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Jeremy Pruitt: some Tennessee players ‘nervous’ about playing time ‘because of unknowns’

Tennessee football-Jeremy Pruitt

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt didn’t address Darrin Kirkland Jr.’s transfer announcement on Thursday night.

Not directly, at least.

RELATED: Darrin Kirkland Jr. shocks Tennessee fans, announces transfer plans

Pruitt took the stage at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center shortly after being made aware of Kirkland’s tweet during the fifth and final Big Orange Caravan stop.

During a question-and-answer session, a fan in the audience asked Pruitt about leadership

“We have guys that have played a lot of ball, and to be honest, I think some of the guys are nervous they might not play much,” Pruitt said. “Just to be honest, based off competition, and because of unknowns. Nobody knows, because I’m not worried about how many games you’ve played or where you’re from.

“We’re worried about who’s going to play the best each and every day, so there’s gonna be lots of competition.”

Pruitt said Tennessee has a lot to improve and a long ways to go before the Sept. 1 opener against West Virginia.

“It’s important to have leadership, and I would say there’s a lot of unknowns about our team,” Pruitt said. “We have to find a way to create a team, we have to find a way to find some leadership and that will be a huge challenge for us as a coaching staff.”

Big Orange Caravan headlines Tennessee football could return to Bristol Motor Speedway Phillip Fulmer finds SEC ADs more agreeable than coaches Jeremy Pruitt expects QB transfer Keller Chryst to provide lift Tennessee coaches and athletic department consider Atlanta ‘in state’ Phillip Fulmer weighs in on Pruitt-Nick Saban debate Pruitt and Fulmer highlight different scheduling points Pruitt and Fulmer tired of hearing win total expectation questions Memphis or Nashville? Pruitt reveals 2019 recruiting preference Fulmer calls for timeout to review Neyland Stadium renovation plan Pruitt not backing down to Saban on transfer issue Pruitt expressing confidence in secondary Vols basketball coach Rick Barnes addressing missed NCAA tourney opportunity Fulmer brushes off Alabama, Georgia comparisons Vague answers from Pruitt fuel speculation on transfers, starters Pruitt reveals what he misses about recruiting Fulmer not allowing administrative turmoil to disrupt Tennessee athletics Pruitt learning that he and Fulmer ‘see a lot of things the same way’ Fulmer leads Pruitt on caravan stop




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Tennessee linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. announces transfer plans on Twitter

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee middle linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. announced on Twitter that he plans to transfer out of the Vols’ program

Kirkland was a preseason All-SEC pick last season, but he suffered a knee injury in fall camp and missed all of the 2017 season.

The Vols have ongoing battles at all of the positions, and Kirkland did not take part in any contact drills during the spring session.

Many projected Kirkland to start, but Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt made it clear during the Big Orange Caravan stop in Kingsport on Thursday night that nothing had been determined at that position.

Kirkland, originally from Indianapolis, missed six games in the 2016 season after suffering a high ankle sprain in the 45-24 win over Virginia Tech in the second game of that season.

Kirkland’s injury, combined with Jalen Reeves-Maybin suffering a season-ending injury the next week, was devastating to a Tennessee team that broke into the Top 10 for the first time in 10 years.

Lord please guide me on this journey pic.twitter.com/80WJaxV7Se — Darrin ‘DK’ Kirkland (@KIRK_Era) May 24, 2018

The post Tennessee linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. announces transfer plans on Twitter appeared first on SEC Country.

Report: Auburn walk-on ruled ineligible due to cannabis oil prescribed for epilespy

ncaa-cj harris-epilespy-auburn-cannabis oil

Sometimes the NCAA’s decision making doesn’t make much sense.

This is true in the case of C.J. Harris, a preferred walk-on at Auburn for this upcoming year. Due to suffering from epilepsy and the seizures the condition causes during high school, Harris, who played at Warner Robins HS in Georgia, was prescribed cannabis oil for his condition.

That’s a no-no according to the NCAA, and Harris has been ruled ineligible to play for the Tigers, per WGXA.com.

“The hardest thing I’ve done,” Curtis Harris, C.J.’s father, said. “You’re taking something away from a kid who’s worked so hard in his life to get there. And you’re just taking it away because he’s taking a medication that’s helping with his disability.”

Per NCAA rules, student-athletes cannot have any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their systems, and the oil Harris takes for his seizures contains a small amount, therefore he would not be able to pass a drug test.

Harris, per the report, is currently looking at alternative medicines for his illness.

The post Report: Auburn walk-on ruled ineligible due to cannabis oil prescribed for epilespy appeared first on SEC Country.

South Carolina recruiting: In-state CB ready for Gamecocks camp

South Carolina recruiting-Christian Miller

Whenever Will Muschamp lands a commitment, the South Carolina coach drops a #SpursUp on Twitter. Come to SEC Country for the latest news, notes and observations in South Carolina recruiting.  For previous editions of SpursUp Surveillance, check out the link.

On the road again

Hilton Head (S.C.) High School cornerback Christian Miller will be a busy young man this summer. The 2020 prospect is scheduled to attend camps at Florida, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Tennessee and Wake Forest.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound 2020 prospect also will go on a college camp tour with his coach from Hilton Head. Their stops are expected to include South Carolina, Kentucky, Pitt, North Carolina, Georgia and UCF.

“Every camp or visit, I just try to prove myself to the coaches, prove that they’ve got a hard-working young man like myself,” Miller said. “I’m a good leader on the field. I play my position very well and I’m very vocal. I’m not scared of any assignments.”

RELATED: Sophomore highlights

Miller, who lists an offer from USF, had 41 tackles, 9 pass breakups and 3 interceptions as a sophomore at Hilton Head.

The in-state feel

As with most kids growing up in the Palmetto State, Miller picked a side in the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry

“My whole family, basically, graduated from South Carolina, but my sister just graduated from Clemson, so it’s split in between the two,” Miller said. “But I was South Carolina all the way.”

As he moves into the recruiting process, Miller is open to all suitors, including Clemson. Several factors will be considered as he continues to add offers.

“Just a place that feels like home, a place that makes me feel comfortable, a place where I know I can play that’s going to make me better as a player,” Miller said, “A good coaching staff, a coaching staff that has a welcoming environment.”

For more South Carolina recruiting notebooks, check out the link.

The post South Carolina recruiting: In-state CB ready for Gamecocks camp appeared first on SEC Country.

Arkansas QB commit KJ Jefferson promises top WRs are coming with him

Arkansas-football-recruiting-Arkansas Razorbacks-KJ Jefferson-quarterback

Welcome to SEC Country’s  daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook . In this edition, we discuss a guarantee from quarterback commit KJ Jefferson and an upcoming decision date.

Arkansas QB commit KJ Jefferson has his eye on some top WRs

Arkansas 2019 quarterback commit KJ Jefferson has shifted his focus to recruiting for the Hogs since announcing his pledge last week. Specifically, he’s looking to bring some 4-star wide receivers with him to Fayetteville.

Jefferson (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) posted via Twitter on Thursday that he plans to have Dylan Wright, Lance Wilhoite, Shamar Nash and Trey Knox join him on The Hill. All four are 4-star prospects, according to the 247Sports composite.

Wright is from the Dallas area and long has been one of Arkansas’ top targets in the 2019 class. He and wide receivers coach Justin Stepp have a very close relationship. The Hogs are expected to be a strong contender for his commitment until the final stage.

Wilhoite and Nash are close friends who could look to play together at the next level. The Tennessee natives are both seriously considering the Razorbacks despite Nash, who is now at IMG Academy in Florida, being pledged to Missouri. Knox is a fellow Tennessee prospect who has the Hogs’ among his top options.

Teaming these targets with Jefferson would be an ideal scenario for the future of Arkansas’ new offense. Jefferson is the top quarterback recruit in the class from Mississippi. He passed for 3,028 yards and 39 touchdowns as a junior. He also ran for 1,395 yards and 11 touchdowns.

WR target T.Q. Jackson sets commitment date

Arkansas wide receiver target T.Q. Jackson has set a commitment date for July 21. He will spend June visiting schools, with Fayetteville very like to be among his stops. He’s already made one trip to campus, which was an unofficial visit in late February.

Jackson (6-3, 188) is a 3-star prospect in the 2019 class. He’s from Jefferson, Texas, a small town that is a five-hour drive from Fayetteville. His first trip to Arkansas significantly increased the Hogs’ chances of landing his commitment.

“The visit was great,” Jackson said. “They showed a lot of love. And I love what they are trying to build.”

Chad Morris and his staff also offered Jackson a scholarship when they worked at SMU. The Mustangs were the first school to offer him, doing so during his sophomore year. He visited SMU in September and has a strong relationships with Stepp and running backs coach Jeff Traylor, the Hogs’ primary recruiter in East Texas.

As a junior at Jefferson High School, Jackson totaled 938 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He caught passes for 1,099 yards as a sophomore.

Miss a previous edition? Find every SEC Country daily Arkansas Razorbacks recruiting notebook  right here.

The post Arkansas QB commit KJ Jefferson promises top WRs are coming with him appeared first on SEC Country.

WATCH: Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer open to returning to Bristol Motor Speedway for football battle

Tennessee football-Bristol Motor Speedway-Vols

KINGSPORT, Tenn.— Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer said he’s open to a return to Bristol Motor Speedway’s enclosed coliseum for a football game.

It was a concept that originated shortly after Fulmer led the Vols to the 1998 national championship, but former athletic director Doug Dickey was not on board with the idea.

Dickey said at the time that he didn’t want to give up a home game to play at a neutral site.

Further, Dickey said at that time, playing Virginia Tech didn’t have the necessary appeal because the Vols already had an ACC team schedule for a home and home series in the form of Miami, Fla.

Fulmer revealed Thursday night on the fifth and final Big Orange Caravan stop, in Kingsport, that contracts were indeed offered.

“It never came to fruition, (but) there was a lot of talk about it,” Fulmer said. “You’d say let’s send the contract and the numbers and see how it might work out.

“After I left, they finally did [play a game there], but when I was there it was just more of a conversation.”

RELATED: Tennessee football tops Virginia Tech 45-24 in historic “Battle at Bristol”

Tennessee beat Virginia Tech 45-24 in the second game of the 2016 season, setting a single-game attendance record with 156,990 fans on hand.

Bristol Motor Speedway officials said in January that they planned to hold another football game at the world-famous NASCAR facility but did not disclose any teams being considered.

Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt has said he is interested in games in markets where Tennessee recruits, and that strategy carries over to neutral site games.

“It’s important if you’re going to play away from your stadium in a home and home, you want to play at a place that has recruiting ramifications,” Pruitt said. “Obviously if you looked up through Virginia and going up through the DMV (DC-Maryland and Virginia) headed up North, we’re really the first stop for the SEC.

“If Coach Fulmer schedules us a game there, we’ll be there.”

Fulmer knows the recruiting angles as well as Pruitt, and he took note of the attention the game received.

“It was a real great event, a nationally followed event,” Fulmer said. “I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t look at that in the future.”

  Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer Posted by Tennessee Volunteers Insiders on Thursday, May 24, 2018 Big Orange Caravan headlines

The post WATCH: Tennessee AD Phillip Fulmer open to returning to Bristol Motor Speedway for football battle appeared first on SEC Country.

Linebacker Jahmar Brown joins 2019 South Carolina recruiting class

South Carolina recruiting-Jahmar Brown

On Thursday night, 3-star linebacker Jahmar Brown confirmed to SEC Country that he is joining the 2019 South Carolina recruiting class.

The Gamecocks’ 2019 haul now has commitments from 11 prospects, one of whom is Brown’s teammate at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 3-star center Vincent Murphy.

South Carolina landed Brown over Miami and Stanford. His offer sheet also included Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

According to the 247Sports composite, Brown is ranked as the No. 44 outside linebacker in the Class of 2019. 247Sports lists him as the No. 22-ranked outside linebacker. Among prospects from the state of Florida, he’s 37th.

Brown is the second linebacker to commit to the Gamecocks’ 2019 class. The first, 3-star Ahdarrious Gee, is no longer apart of the class.

The haul currently includes three other prospects for the defensive side of the ball: 3-star defensive end Rodricus Fitten (Atlanta), 3-star JUCO defensive tackle Jahkeem Green (Highland C.C.) and 3-star defensive end Devontae Davis (Georgia Military College).

South Carolina remains in the mix for a few other 2019 linebackers, including 4-star Kalen Deloach (Savannah, Ga.) and 3-star Derek Boykins (Concord, N.C.).

What Jahmar Brown adds to South Carolina

At The Opening’s regional stop in Miami earlier this year, Brown was measured at 6-feet, 192 pounds. His 94.92 SPARQ score was 23rd-highest among competitors at the camp.

Brown’s 4.67 time in the 40-yard-dash was second-fastest among linebackers that day. Below are the rest of the numbers he posted, which led to his strong SPARQ score.

  • Shuttle: 4.47 seconds
  • Power ball throw: 39 feet
  • Vertical jump: 32.7 inches

There’s a lot to like about Brown and what he could potentially add to South Carolina’s linebacker room. While he may not have the ideal size to sit in the middle and be a dominant player inside the box against the turn, there are plenty of other things he can do. Plus, that’s not exactly how football is played these days.

In terms of size, Brown is somewhat comparable to South Carolina sophomore linebacker Damani Staley, a former 3-star recruit who was listed at 6-1, 205 coming out of Ridge View High School (Columbia, S.C.). Staley has gained about 20 pounds since he joined the Gamecocks last year. Assuming Brown is able to do about the same, he should be just fine.

Staley plays weakside linebacker, the same position SEC Country projects Brown to play at South Carolina. A few quick thoughts, after watching Brown’s junior highlights:

  • Seems comfortable playing in space
  • Not shy about contact/helping out against the run
  • Looks natural dropping into coverage
  • Instinctive, smart

The post Linebacker Jahmar Brown joins 2019 South Carolina recruiting class appeared first on SEC Country.

Ole Miss guard Terence Davis to return for senior season

Terence Davis-Ole Miss-senior year-return

Although new himself, Kermit Davis will receive some help with more experience in the Ole Miss backcourt next season.

Terence Davis announced Thursday he would return for his senior season in 2018 after testing the NBA Draft waters.

“I had a fantastic learning experience from the NBA Draft process over the last four weeks. It’s made me a better player in preparation for my future,” Davis said in a statement. “I look forward to returning for my senior year at Ole Miss in pursuit of an NCAA Tournament berth.”

Last season Davis led the Rebels in scoring with 13.8 points per game. As a sophomore, he was over a point better at 14.9 points per game.

Davis went through workouts with several NBA teams before deciding to return, according to a release from the school.

The post Ole Miss guard Terence Davis to return for senior season appeared first on SEC Country.

Relationship building helps Tennessee stand out to top prospects

Tennessee-jeremy pruitt-tennessee recruiting-vols-relationsips

Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions  here . In this edition, we discuss Tennessee and its latest commit chose the Vols.

Why the Vols

Tennessee has been one of the hottest recruiting teams in the country in the month of May. The latest commit, linebacker Lakia Henry, credits the coaching staff’s ability to build relationships for bringing him on board.

“It’s the communication me and the coaches have,” Henry said on the Rocky Top podcast. “We have really good communication. We talk a lot during the week. We built a great relationship that way. They’re resume being at really big programs means they are going to turn it around. That really helped my decision.”

This is an unique thought to Henry, either. Tennessee has eight commitments in the 2019 class, and all mentioned their relationships with the coaches as a big reason for the early pledge. Jeremy Pruitt is a very direct coach who earns a lot of respect from prospects with his intentional, no-nonsense approach and who cares about their lives beyond the field.

“[Pruitt] is a family coach; he’s a people guy,” said Henry, a student at Vidalia (Ga.) Comprehensive High School. “He knows he’s a good coach. He doesn’t worry about coaching. It’s about academics and getting me and other kids graduated.”

The coaching staff follows suit with Pruitt’s style. Most of the staff has a prior connection with Pruitt. The tight-knit vibe of the staff has stood out to prospects.

Playing time and rebuilding

One of the main selling points this staff has used is early playing time. It has been one of the main reasons the Vols have been able to hold the attention of some top-level prospects despite coming off of a 4-8 season. The chance of being on the ground floor of a rebuild has intrigued a lot of the commits, too.

“It played a big role,” Henry said. “I didn’t want to go to a program that’s already thriving. I wanted to go to a program I could help right away. Tennessee is a place I could make a difference from the community to the program.

“It would mean a lot. Tennessee has always been a high-caliber team. It’d be an honor to get them back to where they need to be.”

The 4-star junior college prospect will fill a big hole at linebacker for the Vols. Pruitt is transitioning the team to a 3-4 defense which will need better linebacker play than Tennessee has served up the past few years.

Henry brings an aggressive, attacking style of play that should fit seamlessly with the inside linebacker position.

“They told me I could come in and make a complete difference in the team,” Henry said. “I’m a different kind of linebacker. Running sideline to sideline and I’m a freak athlete. That’s what they were searching for.”

Henry was a great get for this coaching staff. He has an Alabama offer and has been invited to come visit the campus by the coaching staff.  He was originally planning to take the visit, but now he’s not so sure.

“As of right now, I’m not going to take any visits,” Henry said. “As of right now, Tennessee is the only place my mind is set at. I’m not going to take any visit right away.”

Anytime a top prospect gets on Alabama’s campus and is a priority, it’s a cause for concern. For now, he looks to be all Vol.

Miss a previous edition? Find all your SEC Country Tennessee Vols recruiting news  here .

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