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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

Alabama football-Nick Saban-Craig Kuligowski-defensive line

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.

Arkansas basketball has to win 2 more games to make NCAA Tournament

arkansas-arkansas basketball-dustin thomas-ncaa tournament

SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our  Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to  @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at  ericwbolin@gmail.com.

Question of the Day: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Two.

The end.

And that’s in five games, not four. Arkansas (19-8, 8-6 SEC) has four games left in the regular season. On Tuesday, the Razorbacks are at Bud Walton Arena against everyone’s favorite (read: not favorite) team: Kentucky. The Razorbacks win that, they’re almost certainly a lock.

Almost certainly. That isn’t hedging. I try not to do that. What it is is reality.

Arkansas is No. 37 in the Basketball Power Index. Kentucky is No. 36. After that game the Razorbacks head to Alabama (No. 44) before a home game against Auburn, the 14th-ranked BPI team. The regular-season finale is March 3 at Missouri (No. 45).

The question isn’t whether Arkansas can win two more games in its next five — remember, it will have at least one game in the SEC Tournament. The question is how many more do they need to win. Those remaining opponents are so highly respected by the analytics community and the eye-test prognosticators that the Razorbacks’ current numbers combined with what they will earn with victories would be enough to keep them ahead of the rabble from other conferences.

Now, is winning just one more in the regular season and one in the SEC Tournament ideal? Of course not. A 2-2 finish in the regular season would alleviate the nerves going into the league tournament. Doable, considering Arkansas has lost just one conference home game all season (6-1). Also difficult considering the best two teams on Arkansas’ schedule are the ones visiting Bud Walton Arena and the Razorbacks have just one road win in league play.

Long story short: The schedule is just difficult enough that Arkansas will get credit for doing what it can. That’s the way the SEC has been this season. A bit overrated in my opinion, but certainly not the league it has been for most of the last 10 years.

One win in five games — probably out.

Two? Probably in.

Three? Strongly in.

Four? Bona fide lock.

The post Arkansas basketball has to win 2 more games to make NCAA Tournament appeared first on SEC Country.

Alabama’s decade of dominance was even more jaw-dropping after 2017 national title

Nick Saban-Alabama football-Crimson Tide football

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Some of you may remember SEC Country embarking on a big project called the “Decade of Dominance” last summer, which examined if the University of Alabama football team’s success over the 10-year span from 2007-2016 was the most impressive in college football history.

It was, and the numbers backed it up. Links to the 10 stories are at the end, including a look at what might had happened if Nick Saban not taken over the Crimson Tide.

However, there was one obvious caveat. Considering that a decade can be any 10-year span and not necessarily beginning with a “0” and ending with a “9” there was a opportunity to still improve on some of its numbers by including 2017 in place of Nick Saban’s first season of 2007.

That season ended with an appearance in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

So here’s a quick look back with some updated numbers:

• National championships: 5

Alabama stands alone for most national titles over a 10-years span during the poll era. Moreover, none of the Crimson Tide’s titles were considered split during BCS and College Football Playoff years.

Most national championships in a decade

Team Titles Seasons Alabama 5 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 Miami (Fla.) 4 1983, 1987, 1989, 1991 (AP) Notre Dame 4 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949 Nebraska 3 1994, 1995, 1997 (Coaches) Notre Dame 3 1973 (AP), 1977, 1988 Alabama 3 1973 (Coaches), 1978 (AP), 1979 USC 3 1972, 1974 (Coaches), 1978 (Coaches) Texas 3 1963, 1969, 1970 (Coaches) Alabama 3 1961, 1964, 1965 (AP) Oklahoma 3 1950, 1955, 1956 Minnesota 3 1936, 1940, 1941

• Most consecutive seasons ranked No. 1 in AP Top 25: 10.

It had never been done before. Frank Leahy’s Notre Dame teams did it five straight seasons (1946-50), and Miami reached seven (1986-92) under two different coaches, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson.

• All-Americans: Since 2008, the Crimson Tide have fielded 30 consensus All-American selections earned by 25 players. Saban finished the decade with eight more consensus All-Americans than anyone else over a 10-year span during the last century. To find anything that compares one has to go back to the Ivy League powers well before The Great War, otherwise known as World War I.

Most consensus All-Americans in a 10-year period

Yale (1900-09) 40 Yale (1889-98) 33 Harvard (1892-1901) 32 Alabama (2008-2017) 30 Princeton (1889-98) 30 Florida State (1991-2000) 22 Oklahoma (2000-09) 20 Penn (1895-1904) 20 Notre Dame (1964-73) 19 Ohio State (1969-78) 19 Oklahoma (1971-80) 19

Add in his previous teams and Saban has coached more consensus All-Americans than anyone in college football history (36). The previous leaders were Joe Paterno (33), Bobby Bowden (31) and Tom Osborne (30).

• Awards: With Minkah Fitzpatrick winning both the Thorpe Award (best defensive back) and the Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player), Alabama players have won 27 major national awards over the past decade. Throw in the most recognized coaching awards and it’s an even 30.

• Overall record: 125-14 (.899).

For those wondering, Saban’s winning percentage since 2010 is .884

• Big wins: Saban improved to 6-1 in national championship games.

From 2008-17, Alabama was 53-14 against ranked opponents, a winning percentage of .791. When facing tougher foes the Crimson Tide were 27-8 vs. top-10 teams (.771), 15-6 against top-5 teams (.714), and 6-1 when playing the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 (.857).

Those six wins against top-ranked teams are more than any coach in history as no one else has more than four. Saban has seven overall, including his initial signature win with Michigan State against No. 1 Ohio State in 1998.

At 55-7, Saban has won more games coaching a No. 1 team at one school than any coach in college football history. Woody Hayes and Bobby Bowden are tied for second at 40, over 28 and 34 seasons, respectively.

The Crimson Tide have been ranked No. 1 in 40.8 percent of the 152 games under Saban. Hayes’ percentage was 16.7 and Bowden’s 10.8.

• NFL draft: Alabama’s had 65 players selected since the 2009 draft, including 22 in the first round and another 15 in the second round. Considering the Crimson Tide didn’t have any players picked in the 2008 draft, their decade numbers are still incomplete.

Alabama has 14 players invited to the upcoming NFL Combine and appears to have a shot of at least matching last year’s modern program record of 10 selections.

Of course, Alabama could actually improve its decade numbers once again in 2018, as the 2008 team went 12-2.

Should it do so we’ll be back for another update in a year.

A 10-part series examining Nick Saban’s impact over the 2007-16 decade at Alabama, which posted on SEC Country from July 2-Aug. 27, 2017.

The post Alabama’s decade of dominance was even more jaw-dropping after 2017 national title appeared first on SEC Country.

Even without Jeff Holland, Auburn football looks deep on edges for 2018

Auburn football-Marlon Davidson-Dee Ford-defensive ends

Auburn football will return to action in less than two weeks with the start of spring practices on March 1. Between now and then, SEC Country will preview each of the Tigers’ position groups heading into camp. Up next, we take stock of the defensive ends.

Auburn defensive end depth charts

Buck

  • T.D. Moultry (Sophomore)
  • Paul James III (Senior)
  • Big Kat Bryant (Sophomore)

Defensive end

  • Marlon Davidson (Junior)
  • Nick Coe (Sophomore)
  • Big Kat Bryant (Sophomore)
D epartures and arrivals
  • Departures: Jeff Holland
  • Arrivals: Richard Jibunor, Caleb Johnson, Kayode Oladele (summer enrollees)
Auburn football-Auburn Tigers-Auburn-T.D. Moultry
Auburn defensive end T.D. Moultry came on strong to end 2017. (Benjamin Wolk/SEC Country)
The question

Can T.D. Moultry pick up where Jeff Holland left off at Buck?

Heading into 2017, one of the biggest questions for Auburn was whether Jeff Holland could fill the role left by Carl Lawson at Buck defensive end. Holland answered that with a resounding yes, recording double-digit sacks and picking up All-SEC honors for the Tigers. At times, he was downright unblockable.

Now Auburn has to replace Holland, but there’s a ton of confidence in T.D. Moultry. The prized 2017 signee moved from linebacker to Buck over the offseason and was impressive in a short amount of time. By the end of the season, he was the first one off the bench to fill in for Holland.

SPRING PRACTICE PREVIEWS:  QB | RB | WR | HB/TE | OT | G/C

Moultry has an extremely high motor to go along with his top-tier strength, speed and block-shedding skills. More snaps should mean more production from this freshman All-SEC selection. He won’t have to do it alone, as Paul James III and Big Kat Bryant have experience at the position. But Moultry will enter spring practices as the favorite to lead Auburn’s pass rush in 2018.

The star

Marlon Davidson

After a strong freshman campaign, Marlon Davidson didn’t have the sophomore surge many expected. Four of his 6.5 tackles for loss came in the first four weeks of the season. Davidson had to battle a list of injuries throughout the preseason and the regular season, so a dip in production wasn’t too much of a surprise. Still, when he’s on his game, there are few defensive ends in the SEC who bring the all-around game of this junior.

nick coe-auburn football-college football-breakout-players-2018
Auburn defensive end Nick Coe was everywhere for the Tigers last season. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The wild card

Nick Coe

Meet Nick Coe, the “fifth starter” on Auburn’s defensive line. Coe lived up to the hype after a redshirt season in 2016. The former high school wrestling champion was a big-play machine when he saw the field at both defensive end and defensive tackle. With a full year behind him, Coe will be a huge weapon that defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive line coach Rodney Garner can move all over the place. Wherever he lines up — even if it’s not in the starting four — he’ll be a menace.

The prediction

Marlon Davidson benefits from a healthy preseason and has a stronger fall in 2018.

Davidson dealt with elbow and knee injuries last offseason, and it took a hit on what could’ve been a strong year. He has all the experience and talent to be one of the best defensive linemen in the country. Davidson just needs the healthy reps. If he can avoid the injury bug this spring, expect to see him turn a lot of heads.

The stat

9.0. Looking at the most successful years for Auburn in the past decade — 2009 (setting the tone for 2010), 2010 (national title), 2013 (SEC title), 2016 (New Year’s Six bowl) and 2017 (SEC West title) — all of them have one thing in common. Auburn’s best years have come when it’s had a pass rusher who comes up with at least 9 sacks in a season. Having a great pass rush has gone hand-in-hand with great overall play on the Plains.

The quote

Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele on T.D. Moultry:

“Well, you know, early in the thing, he had a little injury and was progressing very nice. The injury set him back, so that kind of put him in a hole a little bit. We started feeding him a little bit more at Buck and by the end of the year, he was a very, very effective pass rusher for us. But he had started to play the run technique at another level. He’s young, still got a ways to go. But he’s got a high motor, tremendous athleticism. Tough guy, and he loves ball. So we’ve got a good start.”

The post Even without Jeff Holland, Auburn football looks deep on edges for 2018 appeared first on SEC Country.

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