Florida State Seminoles: Mississippi State Bulldogs

1. Tennessee last won an SEC championship in 1998, the same year that the Vols won the national title as well. In the next nine seasons, the Vols averaged a 9-4 record. Beginning in that 10th year, 2008, the Vols have hovered between 5-7 and 7-6. I thought of the Vols as Chantel Jennings, Adam Rittenberg and I discussed Michigan on the ESPN College Football Podcast yesterday. This is the 10th anniversary of the Wolverines’ last Big Ten title. Coach Brady Hoke’s teams have gone from 11-2 to 8-5 to 7-6. Spring football began Tuesday in Ann Arbor, and the Wolverines have a lot of work to do.

2. Jameis Winston’s two at-bats against the Yankees on Tuesday equaled the number of plate appearances he had in Florida State’s first six games. Winston started 22 games in the outfield and 10 as a DH as a freshman a year ago. Now he is the Seminoles’ closer, and hasn’t allowed a run in three games. In our haste to anoint Winston as the next Bo Jackson, all of us overlooked the fact that he played so much last year as a fill-in because of injuries. Winston said Tuesday, “I probably have more success in football.” Maybe he loves baseball more than it loves him. That would make him the next Michael Jordan.

3. Ask my readers, and I shall receive. When I wrote earlier this week that my research of coaches who left the SEC for the Big Ten was incomplete, two of you wrote to remind me that Murray Warmath left Mississippi State after the 1953 season for Minnesota, where he led the Gophers to the most recent national championship (1960). Mississippi State had a nose for coaches back then. The Bulldogs replaced Warmath with 29-year-old Darrell Royal. He stayed two seasons.
This is part of a series on the nation's top uncommitted recruits leading up to signing day. Click here for the full series.

Five-star CB Humphrey sets visits 

December, 28, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover) isn't among the seven prospects announcing their commitments during the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game, but he still has some recruiting news to share.


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UA Game jersey tour: Marlon Humphrey

September, 12, 2013
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Five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Al./Hoover High) was presented his honorary 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football game jersey on Aug. 30. The event held at Hoover High in Hoover was part of the three-month American Family Insurance Selection Tour.

[+] EnlargeMarlon Humphrey
Courtesy of IntersportMarlon Humphrey set his sights on playing in the Under Armour Game while in high school.
Humphrey, the No. 9 ranked played in the country, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual Under Armour All-America Game, which will be nationally televised at 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on ESPN.

"First, I would like to thank American Family Insurance," said Humphrey. "(The Under Armour All-America Game is something) I've wanted to do since I was a kid. I want to thank Hoover, my parents, my coaches, the cafeteria, the teachers and everybody that makes this such a great place. Shout out to the football team,"

Humphrey's decision to play in the Under Armour All-America Game was actually made five years ago.

"I decided to play in the Under Armour game in 2008, when I saw it for the first time. Since then, I decided I wanted to play in that game. The practices, being with all those top guys and future NFL guys; I definitely want to see how they work and maybe I can learn a few things," he said.

Following in the footsteps of former state of Alabama players that played in the Under Armour All-America Game is big for the two-sport star.

“It’s definitely a dream … really a blessing. I'm in the same shoes as a lot of top guys right now … Dee Milliner, Julio Jones. It just seems like a dream come true, and I'm really excited to play in it." He said.

The 6-foot-0, 179-pound Humphrey is the No. 9 ranked prospect in the ESPN 300, and the No. 3 cornerback. He is considering Alabama, South Carolina, Florida State and Mississippi State.

SEC Power Rankings: Week 1

September, 3, 2013
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The first week of college football is in the books, and it's time to see where we think all 14 SEC teams stack up in our weekly power rankings:

1. Alabama (1-0; LW: 1): OK, Alabama isn't perfect. Contrary to what AJ McCarron said, the offensive line looked ugly for most of the night in Alabama's win over Virginia Tech. It has to get better in a hurry. But when your defense and special teams are clicking like they were on Saturday, who needs offense?

2. South Carolina (1-0; LW: 4): Two players I've been saying to keep an eye on since the spring: Mike Davis and Shaq Roland. Both looked pretty good, especially Davis, in that opening win, and both will be fun to watch this weekend. The defensive front looked great, but can someone please give Jadeveon Clowney some vitamin C and an extra Gatorade?

3. LSU (1-0; LW: 6): Don't sleep on these Tigers. They're undervalued, but were very impressive in their 37-27 victory over a ranked TCU team in their own backyard. The defense still looks fast, and the offense racked up nearly 450 yards behind some explosive plays. The return of running back Jeremy Hill should make this team even better.

4. Texas A&M (1-0; LW: 2): Johnny Manziel looked good when he was actually playing football Saturday. He went through his progressions and didn't think "run" first. But his antics have to stop (just ask Kevin Sumlin), and that defense has to get much, much, MUCH better before Alabama rolls into town in two weeks.

5. Florida (1-0; LW: 5): It doesn't look like the Gators will miss much of a beat defensively after they suffocated Toledo and that uptempo offense. The offense? Well, it did look more polished and the passing game actually moved down the field, but the Gators were very vanilla. Expect that to change against Miami.

6. Georgia (0-1; LW: 3): We knew the defense would struggle against Clemson's high-octane offense, but the Bulldogs looked really bad in the tackling department. This group has to go back to the basics, and that isn't a good thing with physical South Carolina coming to town this weekend. Also, that offensive line has to protect Aaron Murray better because Todd Gurley can't do it all himself on offense.

7. Ole Miss (1-0; LW: 8): The future certainly looks bright in Oxford, Miss., but this program is hoping the present is just as bright. The Rebels kicked off the college football season with an electric, back-and-forth win over Vanderbilt. This offense looks built to go the distance, but depth is still a major concern. Health is key.

8. Vanderbilt (0-1; LW: 7): The Commodores lost a heartbreaker to the Rebels at home, but this team still looks as explosive as it was last year. The defense has some things to clean up, but defensive coordinator Bob Shoop should make sure that happens. Jordan Matthews has star status, but not having Chris Boyd on the other side of him hurts the offense.

9. Auburn (1-0; LW: 9): The Tigers had quite a fun opener. Both the offense and defense were up and down, but it had to be nice for Gus Malzahn to see his running game put up 295 yards on Washington State. The pass defense has some work to do and injuries won't help.

10. Missouri (1-0; LW: 11): The 58-point, 694-yard performance from the Tigers' offense looked more like what people in Columbia, Mo., expected to see more often last year. Granted, it was against Murray State, but that sort of outing will build some confidence within this group. It was good to see James Franklin and Henry Josey on the field and healthy again.

11. Arkansas (1-0; LW: 13): By looking at the box score, you'd think Bobby Petrino's offense was back in Fayetteville, Ark., after the Hogs put up 522 yards on Louisiana-Lafayette. The Hogs could run and pass, and the defense held the Ragin' Cajuns to just 274 yards. The Hogs still have a couple of cupcakes to face before things get interesting at Rutgers.

12. Tennessee (1-0; LW: 12): We really don't know what to take from Tennessee's thumping of a very overmatched Austin Peay team, but the Vols looked to have some real legs in the running game. How long that will last is a mystery, but it was a good start. Things get tougher this weekend when Western Kentucky and Bobby Petrino visit Rocky Top.

13. Mississippi State (0-1; LW: 10): That was a bad offensive performance by the Bulldogs in their 21-3 loss to Oklahoma State. Mississippi State was 2-for-16 on third downs and Tyler Russell threw for only 133 yards against a defense that ranked 113th nationally in pass defense last year. The Bulldogs held the Cowboys to just 146 passing yards, but allowed nearly 286 rushing yards.

14. Kentucky (0-1; LW: 14): That was not the opener Mark Stoops wanted or needed. The Wildcats looked overmatched against Western Kentucky and are still struggling mightily to find playmakers in the passing game. What had to really upset Stoops was that his defensive line, which was supposed to be this team's best unit, didn't get enough pressure up front and allowed the Hilltoppers to rush for more than 200 yards.
Markell Pack (Purvis, Miss./Purvis) has been high on the Seminoles board for quite a while. So when he committed to Florida State late Saturday night, it was not a surprise that the Florida State coaches were a happy group.

New assistant coach Tim Brewster was the first to get the news Sunday morning.

"I decided to do it last night and when we talked this morning, they were pretty fired up," Pack said.

During the recruiting process, it was Brewster's candid approach that really hooked Pack.

"He's just straight up with me," said Pack, who holds offers from Georgia, Ole Miss and Mississippi State amongst others.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound receiver is versatile given his size. He'll be able to do a lot of things at the next level, whether in the slot or out wide.

And from his perspective, he thinks he'll enter the offense as a good match.

"I just really like what they've got going," he said. "I think I'll fit in great."

Pack joins J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee), JoJo Robinson (Miami/Northwestern) and C.J. Worton (Homestead, Fla./South Dade) as the other wide receivers in Florida State’s 2014 class.

Pack, who ranks as a four-star prospect, is the tenth commitment for the Seminoles in this class.
Several days ago, safety Mattrell McGraw (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian) was perusing Facebook when he decided to get in touch with Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.


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BRADENTON, Fla. -- On the fields of the IMG Academy Southeast Regional 7-on-7 Tournament, George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) stood off to the side with a sling hanging off his shoulder and covering his broken wrist.

That injury, suffered a few weeks back, will keep him out of East Lake's spring practices starting at the beginning of May. But fortunately for him, he's already got a ton of offers to begin with and won't be reliant on coaches coming by for the evaluation period.

That doesn't mean he isn't frustrated, though.


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#BlueChipBattles: ESPN 150 release edition

April, 19, 2013
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Speedy Noil, Adoree Jackson, Da'Shawn HandStudent Sports, ESPN, ESPNSpeedy Noil, Adoree Jackson and Da'Shawn Hand are three of the most coveted recruits in the Class of 2014.
#BlueChipBattles Insider: RecruitingNation summoned its writers from around the country to outline the recruiting battles for the ESPN 150's top 10 prospects.

Plus, rank the battles in SportsNation.

#TopFBMixtapes: Athlete mixtapes are all the rage in this highlight-crazed era of sports. We reached out to our Twitter followers to find out which 2014 football stars had the best highlight reels on YouTube, then had our staff rank and comment on the top submissions.

Tom Luginbill writes Insider: After talking to many coaches across the country and hearing their frustrations, here are their five biggest complaints about homemade highlight videos.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Defensive end Derek Barnett (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy) looked forward to a meeting this offseason with Drew Richmond (Memphis, Tenn./Memphis University School).

After all, Richmond’s team ended the season for Barnett last November with a one-point win the state-playoff semifinal round.

Barnett said he thought he earned a victory over Richmond on Sunday at the Nike Football Training Camp on the home turf of the coveted 2015 offensive tackle.

“I want to go up against the best,” Barnett said, “so I was like, ‘Come on, let’s battle.’ It went well. I got the best of him. He got me a few times, but I think I won that one.”


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Two-way prospect T.J. Harrell (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic) had his first real opportunity to check out Florida State's campus Tuesday. And according to the 6-foot, 197-pound athlete, it didn't disappoint.


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In January 2012, as DaVonte Lambert (Waynesboro, Ga./Georgia Military College) walked back from Sanford Stadium toward the Butts-Mehre Building, the high school senior pondered what life would be like if he had the opportunity to sign with the University of Georgia.

Although Lambert was not going to qualify to attend college at the FBS level, Georgia coach Mark Richt had a message for the talented defensive end, who had just broken the Burke County (Ga.) High School single-season sack record while helping the team win the 2012 AAA state championship:


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Mavin SaundersSam Kahn Jr./ESPNHouston Kinkaid tight end Mavin Saunders has only played one season of football.
HOUSTON -- Like many of the pass-catchers that were competing with him, Houston Kinkaid tight end Mavin Saunders was simply trying to get better on Sunday when he attended the Next Level Athlete South Houston Video Showcase.

Every chance to compete and work is a positive for Saunders, who is trying to catch up to the rest of pack when it comes to football.

Unlike many of the players in attendance, Saunders hasn't spent his entire life -- or even his entire high school career -- playing football. In fact, he hasn't even played it a full year. The 2014 prospect has only one season of football under his belt.


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Lessons Learned: Charlotte NFTC 

March, 24, 2013
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CORNELIUS, N.C. -- The 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour continued in the Charlotte area on Saturday as many top players from the Carolinas and beyond showcased their skills at Hough High School. With deep running back and linebacker groups set to go head-to-head, the weather ultimately might have been the big winner. In spite of cold temperatures and a chilling rain, several players earned MVP honors and many more stood out.

Recruiting Nation writers Miller Safrit and Kipp Adams attended the camp. Here is what they learned:


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First offer came early for Taylor 

March, 14, 2013
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ESPN Watch List selection Rod Taylor (Jackson, Miss./Callaway) is one of the most coveted interior linemen in the Southeast. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound mauler received his first scholarship offer very early in the process.


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