Texas A&M Aggies: Mississippi State Bulldogs
The event took place at the Accelerate Performance Enhancement Center (APEC) training facility, which has trained professionals such as quarterback Graham Harrell, running back Kendall Hunter and pro baseball pitchers Phillip Humber and Josh Tomlin.
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Here's what he's looked at so far:
Now, we're taking a look at Kiper's top quarterback and cornerback draft prospects. We'll start with the quarterbacks and look at the corners later today.
Matthew Stockman/Getty ImagesAlabama's AJ McCarron falls in the top five of Mel Kiper Jr.'s top 2014 NFL draft QB prospects.
Manziel is getting all sorts of draft attention after his record-breaking, Heisman-winning season. He's the most talked about quarterback in the country and while he doesn't have an elite arm, he's extremely athletic and slippery. He's looking to develop more into a passer, but his ability to improv will continue to help him when his arm can't.
McCarron is someone who could have left for the NFL this year, but decided to stay in school. He makes great decisions with the ball (he threw 30 touchdowns to three interceptions last season) and certainly knows how to win. He has two national championship rings and is going for his third straight. He hasn't been asked to do a lot at Alabama, but he's put up some pretty good numbers and is easily the most talented quarterback Saban has had at Alabama.
Wallace has a tremendous amount of athleticism, but he had a lot of decision-making issues last year. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards, but threw 22 touchdowns to 17 interceptions. Fixing his turnover issue is the biggest thing Wallace has to work on this fall. He has good arm strength and can get out of trouble situations with his feet.
Then you have Murray, who isn't getting a lot of draft love. He flirted with heading to the NFL, but also decided to stay in school. Murray's height (listed at 6-1) has hurt his draft status, but he has a solid arm, moves around well with his feet and has really improved his decision making. He had the stigma of not coming up in big games, but showed improvements in 2012 with his second-half effort in the Dawgs' win against Florida and with the way he played against Alabama in the SEC championship game. He'll probably end the 2013 season with a handful of SEC/Georgia records and should become the first SEC quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in four straight seasons.
Other draft-eligible quarterbacks I'm keeping an eye on this fall:
- Jeff Driskel, Florida: He wasn't great last year, but there's no denying Driskel has talent. He's more comfortable with the playbook, and he has a lot more confidence. He must have more command and develop better chemistry with his receivers this fall.
- James Franklin, Missouri: He spent most of last season battling injuries, but finally isn't dealing with excruciating shoulder pain. His confidence was up this spring and that will go a long way this fall.
- Zach Mettenberger, LSU: He really came along in November and has all of his receiving targets back. People at LSU feel like he's much more comfortable with Cam Cameron's guidance.
- Tyler Russell, Mississippi State: He's had an up-and-down career with the Bulldogs, but when he was on last year he was extremely efficient. He lost all of his receivers from last year and can't press like he did late last season.
- Connor Shaw, South Carolina: It's hard to find a tougher quarterback out there. Shaw has dealt with a lot of injuries, but when he's been on the field, he's had a lot of success. Here's a chance for him to really improve his draft stock.
The first day to mark off the calendar is Thursday, when his Parkway team scrimmages Alexandria (La.) Senior High to conclude spring drills. He'll play in front of coaches from several major colleges. At the end of the scrimmage, sometime around 7 p.m, he'll announce which six schools he plans on visiting this summer.
"It's going to be a big day," he said. "I can't wait."
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The latest class rankings by ESPN has five SEC teams in the top-10 nationally and seven in the top 15. Obviously, it's going to change over the next several months. But right now, Texas has the No. 1 class.
Florida leads the way in the SEC at No. 2. LSU is No. 4, Texas A&M No. 5, Tennessee No. 7 and Alabama No. 9. Other SEC teams in the top 15 are Ole Miss at No. 11 and Georgia at No. 12. Vanderbilt is No. 18 and Auburn No. 22.
First-year Tennessee coach Butch Jones has made a big splash on the recruiting trail. The Vols already have 12 commitments.
Here's a look at our May recruiting scorecard:
2014 verbal commitments: 6
Spotlight: Bo Scarbrough of Tuscaloosa, Ala., has been committed since last September. He's ranked as the No. 2 athlete nationally, but plays running back for his high school. The 6-2, 220-pound Scarbrough is a good enough athlete that he could also get a look on defense in college.
ESPN 150 members: 3 (Scarbrough, ILB Shaun Dion Hamilton of Montgomery, Ala., CB Kalvaraz Bessent of Kingsland, Ga.)
Key targets: Running back Leonard Fournette of New Orleans is the No. 1 player overall in the ESPN 150, and the Tide would also love to have five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson of West Monroe, La., as well as the country's No. 1 receiver, Ermon Lane of Homestead, Fla., and the country's No. 3 defensive end, Lorenzo Carter of Norcross, Ga.
2014 verbal commitments: 4
Spotlight: Defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado, Ark., is the top player in the state and ranked as the No. 5 defensive tackle nationally. The 6-2, 334-pound Jackson had a strong showing in January at the U.S. Army National Combine.
ESPN 150 members: 1 (Jackson)
Key targets: Defensive tackle Josh Frazier of Springdale, Ark., is being pursued by all the heavyweights, including Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M and USC. ESPN 150 prospect Garrald McDowell of Covington, La., is another defensive tackle at the top of the Hogs' board.
2014 verbal commitments: 5
Spotlight: Linebacker Tre' Williams of Mobile, Ala., committed earlier this week and was a huge get for Gus Malzahn and the Tigers. He's ranked as the No. 5 inside linebacker nationally and was also being heavily recruited by Alabama. It's imperative that Auburn have some success in the Mobile area.
ESPN 150 members: 1 (Williams)
Key targets: ESPN 150 defensive end Justin Thornton of Prichard, Ala., is set to make his decision on Sunday. Auburn is one of three finalists, along with LSU and Texas A&M.
2014 verbal commitments: 9
Spotlight: Running back Dalvin Cook of Miami has breakaway speed and is one of the more explosive athletes in this class. He's ranked No. 20 overall in the ESPN 150 and as the No. 4 running back in the country.
ESPN 150 members: 4 (Cook, QB Will Grier of Davidson, N.C.; OLB Christian Miller of Columbia, S.C.; DT Anthony Moten of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Key targets: Offensive tackle David Sharpe of Jacksonville, Fla., is right there at the top of the Gators' list. He's ranked as the No. 2 tackle nationally and is also strongly considering Georgia. Receiver Johnnie Dixon of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., would fill a pressing need on offense. Dixon is ranked as the No. 4 receiver nationally.
2014 verbal commitments: 5
Spotlight: The Bulldogs were able to wrestle away running back Sony Michel of Plantation, Fla., away from Miami. The 5-11, 194-pound Michel is an every-down back who can do it all. He's ranked No. 16 overall in the ESPN 150.
ESPN 150 members: 2 (Michel; TE Jeb Blazevich of Charlotte, N.C.)
Key targets: Five-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard of Fayetteville, N.C., has the Bulldogs at the top of his list along with Miami. He's ranked as the No. 2 defensive tackle nationally. Georgia will battle with Alabama for ESPN 150 defensive end Lorenzo Carter of Norcross, Ga. Carter is the No. 2 player in the state and the No. 3 defensive end nationally.
2014 verbal commitments: 5
Spotlight: Receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass of Springfield, Ohio is a top 5 player in the state of Ohio and another key pickup for first-year coach Mark Stoops in the southwest Ohio area. Snodgrass is ranked No. 26 nationally among receivers.
ESPN 150 members: None
Key targets: ESPN 150 quarterback Drew Barker of Hebron, Ky., will announce his decision on Friday afternoon, and it appears to be down to Kentucky and South Carolina for the highly rated pocket passer.
2014 verbal commitments: 9
Spotlight: Edward Paris, Jr. of Arlington, Texas is a top 10 player in the state of Texas and ranked as the No. 4 safety nationally. At 6-foot and 200 pounds, Paris has the skills to also play cornerback in college.
ESPN 150 members: 5 (Paris; OG Garrett Brumfield of Baton Rouge, La.; TE Jacory Washington of Westlake, La.; S Devin Voorhies of Woodville, Miss.; OLB Sharieff Rhaheed of Fort Pierce, Fla.)
Key targets: The state of Louisiana is loaded this year. The Tigers are trying to keep Leonard Fournette at home. The nation's No. 1 prospect is being touted as a Trent Richardson-type of running back. Cameron Robinson is the country's top offensive lineman and also from the state. Speedy Noil of New Orleans is ranked as the No. 1 athlete nationally and could be an impact player at multiple positions.
2014 verbal commitments: 2
Spotlight: ESPN 150 athlete Jamoral Graham of Decatur, Miss., gave the Bulldogs his commitment earlier this week. The 5-11, 180-pound Graham has 4.4 speed and can play on both sides of the ball. He likely projects as a defensive back in college.
ESPN 150 members: 1 (Graham)
Key targets: ESPN 150 prospect Jesse Jackson of Petal, Miss., is ranked as the No. 10 receiver nationally. Offensive lineman Rod Taylor of Jackson, Miss., is another ESPN 150 member the Bulldogs covet and the top prospect in the state.
2014 verbal commitments: 7
Spotlight: Kendall Blanton of Blue Springs, Mo., is ranked as the No. 8 tight end nationally.
ESPN 150 members: None
Key targets: ESPN 150 offensive tackle Roderick Johnson of Florissant, Mo., is the No. 2 player in the state and ranked as the No. 13 offensive tackle nationally. Running back Markel Smith of St. Louis is looking around again after being previously committed to the Tigers.
2014 verbal commitments: 9
Spotlight: Andy Bauer is the top player in the state of Missouri and the No. 4 offensive tackle nationally. At 6-6 and 304 pounds, Bauer could be a right tackle in college or move inside to guard, where he has all the tools to be a devastating run-blocker.
ESPN 150 members: 1 (Bauer)
Key targets: Rod Taylor of Jackson, Miss., is the No. 1 prospect in the state and ranked as the No. 2 guard nationally. ESPN 150 safety Laurence Jones of Monroe, La., is also high on the Rebels' list, while the state of Illinois could again be good to Ole Miss. ESPN 150 inside linebacker Nyles Morgan of Crete, Ill., is strongly considering the Rebels.
2014 verbal commitments: 3
Spotlight: Bryson Allen-Williams of Ellenwood, Ga., is a top-25 prospect in the state of Georgia and ranked as the No. 20 outside linebacker nationally.
ESPN 150 members: None
Key targets: The Gamecocks are waiting on Friday afternoon's decision from ESPN 150 quarterback Drew Barker of Hebron, Ky. Closer to home, ESPN 150 tight end Kevin Crosby of Bamberg, S.C., would be a nice addition along with ESPN 150 receiver Shaq Davidson of Gaffney, S.C., and ESPN 150 offensive tackle Bentley Spain of Charlotte, N.C.
2014 verbal commitments: 12
Spotlight: The Vols desperately needed a marquee running back and got the one they wanted when ESPN 150 prospect Jalen Hurd of Hendersonville, Tenn., committed in March. The 6-3, 223-pound Hurd is ranked as the No. 6 running back nationally.
ESPN 150 members: 2 (Hurd; S Todd Kelly, Jr., of Knoxville, Tenn.)
Key targets: Linebacker Dillon Bates of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., would be another nice legacy pickup. His dad, Bill Bates, played at Tennessee. The younger Bates is the No. 3 outside linebacker in the country. ESPN 150 cornerbacks Jalen Tabor of Washington, D.C., Wesley Green of Lithonia, Ga., and D.J. Smith of Marietta, Ga., would help shore up the secondary.
2014 verbal commitments: 10
Spotlight: The Aggies received a commitment last December from the nation's top outside linebacker, Hoza Scott of La Porte, Texas, and Scott has become one of Texas A&M's most ardent recruiters ever since.
ESPN 150 members: 3 (Scott; S Dylan Sumner-Gardner of Mesquite, Texas; ATH Nick Harvey of Richmond, Texas)
Key targets: Myles Garrett is an ESPN 150 defensive end from Arlington, Texas and ranked No. 6 overall nationally. He's the top prospect in the state of Texas and being recruited by everybody.
2014 verbal commitments: 8
Spotlight: Safety Emmanuel Smith of Murfreesboro, Tenn., picked Vanderbilt over Tennessee in March. The 6-2, 200-pound Smith is ranked as the No. 25 safety in the country.
ESPN 150 members: None
Key targets: A pair of in-state prospects are near the top of the Commodores' wish list -- safety Rashaan Golden of Nashville and ESPN 150 receiver Josh Malone of Gallatin, Tenn.
Alabama Crimson Tide
What they are selling: What's not to sell? Alabama is coming off back-to-back national championships, and the Crimson Tide had nine players taken in April's NFL draft, including three in the first round. For the critics who say you won't play early at UA, ask T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper how much they contributed as freshmen.
What they are missing: Although they won a national championship, the Tide didn't generate much pass rush last fall, and they had trouble containing freshman sensation Johnny Manziel. Also, they need to rebuild the offensive line, a unit that anchored the offense last year.
What they are selling: New head coach Bret Bielema runs a completely different offensive system than the previous two Arkansas coaches. The Razorbacks are selling an opportunity for freshmen to come in and earn playing time early in their careers.
What they are missing: The Razorbacks signed only one offensive lineman, Denver Kirkland, who was rated a four-star prospect or higher last year. In this run-heavy system, look for Arkansas to focus on landing talented players along the offensive line.
What they are selling: It's a new regime for Auburn, but there's a familiar face running the show. New head coach Gus Malzahn knows the program from his days as offensive coordinator. He's already shown the ability to recruit, stealing ESPN 150 linebacker Tre Williams away from the Tide. There's a sense of excitement on The Plains again.
What they are missing: Malzahn filled out his first recruiting class with playmakers, but Auburn needs to build up front on the offensive and defensive lines. No matter what offense you run, if you want to win in the SEC, you need to be able to compete up in the trenches.
What they are selling: With no proven wide receivers on the perimeter, Florida is attempting to sell early playing time at the position. A chance to play for one of the best defensive minds in college football in Will Muschamp is another selling point to defensive prospects.
What they are missing: Production on offense. After finishing 114th nationally in passing offense, it will be hard to sell playing time to wide receivers without an explosive passing game in place.
What they are selling: Freshmen, if they're good enough, play early at Georgia. From running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall to offensive tackle John Theus to defensive end Jordan Jenkins, several freshmen Bulldogs made major contributions on a team that was a few yards away from making the national championship game.
What they are missing: Georgia has brought in four top-12 recruiting classes in the last four years. Depth might become an issue for some recruits, but Georgia has certainly shown a willingness to play younger players.
What they are selling: After finishing 2-10, Kentucky fired coach Joker Phillips. New head coach Mark Stoops is offering a fresh start and a chance to help build Kentucky in to a contender in the SEC East.
What they are missing: Plain and simple -- tradition. Sure, Kentucky is full of basketball tradition, but the success on the hardwood completely overshadows the football program. A record 50,831 fans attended the Wildcats' spring game, so the interest level is certainly headed in the right direction.
What they are selling: An unprecedented 10 underclassmen declared for the NFL draft. LSU is selling the opportunity, not only for early playing time because of the departures, but a chance to make it to the NFL in three years.
What they are missing: Because of all the departures, there are some holes on both sides of the ball. Depth is now an issue at running back and LSU will need to replace Eric Reid, Kevin Minter, defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, defensive tackle Bennie Logan and linebacker Kevin Minter.
Ole Miss Rebels
What they are selling: Ole Miss landed the No. 5-ranked class in the country, including No. 1 overall player Robert Nkemdiche and No. 1 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Look for Ole Miss to sell recruits on the opportunity to help build something special under head coach Hugh Freeze.
What they are missing: Freeze brought a creative and innovative offense to the SEC, but the defense is still a work in progress. Ole Miss finished 12th in the SEC in pass defense and will need to continue to build depth in order to compete for the SEC West championship.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
What they are selling: Only 11 of 22 starters return for a team that finished 8-5 last year. The Bulldogs offer recruits a chance to play early and play in the best division in college football.
What they are missing: Mississippi State returns its starting quarterback Tyler Russell, but who will he be throwing to? Last year's four leading receivers, including Chad Bumphis, are gone. Look for the Bulldogs to focus on offensive weapons in this recruiting class.
What they are selling: The Tigers return 14 of 22 starters on a team that went 5-7 in its first year in the SEC East. Missouri runs a fun and innovative offense that is sure to attract recruits, and there is certainly an opportunity to play early.
What they are missing: The defensive line is probably the most critical area on any defense in the SEC, and the Tigers lost their best lineman in Sheldon Richardson. Mizzou must find a viable replacement for Richardson and linebackers Zaviar Gooden and Will Ebner.
South Carolina Gamecocks
What they are selling: The Gamecocks have been dominant on defense over the last few years, and a strong line is a big part of their success. South Carolina is selling an opportunity to be the next Jadeveon Clowney and be a part of one of the top defenses in the SEC.
What they are missing: Hard to believe, but head coach Steve Spurrier needs help at wide receiver. The Gamecocks signed only one wide receiver in their 2013 class. They have young bodies, but not much depth or production from the returning group.
What they are selling: A fresh start under new head coach Butch Jones. Since 2011, Tennessee has finished with the No. 13, 21 and 29 recruiting classes in the country. There plenty of holes to fill, and any incoming freshman will have plenty of opportunities to earn a starting spot.
What they are missing: Tennessee lost wide receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson to the NFL draft and must replace their production on the outside. The Volunteers are also thin in the secondary and will look to recruiting to plug some key holes on defense.
Texas A&M Aggies
What they are selling: There is a lot to sell a recruit on at Texas A&M right now. An explosive offense which led the SEC in total offense by more than 100 yards a game, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and a team that went into Tuscaloosa and handed Alabama its only loss last season.
What they are missing: There are still some holes to fill on defense. The Aggies finished with the No. 8-ranked defense in the SEC and the No. 10-ranked pass defense in the league. They also need to replace talented defensive end Damontre Moore, who is now in the NFL.
What they are selling: Head coach James Franklin has taken Vanderbilt to a bowl in two consecutive years, and the Commodores are bringing in a solid recruiting class. Selling recruits on an opportunity to play at Vanderbilt during one of the best eras in the school's football history is enticing to high school recruits.
What they are missing: Vanderbilt is not yet on par with other SEC schools as far as facilities. The Commodores, though, are certainly headed in the right direction. A new indoor practice facility is being constructed, and stadium renovations are in the planning stages.
I'm not sure it's realistic to expect that kind of haul next year, but it's never too early to start looking ahead to the 2014 draft class.
So, similar to a year ago, I've come up with our list of the SEC's top 20 draft prospects for 2014.
This isn’t a mock draft. Likewise, it’s not a ranking of who I think will be the best players in the SEC next season. Rather, it’s a projection of who will be the most coveted NFL prospects from the SEC when the 2014 draft rolls around in April. In coming up with this list, I’ve talked to several draft analysts as well as NFL personnel, SEC coaches and others who are clued in to the whole draft process.
Some players will obviously play their way onto this list next season, while others will play their way off it. Injuries undoubtedly will be a factor, and then occasionally, guys will come from nowhere to be first-round picks.
Among the prospects I nailed this time a year ago were Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack, LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo and LSU safety Eric Reid.
Among those I missed the boat on were Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker.
I had Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson No. 1 overall and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore in my top five. So it never goes exactly the way anybody predicts, especially 11 months before the draft.
Here goes with our 2014 list. Again, we’re not suggesting all 20 will go in the first round or even the first two rounds. It’s simply the order we think they will come off the board in next April’s draft and includes only draft-eligible players:
1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina, Jr.: The ultimate game-changer on defense, Clowney would have been a first-rounder had he been draft-eligible after his freshman season. Clowney then excelled in 2012, elevating his status as the 2014 No. 1 favorite.
2: Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama, Jr.: A potential top-five pick in next year's draft, the 6-foot-6, 310-pound Kouandjio is everything you're looking for in a left tackle.
3. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M, Sr.: We know Matthews has the bloodlines, but he also has the game. He's shifting over from right tackle to left tackle for his senior season.
4. Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee, Jr.: The man they call Tiny has the size and athleticism to be a franchise left tackle. Clowney said Richardson was one of the best tackles he faced a year ago.
5. Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU, Jr.: There's a reason they call him Freak. They just seem to breed great defensive linemen at LSU, and Johnson is next in line.
6. Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida, Jr.: He's a pure cover cornerback with good size and an explosive athlete to boot. The Gators also will play him at receiver next season.
7. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M, RSo.: Yes, Manziel is shorter than the NFL typically likes its quarterbacks, but do measurables really matter when you make as many plays as Johnny Football does?
8. Dominique Easley, DT, Florida, Sr.: Easley is fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered at the end of the 2011 season. He's sliding inside to tackle next season and will be a force for the Gators.
9. Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama, RJr.: We saw his ability to get to the quarterback in flashes last season. Look for Hubbard to take that next step in 2013 and become a premier finisher.
10. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama, Sr.: As the saying goes, he's a football player. Mosley is a sure tackler. He's excellent in coverage and is always money whenever Alabama needs a big play.
11. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama, Jr.: In the past four drafts, Alabama has produced four first-round selections in the secondary. Clinton-Dix could be the top safety off the board next year.
12. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M, RSo.: In his first season in the SEC, the 6-5, 225-pound Evans was sensational with 82 catches and 1,105 yards. He'll be even better his second time through.
13. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama, Sr.: Sure, he's been surrounded by great talent, but McCarron also has an NFL arm, delivers in the clutch and takes care of the football.
14. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt, Sr.: The 6-3, 205-pound Matthews is so smooth that he makes it look easy. And talk about productive. He averaged 109.6 receiving yards in eight SEC games.
15. Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss, Jr.: One of the more underrated players in the SEC, the 6-3, 215-pound Moncrief has a knack for finding the end zone with 14 touchdowns in his first two seasons.
16. Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee, Sr.: This mountain of a man (6-8, 360 pounds) is still developing, but he should make an imposing nose tackle for a team that uses a 3-4 defensive scheme.
17. Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida, Jr.: The "other" Florida cornerback also has big-time skills and was second in the SEC in passes defended last season with 14.
18: Chaz Sutton, DE, South Carolina, RJr.: Clowney will get most of the attention next season, but don't be surprised if Sutton blows up and has a monster senior season.
19: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State, Sr.: Jackson thought about coming out early this year. He returns as one of the top offensive guards in college football.
20: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia, Sr.: The opinions are mixed on Murray, who's bearing down on several SEC records. His numbers speak for themselves, and so does the way he approaches the game.
Alabama took in $124,899,945 in revenue and spent $108,204,867 for a subsidy of $5,461,200.
Texas was No. 1 nationally with $163,295,115 in total revenue.
Six of the top 12 schools in total revenue were from the SEC. Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn and Tennessee were all over $100 million in revenue.
Below is a breakdown. The national rank is in parentheses:
(4.) Alabama: $124,899,945 in revenue; $108,204,867 in expenses
(5.) Florida: $120,772,106 in revenue; $105,102,198 in expenses
(6.) Texas A&M: $119,702,222 in revenue; $81,792,118 in expenses
(7.) LSU: $114,787,786 in revenue; $101,989,116 in expenses
(10.) Auburn: $105,951,251 in revenue; $96,315,831 in expenses
(12.) Tennessee: $102,884,286 in revenue; $101,292,015 in expenses
(14.) Arkansas: $99,757,482 in revenue; $82,470,473 in expenses
(18.) Georgia: $91,670,613 in revenue; $88,923,561 in expenses
(19.) Kentucky: $88,373,452 in revenue; $84,929,819 in expenses
(21.) South Carolina: $87,608,352 in revenue; $84,963,037 in expenses
(38.) Mississippi State: $69,828,880 in revenue; $67,926,160 in expenses
(51.) Ole Miss: $51,858,993 in revenue; $51,708,064 in expenses
(52.) Missouri: $50,719,665 in revenue; $66,980,889 in expenses
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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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 : After talking to many coaches across the country and hearing their frustrations, here are their five biggest complaints about homemade highlight videos.
According to ESPN's Brett McMurphy, Texas A&M and Louisville were in discussions to open the 2013 season at Houston's Reliant Stadium. That would have given us Johnny Manziel vs. Teddy Bridgewater. Or, Johnny Football vs. Teddy Ballgame.
Unfortunately, things just didn't get worked out between the two parties, so we're left with the Aggies taking on Rice at home on Aug. 31. It just won't be the same as seeing the Aggies take on what should be another talented Charlie Strong-led Louisville squad. And after what the Cardinals did to Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Louisville is a hot ticket and qualifies as must-see TV.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. SolisJohnny Manziel and the Aggies will face Rice instead of Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville on Aug. 31.
"It would have been a great experience to play against last year's Heisman Trophy winner and arguably the best player in college football," Bridgewater said. "He lays it on the line like I do. It would have been a great matchup."
Louisville is clearly looking to sit at the big boys' table, because the Cards not only tried to play the Aggies, but they also wanted a neutral-site game with the defending champs ... and almost got it.
According to McMurphy's report, Louisville almost played Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Virginia Tech, which will face Alabama on Aug. 31 at 5:30 p.m. ET inside the Georgia Dome instead, was ready to back out of the game if quarterback Logan Thomas made an early jump to the NFL. If Logan had skipped his senior year, the Cardinals would have replaced the Hokies in Atlanta.
However, Thomas opted to stay, so Alabama will start the season against Virginia Tech, which isn't a bad matchup at all.
We might get to watch Johnny Football take on Teddy Ballgame, but there are some pretty exciting nonconference games that SEC teams are involved in this fall. Here are five (outside of Alabama-Virginia Tech) that I'm most excited about:
LSU vs. TCU (Arlington, Texas), Aug. 31: The Tigers did just fine last time they were in this building, but after losing a chunk of defensive talent, LSU has to face a TCU team that returns nine offensive starters and will be less than 20 miles from campus.
Georgia at Clemson, Aug. 31: The Bulldogs will be without 12 players who either started or saw significant time on defense in 2012. Clemson, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, should provide problems with its offense. However, Georgia should like its offensive matchup with a Tigers defense that surrendered nearly 400 yards a game last season.
Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State (Houston), Aug. 31: Mississippi State's defense has a lot of questions to answer up front and in the secondary, and its first test comes against the Big 12's top scoring offense from a season ago. Seven OSU starters return on an offense that averaged 547 yards last season.
Florida at Miami, Sept. 7: Miami isn't close to the power it once was, but taking an offense that has a lot of questions surrounding it on the road early will make this quite the test for the Gators. The good news for Florida is that Miami returns nine starters on a defense that was last in the ACC in total defense, passing defense and rushing defense in 2012.
Ole Miss at Texas, Sept. 14: Players in Oxford are already talking revenge after getting blown out by 35 against the Longhorns at home last season. Both sides of the ball should be improved for the Rebels this fall, and even though the jury is still out on Texas, the Horns return 19 total starters.
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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ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Start date: March 16
Spring game: April 20
What to watch:
- Battling complacency: Alabama is gearing up for yet another title defense. Will complacency finally rear its ugly head? Not if Nick Saban has anything to do with it. The head coach will no doubt remind players of the targets on their backs and what little they've accomplished as presently constituted.
- Opening up the passing game: The return of AJ McCarron, coupled with a talented, deep crop of receivers, could mean a more wide-open passing game in Tuscaloosa. If true freshman tight end O.J. Howard develops as some expect, the offense could become even more dynamic.
So how does the rest of the SEC stack up? Well, we have our final power rankings of the year right here:
1. Alabama (13-1, 7-1 SEC): Total domination in the championship game and three titles in four years? A load of NFL talent on both sides of the ball? Alabama had it all (again), and even with a team that didn't exactly have the same sort of defensive talent as it did a year ago, the Crimson Tide still made it to the BCS title game and came away with a commanding 42-14 victory over Notre Dame in a game that was over when the Tide arrived on South Beach. With the talent Alabama has coming back, the Tide could once again be in the national championship picture.
2. Texas A&M (11-2, 6-2 SEC): Thanks to Johnny Football, the Aggies ended the season as one of the nation's hottest teams. There are some out there who think A&M might be the best team in the country, despite its two losses. Johnny Manziel was the nation's best player and even without Kliff Kingsbury helping him on the sideline against Oklahoma, he ran all over the Sooners for a bowl-record 516 total yards in a total rout. Imagine if both of those Aggies tackles return in 2013.
3. Georgia (12-2, 7-1 SEC): The Bulldogs capped off the 2012 season with a 45-31 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. It wasn't exactly the bowl the Bulldogs wanted to be in, after coming up just yards short of making it to the BCS title game in Alabama's place, but you have to admire how this team came out and won like it did. Back-to-back SEC title game appearances is nothing for this team to be ashamed of.
4. South Carolina (11-2, 6-2 SEC): The Gamecocks had a legitimate shot at our No. 3 spot, but at the end of the day, Georgia's appearance in Atlanta, coupled with its 14-point bowl win, kept South Carolina behind the Bulldogs. Still, what a year for the Gamecocks. Behind the coaching of Steve Spurrier, South Carolina won 11 games in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. The Gamecocks also beat back-to-back ranked opponents to close out the season.
5. Florida (11-2, 7-1 SEC): After entering the postseason with arguably the country's best résumé, the Gators fell flat on their faces against Louisville in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Their 10-point loss didn't show just how bad the game was for Florida. The Gators might not have wanted to be there and Florida clearly didn't show up for its first BCS bowl since 2009. But you can't discount what Florida did during the regular season. It didn't have a pretty offense, but it defeated four top-10 teams, including ACC champ Florida State in Tallahassee in a year in which the Gators weren't expected to win nine games.
6. LSU (10-3, 6-2 SEC): The Tigers had a very up-and-down year, and it ended on a very down note with that last-second loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. LSU was totally off its offensive game in the second half, turning to the pass more than the run. With that offense struggling in the fourth quarter, LSU's defense was left huffing and puffing as Tajh Boyd & Co. gutted it for three straight scoring drives. But LSU did win double-digit games for the third straight year, and it took Alabama down to the wire and beat Johnny Football.
7. Vanderbilt (9-4, 5-3 SEC): The Commodores ended the season in historic fashion, with a seven-game winning streak (the longest since 1948), and won five conference games for the first time since 1935 and nine total games for the first time since 1915. That ninth win came in dominating fashion with a 38-24 win over NC State in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. The Commodores turned into the team that no one wanted to play at the end of the season, and they carry a ton of momentum into 2013.
8. Ole Miss (7-6, 3-5 SEC): The Rebels had quite the first year under new coach Hugh Freeze. For a program that won just six games in the two previous seasons, Ole Miss grabbed seven, including its first bowl win since 2009, this year. The depth was lacking all year, but the heart wasn't, as the Rebels were much more competitive and won three SEC games after entering the season on a 14-game conference losing streak. Freeze did a tremendous job of changing the culture in Oxford, but the players did a great job of responding to adversity all season.
9. Mississippi State (8-5, 4-4 SEC): A year that started with such promise after a 7-0 start imploded and led to a lot of criticism about the talent on both sides of the ball. The second half of the season proved the first seven games were a farce. A lot of the defensive deficiencies were masked until the month of November, as the Bulldogs went 1-5 to end the year, including a blowout loss to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl and a 34-20 loss to Northwestern in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl.
10. Missouri (5-7, 2-6 SEC): The Tigers would love to forget their first season in the SEC. This was supposed to be the Big 12 team that succeeded in its first year out of its comfort zone. This team returned too much not to win a few games in the SEC East. But injuries, most notably to quarterback James Franklin and that offensive line, and an offense that was constantly going in reverse made for a rough start in Missouri's new home. Offensive coordinator David Yost resigned at the end of the year, and this team has to find some sort of rhythm/chemistry on offense in 2013.
11. Tennessee (5-7, 1-7 SEC): The Derek Dooley era ended with quite a whimper. For the second straight season, Tennessee missed out on the postseason because of a loss to one of its rivals. Last year, Kentucky ended the Vols' bowl hopes. This time around, Vandy's blowout win on Nov. 17 bounced Tennessee from a postseason appearance. For as much fun as the offense was to watch, the defense was awful for the majority of the season, finishing dead last in the SEC in total defense. New coach Butch Jones has some solid talent to work with, but a ton of questions surround this program.
12. Arkansas (4-8, 2-6 SEC): Many thought the Razorbacks' dreams of a championship season probably ended when Bobby Petrino took that infamous motorcycle ride in April. Boy, were they right. John L. Smith tried to bring some energy to the program, but he and his players fell flat in a 4-8 season that saw the Hogs give up 30 or more points in seven games. The offense lacked its usual explosion and the Hogs began the year 1-4, with a shocking loss to Louisiana-Monroe in Little Rock, Ark.
13. Auburn (3-9, 0-8 SEC): On paper, the Tigers had a host of young talent, but on the field, they were outmanned just about every single weekend. Auburn roamed around the bottom of most offensive and defensive categories in the SEC all season long. Coach Gene Chizik was fired only two years removed from winning a national title after going winless in conference play and being outscored 129-21 in his final three SEC games, including a 38-0 loss to Georgia and a 49-0 loss to Alabama in the season finale.
14. Kentucky (2-10, 0-8 SEC): Outside of blowing out a Kent State team that was a win away from making a BCS bowl, nothing went right for the Wildcats this year. Injuries ravaged this team, as it had to turn to two true freshman quarterbacks and never found a consistent playmaker to help out on offense. The offense hovered around the bottom of the SEC all year and the defense surrendered 31 points per game, and coach Joker Phillips was fired before the season even ended.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -– Team Nitro and Team Highlight took to the fields at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports on Monday for Day 1 of practice for Friday’s Under Armour All-America Game (5 p.m. ET, ESPN). Two powerhouse programs in the Southeastern Conference look to battle it out for one of the standout running backs, and one of the top uncommitted offensive linemen is out with an injury.
Tide and Dawgs at top for RB Kamara
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