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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 .

The post Relationship building helps Tennessee stand out to top prospects appeared first on SEC Country.

Report: Mizzou AD apologizes to Dawn Staley, will settle lawsuit for $50,000

Dawn Staley-Mizzou-Jim Sterk-lawsuit-apology

The controversey between the South Carolina and Mizzou women’s basketball programs appears to be coming to a close.

Mizzou Athletic Director Jim Sterk has apologized and will settle the lawsuit with Dawn Staley for $50,000, according to David Cloninger. The lawsuit was sparked by spitting allegations after a fight between the two programs during a game in January.

BREAKING: Jim Sterk, after three months, has apologized to Dawn Staley. "I do not believe coach Staley would promote such conduct, and I sincerely apologize to her for those comments.” — David Cloninger (@DCPandC) May 24, 2018 Sterk has apologized and the lawsuit will be settled for $50,000. Half will go to Staley's Innersole initiative and half to her attorneys. — David Cloninger (@DCPandC) May 24, 2018

Two days after the game, Mizzou coach Robin Pingeton alleged that South Carolina fans spit on her team.

Sterk would later back his coach and add on that one of the Tigers’ players was called the “n-word” and said Staley promoted such an atmosphere. South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner released a statement which said the allegations couldn’t be confirmed. Men’s basketball coach Frank Martin also stood behind Staley.

Staley responded on Jan. 31 saying the accusations were false and stood by the South Carolina fan base. She then proceeded to file a $75,000 defamation lawsuit against Sterk over the comments that she promoted the atmosphere that allowed the alleged behavior to happen.

Staley appears to have settled for less, but the apology also means the tensions may have quelled some. The first Mizzou-South Carolina game will definitely be a must watch affair next season.

 

The post Report: Mizzou AD apologizes to Dawn Staley, will settle lawsuit for $50,000 appeared first on SEC Country.

Auburn football: Best place to report from inside Jordan-Hare Stadium

Auburn-Auburn football-Jordan Hare Stadium-Auburn memories

SEC Country wants to tackle the best questions from Auburn football and basketball fans. Look for our Auburn Question of the Day most weekdays. Go  here  to see all of our previous answers.

Where was your favorite place to sit/work when you were covering Auburn? Tim S. — Facebook

AUBURN, Ala. — As many of you may know, news broke this week that SEC Country’s last day will be June 30. That means my time of covering Auburn football is coming to a close. It also means that the coming weeks will be a chance to reflect and offer a slightly different perspective on all things Auburn football.

I’ll start with this question about being inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Now, I haven’t been fortunate enough to visit all the SEC stadiums. I have family from Knoxville, Tenn., and from Mississippi in Oxford and Starkville. I have covered games inside Tiger Stadium and Bryant-Denny Stadium. That being said, I haven’t had many bad days as a media professional on the Plains.

MORE: When will trap be most dangerous for Tigers in 2018?

A typical day of football coverage typically starts and ends — hours after the stadium lights have been turned off — in the press box. It was always, for the most part, a comfortable place to be. Next season there will be a new area for media. I was fortunate enough to sit right at the 50-yard line for most games, in an open-air press box. I enjoyed my time up high, but it wasn’t exactly my favorite place to be.

With about five minutes left remaining in games, media members are permitted field access. That was always fun, too. I was caught in the chaotic mob that stormed the field after taking down Alabama and chased Tray Matthews around for a story I was working on after the Tigers toppled then-No. 1 ranked Georgia. I’ve got a lot of great memories of meeting former players and media personalities. Auburn people are just good people in general, and fortunately part of my job for the last two years has been to interact with them.

MORE: Keep your eyes on these Auburn Tigers heading into 2018

Still, the best part of the day for me was always being on the field during the pregame festivities. That means warmups, the band taking the field and performing, player introductions and Spirit circling for a pregame flight. I’m standing just out of the frame in several pictures where the team is running out of the tunnel. Getting to do those things were undoubtedly some of the coolest moments in my media career, regardless of my loyalties.

Someone once told me that the best atmosphere in college football changes weekly. It’s not a set location, but simply where the best games are being played. Last November I got to watch two of the best games in a span of three weeks. While the celebration was fun and the games were thrilling, the best part was watching athletes prepare for those games.

As a former athlete, there’s always been something to me about warmups. Players take different approaches to pregame. Some joke. Others dance. Many are so intense that they don’t even notice all the fanfare. Getting to see talented players in their element, not knowing exactly what’s going to happen in the coming hours — there’s something almost mystical about it.

The 2013 season changed everything for Auburn, though. At any given home game there’s always the sense that an incredible, even historic, moment is a second away because, well, it very well could be. I’m not suggesting to sneak on the sidelines during pregame warmups or anything, but if ever given the chance, that’s certainly where you want to be.

The post Auburn football: Best place to report from inside Jordan-Hare Stadium appeared first on SEC Country.

Arizona Cardinals sign former Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk

Christian Kirk-Arizona Cardinals-signs-arrest

Christian Kirk is probably very thankful at the moment. Not only did he get drafted by his hometown team, but Arizona Cardinals took him with full knowledge of prior transgressions.

An arrest back in February was likely far from his mind Thursday when he signed a four-year contract with the Cardinals.

“I couldn’t wait for my day,” Kirk said in a statement. “When they told me I was going to be able to sign this week, I was more than happy. Obviously I’ve been with the team for some weeks, but to be officially signed is awesome. It’s such a great feeling and the official start of a new journey.”

When Kirk’s arrest came to light earlier in May, the Cardinals owned it with a statement.

“We spoke with Christian about it at length and also looked into it independently. Our understanding is that the process will be resolved in the near future, but while it remains an active legal matter, we won’t comment further.”

No question Kirk will have the chance to prove his new team right with his skill set. Kirk amassed 2,856 receiving yards in three seasons in College Station. He also caught 234 balls including 26 touchdowns. He also showed off his versitility with 7 career touchdowns in the return game.

 

 

The post Arizona Cardinals sign former Texas A&amp;M WR Christian Kirk appeared first on SEC Country.

Greg McElroy names 4 SEC breakout stars for 2018

Greg McElroy-SEC football breakout stars-SEC football-Daniel Bituli-Van Jefferson-Dre Massey-Jace Sternberger-Tennessee-Texas A&amp;M-Florida-football-SEC Network

Greg McElroy has a few SEC names in mind who could break out as stars in 2018.

When speaking to SEC Country about the conference’s possible breakout standouts for the coming season, the SEC Network analyst named Texas A&amp;M tight end Jace Sternberger, Tennessee linebacker Daniel Bituli and Florida wide receivers Van Jefferson and Dre Massey as players who can produce memorable years.

“I think the tight end at A&amp;M is a legit candidate — Jace,” McElroy said.

“I think he’s going to have a big year. So I’d say him. As far as other breakout stars … Tennessee is going to have somebody. … I don’t think anyone really across the entire league knew anything about Daniel Bituli. I think that if you were going to poll your average SEC fan, I bet you one in 10 couldn’t tell you who Daniel Bituli is. So I would say he’s a guy that I think is going to cast a little bigger shadow this year. I like him.

“I think Florida, if Van Jefferson is eligible, I think he’s going to have a big year. I certainly think he’s going to be eligible. I think Dre, too. I think both those two guys at Florida at wide receiver have a chance to be pretty good. Those are a few that kind of come to mind.”

Sternberger, a former 3-star JUCO prospect, was Texas A&amp;M’s first commit under Jimbo Fisher after producing 21 catches for 336 yards and 6 touchdowns at Northeastern Oklahoma A&amp;M. He committed to the Aggies in December after the 247Sports composite rankings slotted him as the No. 36 JUCO player in the country and the No. 3 JUCO tight end.

At Tennessee, Bituli  had 90 tackles last season, including a career-high 23 in a victory against Georgia Tech in September. The junior could fill a larger role as the Vols begin a new era under former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

Jefferson, meanwhile, is a former Ole Miss player who’s waiting to see if he will be ruled eligible this year. Recently, former Rebels quarterback Shea Patterson was granted immediate eligibility at Michigan for the 2018 season. Former Ole Miss safety Deontay Anderson, wide receiver Tre Nixon, offensive lineman Jack DeFoor and running back Jarrion Street reportedly also are eligible to play this fall. Jefferson had 999 yards receiving with 4 touchdowns during the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the Rebels, and Massey had 149 yards receiving with 1 touchdown last year.

It’s early, so other breakout possibilities will be mentioned as we approach the 2018 season. But keep your eyes on these names from McElroy later this year.

The post Greg McElroy names 4 SEC breakout stars for 2018 appeared first on SEC Country.

Auburn football will have all hands on deck at flanker with Eli Stove out

Auburn football-Auburn Tigers-Auburn-Ryan Davis-Auburn wide receivers-Auburn flanker

Over the next few weeks, SEC Country will take Auburn football fans to Summer School. Each session will focus on one position on Auburn’s 2018 roster, finding answers from spring practice and looking ahead to what might be the biggest questions for the fall.

Let’s continue with the wide receiver position of flanker also known as the 2 or Z.

  • Eli Stove (junior — out indefinitely with torn ACL)
  • Ryan Davis (senior)
  • Devan Barrett (sophomore)
  • Shedrick Jackson (freshman)
  • Anthony Schwartz (freshman — summer enrollee)
  • Noah Igbinoghene (sophomore)

SUMMER SCHOOL:  QB | RB | WR: SE

Answers from spring practice

Who will replace Eli Stove at flanker following his ACL injury?

Auburn sustained one of its biggest spring practice injuries in recent memory when Eli Stove tore his right ACL in March. The Tigers believe he can come back at some point in the 2018 season, but he won’t be lining up outside in the season opener against Washington on Sept. 1.

Gus Malzahn said after spring practice that Auburn would replace Stove — its top flanker for the last two seasons — by committee. Davis can play both flanker and slot receiver, where he caught a school-record 84 passes last season. To replace Stove’s rushing production on speed sweeps, Auburn moved running back Barrett to the role. And then there’s Schwartz, the world record-holding track star who will most likely get opportunities out wide as a freshman.

Devan Barrett-Auburn football-Auburn-Auburn Tigers-auburn football podcast
Auburn running back Devan Barrett played a receiver-rusher role in 2017. (Butch Dill/Getty Images)

Where does Devan Barrett fit into the offensive picture?

Barrett had almost as many receptions as he had carries as a freshman in 2017. So when Auburn decided to move him to wide receiver in the wake of Stove’s injury, it looked like an ideal fit. His performance and usage in the A-Day spring game was encouraging to the offensive staff. He comes from a family of receivers, and he did plenty of catching out of the backfield in high school.

Barrett wasn’t among the top candidates to be the starting running back, so sliding him to the outside could be just what he needs to have a big career at Auburn. He’ll need to learn the finer details of receiver play at the college level. But his talent meshes well with the position, and he could be a key playmaker for this offense as Stove recovers.

Numbers to know

10.05: Across his first two seasons at Auburn, Stove averaged a combined 10.05 yards per touch between receptions and carries. That’s the mark of a big-play machine, and the Tigers will have to replace his explosiveness in some other way for at least the first few games of the 2018 season.

80.6: Stove’s catch rate last season, per  Football Study Hall, was 80.6 percent. That ranked second on the team behind Davis, who had a record-breaking season. Auburn will have to replace his sure-handed talents, especially on the screens and slants that were crucial in 2017.

Questions for the fall
Auburn football-Auburn Tigers-Auburn-Anthony Schwartz-speed
Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz arrives this summer with his world-record speed. (Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country)

How much playing time will Anthony Schwartz get this fall?

It’s easy for Auburn fans to get excited about Schwartz. He is the fastest high school sprinter in America, and there’s a good chance he’ll be the fastest player in all of college football as soon as he steps onto the field for the first time. His size and speed seem tailor-made for the flanker position.

But if Auburn uses Nate Craig-Myers more in the slot and bumps Davis to the outside, chances for Schwartz, Barrett and Jackson will be harder to grab. It will be nearly impossible to leave all that speed on the bench, though. If Schwartz can learn in fall camp half as quickly as he can run, he has some of the best upside to be an instant-impact freshman.

Have we seen the last of Noah Igbinoghene on offense?

Igbinoghene had a few chances on offense in 2017, but he did most of his damage on special teams as a kick returner. Then the Tigers moved him to cornerback in spring practice, where he did so well that he could be in line to start this fall.

As with Barrett, Auburn coaches won’t definitively say the position move is permanent. They continue to say Igbinoghene will play some offense. But Auburn’s depth at wide receiver — depth that was boosted even further with the freshman class — and need at cornerback forced an early move to defense. Adding three more receivers over the summer won’t make it easier to get Igbinoghene involved on offense.

The post Auburn football will have all hands on deck at flanker with Eli Stove out appeared first on SEC Country.

Connor Noland more likely to impact football or baseball first?

arkansas-arkansas football-arkansas baseball-connor noland

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: Thursday, May 24, 2018

Connor Noland, the Greenwood High graduate, is set to play baseball and football at Arkansas starting in 2018-19. For Chad Morris’ team, Noland is a 4-star quarterback. For Dave Van Horn’s team, Noland is a 4-star right-handed pitcher. Most see his professional potential higher in baseball, but part of that is simply the nature of the sport.

If Noland were to redshirt, in either sport, he could still play the other sport the same season, no problem. For example, if he redshirts in a couple months, August or September — which seems likely — in football, he could still take the mound for Van Horn in the spring. No problem. The only questions of eligibility come from if he chooses to go pro in one or the other. Same rules would apply to him as they would for any other athlete, even those who play one sport.

With all that out of the way, the quick answer is baseball. There are simply too many bodies in football for him to have to overtake. It’s possible, but incredibly unlikely, a first-year freshman quarterback who didn’t arrive early takes over as the starting quarterback at an SEC team. But, my goodness, that’s so rare. It also might be a dangerous move, considering the difficulties Arkansas’ offensive line has had in protecting its quarterbacks the last two years. Not sure that’s an ideal scenario in which Noland should enter.

Baseball would take some effort, too, of course. Not saying he would be a weekend starter or anything, but a bullpen arm isn’t out of the question. Arkansas will probably lose Blaine Knight and Isaiah Campbell to the MLB draft (either or both could return, too, but they’re projected rather high). Jake Reindl, Barrett Loseke and Kacey Murphy are eligible to be drafted, too, but they’re unlikely to go as high— if at all — as the other two.

Either way, there are openings. If it is just Knight and Campbell gone, two guys would have to shift into weekend starting roles. That opens more midweek or high-end bullpen spots. No reason Noland, a 4-star right-hander couldn’t slot into one, even if it isn’t as a regular.

The post Connor Noland more likely to impact football or baseball first? appeared first on SEC Country.

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