansas (Little Rock)
Texas A&M at Auburn
Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
Kentucky at Missouri
Tennessee at South Carolina
Mississippi State at Alabama
Massachusetts at Vanderbilt

Nov. 3
Alabama at LSU
New Mexico State at Auburn
Missouri at Florida
Ole Miss at Georgia
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
Texas A&M at Mississippi State
Troy at Tennessee
Tulsa at Arkansas

Nov. 10
Texas A&M at Alabama
Arkansas at South Carolina
Georgia at Auburn
Mississippi State at LSU
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss
Missouri at Tennessee
Louisiana-Lafayette at Florida

Nov. 17
Arkansas at Mississippi State
Alabama A&M at Auburn
Ole Miss at LSU
Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Western Carolina at Alabama
Syracuse at Missouri
Jacksonville State at Florida
Georgia Southern at Georgia
Samford at Kentucky
Wofford at South Carolina
Sam Houston State at Texas A&M

Nov. 23
LSU at Arkansas

Nov. 24
Auburn at Alabama
Kentucky at Tennessee
Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Missouri at Texas A&M
Florida at Florida State
Georgia Tech at Georgia
South Carolina at Clemson
Vanderbilt at Wake Forest

Recruiting News: Mississippi State lands new QB

Mississippi State has relieved its worries at quarterback a little, the Clarion-Ledger has reported.

Jamil Golden, who is seen as a dual threat quarterback, enrolled just before summer classes, meaning that he’ll be available for the start of the season.

Golden had offers from Arkansas and South Alabama, but spurned the Razorbacks – obviously – with the chance of starting as soon as September.

The Bulldogs have Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott took snaps at practice, and Nick Schuessler was part of their signing group. Schuessler was not highly recruited in his home state of Georgia, and only had one FBS offer from Colorado State. Arkansas, however, also showed interest.

Sunday recruiting news: Dawgs grab new WRs

It’s been widely reported but this is the news out of Florida – the Georgia Bulldogs have gone down south and grabbed wide receiver Reggie Davis.

Tallahassee-based Davis, ranked the 17th wide receiver in the nation, was recruited far and wide by schools, including Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee out of the SEC and Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, NC State, and Oregon – amongst others – outside of the conference.

The 6ft tall Davis – a four-star receiver according to Yahoo Rivals – has a 4.55 40, and weighs 158-lbs.

The news comes hot on the heels of Georgia’s signing of Uriah LeMay (brother of Christian LeMay, who was recruited by Mark Richt last year) on Friday.

SB Nation says about him: “LeMay has a solid build at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds with good length and very solid strength. LeMay is not a burner and is not extremely quick off the line, but can get some deep separation. He is already very good at routes which require him to use his large body to shield defenders and create room to catch the football. And of course, he already has a great relationship with his future quarterback, Christian.”

BOTTOM LINE: The Georgia Bulldogs keep on stacking their commitments, don’t they? But the bottom line really is this: The Georgia Bulldogs haven’t been able to replace AJ Green and Davis and LeMay could start immediately when he comes on board in 2013 – especially if the dropped catches that plagued the Dawgs last season continue into 2012. And the Dawgs had better keep their eye on Davis – if Florida State have a good-as-some-people-believe 2012 they may come calling for the hometown wide receiver’s signature.

UGA star recruit fails ACT, can’t enrol

Giant Georgia recruit John Atkins will not be able to report to his first UGA training camp after failing to get the required score on his ACT, the Atlanta Journal- Constitution has reported.

The 6 ft 4, 325-lb defensive linesman, who signed for the Bulldogs in February told the paper that he failed the test by “just one point”, and will therefore have to be redshirted for his first season.

He said: “I’m going to get it [the test score], and I feel like I can get it. I’m going to tutoring all week on how to take it. I’ll be ready for it.”

He will be working out at his high school, Thomson, until July, and he hopes to enrol in July.

Thomson was a 3-star recruit for the Dawgs.

SEC Spring Meetings: Winners/Losers

The SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fl. weren’t low on discussion.

To make it a quick read (and to not try and tread on too much old ground, The SEC Football Blog brings you a (not completely complete) list of winners and losers from the three days of meetings. If you have any more, please comment!

WINNERS

The supporters of tradition: The SEC voted for the 6-1-1 schedule to stick around for the next half a decade, meaning that the century-old Auburn-Georgia and Alabama – Tennessee rivalries stay intact. And so does the LSU vs Florida game, which has been going for a mere 41 years, which is just a smidgeon shorter than how old Les Miles is (and yes, we’re being kind).

Lovers of a 4-game play-off: The SEC voted for a four-team play-off. God only knows what it’s going to look like, though.

Steve Spurrier (press conference): You might not like Steve Spurrier, but his press conference on the Tuesday was fantastic. In about 20 minutes, he managed to butcher Florida State (aren’t they No.1 every year), quickly work out an idea for a play-off, not seem too upset about losing Arkansas as a permanent opponent (the Gamecocks will get Texas A&M instead), but got upset about not paying players as well as the idea that non-conference games counted towards end-of-season divisional records.  And numbers-wise, he beat Coach Cal of UK 20-1 on journalist attendance (although we can guarantee that one Kentucky journalist probably didn’t complain too much about having an exclusive interview, as we wouldn’t!).

The SEC presidents and ADs: The current 12 schools – Texas A&M and Mizzou haven’t formally been voted in yet, we hasten to add, are pocketing a tidy $20.1 million from the SEC – a total of $241.1 million. We could use the change, boys! Oh, and can you imagine the green they’ll get from the SEC Network?

The SEC Coaches: For making a stand and voting unanimously FOR paying players. No, it probably won’t mean too much. But you know what? It might get a ball rolling. And Spurrier led the charge on this – although some members of the media felt that it was simply Spurrier trying to get media attention.

Mark Richt: While others were losing their cool about the 6-1-1, he was straight down the line with his message: UGA wants to keep the Auburn rivalry.

Dan Mullen: Came up with a very common-sense idea of having a ‘Final Four’ for college football. The Texas Stadium in Arlington wouldn’t be big enough for all the people who’d want to go to THAT week of games, would it? He also got that permanent rivalry with Kentucky, which can only be good for the Bulldogs win column.

Concussion-worriers: Dan Jones, the Chancellor of Ole Miss, is going to head up a committee to look into concussions, which should be interesting – and worrying for football fans the world over if their findings are more productive than that of the NFL.

Texas A&M president Loftin: Making a comment like: “Texas is now SEC territory” (well done, Aggies president R.Bowen Loftin) will make you beloved to your other 13 members. Especially as they then venture into your state and continue to steal your best talent.

…And Horse lovers: Not remotely anything to do with football, but now equestrian is a sport starting 2012-3. Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina, and Texas A&M will field teams. The SEC Football Blog can reveal that Baylor, Brown, Cal State Fresno, College of Charleston, Cornell, Delaware State, Kansas State, New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, Sacred Heart, South Dakota State, SMU, TCU and UT-Martin all have Division-I programs. Baylor won this year’s National Championship. Now, I bet you didn’t know that. I can see the jokes start flying.

LOSERS

Les Miles: He didn’t get his way about playing Florida every year, which he wanted NOT to happen. The topic of his rage? Mississippi State’s permanent deal with Kentucky. Brought forth a lot of queries about the LSU side and Miles’ recruiting. We get the reason why Les Miles was freaking out – a loss to Florida could well derail LSU’s SEC and National Championship hopes and he didn’t want that to happen -but come on…

Steve Spurrier (paying players): The coaches’ unanimous vote wasn’t carried through by the ADs and Presidents, unsurprisingly. But hopefully, this will get through to the NCAA.

Nick Saban: His quote about ‘self-absorbed people’ (everyone thinks he was pointed at Big Ten head Jim Delany) got people asking the question: Should Nick Saban – a guy with a not-exactly unblemished record in that department –  be the one saying a comment like that? I can bet that that the PR guys at Alabama probably shivered when he said it, particularly at some of the comments spat back at him over Twitter.

The University of Tennessee: Despite having a consistent rivalry with Alabama, it’s not going to be much of one if Alabama continues to recruit and win the way it does and Tennessee continues to falter. We’ll bet that some Tennessee fans probably wanted to forgo tradition and get paired off with an easier team, say Ole Miss. Or Texas A&M.

And….James Franklin: For the record, this is what the Vanderbilt coach said:  “I’ve been saying for a long time, I will not hire an assistant until I’ve seen his wife. If she looks the part and she’s a D-I recruit, then you’ve got a chance to get hired. That’s part of the deal.” He followed this up with: “There’s a very strong correlation between having the confidence, going up and talking to a woman, and being quick on your feet and having some personality and confidence and being fun and articulate, that it is walking into a high school and recruiting a kid and selling him.” (Thanks, Baltimore Sun, who then called him a ‘used car salesman). Although Franklin tried to play this down as a joke, it didn’t endear himself to a lot of people – particularly those desperate for a story. He apologised over Twitter later on – “Skills is what I am looking 4.As a husband & father of 2 daughters I regret the way I conveyed my message!” but by then he’d written the headlines that the outraged brigade will feast on every time Vanderbilt doesn’t pick up one of those five-star recruits they always seem to get.

Who else do you think should get on the list? Comment below!!!

Spring Meetings: SEC coaches vote in $300-per-game stipend

The SEC coaches might have just done something that could change the course of college football.

This tweet came from Scott Hood at Gamecock Central:

In case you missed it, Steve Spurrier told me last night the SEC coaches unanimously approved giving FB players $300 per game for expenses.

This isn’t just big news. This is massive news. This could mean that players are at least paid for playing – taking back some of the money that schools, clothing companies and other parties (yes, even college football blogs!) so happily take from them year in, year out.

Hood played this down slightly, saying it probably wouldn’t get through the Athletic Directors and Presidents:

Scott Hood ‏@ScottHood63The key question, though, is whether the ADs and presidents will approve it. Most people I’ve talked with this a.m. say no.

However, it’s been noted that this gesture from the coaches might just be that – a gesture, because it’s only the NCAA that can make that sort of decision.

Macon Telegraph reporter told SEC Football Blog’s Alex Haddon: “It’s just a PR gesture. NCAA would never approve one league paying players and others not.”

WHAT THIS MEANS: For now, this means nothing. But what it could really mean is EVERYTHING. Finally, someone’s taking a stand. The coaches in the most powerful conference in football want this to happen, it means that the stone is starting to roll. If the coaches and media can be keep up pressure on their ADs and presidents, something might make it happen and players get a deserved stipend. Let’s face it – it should have happened years ago….

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