Two Vanderbilt players shot

Vanderbilt players Tae Daley and Frank Coppet were shot  as they attempted to get a teammate’s cellphone back from thieves.

Coppet, a freshman defensive back and Daley, a freshman safety were both shot but not seriously injured by yet-to-be-found assailants on Monday night as they tried to regain a cellphone for fellow freshman Donoven Tennyson – a wide receiver – who was the victim of a heist after meeting would-be buyers outside a Chilli’s.

After that, Coppet pulled a pellet pistol on the thieves in an attempt to get the guns back, but was immediately shot at with a pistol.

The university has said it will investigate.

 

Auburn suspends WR indefinitely

Auburn has suspended wide receiver DeAngelo Benton indefinitely, Gene Chizik said.

In a statement he said: “We have standards and expectations that our football team is expected to uphold and when they do not abide by those, there are consequences. As a result, I have suspended DeAngelo Benton.”

He had a list of off-the-field problems. Al.com said that he ‘testified in the robbery trial of former AU player Antonio Goodwin, saying that he bought synthetic marijuana‘, and the website also noted that he was present at the pool party shooting of three Auburn players – and may have been involved in an argument with alleged shooter Desmonte Leonard – although witnesses said that he was not involved.

Benton had seven receptions for 136 yards last season.

SEC Preseason Preview: Can Auburn roar in the SEC West?

There is no school out there that could have had a more horrible off-season than the Auburn Tigers. And only one incident capped it: Two former Auburn Tigers – Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian – and sophomore offensive linesman Eric Mack were shot at a pool party in mid-June. Phillips and Christian lost their lives.

The news rocked the University to the core – and it’ll be interesting to see what effect – if any – it has on the Tigers are the start of the year.

In less important news, brilliant running back Michael Dyer was dismissed from the team and is now playing FCS football, and Auburn can still roll the Toomer’s Oaks for the 2012 season (although Harvey Updyke still isn’t in jail – despite admitting his guilt to a student newspaper).

LAST SEASON

Last season there weren’t a lot of nice things to say about Auburn’s offense, expect that we loved the on-side kick against Utah State that rescued the 2010-1 National Champion’s blushes. Here it is!

Otherwise, the Tigers were inconsistent last season, beating the likes of South Carolina, Florida (the latter in one of the ugliest games the SEC saw last year) and the two Mississippis while losing convincingly to Alabama, Arkansas and LSU as well as ancient rival Georgia. They finished the season an untidy 7-5, and proceeded to then trounce Virginia in a 43-24 victory in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

SO WHO’S GOING TO BE THE QUARTERBACK?

Gene Chizik’s an excellent card player, and he’s holding them to his chest as we all try and work out who he’s going to pick: Kiehl Frazier or Clint Moseley (or even freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace) as the starting quarterback in the Chick-Fil-A Kick-Off Game in Atlanta against the mighty Clemson Tigers (who, by the way, are having problems of their own with Sammy Watkins). Nobody knows, and everyone’s getting a little impatient.

Last year Moseley threw for 800 yards and 5 TDs (and 3 INTs) behind the now-departed Barrett Trotter, while Frazier threw for 34 yards, and 2 INTs. In other words, none of those two exactly fill us with confidence going into 2012 – and Moseley’s shoulder isn’t great – when the Tigers have to face SEC ballhawks at Georgia, LSU and Alabama, so could Wallace actually get the job? It’s all quite exciting!

BUT AT RUNNING BACK…

The Tigers are absolutely loaded – even without Michael Dyer. Onterio McCalebb, Corey Grant, Tre Mason and Illinois transfer Jay Prosch are going to take turns battering defensive lines- although put your money on McCalebb to do most of the work. He ran for 640 yards last year and he’s got an excellent change of speed. Frazier can also give Chizik an option if the Tigers go Wildcat – something that he seems to enjoy doing!

HOW GOOD ARE THE RECEIVERS?

Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn’s giant tight end, put together an excellent 2011 (especially where he consistently dug the Tigers out of trouble), and don’t be surprised if he ends up continuing to be Auburn’s go-to-guy this year (he had 7 TDs). Emory Blake’s also going to cause defenses problems – and McCalebb will also provide some receptions too (he had 344 receiving yards last year on top of his running numbers!). Auburn fans – if they find a quarterback capable of hitting the receivers properly (a problem in 2011) – could find they have a dangerous offensive punch.

AND IN THE DEFENSIVE LINE…

This year the Tigers bring back nine returning starters to the defense, including 3 of the top 5 tacklers – led by linebacker Daren Bates, who had 104 tackles. Watch out for redshirt freshman Kris Frost, who’s had some standout practices and everyone’s hoping will become The Future in Brian VanGorder’s defense.

Corey Lemonier will lead the defensive line, who are all coming back this year.

WHILE THE SECONDARY…

Defensive MVP for last season Jermaine Whitehead, as well as Chris Davis, T’Sharvan Bell and Demetruce McNeal are back for an Auburn secondary that’s looking a little more seasoned this year.

THE 2012 SEASON (thanks, Yahoo)

September 1 CLEMSON (In Atlanta)

September 8 at Mississippi State

September 15 LOUISIANA-MONROE

September 22 LSU

October 6 ARKANSAS

October 13 at Ole Miss, TBA

October 20 at Vanderbilt, TBA

October 27 TEXAS A&M

November 3 NEW MEXICO STATE

November 10 GEORGIA

November 17 ALABAMA A&M

November 24 at Alabama

BOTTOM LINE: There seems to be no question that the Auburn will go to a bowl game this year – but will it be with a 7-5 record or a 6-6 record? That’s all because of their difficult two games at the start of the year against Clemson and on the road to Mississippi State – both banana skins if ever we’ve seen them. Anyway, we think the Tigers split the series, beat ULM, lose back-to-back games against LSU and Arkansas and win for in a row at Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, and at home against Texas A&M and the might New Mexico State. They then go 1-2 in the Georgia, Alabama A&M and Alabama series. Guess who they beat…. That gives them a 7-5 record and probably another Chick-Fil-A Bowl.

SEC Media Days: Chizik gives play-off thumbs up

Auburn Coach Gene Chizik gave the four-team college football play-off his approval at his SEC Media Day Conference in Hoover, Alabama on Wednesday.

When asked about a play-off by journalists, he said: “With a four‑team playoff, I’m going to be honest with you, that depends on what glasses you’re wearing. Let me give you an example.

In 2010, if we had the four‑team playoff in place, I was at Auburn, just went through this league undefeated, won the SEC championship game, am I in favor of playing another one to prove that I deserve getting into the national championship game? No, I don’t.

But if you go back up to 2004 when we were undefeated and we didn’t get in the national championship game because we weren’t 1 or 2, then I’m totally in favor of it.

I think, as anything, you can shoot holes in anything you want. I think it’s a movement in the right direction. I think there’s two main keys to the point of how they structured it. Number one, they kept the bowl systems pretty much to the best of their ability intact so that there’s still a reward for all of the players at the end of the day. I feel that for the traditionalists out there, the bowls that are out there, they get to stay as a reward. That’s big for the players and coaches.

Second thing, I don’t think a four‑team playoff diminishes whatsoever the intensity of week‑by‑week trying to get down to the final four. I think there’s a lot of value in that for the fans. Essentially every week is a playoff, certainly in late October and November.

So I think those are good things.

At the end of the day, 12 years from now when they go back and they start‑‑ they start this two years from now, they do it 12 years, this system we have now, when they put that in however many years ago, that looked great. We decided there were holes in that. To be honest with you, the same thing is going to happen with this. There’s going to be unintended circumstances or consequences that a lot of people didn’t think about. I can think of scenarios in my mind right now.

If the fifth team beat the third team or the second team, they didn’t become No.4, they’re going to have the same argument the No.3 team did. We all know that. We’re smart enough to figure that out.

Another scenario could be if No.1 and No. 2 are in the same conference, they play a championship game, 2 beats 1, right, then 2 becomes 1 and 1 becomes 4, they’re going to rematch the next game.

There’s scenarios out there that can happen. Look, there’s a lot of things. But I definitely think it was well thought out and I think there was a lot of movement in the right direction. I think it’s going to be very exciting for everybody.

But, again, eight years from now, what will be the scenarios that popped up that will make people rethink this, because that’s going to happen. But for the most part I think it was a really, really fine job and well thought out in terms of for everybody, the fans, the players.”

He also refused to comment on speculation that the SEC East and West divisions should be split in terms of geography.

Auburn Shootings: Leonard turns himself in

Alleged Auburn gunman Desmonte Leonard has been charged for three capital murders and two accounts of assault after turning himself into a Montgomery, Al. courthouse earlier today, it has been reported.

In a press conference police authorities said that Leonard – who was wanted for gunning down three people at an apartment complex near Auburn – negotiated with US Marshal Baylor and turned himself in.

CBS tweeted at the time of his surrender: “CBS 8 NEWS BREAKING NEWS – Montgomery Co. Sheriff D.T. Marshall confirms to CBS 8 that Desmonte Leonard turned himself in to authorities”.

Leonard is alleged to have shot and killed three people (including two Auburn football players) and hurt three others after an argument at a pool party on Saturday when violently out of control was seen fleeing the scene of the shootings and is the No.1 suspect in the shootings.

Two men have also been charged with hindering the police’s search for him.

One of the men is Jeremy Thomas, who fled the scene with Leonard after the shooting, which saw Ladarious Phillips, Ed Christian and Demario Pitts die. Both Phillips and Christian were former players for the Auburn Tigers. Two of the three wounded have been thankfully released from hospital, although John Robertson still lies in hospital after a gunshot wound to the head.

The AJC notes that Thomas was free on bond awaiting a manslaughter trial for the shooting of 14-year old Takira Sada Gaston.

The other man is Gabriel Thomas, who  – according to the Chronicle – was charged “after allegedly having contact with Leonard after the shooting and providing false information to officers.”

Also, it emerged that there had been a shooting incident only last April at the apartments, although thankfully no-one was killed.

Auburn shootings: Police dispute accusations of wrong house raid

Police raiding a house in Montgomery, Alabama where they had been tipped off that alleged shooter Desmonte Leonard was hiding in attic raided the wrong house on Monday night, Reuters has reported.

The location “turned out not to be correct,” FBI spokesman Douglas Astralaga told the news agency.

However, Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson said that the report was not correct. “That is not true. They did not hit the wrong house…I seriously doubt the FBI said that.”

The police are searching for Leonard after three men were killed on Saturday at some apartments near Auburn university – two of them Auburn players Ladarious Phillips and Edward Christian.

After two smoke bombs, police entered the house, but police hadn’t left with anyone, Fox News reported. And the AP reported that police were tearing up the house looking for the killer.

“We still have no explanation for what happened in the attic last night. Nothing at all,” Dawson said.

There is no further information as to how the police raided the incorrect address, as per the Reuters report.

Dawson added that Leonard was still being sought after in Montgomery. “We have no reason to believe he’s anywhere else but Montgomery, Alabama,” he told reporters.

Meanshile, two men were charged by police for hindering the search for the alleged killer. One of them, Jeremy Thomas, is out of bond before he goes on trial for the murder of a 14-year old girl last year.

Dawson also said that it was important to keep a perspective about the ‘wrong house’.  “Why are we focused on that house? We have 3 young men dead,” he said. He added: “When you’re looking for a murderer of 3 young men, it’s not a song-and-dance.”

The report from CBS said: “Police added that they thought that Leonard left before the police could arrive. Officials said it could have been 15 to 20 minutes before officers arrived and they believe he was gone before they got there. They searched the home, but found nothing.”

Murphy said police are looking for a person who reportedly dropped Leonard off at the house.

A $15,000 bounty has been placed on Leonard’s head.

Auburn Shootings: Police surround house

Police and other forces surrounded a house in Montgomery, Alabama where they had been tipped off that a man described as Desmonte Leonard was hiding in the attic on Monday night.

The police are searching for Leonard after three men were killed on Saturday at some apartments near Auburn university – two of them Auburn players

After two smoke bombs, police entered the house, but police hadn’t left with anyone, Fox News reported. And the AP reported that police were tearing up the house looking for the killer

Meanshile, two men were charged by police for hindering the search for the alleged killer. One of them, Jeremy Thomas, is out of bond before he goes on trial for the murder of a 14-year old girl last year.

A $15,000 bounty has been placed on Leonard’s head.

Auburn Shootings: Reward offered, 2 men charged

Police looking for alleged Auburn shooter Desmonte Leonard have placed a $15,000 bounty on his head for information leading to his capture, the  AJC has reported.

Leonard – who is alleged to have shot and killed three people (including two Auburn football players) and hurt three others after an argument at a pool party on Saturday when violently out of control – was seen fleeing the scene and is the No.1 suspect in the shootings.

While a major manhunt for Leonard continues (the AJC says that they believe that Leonard is currently in Montgomery, Al.), two men have been charged with hindering the police’s search for him.

One of the men is Jeremy Thomas, who fled the scene with Leonard after the shooting, which saw Ladarious Phillips, Ed Christian and Demario Pitts die. Both Phillips and Christian were former players for the Auburn Tigers. Two of the three wounded have been thankfully released from hospital, although John Robertson still lies in hospital after a gunshot wound to the head.

The AJC notes that Thomas was free on bond awaiting a murder trial for the shooting of 14-year old Takira Sada Gaston

The other man is Gabriel Thomas, who  – according to the Chronicle – was charged “after allegedly having contact with Leonard after the shooting and providing false information to officers.”

Also, it emerged that there had been a shooting incident only last April at the apartments, although thankfully no-one was killed.

 

 

 

 

Auburn Shootings: Manhunt continues

Police are still searching for the alleged perpetrator of the bloodbath at Auburn that killed three and injured a number of others on Saturday night.

Multiple reports say that police are hunting for Desmonte Howard, the main suspect facing a triple capital murder rap after he allegedly shot up a party after an argument about a woman. Two former Auburn players – Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips – were killed in the shootings, and party attendee Demario Pitts also lost his life. Auburn offensive linesman Eric Mack was also hurt.

According to a report from Al.com, Leonard was charged with theft and carrying a weapon without a permit or license in 2008, as well as second-degree assault in 2009.  He also also sued on Friday for child support for a daughter that it was claimed he fathered in 2011.

Gene Chizik, the Auburn Tigers coach, said in a statement about the deaths: “This is a sad, sad day for everyone associated with the entire Auburn family. I am devastated by the passing of three young men, including two that I personally knew in Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips and my heart goes out to their families. My thoughts and prayers are with their families and all of the victims involved in this tragic incident.
Nobody should ever have to endure such unimaginable grief, and we will love and support the victims’ families during this terribly difficult time. We have a lot of people on our football team that are hurting right now and we’re going to do everything we can to help them get through this. We are relieved that Eric Mack, who was also a victim in this incident, is expected to make a full recovery. This is a very trying time for everyone involved, and I would just ask that you lift up the victims and their families in your prayers.”

Shocking news: 2 former Auburn players killed, another wounded in shooting tragedy

Two former Auburn players have been killed and one current Tigers player has been shot in an horrific incident in an apartment complex at the school on Saturday night, the Associated Press has reported.

According to the Auburn Plainsman, former players Ladarious Phillips and Ed Christian were both killed, and offensive linesman Erick Mack has been hospitalized after a pool party turned tragic as a fight at a pool party escalated to gunfire.

Mack was later released, according to a tweet from Eric Christian, Photographer for Auburn Student Affairs.

According to Al.com, all three players were part of Auburn’s 2010 recruiting class, but Phillips and Christian both gave up the game.

The AP report said:

“Turquorius Vines, 23, said he was at the pool party Saturday evening at the University Heights apartments with one of his friends. He said he and his friend were approached by two other men who started arguing with them over a woman.

Vines said he punched one of the men, while his friend hit both of the men over the head with a bottle. Either one or both of the two men then started shooting, he said. He said his friend was shot and killed, while two others also were hit by gunfire. Vines said he had never before seen the men who he had been arguing with.”

Another report has said that as many as seven people were shot in the shooting. No-one seems to have been arrested yet.