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Alabama women’s golf enters match-play part of NCAA Championships tied for first

It wasn’t the best of rounds for the University of Alabama women’s golf team, but it was good enough to secure a tie for first place heading into the match-play portion of the NCAA Championships.

However, with No. 3 UCLA catching top-seeded Alabama, as both teams finished stroke play at +9, the Crimson Tide moves forward as the second team in the brackets due to a tiebreaker.

Alabama will face No. 16 Kent State during Tuesday morning’s quarterfinals (11 a.m. ET, Golf Channel). The winner will face the team to advance between No. 6 USC vs. No. 4 Duke.

UCLA will play either No. 26 Baylor or No. 9 Arizona on the other side of the bracket, as the teams tied for eighth immediately began a playoff after the fourth round.

The winner of the quarterback will face the winner of No. 13 Northwestern vs. No. 5 Stanford in the semifinals later Tuesday.

With her team’s season on the line, Arizona’s Bianca Pagdanganan made an eagle putt on 18 to tie Baylor.  The Wildcats otherwise shot +17 during the round to tumble down the standings, but were still one stroke ahead of  No. 2 Arkansas at the cut line.

With the Razorbacks eliminated, Alabama is the lone Southeastern Conference team still playing. Auburn, Florida and Ole Miss all missed the cut to 15 teams following Sunday’s third round.

Cheyenne Knight’s bid to win the individual national title came up three shots short as the Alabama junior was 2-over-par during the final round of stroke play Monday to finish fourth at -5. Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest won the individual title at -7, with Pagdanganan  and Stanford’s Andrea Lee at -6.

By shooting the back nine at -4, sophomore Kristen Gillman had the low score of the day for the Crimson Tide at even-par. She and junior Lauren Stephenson both finished at -1, tied for seventh place.

The top-seeded Crimson Tide shot +11 at the par-72 Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., to finish at +9.

Alabama went into the fourth round with an 8-shot lead, and 27-shot cushion for making the quarterfinals. Knight was also tied with Kupcho atop the individual leaderboard at -7.

Knight was seeking to join Emma Talley as Alabama’s only NCAA individual champions, which was won in 2015 at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. Knight’s three-round score equaled her school NCAA tournament record for a 54-hole total, set at the 2016 NCAA Championships at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.

This story will be updated. 

T1 UCLA +9 T1 Alabama +9 3 Southern California +16 4 Northwestern +21 5 Stanford +28 6 Duke +30 7 Kent State +32 T8 Baylor +33 T8 Arizona +33 10 Arkansas +34

The post Alabama women’s golf enters match-play part of NCAA Championships tied for first appeared first on SEC Country.

Alabama OL Brandon Kennedy confirms report that he’s transferring

Brandon Kennedy-Alabama football-transfer announcement

The speculation is now over. After three years in Tuscaloosa, Alabama reserve offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy will be transferring to a new school to continue his collegiate career.

Kennedy made the announcement official with a statement that he released via his Twitter account on Monday night. Included in the tweet was a heartfelt message regarding his time spent at the Capstone.

RELATED: Report: Alabama denies Brandon Kennedy’s initial appeal to transfer to another SEC school

Thank you for everything. pic.twitter.com/wnK03F2FB2 — Brandon Kennedy (@56nights_crazy) May 21, 2018

Kennedy’s status has been the center of a lot of discussion recently. Earlier on Monday, AL.com’s Matt Zenith made it known that Alabama had denied Kennedy’s initial attempt to transfer to another school in the SEC.

According to the report, the 6-foot-3, 309-pound offensive lineman is looking to transfer to either Auburn or Tennessee. Considering the two teams are considered Alabama’s biggest rivals, it isn’t surprising that coach Nick Saban is attempting to put a stop to either school as a possible destination.

Adding a player like Kennedy would be a major boost to Auburn or Tennessee. The Tigers lost two interior offensive linemen (Austin Golson and Braden Smith) to graduation while the Vols have had a major issue with depth up front.

RELATED: Report: Alabama blocking offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy from transferring to SEC schools

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. For now, it doesn’t look like Kennedy will be playing for an SEC school in 2018. That could change, however. One former Tide player was already able to get a waiver by the SEC to get around the block.

Back in 2016, former Alabama defensive back Maurice Smith was initially blocked from transferring to Georgia. That ruling was overturned, however, and Smith was reunited with coach Kirby Smart in Athens.

Will Kennedy end up with a similar result? Only time will tell.

The post Alabama OL Brandon Kennedy confirms report that he’s transferring appeared first on SEC Country.

Alabama ‘has always been in it’ for nation’s No. 1 running back Trey Sanders

Alabama football-Alabama recruiting-Alabama Crimson Tide-Trey Sanders

Welcome to  SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings , a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we talk the latest with the nation’s No. 1 running back. 

Alabama still in the mix for Trey Sanders 

Trey Sanders, a 5-star running back from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) committed to Alabama more than two years ago when he was in Tuscaloosa for A-Day in April 2016. He kept his commitment to the Crimson Tide for nearly two years before de-committing just before Alabama faced Clemson in the Sugar Bowl this past New Year’s Day.

Normally when a recruit de-commits from a school, that program likely doesn’t have a chance at regaining that prospect’s commitment. The last time it happened for the Tide was back in the 2017 class when Xavier McKinney de-committed from Alabama then surprisingly recommitted to the Crimson Tide. McKinney’s recommitment is one of the most surprising moments since I started covering Alabama recruiting in 2015.

Sanders says there’s a possibility he rejoins the Tide when he makes his next decision.

“Alabama has a shot. Alabama has always been in it for me,” Sanders told my DawgNation colleague Jeff Sentell. “I committed a couple of years ago and I have never lost that relationship with that staff and the program and its coaches.”

The nation’s No. 1 running back is at the top of the board for Alabama. The Crimson Tide have not stopped pursuing him, but he hasn’t visited Tuscaloosa this year yet. He is planning on returning this summer but a date for that visit hasn’t been set.

The reason why Sanders de-committed from the Tide was because he wanted to see more programs and enjoy his recruitment. He felt like he rushed the process a little bit, so he needed to step aside from his commitment.

Whatever he decides to do, Sanders will sign on the day before enrolling early in his school of choice.

“I am just taking my time and slowing it down to take my time,” Sanders said. “This is one of the biggest decisions of my life. I just want to find the right school for me for the next four years.”

An interesting nugget that Sanders provided to Sentell was when asked which team he felt had the best offensive line for him to run behind.

“I’m pretty sure everybody knows this one for me,” Sanders said. “That would be either Georgia or Alabama. No question about that one. Alabama has got a young line that is going to be great. Georgia has a young line that is coming in that is going to be crazy.”

How Trey Sanders’ brother going to Florida affects him 

There are numerous schools in the mix for Sanders, but the main contenders appear to be Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami and Alabama. The Gators have two familial connections working in their favor when Sanders makes his commitment.

His mother wants him to attend Florida where his older brother, Umstead, a 3-star outside linebacker in the Class of 2018, decided to accept a preferred walk-on opportunity with the Gators.

The looming question is whether Trey will follow his older brother to Gainesville. It’s not a certainty it will happen.

“First of all, for me, I know my brother is going to ball out at Florida,” he said. “He is just that type of player. He feeds off negativity and things like that. I wasn’t the reason why they picked him up. They watched his film and they loved him right away.

“He talks to me every day about going to Florida, too. But I feel like at the end of the day we just have to do what is best for us. If Florida is the best thing for me, then it is the best thing. But until then, I still have to make that decision and figure that out. I’m going to just enjoy my recruitment.”

But what about his mother’s wishes?

“At the end of the day, I am going to have to do what is the best thing for me,” Sanders said. “That’s my mom. She is always going to love me no matter what. I feel like she just wants what is the best for both of her sons. Whatever that may be. … My dad wants the same thing for us. My parents just really tell us that they both want us to be successful in life.”

Sanders will visit Florida State this weekend with his family. That’s the only visit he has planned right now. He’s not sure about any of his five official visits this fall, either. I still think it’s going to be a challenge for Alabama to regain Sanders’ commitment; however, he did say the Crimson Tide may be recruiting him harder than any other school and he does plan on returning to Tuscaloosa this summer and possibly this fall, so it’s not out of the question.

Other running back targets to know are Ole Miss commit Jerrion Ealy and 4-star prospects Keilan Robinson and Deondrick Glass.

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings recruiting notebook  right here .

The post Alabama ‘has always been in it’ for nation’s No. 1 running back Trey Sanders appeared first on SEC Country.

Top-100 WR Dannis Jackson enjoys Florida visit, eyeing return trip

Dannis Jackson-Florida recruiting

Join us here at SEC Country for Gator Chomps, a daily recap of the  latest Florida recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.

Top-100 WR Dannis Jackson enjoys Florida

Nathan Pickering wasn’t the only top-100 overall recruit from Mississippi on Florida’s campus over the weekend.

The Gators also hosted 4-star receiver Dannis Jackson (Sumrall, Miss.), who made the eight-drive with Pickering from the Magnolia State. It was Jackson’s first-ever visit to Gainesville.

“I liked it down here. This was my first time coming down,” Jackson told SEC Country. “I mean, it’s Florida. Everybody likes Florida. They have nice facilities. They showed me the academic center where I’ll be studying. It was all really nice.”

The highlight of Jackson’s trip was the inaugural Great Gator Grill-Out, which raves raved about following the event on Saturday. Jackson took part in some of the games and enjoyed his interactions with the coaching staff.

“It was nice playing the limbo game. I did that. That kind of stuff is fun to do. The water balloons, too,” Jackson said. “It was just a nice, family atmosphere. It felt like I was at a cookout and that means a lot.

“I like when coaches don’t pressure you. Just show what you have to offer. That’s how it should be and that’s what they did. … I want to come back and see the game-day atmosphere, maybe for an official.”

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound pass catcher spent time with his area recruiter, Florida assistant Greg Knox, during his visit and said he got to know him better. Wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales was evaluating recruits in South Florida and couldn’t be at the barbecue, but still made time to communicate with Jackson.

“I didn’t get to talk to my position coach, but maybe next time I’ll get to. He still FaceTimed me and talked to me since he wasn’t able to be here,” Jackson said of Gonzales, who recruited him last year to Mississippi State. “I’ve already talked to him before when he was at State and our relationship is about the same. He’s a good guy.”

Jackson is ranked the nation’s No. 16 wide receiver and No. 95 overall prospect by 247Sports. He plans to visit Arkansas and Texas next and said the schools pursuing him the hardest are Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

“The in-state schools are always going to recruit you hard. They stay in touch every day almost,” said Jackson, who plans to make his decision at the Under Armour All-America Game in January. “I haven’t actually sat down and thought about narrowing it down and getting rid of schools. I haven’t done that yet.”

5-star RB Trey Sanders talks Gators

The nation’s No. 1 running back, Trey Sanders, is still hearing daily about the Gators from his older brother, Umstead Sanders.

The junior college linebacker will join the Florida football program this summer as a preferred walk-on and many feel his 5-star sibling will follow him to Gainesville. Over the weekend,  DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell asked Sanders about speculation that the Gators staff recruited his older brother as a ploy to sign him.

“First of all, for me, I know my brother is going to ball out at Florida,” he said. “He is just that type of player. He feeds off negativity and things like that. I wasn’t the reason why they picked him up. They watched his film and they loved him right away.

“He talks to me every day about going to Florida, too. But I feel like at the end of the day we just have to do what is best for us. If Florida is the best thing for me, then it is the best thing. But until then, I still have to make that decision and figure that out. I’m going to just enjoy my recruitment.”

Sanders added that his mother, a lifelong Gators fan, wants him to go to Florida.

“But at the end of the day, I’m going to have to do what is the best thing for me,” Sanders said. “That’s my mom. She is always going to love me no matter what. I feel like she just wants what is the best for both of her sons. Whatever that may be. … My dad wants the same thing for us. My parents just really tell us that they both want us to be successful in life.”

Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting  right here.

The post Top-100 WR Dannis Jackson enjoys Florida visit, eyeing return trip appeared first on SEC Country.

Report: Florida pitching proposal to SEC that could help WR Van Jefferson’s eligibility case

Florida-Florida Gators-Florida football-Van Jefferson-eligibility

Florida remains hopeful that wide receiver Van Jefferson will be ruled eligible for the 2018 season following his offseason transfer from Ole Miss.

But whenever asked, Gators coach Dan Mullen has remained coy about where that process stands.

A report Monday from USA Today’s Dan Wolken sheds some more insight on Florida’s approach with the matter.

Wolken reports that Florida and Texas A&M have co-sponsored a proposal to be voted on at the SEC spring meetings next week that would lift the conference’s restrictions on athletes who wish to transfer from one SEC school to another if the original program receives a postseason ban, which is the case with Ole Miss.

Jefferson would still need to have his eligibility cleared by the NCAA once that official petition is filed by Florida, if it hasn’t been already, but if successfully passed, this SEC proposal would remove any obstacle at the conference level.

The Ole Miss football program received a two-year postseason ban from 2017-18 for violations committed under former coach Hugh Freeze, who resigned last August.

Ole Miss players entering their final year of eligibility were permitted to transfer without penalty, while other former Rebels underclassmen who transferred out after the 2017 season, including quarterback Shea Patterson at Michigan, have been granted their immediate eligibility, waiving the rule that an athlete must sit out a year following a transfer within the FBS ranks.

Jefferson, who would be a redshirt junior this fall, looked like one of Florida’s best wide receivers during spring practice.

He totaled 91 catches for 999 yards and 4 touchdowns over two seasons at Ole Miss. His 42 catches for 456 yards last season are more than any other receiver on Florida’s current roster.

Florida is also hoping to get a separate eligibility waiver for fellow wide receiver Trevon Grimes, who transferred from Ohio State to be closer to his family in Florida due to a personal matter.

The post Report: Florida pitching proposal to SEC that could help WR Van Jefferson’s eligibility case appeared first on SEC Country.

Report: Florida pitching proposal to SEC that could help WR Van Jefferson’s eligibility case

Florida-Florida Gators-Florida football-Van Jefferson-eligibility

Florida remains hopeful that wide receiver Van Jefferson will be ruled eligible for the 2018 season following his offseason transfer from Ole Miss.

But whenever asked, Gators coach Dan Mullen has remained coy about where that process stands.

A report Monday from USA Today’s Dan Wolken sheds some more insight on Florida’s approach with the matter.

Wolken reports that Florida and Texas A&M have co-sponsored a proposal to be voted on at the SEC spring meetings next week that would lift the conference’s restrictions on athletes who wish to transfer from one SEC school to another if the original program receives a postseason ban, which is the case with Ole Miss.

Jefferson would still need to have his eligibility cleared by the NCAA once that official petition is filed by Florida, if it hasn’t been already, but if successfully passed, this SEC proposal would remove any obstacle at the conference level.

The Ole Miss football program received a two-year postseason ban from 2017-18 for violations committed under former coach Hugh Freeze, who resigned last August.

Ole Miss players entering their final year of eligibility were permitted to transfer without penalty, while other former Rebels underclassmen who transferred out after the 2017 season, including quarterback Shea Patterson at Michigan, have been granted their immediate eligibility, waiving the rule that an athlete must sit out a year following a transfer within the FBS ranks.

Jefferson, who would be a redshirt junior this fall, looked like one of Florida’s best wide receivers during spring practice.

He totaled 91 catches for 999 yards and 4 touchdowns over two seasons at Ole Miss. His 42 catches for 456 yards last season are more than any other receiver on Florida’s current roster.

Florida is also hoping to get a separate eligibility waiver for fellow wide receiver Trevon Grimes, who transferred from Ohio State to be closer to his family in Florida due to a personal matter.

The post Report: Florida pitching proposal to SEC that could help WR Van Jefferson’s eligibility case appeared first on SEC Country.

Over or under 8.5: Breaking down Auburn football 2018 win total

Auburn football-win total-2018 season

How soon is too soon when it comes to predicting how many games Auburn football will win this season?

The answer, of course, is “never,” or “any time following the conclusion of the previous regular season, including within 5 minutes of that conclusion” at the minimum. So the end of May — with college football now only 14 blessed Saturdays away — is as good a time as any.

That goes double considering if you are a football fan who wagers money over the Internet, you may already wager that money on win totals for most of the SEC:

CFB win totals from @betonline_ag. #SEC Over/Under? Alabama 10.5 Georgia 10.5 Auburn 8.5 Florida 7.5 Miss State 7.5 South Carolina 7.5 Texas A&M 7.5 LSU 6.5 Mizzou 6.5 Tennessee 6.5 — SEC Country (@SECcountry) May 17, 2018

That 8.5 is just hanging there like the meatiest meatball from your weekend’s church league softball game; May or not May, you can’t ask college football diehards not to hit a pitch that juicy. So hit it we shall. With Auburn’s 2018 schedule handy, here’s yours truly’s breakdown of why  Auburn should hit the over on 8.5 wins.

SURELY, SURELY, THESE WILL BE VICTORIES: vs. Alabama State, vs. Liberty. Perhaps after Jeremy Johnson’s death-defying escape over Jacksonville State a couple of seasons back, not even paycheck games vs. FCS or one-season-removed-from-FCS opponents should be taken for granted. But if Auburn can’t defeat the Hornets or Flames, frankly this column could have better used your time discussing flower bed  arrangements than if the Tigers could win nine games.

REALLY OUGHT TO BE VICTORIES, IF AUBURN IS WHO WE BELIEVE IT TO BE: vs. Arkansas, vs. Southern Miss, vs. Tennessee. In Chad Morris and Jeremy Pruitt, both the Razorbacks and Volunteers faithful believe they have the right coaches to lead them out of the football wilderness. But when you are deep enough in the wilderness to win one SEC game  combined in 2017, it may take more than one year of leading before an accomplishment like “beating a consensus top-15 team on the road” returns to view.

As for the Golden Eagles, they’re not the most tomatoesque of tomato cans.  But as the S&P+ rankings’ projected No. 94 team, they probably won’t be the first non-BCS/Group of 5 team to win in Jordan-Hare since … uh, this is awkward … Southern Miss ( in 1991).

WILL BE DIFFICULT, BUT THE BETTING LINE WILL EXPECT THESE TO BE VICTORIES:  vs. LSU, vs. Texas A&M. Unlike the home dates with the Hogs and graduation-hampered Vols, Auburn’s matchups with the Bayou Bengals and Aggies won’t see the Tigers enjoy much of a talent advantage. But they will be home SEC games, and home SEC games have been very friendly to Auburn recently. Since losing to A&M in the Tigers’ 2016 SEC opener, Gus Malzahn has gone 7-0 in his last seven conference games at Jordan-Hare Stadium, with an average margin of victory of 23 points.

If Jimbo Fisher’s new offense hits the ground fully running at A&M or Joe Burrow solves Ed Orgeron’s quarterbacking problems, the equation could change dramatically between now and September. But for now, both the Aggies and purple Tigers are projected a notch below Malzahn’s team  and have to play Auburn on the road. They’ll be the underdogs — not  heavy underdogs, but underdogs all the same.

ROAD GAMES IN MISSISSIPPI THAT MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT BE VICTORIES:  at Ole Miss, at Mississippi State. With the Bulldogs checking in as high as No. 14 in some preseason rankings, there’s some offseason momentum for considering Auburn’s trip to Starkville the fourth — or even third most difficult game on the Tigers’ schedule. But don’t sleep on Auburn’s visit to Oxford, either; with a full offseason for Jordan Ta’amu to develop and Matt Luke’s staff to cement its schemes, the Rebels could be dangerous. S&P+ projects Ole Miss as the FBS’ 25th-best team, and as the home team in their matchup with Auburn, a bigger threat to the Tigers than A&M or LSU.

The guess here is that’s giving the Rebels a shade too much credit, though, given their recent defensive struggles. Likewise, the outstanding defense Joe Moorhead inherits — and the solid defensive coordinator he’s hired — should power the Bulldogs to an outstanding season. But a top-15 season might be a lot to ask of any first-year coach at Mississippi State, and how well Moorhead’s schemes fit Nick Fitzgerald (and vice versa) remains to be seen.

As with the A&M and LSU games, Auburn should be narrow Vegas favorites against the Rebels and Bulldogs — the latter possibly so narrow it could conceivably go off as a pick ’em. But unlike the A&M and LSU games, Auburn’s recent track record away from home appears to make that narrow upset more likely.

A TOSS-UP: vs. Washington (Atlanta). We don’t have to guess about what the betting line for the Tigers’ opener against the Huskies might be: The South Point casino in Las Vegas recently opened the game as a pick ’em and has seen the line shift in Auburn’s favor to Tigers minus-2.

There’s reason for Auburn fans to feel confident about the game, most notably the Tigers’ familiarity with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a bigger and louder crowd and the Huskies’ recent struggles against teams who can match or exceed their talent level. But it’s a potential College Football Playoff contender and the likely Pac-12 favorites on a semi-neutral field after Chris Petersen has had all summer to prepare. Anyone’s guess is as good as anyone else’s.

Early 2018 season-opener preview: Beating Washington would be great start, but won’t be easy for Auburn #WarEagle https://t.co/w8rNuIEGAU pic.twitter.com/y17QhASbrF — SEC Country Auburn (@SECCountryAU) April 19, 2018

UNLIKELY VICTORIES:  at Georgia, at Alabama. Unless Auburn comes out of the gate slowly and winds up a ‘dog in Starkville, only two teams should be favored over the Tigers this year — the ones that, you know, played for the national title last year, return their quarterbacks and coaching staffs, will play Auburn at home, etc. Those teams will likely be favored for a reason.

That said: They play the games for a reason, too.

So if we add that up, what do we get? Let’s go ahead and give Auburn home wins over Alabama State, Liberty, Southern Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU and Texas A&M, then road defeats at Georgia and Alabama. The wins over LSU and A&M aren’t a given, but neither are the Amen Corner defeats; the guess here is that both are roughly as likely, so let them even out to 7-2.

That would mean Auburn would need to go only 2-1 across its Mississippi road dates and the Washington game to hit the over. That should be doable — the Tigers will be the more talented (and possibly favored) team in all three, and over the past two seasons have outscored the Rebels and Bulldogs by a combined 95 points in four meetings. Even if the Tigers can’t get it done against the Huskies, the path to nine wins will remain … and if they do win the opener,  all they would need from their trips west would be a split.

Of course those upsets are a possibility. But for nearly two seasons, when the Tigers have had a healthy starting quarterback, they’ve been a top-10-caliber team. That might not be good enough to repeat as SEC West champions, and might not even be good enough to win nine games — it’s not that difficult to imagine losses in Atlanta, Starkville, Athens and Tuscaloosa even if Auburn is  as good as expected. Three of those opponents could make the playoff, and the fourth might be top-20.

But the fundamental question isn’t actually “how many games will Auburn win?” It’s, “Of 8-4 or 9-3, which record is more likely?” With Jarrett Stidham under center and Auburn’s defensive line in place, the expectation here falls on the latter.

The post Over or under 8.5: Breaking down Auburn football 2018 win total appeared first on SEC Country.

Alabama makes final 5 for Hawaiian 5-star DT Faatui Tuitele

Alabama-Alabama football-Alabama recruiting-Alabama Crimson Tide-Faatui Tuitele

Alabama is hoping to land a second 5-star prospect from St. Louis School (Honolulu) this recruiting cycle in the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele.

Tuitele, a 6-foot-4, 299-pound prospect, released his final five schools on Monday, and Alabama made the cut along with Clemson, Ohio State, Washington and Texas. Those five schools are expected to receive official visits from Tuitele this fall.

TOP 5 IS HERE.. Please respect my decision. No interviews at this time. To God Be the Glory. pic.twitter.com/ZptMOwnAvH — FAATUI TUITELE (@tuitele87) May 21, 2018

The All-American, who’s former teammates and cousins with Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, visited Tuscaloosa for the first time last month. The Tuiteles and Tagovailoas had dinner with each other when they visited the school last month. The patriarch of the Tagovailoa family, Galu, provided insight on that dinner and whether the distance from home would be an issue.

“They see that there is so much potential out here and a lot that can benefit their son,” Galu Tagovailoa said. “I don’t think their son coming out here is an issue. The kid is all about competition. That’s why he’s one of the best linemen in the country. Competition isn’t going to stop him from getting to where he wants to get to. So, 5,000 miles isn’t going to stop him if Alabama is the school he wants to go to.”

Galu Tagovailoa said the family didn’t have any reservations about sending their kids across country for college. But, much like Tua’s recruitment, Southern Cal always has to be considered a big threat here.

The transition for Tuitele, if did choose Alabama, wouldn’t be as drastic as it was for Tua, who didn’t have any family already at the school like Tuitele would have in Tua and Taulia Tagovailoa, who’s one of Alabama’s quarterback commitments in the 2019 class. It also helps that the Hawaiian brothers’ parents live roughly an hour away from the university in Alabaster, Ala., so there’s always a home for Tuitele and his family to stay if needed.

So, how would Galu Tagovailoa classify the Tide’s chances with one of the team’s top defensive line targets?

“Alabama has a really, really good chance with him,” Galu Tagovailoa said.

The post Alabama makes final 5 for Hawaiian 5-star DT Faatui Tuitele appeared first on SEC Country.

Report: Proposed rule could change how players transfer within SEC

SEC-transfer rule-change-postseason ban

If a vote passes next week at the SEC spring meetings, future transfer debacles could be avoided according to Dan Wolken of USA TODAY Sports.

The proposed rule change would allow any player to transfer to another school in the SEC without any restrictions if their program receives a postseason ban.

The Southeastern Conference will vote on a proposal at its spring meetings next week that would lift all conference restrictions on athletes who want to transfer from one league member to another if their original school receives a postseason ban, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

The new rule would also enhance penalties for programs that receive postseason bans, according to Wolken.

Van Jefferson, as Wolken points out, would be one such player who could benefit from the rule because he’s trying to transfer from Ole Miss to Florida following the sanctions levied against the Rebels.

It wouldn’t have helped former Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson because he was trying to transfer out of the conference. Under the setup right now, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has to grant a waiver for transfers within the conference.

It’s likely that the NCAA is trying to avoid a similar PR nightmare like the one Ole Miss experienced as players tried to transfer out of the program.

 

The post Report: Proposed rule could change how players transfer within SEC appeared first on SEC Country.

5-star OL Kardell Thomas on LSU’s class: ‘The ceiling is a national championship’

kardell thomas-lsu-lsu tigers recruiting-class of 2019

Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting , with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss the leader of LSU’s 2019 recruiting class, 5-star lineman Kardell Thomas, who says the Tigers’ haul eventually  will  lift the team into the national championship conversation.

Kardell Thomas breaks down LSU’s class

BATON ROUGE, La. — With 10 verbal commitments already on board and one-third of the 2019 class in place, LSU’s recruiting class sits No. 12 in the country and No. 5 in the SEC, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

After the additions of graduate transfer quarterback Joe Burrow and cornerback Terrence Alexander, coach Ed Orgeron can take as many as 25 prospects in this cycle. There undoubtedly are plenty of big fish remaining on the Tigers’ board.

Kardell Thomas remains the highest-rated commit in LSU’s class and the anointed leader of the pack. The 5-star guard put a bow on his recruitment and officially shut it down in January following the team’s elite junior day and began recruiting members of the class himself. Heading into the summer, the Baton Rouge product is eyeing some new dominoes to fall into place over the summer and is pleased with the progress of the recruiting class thus far, particularly at his own position group.

“I feel it’s good,” Thomas told SEC Country after his high school spring game on Friday. “We need offensive linemen and we have a lot of good linemen coming in — Thomas [Perry], Anthony [Bradford] and Charles [Turner]. It’s probably the best group in the nation in my opinion. Overall, we’ll keep it going. We’ve got Marcel [Brooks]. I think Donte’ [Starks] is going to commit. Hopefully, we can get Chris [Steele], and Derek [Stingley Jr.] could re-commit. I’m working on it, and it’s going to be a good class.”

kardell thomas-lsu-lsu tigers recruiting
Five-star OL Kardell Thomas says LSU can have the No. 1 class in the country and compete for championships. With 10 verbal commitments, LSU holds the No. 12 class in the nation. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

The Tigers have locked in four commitments from offensive linemen. Bradford, a 4-star tackle from Michigan, is the most recent prospect to join the group, following Turner, a 3-star center, who committed earlier in the spring.

LSU likely will add another tackle between now and National Signing Day with 5-star Kenyon Green and 4-star Ray Parker sitting atop the board. Thomas is a fan of the blueprint that first-year offensive line coach James Cregg is implementing.

“Coach Cregg is building an amazing brand of linemen,” Thomas raved. “For me going to practice every day, I’ve seen them improve. They developed in ways their coaches have taught them, but with Coach Cregg coming in, those guys have gotten really good in a short amount of time. That shows how good he really is.”

Thomas shut down his recruitment following the inaugural elite junior day at LSU, in which Orgeron hosted the state’s top prospects who either were committed or held offers. That exclusive group was comprised of Thomas, Stingley, Starks, Perry, Tyrion Davis, Joe Evans, Noah Cain, Devin Bush, Ishmael Sopsher, Devonta Lee, Trey Palmer and Parker.

Those priority targets and several other elite options across the country remain on Thomas’ personal wish list, as well as a quarterback.

“Chris Steele, Evan Neal, Derek and Noah,” Thomas named as far the prospects he’s courting. “On the defensive side of the ball, a good linebacker group is ready to leave. Safety is a need because Grant [Delpit] will be a junior when we get out there. Greedy [Williams] will be gone, so we need help on the defensive side of the ball. On the offensive side, we’re great.

“Hopefully, we can get a dual-threat [quarterback]. A pocket passer is good, but the game is evolving. If you look at the national championship, Jake Fromm can run. You can’t just sit in the pocket or you’ll get torn up in the SEC. We need a dual-threat in my opinion.”

The deep group of blue-chip prospects in Louisiana for 2019 long has been viewed as a crucial opportunity for Orgeron to bring in a highly ranked class come February. Thomas shares that same public opinion.

The 5-star lineman said he sees LSU’s haul as a potential No. 1-ranked class. Rankings aside, Thomas said he believes it’s the group that will change the course of LSU’s football program.

“The ceiling is a national championship,” he stated. “We’re going to get it as a class. If we get all of the guys we’re going to get, we’ll be No. 1 in America. We’re going to beat the ‘Bamas and Mississippi States, the teams that have been beating us the last few years. We’re going to be great.”

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here .

The post 5-star OL Kardell Thomas on LSU’s class: ‘The ceiling is a national championship’ appeared first on SEC Country.

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