SEC News & Notes

News and notes from Auburn's Southeastern Conference rivals are featured.

The two-day media frenzy known as the NFL draft is over, and once again the SEC led the nation in producing picks for professional football.

A total of 47 SEC players made it to the NFL. Tennessee led the way as 10 of its athletes were taken into NFL rosters. First round picks from Tennessee included defensive tackles Albert Haynesworth and John Henderson as well as wide receiver Donte' Stallworth. Stallworth, a junior last year, tried unsuccessfully to withdraw his name from the draft and play out his senior year at Tennessee. However, the NCAA refused to restore his eligibility at the college level and Stallworth chose to re-enter the draft rather than appeal the ruling. The decision turned out to be a good one for Stallworth, who was chosen as the 13th overall pick by the New Orleans Saints.

The Florida Gators also fared well as they put eight of their players into the NFL ranks. Cornerback Lito Sheppard was taken by Philadelphia in the first round. Sheppard, a true junior and two-time All-American, could see immediate playing time in the NFL as a corner or punt returner. The Georgia Bulldogs also put eight in the NFL with defensive end Charles Grant selected in the first round by the Saints. Grant, a 282-pound defensive end with 4.8 speed, spent some time his freshman year playing offense and carried the ball 17 times for three touchdowns. Also drafted in the first round was Auburn's Kendall Simmons. Simmons, a 311-pound senior who was considered by some to be one of the top three college offensive tackles in the nation last year, was picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 30th selection and could see immediate playing time at offensive guard.

Kendall Simmons

The Kentucky Wildcats held their annual Blue/White Spring Football game on Saturday as the White team defeated the Blue team 16-0. First-string quarterback Jared Lorenzen completed 11 of 22 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown for the White team. The 300-pound junior also threw two interceptions during the game, and continues to be challenged by redshirt freshman Shane Boyd for the top QB spot. Boyd completed 6-10 passes for 57 yards, but failed to score against the White team defense. The Wildcats' first game of the season will take place on September 1 against Louisville. Their first SEC challenge of the season will be on September 28 when they face the Florida Gators in Gainesville.

At Ole Miss, two football players underwent knee surgery this week as a result of injuries sustained in the Rebels' "Grove Bowl" spring game. Junior running back Ronald McClendon injured his knee in the first half of the game, but was able to play through the problem. Coaches expect McClendon to be back in action in a few weeks. Redshirt freshman Bryant Thomas was not so fortunate. The 19-year-old defensive back suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. According to coaches, both surgeries went well, however, it is questionable whether Thomas will be able to participate in the Rebels' opening game against Louisiana-Monroe. Thomas, a Top 100 selection his senior year in high school, recorded just one tackle in the spring game before sustaining the injury.

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