As summer continues to drag on and we inch our way towards the opening of fall camps in the SEC, I thought I'd offer my thoughts on some of the campus happenings from the last week or so.
At Alabama receiver Chris Jackson has announced he'll be transferring. There are rumors that he's been in contact with coaches at Georgia Tech. Jackson originally committed to the Yellow Jackets only to renege after Paul Johnson was hired as Head Coach. Jackson played in 12 games for Alabama last year as a starter on special teams.
Brandon Fanney, a starter last year at the Jack linebacker position, is also rumored to be looking for another situation in which to finish his college football career. Fanney played a key role in Alabama's rush defense last season but struggled in pass rushing situations. Dont'a Hightower was expected to replace him as the starter at Jack this coming season.
Jackson and Fanney are the fourth and fifth players to leave the Alabama program in the last month. There will likely have to be three or four more, either transfer or go off scholarship in order for the Tide to be able to fit in it's incoming freshman class.
There are no new commits for the Tide though several could happen between now and the start of school. There was news that Tide offensive line commit Austin Sheppard got word that he'd passed enough summer school classes to qualify for graduation in December. That would raise the number that enroll early for the 2010 class to seven with two of those counting towards the '09 class. Early enrollment makes the players eligible to go through spring practice which can be a big advantage particularly for incoming offensive lineman.
The SEC front office released it's pre-season 2009 All Conference team. Florida led the way with 16 total members on the team. LSU was second with 10 with Alabama and Georgia coming in just behind the Tigers with nine each. Tennessee and Ole Miss had seven players with Kentucky at six, Vanderbilt at five, Arkansas at four, Auburn at three, and Mississippi State at two.
The Gators had eight first-team members followed by Bama with six, and LSU with three. There were only three players that received a unanimous vote. Eric Berry, Julio Jones, and Ciron Black.
Auburn picked up a commitment from Fullerton Community College defensive end Joel Bonomolo. Listed at 6'3" and 245 lbs, Bonomolo was named second team All Conference last season. He'll have three years to play two. Chizik seems to be attempting to load up on junior college players, perhaps realizing that he needs to win now if he plans on keeping his job. It's probably not a bad idea considering he may not be around the four years it takes to develop most high school players.
The Tennessee Volunteers have suffered multiple losses to their receiving corp. The Volunteers have lost wide-out Austin Rodgers for the year with a knee injury. They've also likely lost Denarius Moore and Gerald Jones for multiple games to begin the season. That leaves the Vol's with little to no experience at receiver. Then again considering they don't currently have a quarterback that can get them the ball other than on a reverse, it might not make much difference.
In all fairness the Vols did pick up a transfer quarterback this week from San Antonio Community College. Nick Lamaison is 6'1'' and weighs 200 lbs and will come in to compete right away for the starting job this fall.
With the addition of seven games to be carried live by Fox Sports South all conference games and all non-conference games that take place in SEC home stadiums will be televised this season. If you like night games then this new agreement might be right up your alley. It will probably lead to as many as 3 SEC games being televised each Saturday night.
Urban Meyer was once again forced to repudiate rumors that he was headed to coach the worst program to every have it's own television contract. I understand that Meyer may have grown up a fan of the Irish. I realize that at one time it might have been his dream job. Why though would he ever give serious thought to leaving the monster he's built in Gainesville? It's a great atmosphere to coach in with a built in recruiting advantage that you can't find most anywhere else. Until I see him decked out head to toe in shamrock green and gold while repainting Touchdown Jesus, I'm not buying it.
Finally we have the reported fight that took place between football players at Tennessee and Kentucky. The event reportedly took place at a party in Lexington last Saturday night. Apparently Volunteer players were invited to the party by a female living at the residence. Things got out of hand and some genius using the “My Dad can beat up your Dad" line of logic, called members of the Kentucky football team to defend their honor. Some kind of altercation ensued with some saying there could have even been a gun involved
The big question to me that arises out of all this, is how hot must this girl be for a group of football players to be willing to drive 316 miles round trip to party with her?
The season can't get here soon enough.