SEC: Arkansas Razorbacks

SEC pre-spring position rankings: OL

February, 26, 2015
Feb 26
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The SEC is still won in the trenches so the teams with good offensive line play will likely do well for themselves. As we look ahead to the 2015 season, who in the SEC looks the strongest up front? Keeping in mind that this list may (and probably will) change once the season arrives, here’s our pre-spring ranking:

1. Georgia: The Bulldogs were the No. 1 rushing team in the SEC and they return four starters from that unit: Kolton Houston, Brandon Kublanow, Greg Pyke, and John Theus. Losing All-SEC pick David Andrews at center is tough, but the Dawgs are in good shape up front for 2015.

2. Arkansas: This unit was the Hogs' strength in 2014, and the Razorbacks also return four starters, losing only right tackle Brey Cook. With starters Dan Skipper, Sebastian Tretola, Mitch Smothers, and Denver Kirkland back from a unit that allowed the fewest sacks (14) and was in the top 25 nationally in rushing, the future is bright.

3. Auburn: Reese Dismukes is gone, but the Tigers have a lot of pieces to work with. Three starters return (Shon Coleman, Devonte Danzey, Avery Young) and they regain the services of Alex Kozan, who started all 14 games in 2013 but missed last season with a season-ending back injury suffered in training camp. Ole Miss transfer Austin Golson and highly regarded youngster Braden Smith could also be factors.

4. LSU: The Tigers lose two starting linemen, including standout left tackle La'el Collins, but Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins are back and are likely to man the tackle spots. Keeping those two for another year is big. Interior lineman Ethan Pocic, who played center last season, is back too, from a group that led the Tigers to 224.5 rushing yards per game.

5. Alabama: The Crimson Tide only return two starters, but they are important ones -- left tackle Cam Robinson and center Ryan Kelly. There are reserves with game experience who can step into starting roles like Alphonse Taylor, Grant Hill, and Dominick Jackson. There is room for improvement here; the Tide were sixth in the SEC in rushing yards per game in 2014.

6. Texas A&M: Two full-time starters who were mainstays on the left side (Cedric Ogbuehi and Jarvis Harrison) are gone; but the rest of the line is back -- center Mike Matthews, right guard Joseph Cheek, and right tackle Germain Ifedi. Junior college transfers Avery Gennesy and Jermaine Eluemunor, who redshirted last season, likely factor into the lineup. The question is who will play left tackle.

7. Missouri: Four starters return for the Tigers, led by center Evan Boehm. They, too, need to find a left tackle to replace the departed Mitch Morse. The unit was up and down last season, but showed some promise in late-season wins against Texas A&M and Minnesota.

8. South Carolina: The Gamecocks must replace the left side of the line (A.J. Cann and Corey Robinson are gone) but the right side returns, including tackle Brandon Shell, who is sitting out spring because of labrum surgery but should be ready to go in the fall. Getting back guard Cody Waldrop, who was banged up last season, is key.

9. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs lost three talented senior linemen: Ben Beckwith, Dillon Day and Blaine Causell. They were fortunate enough to land the No. 1 junior college tackle in the country in December, ESPN JC 50 prospect Martinas Rankin. Center is the biggest question mark.

10. Ole Miss: The Rebels bring back all their starters but suffered a blow late in the season when they lost starting guard Aaron Morris, who tore his ACL before the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, the stalwart of the group who was lost during the Peach Bowl with a fractured fibula. The Rebels did happen to land the nation’s No. 3 offensive guard recruit, Javon Patterson. Results have to get better after they averaged only 155 rushing yards per game and allowed 31 sacks.

11. Tennessee: This is a group that could move up these rankings. The Volunteers had a rough go in 2014 (allowing an SEC worst 43 sacks) but showed a lot of growth as the season went on. The Vols bring back four starters from last season’s unit, and Butch Jones signed two of the top 10 offensive tackles in the 2015 recruiting class: Drew Richmond and Jack Jones.

12. Florida: There is a lot of work to be done for the Gators, who return only one full-time starter -- left guard Trip Thurman. The Gators have to reconstruct the rest of the offensive line with seniors and early draft entries departing. Fortunately for the Gators, they signed the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle, Martez Ivey, and the No. 3 center, Tyler Jordan.

13. Kentucky: The Wildcats were near the bottom of the league in rushing and sacks allowed last season, meaning much improvement is needed. Kentucky returns four starters, but must replace departed left tackle Darrian Miller. The Wildcats do have some depth on the interior of the line where everyone on the two deep at both guard spots and center return.

14. Vanderbilt: The Commodores averaged an SEC-low 109.25 rushing yards per game, and that number has to improve. What helps is that the offensive line at least returns some experience in the form of four starters, led by Spencer Pulley.

SEC morning links

February, 26, 2015
Feb 26
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1. Snow continued to hit the Southeast on Wednesday and with it came a flurry of coaching hires in the SEC. The most notable was at Arkansas where the Razorbacks hired Jemal Singleton as the new running backs' coach. Singleton, formerly at Oklahoma State, will replace Joel Thomas, who left for the same job with the New Orleans Saints. It's not a bad gig for Singleton who walks into what many consider the best backfield in the conference with Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. Elsewhere, Alabama brought back a familiar name in Freddie Roach. The former Crimson Tide linebacker left his job at South Alabama to take on an unspecified role at Alabama. And LSU made a pair of moves, hiring Ryan Pugh as a graduate assistant and Blaine Gautier as an offensive assistant. Pugh made 45 starts at center for Auburn from 2007-2010.

2. Speaking of new hires, Barry Odom will have the difficult challenge of trying to replace former Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel this season. Odom, a Mizzou graduate, spoke to the local media before Tuesday's basketball game. The big takeaway? He's not looking to “reinvent” the defense. Odom ran a 3-4 scheme at Memphis last year, but he says the Tigers will still run a base 4-3 with variations of a 3-4. That's common these days in college football. He was also asked about his contract, which hasn't been released yet, but evidently it's still being worked out with the school. “I'm working happily every day,” Odom said when asked about it.

3. Earlier in the week, we saw where Vanderbilt is trying out a new technology this spring where the players will have a GPS device inserted into their shoulder pads. Pretty cool, right? Well, Tennessee has come up with a pretty good idea of their own. No, the Vols aren't going all high-tech this spring. Instead, they are introducing “Fourth-and-1 Wednesday,” a weekly class designed to arm players with the knowledge of right from wrong. It will be taught by head coach Butch Jones, Vol for Life coordinator Antone Davis and assistant strength coach Ike Brown. Where's the name come from? Jones wants his players to treat situations off the field with the same focus and attention to detail as they'd treat fourth-and-1 in a game.

Around the SEC
Tweets of the day

Ranking the SEC coaching jobs

February, 25, 2015
Feb 25
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The last decade of SEC football has put the conference at the top of the college football world.

While the last two seasons have ended without an SEC team being crowned the national champion after seven straight title runs, you can't discount the past success of this league and how tough it is to survive in it.

Coaching in the SEC can be both a blessing and a curse. The risk and reward can almost be on the same playing field, but the chance to coach in the SEC is something high-profile coaches dream of. But tread lightly, because there's always a ferocious arms race going on, and getting behind can be bad for your health.

Today, we're ranking all 14 coaching jobs in the SEC. We put our brains together, considering location, tradition, support, fan bases, facilities and recruiting access.

Here's what we came up with:

1. Florida: Location, location, location. It's the flagship university in the fertile football state of Florida. There's enough talent to share with rivals Florida State and Miami, and Georgia is basically in Gainesville's backyard. Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer helped make Florida a true national brand with all those SEC titles and three national championships. Significant facility upgrades are coming, the fan base is tremendous, game days are great and the Swamp is one of the best stadiums around. The last five years haven't been great, but with rich recruiting grounds and endless resources, the right coach can quickly turn things around.

2. Alabama: If not for UF's location, Alabama would be No. 1. There's tremendous history with, like, 100 football national championships claimed by the fans. This is a job anyone would want. The facilities are some of the best, and coaches are able to recruit all over the Southeast and beyond with an extraordinary national brand. While expectations are gaudy, there's tremendous support inside and outside of the program, and there's no shortage of money for any coach out there.

3. LSU: It has the luxury of being one of the few schools across the country that is the team in its state. Prospects across Louisiana, which also has a tremendous amount of elite talent, grow up wanting to play for the Tigers. The facilities are top-notch, the fan base is incredible and chaotic, and that immense, intimidating stadium just got bigger. Nick Saban helped LSU become a premier program, but Les Miles has done a great job continuing that since his arrival in 2005.

4. Georgia: There's a great deal of talent in the state and Atlanta is essentially in its backyard. The Bulldogs are the top school in the state, rarely going to battle for recruits with rival Georgia Tech, and Georgia has a national brand that can push recruiting well outside the state's borders. The facilities are solid and an indoor practice facility is in the works. There's excellent tradition, a tremendous fan base and one of the league's best game-day atmospheres in Athens.

5. Texas A&M: You could argue that Texas A&M should be higher on this list for the simple fact that it's in Texas. I mean, isn't that where real football was invented? There's a ton of money in College Station to keep any coach happy (just ask Kevin Sumlin) and the facilities, which keep getting bigger and prettier, are exquisite. Texas A&M is rich in tradition and has one of the best game-day atmospheres in the country. However, regardless of recent success, this school is still in the Texas Longhorns' shadow.

6. Auburn: It isn't hard to recruit to Auburn and that beautiful campus. Yes, Auburn has to deal with playing second fiddle to Alabama, but getting elite talent on the Plains hasn't been difficult during Alabama's reign of terror. Auburn has a lot of tradition, one of the league's best stadiums and quality facilities. Even with that school in Tuscaloosa, a coach can win championships at Auburn.

7. Tennessee: It's been a long time since Tennessee was a nationally relevant program, but longtime tradition and a re-emergence on the recruiting trail are pushing Tennessee's stock up. Neyland Stadium has been tidied up in recent years and nearly $50 million was spent on a new football complex. The state might not have an abundance of top-tier talent, but it's not like coaches have to travel very far to pluck guys from neighboring states.

8. Arkansas: Arkansas has a lot going for it, even if it isn't in the heart of the Southeast's most fertile recruiting territory. It's essentially the only team in the state -- something LSU and Georgia can't even say -- and the school has unloaded some funds on improving facilities. However, since the state doesn't typically have a lot of top-notch prospects, coaches must heavily recruit other states such as Texas and Oklahoma.

9. South Carolina: Spurrier has proved during his 10 years in Columbia that you can win at South Carolina. He's been able to tap the state's underrated talent pool while having to compete with Clemson and those other pesky schools trying to steal guys away. An indoor practice facility is under construction, and South Carolina has one of the most faithful fan bases, which stuck with the program during some very rough years.

10. Ole Miss: In three years under Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss has grown its brand a little more. Just check out that historic 2013 recruiting class. The campus is beautiful, facilities are impressive and the game-day environment in the Grove is envied by just about everyone. However, consistently recruiting elite talent to Oxford has never been easy, and the program has won nine or more games just six times since 1971 and has had 11 head coaches in that span.

11. Missouri: With two SEC East titles in three years, Missouri's move to the SEC hasn't been as daunting as a lot of us expected. Gary Pinkel made this a quality program after his 2001 arrival, and the school charged right into the SEC arms race by upgrading and expanding Memorial Stadium as part of a $200 million facilities project. Location can be an issue, but Mizzou has made it a point to have more of a Southeastern presence in recruiting.

12. Mississippi State: Consistently getting elite talent to Starkville, which can be a little out of the way for people, is an uphill battle. But the program has been on the uptick since Dan Mullen's arrival in 2009. Mississippi State's brand is growing, the fan base is incredibly loyal and the school hasn't been afraid to spend money after pumping $75 million into a stadium expansion a couple of years ago.

13. Kentucky: Let's face it: This is a basketball school. The Wildcats haven't been to a bowl game since 2010, following five straight trips. It's hard to sustain real success at Kentucky when coaches constantly have to go outside of the state for recruiting. Mark Stoops has done well on the recruiting trail recently, and that $45 million football facility will be a major upgrade, but to see a true title contender emerge from Lexington will be a rarity.

14. Vanderbilt: James Franklin showed that you can win at Vandy with three straight bowl trips, but as soon as he was gone, Derek Mason's Commodores fell flat. High academic standards restrict coaches from recruiting some of the top players in the country, but a recent facilities upgrade shows some care for the program. Vandy must go way outside the box and a take a lot of risks in recruiting.

SEC pre-spring position rankings: WR/TE

February, 25, 2015
Feb 25
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The SEC has been a breeding ground for big-time receivers over the last few years. Alabama’s Amari Cooper is projected as a top-10 pick in May’s NFL draft, and look at the seasons Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans and Jordan Matthews all had as rookies.

As we turn the page to the 2015 season, who in the SEC looks the strongest at the wide receiver/tight end position? Keeping in mind that this list may (and probably will) change once the season gets here, here’s our pre-spring ranking:

1. Texas A&M: Even with the departure of Malcome Kennedy, the Aggies are loaded. Eight different wide receivers return who caught touchdown passes last season. Josh Reynolds was one of the league's top breakout players a year ago with 13 touchdown catches and earned second-team All-SEC honors from the AP. Edward Pope, like Reynolds, is a big target at 6-foot-4. Ricky Seals-Jones is even bigger at 6-5 and will be two years removed from his ACL tear, and Speedy Noil is the most explosive of the bunch.

2. Tennessee: The Vols have depth, experience and versatility. Marquez North is the most physically imposing of the group, but he’s coming off a shoulder injury. Teams won’t be able to concentrate on him, though, because Pig Howard, Von Pearson, Josh Malone and Jason Croom are all back along with Josh Smith, who missed most of last season with an ankle injury. Sophomore Ethan Wolf has all the tools to be Tennessee’s next All-SEC tight end.

3. Ole Miss: The Rebels weren't the same offensively last season after Laquon Treadwell broke his leg in the Auburn game. He’s working his way back, and if healthy, will be one of the top receivers in the league. Veterans Cody Core and Quincy Adeboyejo are back, while redshirt freshman Sammie Epps and transfer Damore’ea Stringfellow, who played at Washington in 2013, should be nice additions. Markell Pack was mostly a punt returner last season and is a candidate to take Vince Sanders’ spot. Don't forget about Evan Engram, either. He led all SEC tight ends with 662 receiving yards last season.

4. Mississippi State: This will be the most talented group of receivers Dan Mullen has had in Starkville, which is great news for returning senior quarterback Dak Prescott. It all starts with the 6-5, 225-pound De’Runnya Wilson, who has developed into one of the SEC’s most difficult matchups after making the switch from hoops to football. Fred Brown, Fred Ross and Joe Morrow are also back, and they combined to catch 11 touchdown passes last season. Speedy junior college signee Donald Gray is already on campus and looks like a natural in the slot. Darrion Hutcherson (6-7, 260) steps in at tight end after coming over from junior college a year ago.

5. LSU: The Tigers have the guys who can catch it and go get it. Finding somebody who can get the ball to them will be the trick. Junior Travin Dural was sensational at times a year ago and has averaged 20.5 yards per catch during his two seasons at LSU. Malachi Dupre has major star potential after catching five touchdown passes as a true freshman. John Diarse (redshirt freshman) and Trey Quinn (true freshman) were two other first-year players who contributed last season and round out a rotation capable of doing some real damage down the field. The Tigers did lose two senior tight ends.

6. Auburn: Sammie Coates might be gone, but that doesn’t mean Auburn will be hurting at receiver. Duke Williams’ decision to return for his senior season was a nice surprise, and he gives the Tigers one of the top go-to threats in the league. Ricardo Louis and Tony Stevens are also back, and both have the kind of speed to stretch the field. The Tigers will be inexperienced at the tight end/H-back position with C.J. Uzomah and Brandon Fulse gone. No returning scholarship player has played a snap at tight end.

7. Georgia: The X-factor of all X-factors is Malcolm Mitchell. Can he stay healthy? If he can avoid injuries, he has a chance to be one of the best deep threats in the league. It’s a similar story with Justin Scott-Wesley, who played in only six games last season. Look for dynamic return specialist Isaiah McKenzie to be more involved in the passing game, and holding onto prized freshman signee Terry Godwin was huge. He’ll play early. The Bulldogs’ tight end combo of Jeb Blazevich and Jay Rome is the one of the best in the SEC.

8. South Carolina: The only reason the Gamecocks are this high is Pharoh Cooper. With Amari Cooper leaving early for the NFL, Pharoh Cooper returns as the best receiver in the SEC. He earned first-team All-SEC honors last season after catching 69 passes for 1,136 yards and nine touchdowns. After Cooper, there are a bunch of unknowns. Four of the top five wide receivers from last year are gone. The Gamecocks think redshirt freshman Deebo Samuel could develop into a nice complement to Cooper, and tight end Jerell Adams is more talented than he has played and could be in store for a breakout senior season.

9. Alabama: The Crimson Tide’s top three pass-catchers from 2014 are gone, including record-setting Heisman Trophy finalist Amari Cooper, who carried Alabama at times. With Cooper no longer around, look for tight end O.J. Howard to become a much more consistent threat in the passing game. Junior Chris Black will get his chance to shine. The same goes for third-year sophomore Robert Foster. The up-and-comer to watch is 6-4, 208-pound Cam Sims, who played some last season as a true freshman.

10. Arkansas: Just about all of Arkansas’ key figures in the passing game are back, but the Hogs need to find a way to be more explosive in 2015. Junior college signee Dominique Reed has the speed to fill that role. Hunter Henry returns as one of the best tight ends in the league. Senior Keon Hatcher is back after leading the Hogs in catches (43), yards (558) and touchdowns (six). Jared Cornelius showed flashes as a true freshman, and the two wild cards are sophomore Kendrick Edwards and redshirt freshman Jojo Robinson, a pair of South Florida products.

11. Florida: The Gators haven’t had a receiver sniff first- or second-team All-SEC honors from the coaches since Percy Harvin in 2008. So it has been a while since they’ve had a true difference-maker at receiver. Demarcus Robinson has a chance to blossom in Jim McElwain’s offense after catching seven touchdown passes a year ago. Tight end Jake McGee returns for his sixth season after getting a waiver from the NCAA. He’s a transfer from Virginia and led the Cavaliers with 43 catches in 2013. He broke his leg in the Gators' first game last season.

12. Kentucky: The Wildcats lost two of their most productive receivers from a year ago, Demarco Robinson and Javess Blue. Ryan Timmons is back and is the most dynamic offensive threat on the team. He just needs to catch the ball more consistently. Dorian Baker and Garrett Johnson both played as true freshmen last season, and each started multiple games and combined for 41 catches. Blake Bone also played as a true freshman. Early enrollee C.J. Conrad could be the answer at tight end. The Wildcats got very little production from that position last season.

13. Missouri: Ranking the Tigers this low probably isn't very wise when you consider the way they've continued to reload at receiver and the job receivers coach Pat Washington has done. He'll have his work cut out in 2015. Mizzou lost its top three wide receivers from a year ago. Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt and Darius White combined to catch 23 of the team’s 25 touchdown passes. The Tigers will be looking for Nate Brown and J’Mon Moore to grow up in a hurry as sophomores. It helps that starting tight end Sean Culkin is back.

14. Vanderbilt: It’s a big offseason for C.J. Duncan and Latevius Rayford as the Commodores search for a true No. 1 threat. Trent Sherfield has a chance to be the team’s best deep threat after playing some as a true freshman. In fairness, it was difficult to evaluate the Commodores at receiver last season because they played so many different quarterbacks. Ronald Monroe is a redshirt freshman to watch, and senior tight end Steven Scheu returns after tying for the team lead with four touchdown catches a year ago and earning second-team All-SEC honors.

SEC pre-spring position rankings: RB

February, 24, 2015
Feb 24
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One thing the SEC will never be short on is talented running backs. This league is consistently very deep at the position, and 2015 is no exception. The league is loaded with immediate star power and has a few youngsters waiting in the wings to really strut their stuff in 2015. Good luck defenses.

1. Arkansas: The Razorbacks are the only team in the SEC to return two 1,000-yard rushers in Jonathan Williams (1,190 yards) and Alex Collins (1,100). Each averaged more than 5 yards per carry and scored 12 touchdowns. Behind them, the Hogs have some talented depth to keep any eye on, starting with redshirt freshman Juan Day and fullback Kody Walker, whom the coaches really like, and 2015 signee Rawleigh Williams III.

2. Georgia: There’s no debate right now that sophomore Nick Chubb returns as the SEC’s best running back. Actually, after rushing for 1,547 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns with only eight starts (all 100-yard performances), Chubb might be the nation’s best returning running back. Fellow sophomore Soachny Michel rushed for 410 yards and five touchdowns last year, and veteran Keith Marshall is almost back to full speed after dealing with injury yet again last year.

3. Alabama: Derrick Henry is one of the SEC’s best pure athletes and led the Crimson Tide in rushing last year (990) despite having 22 less carries than starter T.J. Yeldon. Henry is a bull and homerun threat, but the return of veteran Kenyan Drake (leg) will provide Alabama with the perfect complement in the backfield with his tremendous speed and elusiveness. The arrival of talented freshman Bo Scarbrough was a blessing with the transfer of Altee Tenpenny and the indefinite suspension of Tyren Jones.

4. Tennessee: There certainly is something special about sophomore Jalen Hurd, and it’s scary to think what he’ll learn/do in 2015. There’s little doubt that Hurd will surpass his 899 yards from last year. The Vols are pretty thin here, but the arrival of junior college transfer – and former Alabama running back – Alvin Kamara is a very welcomed one. The coaches think the shifty back could be special and should complement Hurd well. Tennessee also signed John Kelly.

5. LSU: Leonard Fournette took a little longer to develop than Chubb, but there’s no denying his ability, strength and athleticism. Fournette finished his freshman year with 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns, but should be even better in 2015. Sophomore Darrel Williams (302 yards) is a fan favorite, but depth is on the unproven side. LSU did sign three running backs this year, including two ESPN 300 members.

6. Auburn: The Tigers lost two productive seniors, including SEC leading rusher Cameron Artis-Payne, but sophomore Roc Thomas could be a special talent. However, keep an eye on Jovon Robinson, who was the nation’s No. 1 juco running back. He rushed for 2,387 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2013, and might be the favorite to start. Peyton Barber is another solid option returning, but in Gus Malzahn’s system, any running back can be uber-successful.

7. Missouri: Russell Hansbroughh is one of the league’s best and had a breakout year in 2014 with his 1,084 yards and 10 touchdowns. His role will increase even more with the departure of Marcus Murphy. The Tigers then have some unproven parts though. Freshman Ish Witter ran for 101 yards last year, and Morgan Steward could be the No. 2 back if he can successfully return from last year’s hip injury. Youngster Trevon Walters is a speedster, and the Tigers finally got JUCO Chase Abbington on campus.

8. Texas A&M: Trey Williams’ somewhat surprising depature to the NFL leaves a hole at running back, but Tra Carson and Brandon Williams are back. Carson, who led the team with 581 rushing yards last year, should be the feature back, but Brandon Williams has a lot of potential; he just needs to put everything together. The coaches are also excited about sophomore James White, who played sparingly last year, but can do a little bit of everything at running back.

9. South Carolina: Mike Davis’ departure hurts, but the Gamecocks are in good hands with former walk-on Brandon Wilds taking over the lead back role. The senior has 1,277 career rushing yards, including gaining 570 last year. Redshirt sophomore David Williams has caught the eyes of his coaches after his reserve role in 2014. Maybe this is the season senior Shon Carson, who has shown flashes in the past, can finally contribute more, too.

10. Florida: The Gators lost their best running back in Matt Jones to the NFL draft, but it’s time for junior Kelvin Taylor prove that he can be a leader and an every-down back for the Gators. He has just one 100-yard game in two seasons. Redshirt sophomore Adam Lane showed some promise with his 109-yard bowl performance, and you have to wonder if undersized Brandon Powell will stay at running back. Freshman Jordan Scarlett could see immediate playing time this fall.

11. Mississippi State: Bowling ball Josh Robinson is gone, but the there’s certainly some depth to work with in Starkville. However, no one there is quite sure who is going to be the lead back or if things will operate by committee. Ashton Shumpert played well down the stretch last year, but impressions out of practice were that freshman Aeris Williams might have been the best of them all. Like Shumpert, Brandon Holloway also rushed for nearly 300 yards last year.

12. Kentucky: The loss of Braylon Heard to the NFL early didn’t help, but this position was in need of some major work anyway. Stanley “Boom” Williams and Jojo Kemp were OK last year, but the Wildcats need them to be much better this fall. The two combined for 809 yards and nine touchdowns. Sophomore Mikel Horton rushed for 302 yards last year, so he’ll definitely be in the mix, too.

13. Vanderbilt: Sophomore Ralph Webb almost ran for 1,000 yards last year, and might be the Commodores’ best offensive threat. However, the Dores will need more than just Webb to get the running game going, and right now that’s a problem with only two other returning backs. Sophomore Dallas Rivers is the only other back returning with any sort of real production (218 yards). Vandy will have to get their two incoming freshman ready immediately.

14. Ole Miss: The Rebels weren’t great here last year to begin with. Ole Miss ranked 74th nationally in rushing and Jaylen Walton led the team with 586 yards and five touchdowns, averaging only 45.1 yards per game (fewest of any starting SEC running back). Bigger back Jordan Wilkins needs to be more productive than his 361 yards from last year. I’Tavius Mathers and Mark Dodsonhave transferred, leaving Ole Miss thin here. A lot will be expected – and likely needed -- from freshman Eric Swinney.

SEC morning links

February, 24, 2015
Feb 24
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Monday was the final day of the 2015 NFL scouting combine and defensive backs took center stage. Of course, plenty of SEC stars showcased their skills, so that leads today's links, but there's plenty of non-combine stuff too:

From the NFL combine:
Non-combine links from around the SEC:
Tweet of the day
The NFL scouting combine wrapped up Monday with the defensive backs going through the on-field workouts. As always, the SEC was well represented at the event. Former Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley put on a show while a trio of LSU defenders -- Kwon Alexander, Jalen Collins and Danielle Hunter -- proved just how athletic that defense was last season.

[+] EnlargeLeonard Fournette
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesIn his freshman season at LSU, Leonard Fournette rushed for 1,034 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Who's next? The SEC has plenty of athletes made for the combine, and we decided to look at which returning players will turn heads when it's their turn to go through the gauntlet.

LB Caleb Azubike, Vanderbilt: Don't be so shocked a Vandy player made the list. Azubike is a freak athletically. He's 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, and there's not an ounce of fat on his body. As a junior, he started off strong but injuries derailed his season down the stretch. The senior-to-be will look to finish his career on a high note and earn his invite to the combine.

CB Tony Brown, Alabama: Brown is one of four Crimson Tide football players who double up with track and field. He played sparingly as a freshman last fall, but the expectations are high for the former five-star defensive back. On the track, he's the team's fastest runner in the 60-meter hurdles, and he recently ran the 60-meter dash in 6.82 seconds.

RB Nick Chubb, Georgia: Who else remembers that picture of Chubb showing off his vertical before a track and field event at his high school last May? If not, here you go. The guy looks like he could jump over a car. After a sensational freshman season, he'll be one of the more talked about athletes when it's his turn at the combine. Odds are he won't disappoint.

RB Leonard Fournette, LSU: Chubb isn't the only freshman running back we can't wait to see at the combine. Fournette, the former No. 1 player in the country, has all the skills to put on a show when he goes and works out. He's big, fast, and there always seems to be a chip on his shoulder. It won't be any different at the combine.

DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: Chiseled would be the best word to describe Garrett's physique. The freshman is a weight room freak and should put up big numbers on bench press. The scary part is he'll be just as impressive in the 40-yard dash and the shuttle. There's a reason he broke the SEC freshman sack record, previously held by No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney.

CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida: 4.3 is the new 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, and Hargreaves has a chance to run in that 4.3 range. A performance like that could solidify his stock as a top-10 pick in next year's draft, assuming he decides to leave early. And don't be surprised if the former high school track star clears 40 inches in the vertical jump.

RB Derrick Henry, Alabama: Everybody wants to see what Henry is going to do when he goes to the combine. Players that big (6-3, 241) aren't supposed to run that fast. Henry likely won't be among the fastest at his position, but he did run a 4.45 at the 2012 Nike SPARQ competition. Granted, it was on a faster surface, but still -- that's moving for a guy his size.

DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss: To nobody's surprise, another former No. 1 player in the ESPN 300 makes this list. Nkemdiche has always been gifted athletically, and though he might not be as fast as his brother, his overall performance will certainly grab the media's attention at the combine. Simply put, he's the complete package.

WR Speedy Noil, Texas A&M: It's all in the name. Wouldn't it be great if the fastest 40 time came from a guy named Speedy? It could happen. Noil won the Nike SPARQ Rating National Championship in 2013 with a 40 time of 4.46 seconds and a vertical jump of 44.1 inches. He also ran the shuttle in a blistering quick 3.87 seconds.

OT Braden Smith, Auburn: Former Miami offensive tackle Ereck Flowers was deemed the strongest man at the combine this year after he put up 37 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Per Auburn's strength coach, Smith can already put up at least 30 reps and he's still a freshman. Imagine what he'll be able to do in two-to-three years when it's his turn.

Honorable mention
RB Alex Collins, Arkansas
LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia
WR Ricardo Louis, Auburn
WR Demarcus Robinson, Florida
WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
You think last season brought a drought of experienced quarterbacks in the SEC? Try this year's group. In all, there are five returning quarterbacks in the conference that started at least 10 games last season. Not surprisingly, most appear early on in our pre-spring position rankings.

1. Mississippi State: His confidence seemed to wane during the second half of last season, but there's no denying Dak Prescott's talent. All told, the former Heisman Trophy contender threw for 3,449 yards and rushed for 986 more as a redshirt junior. If he can use the offseason to become more comfortable throwing from the pocket and limit his turnovers, there's no reason he can't be the best QB in the conference.

2. Tennessee: Is there a quarterback in the SEC whose stock rose as quickly as Josh Dobbs' last year? For the first seven games he was on the bench. But then Justin Worley was injured and the sophomore was thrust into the action. Including a solid performance in a loss to Alabama, Dobbs won four, lost two and scored 17 touchdowns. With Marquez North, Von Pearson, Josh Malone and Pig Howard to catch passes, the Vols passing game could take a huge step forward in 2015.

3. Missouri: Gary Pinkel is going to live and die with Maty Mauk as his quarterback. And while it's got to be scary for the veteran head coach to see all the interceptions he throws (13, second most in the SEC last season), it's just as exhilarating to witness the offense he creates. If a middle ground can be reached, Mauk could turn into one of the SEC's best passers. If not, he'll continue to cost his team wins.

4. Auburn: He's the first non-returning starter on this list, but Jeremy Johnson is a special exception for a reason. Why? Because he has already appeared in 13 games and thrown for more than 800 yards in his two seasons at Auburn. With Nick Marshall no longer ahead of him on the depth chart, Duke Williams back at receiver and a career completion percentage of 73 in tow, Johnson has all the earmarks of a solid starter.

5. Texas A&M: As the former No. 1 pocket passer in his class, Kyle Allen has the tools. Now with five starts, he has some experience under his belt, too. So what's stopping Allen from being the presumptive starter in College Station? As it turns out, it's another blue-chip recruit by the name of Kyler Murray. In spite of Allen's 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season, coach Kevin Sumlin wants to see all his options. That could be good thing for the Aggies, but remember that nothing is certain until Murray turns down the money professional baseball will offer.

6. Kentucky: That's 6-foot-5 and 238 pounds coming at you. That's Patrick Towles, the strong-armed rising junior from Kentucky who conjures images of Ben Roethlisberger when he's on his game. While he's got a ways to go to reach those heights, Towles gives coach Mark Stoops a talented quarterback who can stretch the field vertically as well as tuck the ball and move the chains by running. If he can get his completion percentage above the 60 percent mark, the Wildcats will be in business.

7. Arkansas: Remember in August when someone set fire to Brandon Allen's truck? Well, the drama around the Razorbacks' starting quarterback has quieted since then thanks to his part in the team's turnaround from cellar-dwellers in the SEC to 7-6 and bowl victors. To get over the next hurdle and compete for a New Year's Six bowl, Allen has to bridge the gap from game-manager to playmaker. Until then, people will continue to seek the next man up -- most notably former four-star recruit Rafe Peavey.

8. LSU: Last season felt like more of a competition at quarterback in Baton Rouge, but when you look at the numbers you'll find that Anthony Jennings started all but one game and attempted 182 more passes than then-freshman Brandon Harris. So Jennings is the starter this season, right? Not necessarily. At the end of the day, his numbers weren't great with a completion percentage of less than half and only 11 touchdowns to seven interceptions. With that in mind, don't discount Harris gaining ground in the race now that he has a full year in coordinator Cam Cameron's system.

9. Florida: Treon Harris is a promising young quarterback. The problem is the rising sophomore doesn't really fit into Jim McElwain's system. After all, he ran 40.3 percent of the time his name was called last year. So the question becomes whether Harris adapts and plays more from the pocket, whether McElwain adapts and changes his offense or whether a new quarterback is starting altogether. If it's the latter option, pay close attention to Will Grier's development. Grier is a former four-star prospect who lost the backup job to Harris as a freshman last year.

10. Alabama: Anecdotally, Alabama has loads of talent at quarterback. Whether it's Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell or Blake Barnett, you're talking about a top-five passer coming out of high school. And then you have to consider Jake Coker, who wasn't a hot commodity as a prep but developed into one while at Florida State. So in spite of all that talent, how did Blake Sims, a former three-star recruit and part-time running back, beat everyone but the freshman Barnett out for the job last year? Now Sims is gone and there's little evidence to suggest anyone on the roster will run away with the job.

11. Georgia: With Hutson Mason's departure, Georgia's line of succession at quarterback ended. This spring there is no incumbent at the position and no clear frontrunner either. That's because of the three returning quarterbacks, none have started a game in college. Brice Ramsey, a redshirt sophomore, was the backup to Mason and will get the first look, but in eight appearances last year he had three touchdowns and two interceptions. He'll be pushed by Faton Bauta and Jacob Park.

12. Ole Miss: Chad Kelly is clearly the favorite to replace Bo Wallace. Otherwise, why would coach Hugh Freeze bring him in? Why take the risk on a guy who was already booted from Clemson and is treading on thin ice after his arrest in December? It's said that Kelly has loads of talent and his numbers in junior college back that up, but he's a liability. If he can't keep out of trouble or make the transition to the SEC smoothly, look for redshirt sophomores Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade to battle for the job.

13. South Carolina: Steve Spurrier has never shied away from putting his backup quarterback in the game, so it's odd to see no one other than Dylan Thompson a shot last year. In fact, the team's second leading passer wasn't a quarterback at all. It was wideout Pharoh Cooper, who attempted eight passes to Connor Mitch's six. Mitch, a former four-star recruit, has the edge, but it's a large field of competitors with Perry Orth, Michael Scarnecchia and incoming true freshman Lorenzo Nunez all vying for playing time.

14. Vanderbilt: You know the saying that if you have two quarterbacks you have none? Well, what does it mean if you started four quarterback as Vanderbilt did in 2014? It means you have a problem. Because it's not a lack of choice that plagues coach Derek Mason, but an apparent lack of quality options. Patton Robinette and Johnny McCrary return to the competition, but don't count out true freshman Kyle Shurmur, ESPN's No. 7-rated pocket passer.
Some players flipped their commitments while other’s had memorable signing-day moments. Here is a closer look at the five most intriguing recruitments from the SEC.

Too much is made of momentum during games, let alone during the offseason.

So let’s not be oversimplistic when looking at the case for Arkansas to make a New Year's Six bowl (read more from this series here). Let’s not say that finishing 4-2 will lead directly to the Razorbacks ending up in a New Year’s Six bowl, because we know that football doesn’t work that way.

No, the reason many people have Bret Bielema’s Hogs in their preseason top 25 polls is not only that they beat Texas in the Advocare Texas Bowl. That was Dec. 29, and while finishing over .500 was nice, you don’t get to take that with you into 2015.

[+] EnlargeJonathan Williams
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesJonathan Williams returns after rushing for 1,190 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014.
More than its record or its supposed gains in momentum, the reason you can believe in Arkansas is because of the product on the field and the way it steadily has improved since Bielema took over the program late in 2012.

Beyond the hype is substance and an identity that is poised to trouble more and more opponents this season: heads-up, smashmouth football. It’s simple, but effective. And in an era of spread, uptempo teams, it’s unique.

The offense, led by its massive line and two terrific tailbacks (Alex Collins, Jonathan Williams), isn’t imaginative, but it’s productive. It’s also low-risk, and because teams lean more toward defending the pass and putting smaller players on the field, it’s harder to defend.

If new coordinator Dan Enos can coax any improvement out of quarterback Brandon Allen and find a few playmakers to complement tight end Hunter Henry, it might be even more difficult to deal with. And, frankly, isn’t there nowhere to go but up in the passing game? Maybe the signing of No. 6-ranked junior college wideout Dominique Reed is the answer.

On the flip side, the defense, even without Trey Flowers and Darius Philon, should be fine under Robb Smith. Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ledbetter, Arkansas’ 6-foot-3, 280-pound junior college signee, could help plug the hole left on the line.

The schedule, meanwhile, is a big reason why Arkansas could do better in the win column in 2015. Instead of starting off with Auburn, Texas Tech, Northern Illinois and Texas A&M in its first month of play as it did last year, the Hogs get to ease into the season with UTEP and Toledo before facing the Aggies in Arlington, Texas. Auburn, meanwhile, doesn’t come calling until Oct. 24.

With even a marginal gain on offense and an easier schedule to navigate, why can’t Arkansas build off of last season and reach a New Year’s Six bowl?

What could go wrong

Ah, expectations.

How long has it been since Arkansas was expected to win a meaningful game? How many coaches ago was it?

If there’s one hurdle the Hogs must clear, it’s a mental one: How to handle being the hunted?

If they can maintain their edge, they stand a chance of breaking through. But if they start believing they’ve arrived, they’ll go nowhere but down.

Because the issue still facing Arkansas is a talent deficiency. By playing a unique brand of football that teams don’t see every week, you miss those shortcomings. You fall in love with the offensive line and running backs, and neglect the rest. Allen isn’t asked to throw the ball much, so you aren’t blown away by his poor accuracy. In turn, you don’t see how average his receivers are.

Playing to your strengths is one thing. But in Year 3 of Beliema’s tenure, the roster as a whole needs to take a step forward in order to start beating the Alabamas and LSUs of the world.

Arkansas is capable of being a New Year’s Six team, but the margin for error is thin right now.

If they get complacent, they’ll lose. If they get behind and have to rely on a different mode of offense, it will be more of the same.

The Hogs have a clear identity. They are getting better. But until they broaden their horizons there’s a limit on how far they’ll go.

SEC morning links

February, 13, 2015
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1. Auburn’s wait to have live oak trees once again providing shade (and spots to deposit reams of toilet paper after important victories) at Toomer’s Corner is nearly over. The university will hold a tree-planting ceremony on Saturday morning at the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue. Auburn provided a first glimpse of one of the new trees on Thursday via Twitter. Even if fans won’t be allowed to roll the new oaks until the 2016 season -- thereby allowing them time to settle into their new environment -- this is a big occasion on the Plains. Rolling Toomer’s is one of college football’s many great traditions, and not even an idiotic opposing fan could take it away from Auburn for long.

2. Memo to future draft prospects: Showing off some versatility can only improve your chances of making an NFL roster -- especially if you’re a borderline prospect. See the story of Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Russell Shepard. He never really lived up to sky-high billing in college at LSU, but said he “learned sometimes you have to be able to play special teams just to contribute to the team” despite how he hated being on the kicking teams. Being able to play on the coverage units might be what is keeping Shepard in the league today, however. He led the Bucs in special teams tackles last season.

3. So how accurate are recruiting rankings and what can we do to improve them? Football Study Hall’s Bill Connelly takes a look. It’s no secret that most SEC schools recruit at an elite level -- and Missouri gets extra points for its extraordinary results at developing underrated talent -- but of course no subjective evaluation standard is perfect. It’s an interesting subject to explore.

Around the SEC

" Vanderbilt added a new safeties coach on Thursday in former Stanford assistant Marc Mattioli.

" Former Auburn cornerback Kalvaraz Bessent has left the program in search of other opportunities according to his father.

" Former UCLA assistant (and current Atlanta Falcons coach) Jeff Ulbrich continues to encourage Roquan Smith to attend UCLA despite leaving his job with the Bruins. Smith will announce his college decision today after last week’s drama over whether he would fax in a signed letter of intent following Ulbrich’s departure.

" Tennessee defensive coordinator Jon Jancek had a simple message for two new over-sized defensive linemen Kahlil McKenzie and Shy Tuttle: “You can’t fall on my son at practice.” Jancek’s son Zac is a walk-on quarterback with the Volunteers.

" The Sporting News offers a helpful guide for couples who are attempting to plan a fall wedding around SEC football schedules.

Tweet of the day

College football is a game driven by offense, seemingly as much as it ever has been. And yet, in our review of the best Power 5 coordinator hires in this cycle, eight of the top 10 coaches in new places are defensive coordinators.

Maybe that's because when offensive coordinators move, they become head coaches? Or maybe it's because the balance of the sport could eventually swing back toward defense? Or both?


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SEC junior college signees to watch

February, 11, 2015
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Earlier today, we debated which SEC freshmen will make the most immediate impact next fall. But why stop at freshmen? There are a handful of junior college players who signed as part of the 2015 class and, if anything, they have a leg up on the youngsters.

Just look at last season. Auburn’s D'haquille Williams quickly became one of the SEC’s top wide receivers; defensive lineman Jarran Reed nearly went pro after one season at Alabama; and Fahn Cooper started 13 games at right tackle for Ole Miss.

Here’s a look at 10 junior college transfers who could have a similar impact in 2015.

CB Tony Bridges, Ole Miss: Originally committed to Auburn, Bridges flipped to Ole Miss in November, and the Rebels couldn’t be happier. They lose Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt from one of the best secondaries in the SEC, and Bridges will be one of the players asked to come in and fill that void. He’s ranked No. 1 at his position and has the versatility to play cornerback or safety for the Rebels.

S Justin Evans, Texas A&M: New defensive coordinator John Chavis has his work cut out for him. He’s taking over one of the SEC’s worst defenses and loses three starters in the secondary. The good news is that the Aggies had already signed Evans, the No. 1 junior college safety, before Chavis was hired. Maybe that was part of the allure. Either way, Evans will have an opportunity to start the season opener.

WR Donald Gray, Mississippi State: Gray is a diminutive wide receiver with blazing speed. Does Dan Mullen ever not have one of these guys? The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Gray has a chance be next in line, following in the footsteps of players such as Percy Harvin, Chad Bumphis and Jameon Lewis. Best case, Gray becomes a perfect complement to De'Runnya Wilson in the passing game. Worst case, he’s still likely the No. 1 return option.

DT D.J. Jones, Ole Miss: Playing time might be scarce with Robert Nkemdiche and Issac Gross ahead of him on the depth chart, but Jones is too talented to keep off the field. He’s ranked No. 4 overall in the ESPN JC 50 and could’ve signed virtually anywhere. At 6-foot-2, 310 pounds, he’s bigger than both Nkemdiche and Gross, so look for Ole Miss to utilize him more on early downs and in short-yardage situations.

RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee: This name likely sounds familiar. Kamara spent a year at Alabama but never seemed to get out of Nick Saban’s doghouse. He eventually left the program, and now, after a year at junior college, he’s back in the SEC and could be a perfect complement to Jalen Hurd in the Volunteers’ running game. Tennessee coach Butch Jones said Kamara will be “a big boost to the entire offense.”

QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze has already taken one troubled junior college quarterback and made him a star in the SEC. Can he do the same with Kelly? The talent is there, as Kelly threw for 3,906 yards and 47 touchdowns last season. The question is whether he can stay out of trouble. His arrest in December was not a good start, but Freeze still believes in him and is hoping that belief pays dividends down the road.

DT Jeremiah Ledbetter, Arkansas: The Razorbacks hit the jackpot last year when they signed Sebastian Tretola from junior college. Why not try it again? Bret Bielema already said he expects the 6-foot-3, 280-pound Ledbetter to come in and play right away on the defensive line. After all, it’s a unit that lost two starters in Darius Philon and Trey Flowers. Ledbetter is better suited to play inside and take the place of Philon.

DE Marquavius Lewis, South Carolina: Jadeveon Clowney might not have played every game for the Gamecocks, but they sure did miss him. South Carolina finished dead last in the SEC with 14 sacks. Enter Lewis, the No. 6 player in the ESPN JC 50. He might not be Clowney, but he’s an upgrade over what they had a year ago. He and fellow juco transfer Dante Sawyer might be the Gamecocks' starting defensive ends next season.

OT Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State: It’s not often that a team finds its starting left tackle from its recruiting class, but Rankin is already penciled in to replace Blaine Clausell at Mississippi State next fall. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound prospect was the top-ranked offensive tackle in junior college and still has room to grow. He will be a critical piece to the Bulldogs' revamped offensive line.

RB Jovon Robinson, Auburn: Talk about saving the best for last. Robinson, the No. 1 player in the ESPN JC 50, has a chance to make the biggest impact of anybody on this list. He’s big, physical, and entering a wide-open battle at running back on the Plains. If he wins the job, he’ll likely be one of the top backs in the SEC. If he ends up splitting carries with Roc Thomas, he’ll still be a significant contributor from Day 1.
The trend to get guys on campus early is steady and strong. While it isn't for everyone, it can be very beneficial for players looking to get a leg up on the college learning curve. It can help youngsters adapt not only to the football side of things but the college side of things, which can go a long way toward a player's maturity -- on and off the field.

You have around six to eight months of college acclimation ... not too bad.

The SEC is just feeding off early enrollees, and it has become and intricate part to recruiting in this part of the country over the last few years. This year, the SEC welcomed 81 early enrollees, with Tennessee bringing in a league-high 10. Last year, the SEC landed 72 early enrollees, with the Vols leading the way with 14.

Back in January, colleague Derek Tyson listed five of the top early enrollees to watch this year. It's a good list, and here's a look at how each school in the SEC did with its early enrollees for 2015:

ALABAMA (8)
QB Blake Barnett
RB DeSherrius Flowers
S Ronnie Harrison
OL Brandon Kennedy
RB Bo Scarbrough
DL Jonathan Taylor*
S Deionte Thompson
OL Dallas Warmack

ARKANSAS (7)
DT Daytrieon Dean
DT Hjalte Froholdt
TE Will Gragg
DT Jeremiah Ledbetter*
OG Jalen Merrick
OG Zach Rogers
QB Ty Storey

AUBURN (7)
OL Tyler Carr
FB Chandler Cox
QB Tyler Queen
RB Jovon Robinson
OT Bailey Sharp
ATH Jason Smith*
DL Maurice Swain*

FLORIDA (2)
TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe
WR Kalif Jackson

GEORGIA (8)
S Johnathan Abram
LB Chuks Amaechi*
DE Michael Barnett
TE Jackson Harris
LB Jake Ganus (UAB transfer)
DE Jonathan Ledbetter
LB Natrez Patrick
S Jarvis Wilson

KENTUCKY (6)
OL George Asafo-Adjei
TE C.J. Conrad
DE Kengera Daniel
TE Greg Hart (Nebraska transfer)
LB Jordan Jones
LB Courtney Love (Nebraska transfer)

LSU (4)
FB David Ducre III
QB Justin McMillan
CB Kevin Toliver II
TE Hanner Shipley

MISSISSIPPI STATE (6)
DE Johnathan Calvin*
WR Malik Dear
WR Donald Gray*
OT Martinas Rankin*
OL Michael Story
WR Deddrick Thomas

MISSOURI (2)
OL Malik Cuellar
OL Tanner Owen

OLE MISS (5)
DB Tony Bridges*
LB Terry Caldwell*
DL D.J. Jones*
QB Chad Kelly*
OL Javon Patterson

SOUTH CAROLINA (8)
LB Ernest Hawkins*
LB Jalen Henry
DE Marquavius Lewis*
WR Christian Owens
LB Sherrod Pittman
CB Darin Smalls
WR Jerad Washington
DE Dexter Wideman

TENNESSEE (10)
DL Andrew Butcher
QB Quinten Dormady
DB Stephen Griffin
OL Chance Hall
QB Jauan Jennings
OL Jack Jones
RB Alvin Kamara*
LB Darrin Kirkland Jr.
DL Kyle Phillips
DL Shy Tuttle

TEXAS A&M (7)
TE Jordan Davis
DB Justin Evans*
LB Claude George*
WR Christian Kirk
LB Richard Moore
WR Damion Ratley*
OL Keaton Sutherland

VANDERBILT (1)
DE/LB Nehemiah Mitchell

*Junior college transfer

SEC morning links

February, 10, 2015
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1. Jim McElwain has made it a point to make his presence known at Florida. The new coach has fans excited with his renewed interest in offense, he just concluded his first recruiting cycle with a solid finish and now it appears he's helping to improve Florida's football facilities. It started with the announcement of finally constructing an indoor practice facility, which is expected to be ready by fall camp. Now, it appears that Florida's football facilities will undergo even more changes, athletic director Jeremy Foley said Monday. Foley didn't go into much detail, but he did mention trying to improve the locker room and the dorms. Amid criticism, Foley adamantly defended Florida's facilities back in December, but the announcement of the indoor practice facility and this new announcement sends a pretty clear message that he understands Florida is behind most of the SEC when it comes to facilities. It hasn't been a secret to other coaches around the country and it's good for Florida that Foley realizes changes need to be made.

2. One decision that hasn't been made is the one concerning where ESPN 300 linebacker Roquan Smith is going to attend college. The four-star prospect from Montezuma, Georiga, dramatically picked UCLA -- like having place cards and a bag full of gloves dramatic -- before almost immediately stating that he wasn't ready to make a final decision on where he wants to play college football. Of course, Georgia is a finalist and was the favorite going into national signing day, but Smith's high school coach, Larry Harold, says there's no timetable on when he'll make his actual final decision and sign. Harold said that there isn't any pressure on Smith to sign yet, and he really can take a ton of time if he wants, but this hammers home the point that if a high school prospect isn't ready to sign with a school, he shouldn't make any sort of public announcement. There's absolutely no point. You don't have to sign on national signing day, it's just the first day you can sign with a school. Take your time and really think, kids.

3. Did you know that there were 14 coordinator changes in the SEC this offseason? Eight of them were on offense, while six were on defense. Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason is even taking over the defensive responsibilities for the Commodores. If you want real perspective on this, only Alabama and Ole Miss didn't make any changes with their coordinators. A lot of new faces in new situations means some growing pains and some adjustments that will need to be made this spring before we can really get a feel for what these guys will do in their new positions. With that said, Athlon Sports decided to really dive into the coordinator carousel and picked four winners and losers, along with four "Wait and See" situations.

Around the SEC:
Tweet of the day (because Florida fans had to be tired of the whole CeCe Jefferson saga ... and Ron Swanson is everything):

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