The Tampa Bay Bucs traded down two spots, but got their man in Florida corner Vernon Hargreaves III, while all those whispers that Keanu Neal had worked his way into the first round were proven true when the Atlanta Falcons took him at #17.
The Bucs were originally slated to go at #9 but they swapped spots with the Chicago Bears for the 11th pick and the Bears’ 4th-rounder (#106 overall). It’s a great fit. Hargreaves has a chance to start immediately and he’ll be playing in his hometown. Hargreaves is at his best in press coverage and that’s what new Tampa Bay DC Mike Smith prefers to play.
For Neal, it was the connection with former Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Quinn actively recruited Neal when he was a safety/linebacker at South Sumter. Quinn left to be the DC of the Seattle Seahawks after the 2012 season but kept close tabs on all the players he left behind at Florida. Quinn likes to play a lot of 8-in-the-box alignments, which makes Neal a good fit.
LAREMY TUNSIL MIGHT HAVE DROPPED THE BOMB ON OLE MISS
Did Laremy Tunsil just open up a can of worms for Ole Miss with the NCAA? Just prior to sliding down to #13 (picked by the Dolphins), a Twitter photo of someone who could very well be Tunsil smoking a substance while wearing a gas mask was posted. It was immediately deleted. Right after Tunsil was drafted, texts that allegedly show conversations with Ole Miss staffers about paying his rent appeared on his Instagram account. Asked about the texts, Tunsil admitted that he was indeed asking a coach for money.
The NCAA has already investigated Ole Miss and given a Notice of Allegations with 13 rules violations. Nine of the violations occurred before Hugh Freeze became the Ole Miss head coach but four – supposedly all dealing with Tunsil and a rental car – were on Freeze’s watch. These new admissions could take Ole Miss from a slap on the wrist to serious sanctions.
Other NFL Draft thoughts: San Francisco drafted Oregon DE DeForest Buckner with the 7th pick in the first round. He’s a strong candidate for biggest first round bust.
The Jacksonville Jaguars got a great athlete in Jalen Ramsey, who don’t seem the least bit concerned that Ramsey only had 3 interceptions in his 3 years at FSU.
The Denver Broncos traded up to draft Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, who proves you can’t always trust recruiting rankings out of high school. Lynch was rated 1 or 2 stars coming out of Trinity Christian High School in Deltona.
#1 GATORS FACE #5 SOUTH CAROLINA IN COLUMBIA
All eyes in college baseball will be on #1-ranked Florida’s 3-game series in Columbia with #5 South Carolina. The Gators (36-6, 13-5 SEC) trail the #5 Gamecocks (33-8, 14-4 SEC) by one game in the standings. Florida will send Logan Shore (8-0, 2.14 ERA) against the Gamecocks’ Clarke Schmidt Jr. (8-1, 2.04 ERA) in tonight’s game, which will be broadcast on the SEC Network. Shore has won a school-record 13 straight games over the last two seasons.
Softball: The #1-ranked Gators (45-3, 15-3 SEC) take to the road this weekend to face 18th-ranked Texas A&M (34-14, 6-12 SEC) in College Station. The Gators, who have given up only 47 runs in 48 games, are ranked #1 in fielding (.984) and ERA (0.85) in the country. Florida is the only team with three pitchers with more than 100 strikeouts – Delanie Gourley (15-2, 0.68 ERA, 157 strikeouts), Aleshia Ocasio (16-1, 0.65 ERA. 110 strikeouts) and Kelly Barnhill (14-0, 1.29 ERA, 137 strikeouts)
Women’s Tennis: Roland Thornqvist, who led the 3rd-ranked Gators to the SEC regular season and tournament championships, was chosen SEC Coach of the Year and Brooke Austin was SEC Player of the Year for the second straight year. Belinda Woolcock made first team All-SEC and Brianna Morgan, Kourtney Keegan and Anna Danilina all made second team.
Men’s Tennis: Fourth-year head coach Bryan Shelton was selected SEC Coach of the Year after leading the 9th-ranked Gators to the SEC Tournament championship. Diego Hidalgo was chosen SEC Player of the Year while Elliott Orkin and Gordon Watson made first team All-SEC and Alfredo Perez was chosen SEC co-Freshman of the Year.
RANKING THE BEST FOOTBALL COACHING JOBS IN THE SEC
In business, they say location, location, location. Location helps when it comes to recruiting in the SEC but you also have to factor in facilities, coaching and tradition. Alabama scores at the highest levels in every category and that has something to do with the fact the Crimson Tide has consistently outrecruited everybody in the SEC since 2010.
At the heart of the best football coaching job in the SEC is recruiting, so today we evaluate recruiting. Here is the formula for how we scored: (1) Scout recruiting rankings for each year since 2010 with 14 points given for top class in the SEC plus bonus points – 5 for #1 nationally, 4 for top 5 nationally, 3 for top 10 nationally, 2 for 11-20 nationally and 1 for 21-25 nationally. For example, Alabama’s 2016 class scored 19 points, 14 for best in the SEC and 5 for best nationally, while LSU scored 17 points, 13 for second in the SEC and 4 for a top 5 national finish; (2) Winning since 2010 – for example Alabama is 72-10 since 2010 so that’s good for 14 points and Florida is 47-30 since 2010, which is the 9th best record so it was good for 6 additional points; and (3) Bob Redman points – Bob knows recruiting better than anyone in the Southeast so he ranked the schools 1-14 for recruiting since 2010.
Monday, we’ll finish the series on the best coaching job in the league by looking at intangibles.
Since there are 14 teams in the SEC, we’ll score 14 points for first place in any category, 13 for second and all the way down to 1 point for finishing last. Save your choices and score along. When we’ve gone through all seven categories, we’ll compare scores.
1. Alabama (152): Alabama has had the #1 recruiting class in the SEC in the Scout.com rankings every year since 2012. Alabama had the best class in the nation in 2014 and 2016 and finished in the top five every year except 2011, when it finished third in the SEC and managed only a #7 national ranking, good for 15 points. Alabama also had the best winning record (72-10) and scored 14 Redman Points.
2. LSU (127): Since 2000, LSU has owned the talent in Louisiana. The Tigers have recruited well in Houston and Dallas and have had moderate success in south Florida. LSU has scored the second best class in the SEC twice (2014, 2016), finished third once (2012) and fourth twice (2010-11). LSU has had 2 top 5 classes and has finished top 10 in the scout rankings every year except 2015. LSU had the second best winning record (61-17) and scored 13 Redman points.
3. Auburn (119): It’s rare that Auburn will beat Alabama for the top talent in the state, but the Tigers are very effective recruiting the Columbus, GA-Altanta corridor and they’ve had good success in the Florida panhandle. Auburn signed the best recruiting class in the SEC in 2011, finished second in 2015 and third in 2010. The 2010-11 and 2015 classes were all top five nationally. Auburn had top 10 classes nationally in 2012 and 2014.
Auburn had only the sixth best winning record in the SEC (52-27) and scored 11 Redman points.
4. Georgia (115): With the Atlanta metro area less than an hour away, Georgia should never finish out of the top 3 rankings in the SEC and should be no worse than top 10 ever. Georgia also benefits from the fact that Georgia Tech’s funky offense eliminates a lot of skill people from its recruiting board. Georgia’s best SEC finish was second in 2011 and that was one of two years (2015 was the other) in which the Bulldogs signed a top 5 class. Georgia scored top 10 classes in 2013 and 2016. Georgia had the third best winning record in the SEC (56-24) which was good for 12 points and was awarded 12 Redman points.
5. FLORIDA (103): Coaching changes seriously affected Florida’s scores. The Gators, who had the top recruiting class in the nation in 2010 (19 points), had the ninth best class in the SEC in 2011 after Urban Meyer resigned and the 11th best in 2015 following the firing of Will Muschamp and hiring of Jim McElwain. Florida has to split in-state recruits with FSU and Miami but the Gators have done extremely well in middle Georgia, the Charlotte, NC metro and Washington DC metro areas. Florida scored the second best class in the SEC in 2012 and that was also good for a top 5 national class. The Gators were top 10 with their 2013-14 and 2016 classes. The Gators were awarded 10 Redman points.
6. Texas A&M (89): With all the talent in Texas, the Aggies rarely have to leave the state but that hasn’t translated into dominating recruiting classes. The Aggies had the second best class in the SEC in 2013 and had top 10 classes nationally from 2013-15. Texas A&M had a 52-26 winning record and scored 7 Redman points.
7. Tennessee (84): There is more talent in metro Atlanta than there is in the entire state of Tennessee, which is why the Vols have to recruit heavily in that area. When UT recruiting is going well, the Vols are getting 75-80% of their classes from outside the state. The Vols had top 4 finishes in the SEC and top 5 finishes nationally in the Scout.com rankings in 2014 and 2015. Tennessee also had top 20 classes in 2010 and 2016. The Vols had the 12th best winning record (37-38) but scored 8 Redman points.
8. Ole Miss (82): Ole Miss does a good job in-state and in the Memphis and New Orleans metro areas. Surprisingly, the Rebels have branched out well in Texas and Florida. The Rebels scored a top 5 class (third best SEC) in 2016, a top 10 in 2013 and top 20 classes in 2014-15. Ole Miss had only the 11th best winning record (40-36) in the SEC but scored 9 Redman points.
9. South Carolina (70): This is one of the more difficult recruiting situations in the SEC because there isn’t a tremendous amount of talent in a state the Gamecocks have to share with Clemson. When the Gamecocks are recruiting well, they venture into metro areas of Atlanta and Charlotte and pick up players in north and central Florida. South Carolina has had three top 20 classes since 2010 (2011-12 and 2015. South Carolina had a 52-26 winning record and scored 6 Redman points.
10. Mississippi State (51): The fact that Dan Mullen has landed three top 20 classes (2012-13, 2015) is quite remarkable. Starkville isn’t the end of the earth, but there are signs that will get you there within the hour. Mississippi State survives by finding hidden recruiting gems and then developing them. The Bulldogs have a 50-28 winning record (eighth in the SEC) since 2010 and got 5 Redman points.
11. Arkansas (50): Arkansas has to own the state plus venture into Texas for talent to be successful. There is always a lot of skill talent in state but for linemen and defensive players, the Hogs have to go out of state. Arkansas has had 3 top 20 classes (2011-12 and 2015) since 2010. The Razorbacks have a 43-33 winning record and scored 4 Redman points.
12. Missouri (35): There isn’t great talent in state. Former coach Gary Pinkel always found hidden gems in Texas and developed them. Missouri didn’t land a single top 20 class from 2010-16 which makes the 51-27 winning record (seventh in the SEC) and two SEC East titles even more remarkable. Mizzou scored 3 Redman points.
13. Kentucky (26): This is a state that doesn’t produce a lot of talent so recruiting out of state is a must. Mark Stoops has done a better job of getting the Wildcats into southern and central Ohio, which is why he got a top 25 class in 2014. Still, for the Wildcats to do better on the field (25-48, worst in the SEC since 2010) they have to do a better job of recruiting. The Wildcats scored 2 Redman points.
14. Vanderbilt (19): Vanderbilt did land one class that finished seventh in the SEC that was also top 20 but that was 2013. Otherwise the Commodores have been bottom feeders. The problem is two-fold: (1) lack of talent in Tennessee and (2) highest academic standards in the SEC and among the highest nationally. The Commodores were 33-42 on the field from 2010-15 and managed 1 single Redman point.
Points through six categories:
1. Alabama, 82
2. LSU, 75.5
3. FLORIDA, 58.5
4. Auburn, 57
5. Texas A&M, 54.5
6. Tennessee, 53
7. Ole Miss, 49
8. Georgia, 46
9. Arkansas, 44
10. Mississippi State, 40
11. South Carolina, 34
12. Kentucky, 19.5
13. Missouri, 15
14. Vanderbilt, 11
For the moment, at least, satellite camps are back. Less than a month after banning satellite camps, the NCAA has overturned its own ban although it says it wants the Division I Council to do a thorough review of the entire recruiting process. The SEC, which had taken an outspoken stance against the camps, immediately issued a statement stating that the league’s 14 teams are free to conduct their own camps. Here’s a novel idea: The NCAA should toss out its entire book of recruiting rules and regulations and start over again with a requirement that all new rules must have a foundation of common sense.
ESPN.com compiled a list of the teams that have won the most NCAA Tournament games since 2000. The top 10 goes like this: (1) Duke, 42 with 3 titles; (2) Kansas, 42 with 1 title; (3) North Carolina 41 with 2 titles; (4) Michigan State, 40 with 1 title; (5) Kentucky, 37 with 1 title; (6) UConn, 33 with 3 titles; (7) FLORIDA, 33 with 2 titles; (8) Wisconsin, 38; (9) Syracuse, 28 with 1 title; and (10) Arizona, 28.
Alabama D-line coach Bo Davis is leaving the team for potential NCAA recruiting violations. Davis has a reputation as a tremendous on the field coach. Alabama has recruited at the highest levels without NCAA sanctions so if the allegations against Davis are proven true, it could be the first serious crack in the Bama armor since Nick Saban became the head coach in Tuscaloosa.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Now that satellite camps are legal again, where should Jim McElwain and the Gators hold their first in-state camp and their first out-of-state camp?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is, but Stone Temple Pilots just have never gotten it done for me. Thank goodness this is the last day of my music I can do without week. Today’s music is a compilation of Stone Temple Pilots songs. If you like them, enjoy. If you’re like me, then look forward to better music next week.