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5 freshmen who will most likely impact Auburn football in 2018 season

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SEC Country wants to tackle the best questions from Auburn football and Auburn basketball fans. Today, though, we’re taking a question from SEC Country’s own Christopher Smith. Look for our Auburn Question of the Day most weekdays. Go  here  to see all of our previous answers.

Which 2018 class members, or 2017 class members who redshirted, are likely to make the biggest impact this year? Rank the Top 5? — Christopher Smith (@csmithSEC) February 19, 2018

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn football returns a lot of experience on both sides of the ball in 2018. But the Tigers won’t go through the season without at least a few newcomers making an immediate impact.

Between redshirted players and true freshmen, Auburn is set to have 34 first-year players on its roster in 2018. More than five, of course, will find their way into important playing time — and even starting positions.

However, these five are the most likely to have the biggest impacts on the team in 2018 thanks to talent, positional needs and where they figure to be in the depth chart at this point in time.

MORE:  Marquis McClain has potential to be Auburn football’s next deep threat

Auburn football-Auburn Tigers-Auburn-Christian Tutt
(Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)
5. DB Christian Tutt

Right before Christian Tutt signed with Auburn, he said defensive backs coach Greg Brown told him that the Tigers needed a player who could step into the “Carlton Davis role.” Tutt has the frame and the game for that spot, and he’ll have an advantage by enrolling early on the Plains. Tutt was also an accomplished punt returner in high school, so watch for this U.S. Army All-American to at least make an impact on special teams in 2018. On defense, he has what it takes to play right away at cornerback.

Asa Martin-Auburn football-Auburn Tigers-Auburn
(Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country)
4. RB Asa Martin

The running back race seems to be wide open heading into spring practice. That’s perfect for Martin, who enrolled early — yes, there’s a pattern developing here — after putting up monster, Mr. Football-winning numbers in the state of Alabama in his senior season. Gus Malzahn gushed about his all-around skill set on Signing Day, from Martin’s speed and vision to his receiving abilities and pass protection. There’s a real chance Martin could be the first freshman running back to be the No. 1 guy at Auburn since Michael Dyer.

Auburn football-Auburn Tigers-Auburn-Anders Carlson
(Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country)
3. K Anders Carlson and P Arryn Siposs

We’ll cheat a little bit here and give this spot to two freshmen. Kicker Anders Carlson and punter Arryn Siposs are both near-locks to start as specialists in 2018. Carlson has been groomed by his older brother Daniel to take over the role, and the NFL-bound kicker thinks his little brother might have a better leg at his age than he did. Siposs is a former professional Aussie Rules football player from Down Under. Australia has produced several of the best punters in college football over the last decade, and Siposs should bring Auburn some much-needed stability there for the next several years.

Auburn football-Auburn Tigers-Auburn-Calvin Ashley
(Justin Ferguson/SEC Country)
2. OL Calvin Ashley

Calvin Ashley’s presumed starting spot on the Auburn offensive line could be subject to change if the Tigers land a graduate transfer tackle such as Calvin Anderson. But even then, there’s a lot suggesting Ashley is ready to take over for the Tigers in 2018 after a redshirt season. The former 5-star signee has plenty of college-ready talent, and he got an extra few months of development last year. He was a second-teamer on the depth chart in 2017, despite the fact Auburn was going to hold him out all season. It would be quite the upset to see Ashley not on the starting five up front in 2018.

Quindarious Monday-Auburn podcast-Auburn recruiting-Smoke Monday-Auburn football
(Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country)
1. DB Smoke Monday

To hear members of Auburn’s program say it, Smoke Monday could’ve played for the Tigers in 2017. Now that Auburn has lost its two starting safeties, Monday should be in line for major playing time as an early enrollee in 2018. The Under Armour All-American is a speedy, physical presence over the top of a defense, and he got a huge vote of confidence from three-year starter Tray Matthews down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile last month. Smoke is definitely going to bring the fire to an Auburn secondary that needs it this fall.

Honorable mention: RB JaTarvious Whitlow, OL Nick Brahms, DB Jamien Sherwood, WR Matthew Hill and WR Matthew Schwartz

The post 5 freshmen who will most likely impact Auburn football in 2018 season appeared first on SEC Country.

LSU shortstop Josh Smith to miss at least a month with injury

lsu-lsu baseball-josh smith

BATON ROUGE, La. — A season-opening series loss to Notre Dame is the least of LSU baseball’s worries right now. Star shortstop Josh Smith will miss at least the next month with an injury, Tigers coach Paul Mainieri revealed Tuesday.

Mainieri described the injury as a “stress reaction” in Smith’s vertebrae. Smith cannot participate in any baseball activity, period, for the next four weeks.

In the interim, his place in the lineup will be taken by freshman Hal Hughes.

The post LSU shortstop Josh Smith to miss at least a month with injury appeared first on SEC Country.

New LSU safeties coach Bill Busch makes Corey Raymond’s job easier

lsu-lsu football-corey raymond-bill busch

SEC Country reporter Alex Hickey will answer your LSU Tigers sports queries each weekday in our LSU Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to  @SECCountryLSU@bigahickey or by email to Alex at  alex.hickey@coxinc.com.

Question of the Day: Tuesday, Feb. 20

Sometimes, we get questions that we would never expect to be questions.

Such has been the case since LSU’s recent hire of safeties coach Bill Busch, who was added as the program’s 10th assistant coach. Several fans are reading into the tea leaves that this is somehow going to alienate secondary coach Corey Raymond since it is intruding on his territory.

After hearing such speculation, emailer Brandon Whins asked:

What do you think of the rumors that Corey Raymond is gonna leave LSU since they hired a safety coach?

As with any rumor, facts are the best counterpoint.

The odds are pretty good that Raymond isn’t going to be alienated by LSU hiring… the first guy to give him a job as a position coach at the college level.

Back in 2009, Busch was a first-year defensive coordinator at Utah State. He and head coach Gary Andersen decided to take a chance on a defensive backs coach whose only collegiate experience was as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at LSU. That young coach was Corey Raymond.

And Raymond isn’t the only one on staff to work with Busch. When Dave Aranda arrived at Utah State in 2012 — by which time Raymond was already at LSU — Busch coached safeties while also serving as special teams coordinator.

If Aranda and Raymond didn’t already think of Busch in the highest possible terms, he would not have been hired for the newly created 10th assistant coach position. It’s that simple.

As anyone who has ever been employed knows, your job is a lot easier when there is another co-worker who can help pick up the slack. That’s precisely what Raymond has with Busch. That anyone could find a way to project that as a negative development for LSU is just silly.

To see prior answers to our Question of the Day,  we have you covered.

The post New LSU safeties coach Bill Busch makes Corey Raymond’s job easier appeared first on SEC Country.

Florida LBs coach Christian Robinson says Gators logo makes difference in recruiting

Christian Robinson-Florida-Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — New Florida linebackers coach Christian Robinson has played and coached in the SEC for the past the nine years.

Robinson was born and raised in the state of Georgia and played for the Bulldogs from 2009-2012. He began his coaching career the following year as a defensive graduate assistant at UGA before moving on to Ole Miss (2015-16) and Mississippi State (2017) in the same capacity.

As an outside observer — and former rival — of Florida’s football program, Robinson said he used to envy the Gators’ the in-state recruiting base and the amount of talent within driving distance.

Robinson is now enjoying that luxury.

“There’s a lot of great players in the state of Florida,” Robinson said Tuesday. “I know a lot of coaches have touched on it, but this logo means something a little bit different on a national scale. To be able to walk into a home and say our goal is to get it back to what it used to be and win at a high level and win those championships, that’s been the greatest thing. There’s no hiding what our end goal is. I think that that’s what a lot of people are excited about, especially recruits.”

The Gators landed two of the state’s top outside linebackers in Class of 2018, locking up David Reese during the early signing period and beating out Florida State, Miami and Oklahoma for Andrew Chatfield on National Signing Day.

Chatfield and Reese are the highest-ranked linebacker signees for Florida since 2013.

“It was a great opportunity finishing out this 2018 class. I started by just building relationships,” said Robinson, who recruited Chatfield and 4-star defensive end Malik Langham. “When you go in these homes with a lot of players that have the talent they have, they want to know what can you do for them. ‘Can you get me where I want to go?’

“And along with this great university’s academics, then you provide them the development in this system, whether it’s offense or defense. You’re getting coached by people that can help you get where you want to go. So I’ve been in homes recently and I just think people are excited about what we can provide them for their long-term goals and do it in a family atmosphere.”

Robinson’s former coach, Mark Richt, is now at Miami, and they went head-to-head for Chatfield, who was once leaning toward the Hurricanes. Robinson looks forward to more recruiting battles in South Florida against Richt.

“He’s a great man,” Robinson said. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to go and play football for him. I’m excited to see him. I’ve talked to his son Jon a little bit and hopefully we get a chance to cross paths on the recruiting trail just to give him a hard time a little bit. So we’re excited about that.”

The post Florida LBs coach Christian Robinson says Gators logo makes difference in recruiting appeared first on SEC Country.

Florida LBs coach Christian Robinson says Gators logo makes difference in recruiting

Christian Robinson-Florida-Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — New Florida linebackers coach Christian Robinson has played and coached in the SEC for the past the nine years.

Robinson was born and raised in the state of Georgia and played for the Bulldogs from 2009-2012. He began his coaching career the following year as a defensive graduate assistant at UGA before moving on to Ole Miss (2015-16) and Mississippi State (2017) in the same capacity.

As an outside observer — and former rival — of Florida’s football program, Robinson said he used to envy the Gators’ the in-state recruiting base and the amount of talent within driving distance.

Robinson is now enjoying that luxury.

“There’s a lot of great players in the state of Florida,” Robinson said Tuesday. “I know a lot of coaches have touched on it, but this logo means something a little bit different on a national scale. To be able to walk into a home and say our goal is to get it back to what it used to be and win at a high level and win those championships, that’s been the greatest thing. There’s no hiding what our end goal is. I think that that’s what a lot of people are excited about, especially recruits.”

The Gators landed two of the state’s top outside linebackers in Class of 2018, locking up David Reese during the early signing period and beating out Florida State, Miami and Oklahoma for Andrew Chatfield on National Signing Day.

Chatfield and Reese are the highest-ranked linebacker signees for Florida since 2013.

“It was a great opportunity finishing out this 2018 class. I started by just building relationships,” said Robinson, who recruited Chatfield and 4-star defensive end Malik Langham. “When you go in these homes with a lot of players that have the talent they have, they want to know what can you do for them. ‘Can you get me where I want to go?’

“And along with this great university’s academics, then you provide them the development in this system, whether it’s offense or defense. You’re getting coached by people that can help you get where you want to go. So I’ve been in homes recently and I just think people are excited about what we can provide them for their long-term goals and do it in a family atmosphere.”

Robinson’s former coach, Mark Richt, is now at Miami, and they went head-to-head for Chatfield, who was once leaning toward the Hurricanes. Robinson looks forward to more recruiting battles in South Florida against Richt.

“He’s a great man,” Robinson said. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to go and play football for him. I’m excited to see him. I’ve talked to his son Jon a little bit and hopefully we get a chance to cross paths on the recruiting trail just to give him a hard time a little bit. So we’re excited about that.”

The post Florida LBs coach Christian Robinson says Gators logo makes difference in recruiting appeared first on SEC Country.

LOOK: Louisville’s 2013 national title banner is already gone from the rafters

Louisville- 2013 national championship banner-Rick Pitino-vacated wins

That was quick.

The NCAA upheld its ruling Tuesday that Louisville had to vacate four years worth of wins which included its national title from 2013. Twitter immediately wondered if the banner would stay up at the KFC Yum Center where the Cardinals play.

Answer: No.

The Courier-Journal posted a photo on Twitter which shows a current photo of the rafters. The 2013 banner is nowhere to be found.

Louisville's 2013 NCAA national championship banner has already been taken down at the KFC Yum Center https://t.co/nuqONbiGMc pic.twitter.com/Ao5UVT1xy5 — Courier Journal Sports (@sports_cj) February 20, 2018

The initial NCAA ruling stems from a scandal with the former Louisville director of basketball involving arranged strip teases and sex acts for prospects.

According to appeal documents, Louisville argued its penalties were excessive and based on athletes who weren’t culpable. UCF jokingly already claimed the title, but the 1980 and 1986 banners remained next to the American flag.

The post LOOK: Louisville’s 2013 national title banner is already gone from the rafters appeared first on SEC Country.

Baffling Top 25 ballot gives Auburn bizarre boost in latest hoops rankings

Bruce Pearl-auburn tigers-ap poll-wichita state-south carolina

Auburn certainly earned a lot of respect from one voter in the AP Poll … by losing to 14-13 South Carolina on Saturday.

Per Gary Parrish, one voter in Montana, Scott Mansch, moved the Tigers up six (6!) spots in his poll. While that seems weird enough, the same man moved Wichita State, which beat No. 5 Cincinnati on Sunday after defeating Temple 93-86 on Thursday, dropped the Shockers a spot, from 9th to 10th.

This certainly doesn’t help the argument by many that polls in college sports are not exactly relevant. Opponents to the ranking system have any arguments – some teams are routinely overrated, others underrated, bias has to come in – so Mansch’s move is going to add fuel to the fire.

While the polls are not as big of a deal in basketball as it is in football, there are a lot of inconsistencies at how some teams are viewed. North Carolina, currently with a 21-7 record, is currently ranked 10th in the latest AP Poll while Cincinnati and Auburn, both 23-4, follow at No. 11 and No. 12, respectively. While the Tar Heels certainly have some big wins, it would be hard to imagine that they would be as high as they are without the “North Carolina” on the front of their jerseys.

Of course, the AP Poll isn’t as big of a mess as the USA Today Coaches Poll, with the rankings filled out and decided by head coaches throughout the country who, let’s face it, do not have ample time to watch games that involve the teams considered for the 25 available slots. What coach isn’t going to rank their team a little higher than everyone else and maybe rank a rival a little lower?

This mistake, if it is indeed one and Mansch doesn’t just truly think the Tigers deserved the big jump, is just another example of why polls are fun to argue about but, in the long run, shouldn’t be taken seriously.

The post Baffling Top 25 ballot gives Auburn bizarre boost in latest hoops rankings appeared first on SEC Country.

Collin Sexton’s work ethic forces Alabama coaches to turn out gym lights for him to leave

Collin Sexton-Alabama-Alabama basketball-Alabama Crimson Tide-Avery Johnson

Collin Sexton is one of the best players in the SEC and in the country, a potential lottery pick in this summer’s NBA draft.

But right now he’s doing all he can to lead the Crimson Tide to a strong finish in the SEC and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Although sometimes he may be working too hard, if that is such a thing. Alabama coach Avery Johnson loves Sexton’s drive to get better, but he also wants his start guard to get his rest.

In this video from Alex Byington of Times Daily, Johnson describes what he and his coaches sometimes feel like they have to do to get Sexton to take it easy.

. @CoachAvery6 on #CollinSexton: "Here's a kid we basically have to turn the lights out on in the gym … (b/c) he wants to live in the gym." pic.twitter.com/XvJgBUEKdb — Alex Byington (@abyingtonTD) February 20, 2018

“Here’s a kid we gotta basically to turn the lights out in the gym sometimes and say ‘go back to the dorm,'” Johnson says. “I love players like him that have that old-school mentality…He wants to live in the gym, and he’s driven, he’s passionate, he’s got big dreams.”

Currently sitting in sixth place in the SEC, Alabama (17-10, 8-6) looks to be in relatively good shape for the tournament with March approaching and four games left in the regular season.

The Crimson Tide next travel to Auburn to face the No. 12 Tigers on Wednesday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network ) in a crucial rivalry game. Alabama already beat Auburn this season but without Sexton.

The freshman and his work ethic will have to be an important part of a signature road victory this time around.

“Part of his dreams and goals is to help us maximize our potential this year,” Johnson says. “And I like it a lot. Sometimes I might have to turn him down a little bit, but that’s okay. I’d rather have it that way than to try to have to turn somebody up.”

The post Collin Sexton’s work ethic forces Alabama coaches to turn out gym lights for him to leave appeared first on SEC Country.

Major South Carolina recruiting target listed No. 1 in 2019

South Carolina recruiting-Quavaris Crouch-recruiting

Quavaris Crouch is the No. 1 player in the Class of 2019, according to the last batch of ratings and rankings from Rivals.

Crouch, who’s from Harding University High School in Charlotte, N.C., is listed by Rivals as a 6-foot-3, 222-pound athlete. Naturally, his ranking comes with a 5-star rating.

South Carolina is firmly in the mix for Crouch, along with several schools, including Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, North Carolina, Stanford and Tennessee.

The Gamecocks have hosted him for multiple visits over the years. Plus, one of his former teammates, 4-star offensive guard Jovaughn Gwyn, signed with Coach Will Muschamp in December.

Whether or not Crouch decides to follow Gwyn to Columbia remains to be seen. At this point, it would appear that Crouch is in no big rush to reach a conclusion. It’s also unclear whether or not he’ll sign in December or wait until the first Wednesday in February of 2019.

Those aren’t the only questions that remain for Crouch, who could play on either side of the ball. On offense, he’s a running back. As a defensive player, he profiles as an edge player.

As a junior, Crouch rushed for 3,283 yards and 33 touchdowns and was credited with 48 tackles and 14 sacks.

South Carolina recruiting targets

A handful of Gamecock targets were included on the latest Rivals 100 release. Where did everyone else end up?

  • 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood – No. 5 (Ellenwood, Ga.)
  • 5-star SDE Zacch Pickens – No. 16 (Anderson, S.C.)
  • 4-star OT Wanya Morris – No. 19 (Loganville, Ga.)
  • 4-star SDE Travon Walker – No. 40 (Thomaston, Ga.)

The post Major South Carolina recruiting target listed No. 1 in 2019 appeared first on SEC Country.

WATCH: SEC Country Live, February 20

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SEC football news never stops. So join us for SEC Country Live every Monday-Thursday at 3 p.m. ET ! Host Brandon Adams and former Alabama All-American Mike Johnson break down everything you need to know in the SEC football world with news, analysis and so much more. Join the conversation on Facebook.com/SECCountry!

Watch on Facebook!

The post WATCH: SEC Country Live, February 20 appeared first on SEC Country.

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