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Tag:Jerry Hinnen
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:38 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 10:43 pm
 

Tide's Kirkpatrick arrested on marijuana charges

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In a development that will surely do his draft stock no favors, recently declared Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

As originally reported by The Big LeadKirkpatrick's arrest is part of the available public record at the website of Manatee County (Fla.) Sheriff's Department. A search for the arrest yields the following record:

 

According to the Associated Press, the local police report states that Kirkpatrick was a passenger in a truck driven by fellow former Alabama player Chris Rogers, 25. The truck was pulled over in Bradenton, Fla., after being spotted driving on the wrong side of the road. A police dog alerted officers to the presence of drugs, and a small amount of marijuana was found on the floordboard at Kirkpatrick's feet.

According to the report, Rogers said he had bought the marijuana at a local house and was also charged. Kirkpatrick claimed he had been in the car when the purchase had been made, but was unaware what Rogers was buying.

The arrest occured at 12:48 a.m., with Kirkpatrick released shortly after having posted $120 bond.

Though it wasn't immediately clear why Kirkpatrick was in Bradenton, the city is home to the IMG Performance Institute, one function of which is to help athletes as they train for the NFL Combine.

Kirkpatrick declared for April's NFL Draft shortly after the Crimson Tide's resounding victory in the BCS national title game, and is universally expected to become a first-round selection. The former five-star recruit from Gasden (Ala.) and 2011 All-American is ranked the No. 10 overall prospect in the draft, and the current CBSSports.com mock drafts currently have Kirkpatrick as either the 6th or 7th overall pick. 

The arrest certainly won't keep Kirkpatrick from becoming a first-round millionaire come draft day. But depending on how seriously NFL teams take what might now viewed as "character concerns," his top-10 status could be in jeopardy.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:53 pm
 

Report: Ex-Mizzou QB Tyler Gabbert to UCF

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

After a handful of false starts, former Missouri quarterback Tyler Gabbert has reportedly found his next FBS program.

Per the Orlando Sentinel, Gabbert is transferring to UCF and will join the Knights as a sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining. A native of Ballwin, Mo., Gabbert is currently taking classes at a St. Louis community college, the Sentinel reported.  

Gabbert began his college career in Columbia, following in his famous five-star brother Blaine Gabbert's oversized footsteps. A prized four-star recruit himself, Tyler redshirted during the 2010 season and was expected by many to take over for his brother come the 2011 campaign. But Gabbert lost out on the Tigers' starting job to James Franklin in spring practices and -- not wasting any time -- elected to transfer in May. He committed himself to Louisville in June (enough so that Charlie Strong issued a tweet welcoming him to the Cardinal program) only to ultimately choose not to enroll there, either.

His decision to finally land at UCF, though, may prove to be a win-win for both sides. The Knights are desperate for quarterbacking depth following the transfer of Jeff Godfreywith incumbent starter Blake Bortles the only scholarship quarterback currently on the UCF roster. At the very least, Gabbert should offer them a high-quality insurance policy in the event of an injury to Bortles.

As for what Gabbert gets out of the move to UCF, though impressive in his 10 appearances, Bortles is only a true sophomore himself and could conceivably cede the starting position -- or at least the occasional snap -- to a prospect of Gabbert's talents. Despite a lackluster 2011 season as Godfrey and Bortles played tug-of-war under center, the Knights still boast one of the deepest rosters in Conference USA and could give Gabbert an excellent chance at guiding a bowl-bound offense or even a league title-winning team if he can beat out Bortles.

That's a big "if," but on paper, it seems to be worth the gamble for both Gabbert and George O'Leary's recovering program.

Check out all the news here at Eye on CFB on the non-BCS conferences by clicking here.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 17, 2012 1:23 am
 

QB Nick Montana transferring from Washington

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one at Washington is going to complain about Keith Price's breakout sophomore season under center for the Huskies. But it does appear to have cost them their backup quarterback--and for whatever it was worth, the name recognition that had come along with him.

Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed Monday that redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Montana has asked for -- and received -- his release from the Washington program. Montana appeared in six games during his Husky career, completing 24 of his 42 attempts with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. In his only start, a dispiriting 38-21 loss to Oregon State on Nov. 19, Montana threw for two scores but averaged just 3.8 yards per his 21 attempts. 

According to reports, Montana intends to transfer to one of two possible JUCO destinations -- Blinn College in Texas, or El Camino in California -- before eventually returning to the FBS ranks. 

Montana is (of course) the son of none other than Joe Montana, but even that kind of bloodline wasn't going to be enough to wrest the starting job away from Price, not given the sophomore's outstanding 36-touchdown campaign and Montana's poor performance in his single audition as the starter. Price had already beaten out Montana twice in head-to-head battles on the depth chart, first for the right to back up Jake Locker in 2010 and then to be the starter in 2011.

Though more a high-level than elite-level recruit coming out of Thousand Oaks, Calif. in the class of 2010, Montana nonetheless boasted offers from many of the top schools in the nation--including his father's alma mater, Notre Dame. If Montana can continue to develop at JUCO, the Irish may or may not take a renewed interest. But given his last name, don't expect the possibility of that connection to get dismissed anytime between now and the end of his JUCO tenure.

For the complete Eye on CFB coverage of the Pac-12, click here. 

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Posted on: January 16, 2012 6:56 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 11:51 pm
 

Auburn QB Barrett Trotter forgoing senior year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Whoever takes charge of Auburn's offense in 2012 -- Gene Chizik has yet to announce a replacement for Gus Malzahn as the former assistant takes the reins at Arkansas State -- will have one fewer option at quarterback after Barrett Trotter's decision to leave the Tiger program one season early.

The redshirt junior announced Monday that he would be forgoing his senior year to further concentrate on his academics. Trotter has received his undergraduate degree from Auburn in communications and is currently working on a Master's.

"My four years at Auburn have been a great experience and I'm thankful for the opportunities that I've had. However, I have decided to forgo my senior season," Trotter said in a statement. "I'm truly blessed to have been a part of winning seasons and championships during my time at Auburn."

Trotter's decision leaves the Tigers with three scholarship quarterbacks on their projected roster for 2012: junior Clint Moseley, sophomore Kiehl Frazier and Maxpreps No. 30 overall recruit Zeke PikeMoseley appeared in 10 games and attempted 108 passes (completing 61 percent for 7.4 yards a try) after wresting the job away from Trotter at midseason, but Frazier's running ability (327 yards, 3 touchdowns) will have him in the mix.

Despite those options, Auburn likely would have still preferred Trotter to remain in the program for another year. Cam Newton's former backup began the year brightly, leading the Tiger offense to 42 and 41 points in wins over Utah State and Mississippi State, respectively, while throwing five touchdowns to one interception. A deep mid-year slump cost him the starting spot, only for him to come off the bench in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and lead Auburn to the win with an 11-for-18, 9.7 yards-per-attempt, one TD performance. With Chizik rumored to be looking for more of a pro-style look in his next coordinator, Trotter's combination of experience and accuracy might have made him a contender for the starting job.

"Barrett is a great young man who ended his career in a fitting way by helping lead our team to victory in the Chick-fil-A Bowl," Chizik said. "We are very appreciative to Barrett for his contributions to Auburn both on and off the field, and wish him nothing but the best as he takes the next step in his life."

We don't doubt that. But we also don't doubt that Chizik also wishes he had that one extra card in hand at quarterback as his offense takes the next step in its life under Chizik's watch.

Though Trotter is not expected to be drafted and doesn't appear to be considering a career in pro football, expert Rob Rang broke down Trotter's draft chances at his CBSSports.com Draft Blog. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:58 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 10:58 pm
 

Coach swap: Tide hires Vols' Thompson as LB coach

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Three years ago, Alabama hired Sal Sunseri to replace linebackers coach Lance Thompson, hired away by Tennessee. So now that Sunseri has also been hired away by the Vols, as Derek Dooley's new defensive coordinator, who has Nick Saban tabbed to replace him? Why, he's hired Lance Thompson, of course. 

That's according to multiple reports Sunday, which cited sources in claiming Thompson will return to the same Crimson Tide linebackers-coaching position he left in 2008 when Lane Kiffin lured him Tuscaloosa. Thompson coached the Vols' linebackers for two years before moving to defensive line duties this season.

Thompson becomes the sixth Tennessee assistant to depart the Volunteer program this off-season. Receivers coach Charlie Baggett retired; previous defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon left to join Steve Sarkisian at Washington; offensive line coach Harry Hiestand left to take the same position at Notre Dame; and special teams coach Eric Russell joined Mike Leach at Washington State.

With the hires of Sunseri at DC, former Vol star Jay Graham at running backs coach, and North Carolina's Sam Pittman as the new offensive line coach, Dooley is doing his best to stop the bleeding. But Thompson's departure will leave a substantial mark nonetheless, especially this close to Signing Day; he's long been recognized as one of the SEC's best recruiters, a major factor in his having been hired by Saban in the first place, by Kiffin in 2008, and -- no doubt -- now by Saban a second time. (That the Crimson Tide head coach is willing to bring Thompson aboard a second time despite his earlier decision to hitch his wagon to Kiffin -- whose antics in Knoxville Saban is widely believed to have loathed -- speaks to how highly Saban thinks of his coaching and recruiting acumen.)

There's little doubt that hiring an up-and-comer like Sunseri away from his archrivals was something of a coup for Dooley, and a major positive for his under-fire Knoxville tenure. But every step forward for Dooley and the Vols seems like it's matched by one backwards these days, and it's no real surprise that one that came at the expense of Saban and Alabama was so quickly returned in kind.

For more on the Vols and Crimson Tide, follow CBSSports.com's Tennessee RapidReports by Daniel Lewis and Alabama RapidReports by Jim Dunn.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:10 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 7:10 pm
 

Gopher KR/CB Stoudermire granted extra year

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's only January. But Year 2 of Jerry Kill's reclamation project at Minnesota has already gotten a big boost.

Gopher star kick returner and starting cornerback Troy Stoudermire was granted an extra year of eligibility by the Big Ten and will return for a second chance at his senior season, Minnesota announced in a statement Friday. A serious arm injury limited Stoudermire to only the first four games of the 2011 season.

Stoudermire's return will give him a serious shot at becoming the NCAA's all-time leader in kickoff return yardage. He already holds the Big Ten mark with 3,102 career yards, putting him a little more than 400 yards behind Houston's Tyron Carrier, who established the new record this past season with 3,517. Stoudermire should also re-establish himself as a key member of the Gopher secondary, having totaled 24 tackles, three pass break-ups, and two interceptions in those four 2011 performances alone.

“This is great news for Troy and for our program,” Kill said in the statement. “I’m really excited for Troy and glad to have him back with us next season.”

“I’m just excited and happy,” Stoudermire said. “I’ve been waiting on this thing for a long time. Now, I’m just looking forward to getting back there for my first workout and getting back with the team.”

A highly-regarded "athlete" prospect out of Dallas, Stoudermire struggled to become a regular down-to-down player under former coach Tim Brewster, eventually shifting from wide receiver to corner midway through the 2010 season. But even as a freshman, Stoudermire confirmed himself as a profilic return man, averaging 25.8 yards per attempt (27th nationally) and finishing in sixth in total kickoff return yardage.

It will take far more than just this one piece of good news to return the Gophers from the depths of back-to-back 3-9 seasons. And even Stoudermire will have to fight to earn the right to serve as the Gophers' primary kick returner; freshman receiver Marcus Jones averaged better than 28 yards on his 13 returns and found the end zone once as well--s00eomthing Stoudermire has, surprisingly, never accomplished. 

But for a special teams unit that could always use such a battle-tested return presence and a secondary that ranked 78th in the FBS in yards allowed per passing attempt, there's no doubt that Stoudermire's return is nonetheless a massive step in the right direction.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:29 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 12:22 pm
 

1-to-35: Ranking the 2011 bowl games



Posted by Jerry Hinnen


Each December, there's plenty of rankings out there as to how good each bowl should be. But if that's the "before," what about the "after"? Here's the Eye on CFB's (highly subjective) ranking of all 35 bowls from the 2011-2012 college football postseason, best game to worst.

1. Rose. Unlike certain other bowls we could name (who happen to rhyme with "Schmalamo"), the Rose's outburst of offense came despite the presence of legitimate championship-level defenses--making the punch and counter-punch between Russell Wilson and Montee Ball on one side and LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas on the other like haymakers in a heavyweight prizefight. Add in college football's greatest venue, a down-to-the-wire ending, and even the aesthetic battle between the Badgers' understated uniforms and the Ducks' glitter factory helmets, and you've got the best bowl-watching experience of the year.

2. Fiesta. Andrew Luck vs. Justin Blackmon at the top of their powers -- at the top of the powers of anyone at their positions in college football -- would be worth a top-five placement alone. Luck vs. Blackmon and 79 points and overtime drama? That's worth top-two.

3. Alamo Bowl. To call the defenses in this game abominably porous would be an insult to pores (and abominations). But the Alamo is a random weeknight bowl game--just as no one wants to watch an Oscar-baiting 17th-century literary adaptation on their Guys' Night Out, so no one tuned into the Alamo for rugged defense and awesome punting. Thankfully, what Baylor and Washington gave us was the college football equivalent of four hours of Jason Statham shooting explosions.

4. Outback. Come for Kirk Cousins leading the most unlikely comeback this side of the whooping crane, stay for Mark Richt nominating himself for the (dis)honor of "World's Fraidiest-Cat Football Coach." Oh, and triple overtime.

5. New Orleans. We'd ask if you could remember this thriller between Louisiana-Lafayette and San Diego State from the bowl season's opening night, but we don't think anyone who watched could forget Ragin' Cajun kicker Brett Baer deliriously celebrating his last-second game-winner if they tried.

6. Military. One word: #MACtion. And two numbers: 42-41. And, all right, eight more words to help do this game justice: last-minute do-or-die failed fake extra point holder-kicker option.

7. Sun. We're suckers for any game featuring the triple-option (see the Air Force game ranked one spot above), and Utah's 4th-and-14 touchdown conversion to send the game into OT was one of the more dramatic single plays of the entire bowl season. That 3-0 anti-classic between Pitt and Oregon State was a particularly distant memory in El Paso this year.

8. Belk. A matchup of Utterly Average ACC team vs. Utterly Average Big East team -- in a bowl sponsored by a department store that thinks Macy's is way too wild and edgy -- should have been one of the snoozers of the year. Instead, Mike Glennon caught fire, Louisville mounted a spirited comeback, and this wound up one of the better games of the postseason.

9. Little Caesars. The quality of play in this game at times was like ... well, have you ever actually eaten the pizza of the sponsor? But Western Michigan receiver Jordan White put on a spectacular show (13 catches, 249 yards), the teams combined for 69 points, and the Boilers special teams pulled off two onsides kicks and a kick return for TD. Tasty!

10. Famous Idaho Potato. OK, OK: we're giving this game (which was less-than-must-see-viewing for much of the first 55 minutes) a slight bonus for its killer logo. But we're giving it a much bigger bonus for the pulse-pounding final drive from quarterback Tyler Tettleton and the Bobcats for the first bowl win in program history.

11. Armed Forces. If you're going to be a sorta-dull game between two sorta-unmemorable teams, better come up with a memorable play and/or a big finish. Riley Nelson's game-winning fake spike touchdown to become college football's answer to Dan Marino just about did the trick.

12. Sugar. Another for the "ugly game, fascinating ending" file, but this was Michigan doing their damnedest to be Michigan again and Virginia Tech doing their damnedest to avoid the rabbit's feet and horseshoes and four-leaf clovers falling out of the Wolverines' pockets -- Danny Coale most especially -- and it was in New Orleans. You didn't quit watching, did you?

13. Poinsettia. Not a classic, but three-and-a-half back-and-forth hours with a feisty Louisiana Tech team and an underrated TCU squad most definitely qualified as "serviceable." Think of this year's Poinsettia as the quality burger-and-fries plate from the local joint down the street--not mind-blowing, but spend a few weeks in Peru, where they don't have burgers or college football, and you'll crave a Poinsettia Bowl so badly you could scream.

14. Orange. In the space of about an hour, Dana Holgorsen's evisceration of Clemson went from thrilling to discomfiting to boring to morbidly fascinating to -- once we all realized the Mountaineers weren't going to hit triple digits -- back to boring again. Not every game that hits 100 points is one for the DVD vaults, as it turns out.

15. Liberty. Give me Cincinnati defeating Vanderbilt in surprisingly convincing, mildly entertaining fashion or give me death! (Actually, we've got that first thing already, so no need to worry about providing the second, thanks.)

16. Chick-Fil-A. For 2.5 quarters, this was a delightful shootout with all the requisite trickery you'd hope for from a game involving Gus Malzahn. Then Virginia remembered that it was not only Virginia, but proud ACC member Virginia, and the fun was over.

17. Meineke Car Care. Seriously, Texas A&M, we didn't tune in to see you only flirt with blowing a huge lead against a team that hasn't won a bowl game since approximately the Grover Cleveland administration.

18. Capital One. This game featured an abundance of must-watch plays -- Alshon Jeffery catching a  bomb, Alshon Jeffery hauling in a half-ending Hail Mary, Alshon Jeffery getting ejected for fighting -- but aside from, well, Alshon Jeffery, there wasn't much to it.

19. Cotton Bowl. The 15 seconds of Joe Adams' punt return, the 10 seconds of Jarius Wright's touchdown, and the 5 minutes when it looked like Kansas State might mount yet another smashing comeback were riveting stuff. The other 54:35? Not so much.

20. BCS National Championship. A great game, if you're the sort of fan who enjoys watching nature shows where a pride of lions tear a wildebeest to pieces because the wildebeest can't complete a downfield pass to save its life.

21. TicketCity. If he'd stuggled, he'd have been called a fraud; because he ripped Penn State's D into tiny shreds, no one paid attention. Which is why we're working on a sitcom pilot right now called Case Keenum Can't Win.

22. Gator. When one team's special teams scores just one fewer touchdown than the two offenses combined (as Florida's did), it's safe to say you're not watching a classic.

23. GoDaddy.com. Thanks to a 31-0 run from Northern Illinois, what was expected to be a nailbiting shootout ended up the biggest disappointment since that "unrated web content" we checked out.

24. Champs Sports. It wasn't pretty, but at least the Seminoles and Irish were trying their best ... to make us wish they'd just aired a repeat of the 1993 meeting instead.

25. Las Vegas. College football produces a lot of emotions, but from the neutral perspective, it's rare that one of them is outright legitimate anger. Seeing Kellen Moore forced to end his career slumming it against an Arizona State team that checked out in early November sure turned the trick, though.

26. Independence. The Tar Heels came out so flat, and were finished off so quickly, that we're pretty sure the only lovely parting gift they walked away with was "Independence Bowl: the Board Game."

27. Music City. Mississippi State turned the ball over four times, and Wake Forest averaged 2.9 yards per-play. If Hank Williams or some other old-time country artist had come to Nashville to write a sad song about a sad bowl game, this is the game they'd use for inspiration.

28. Insight. Sadly, the only "insight" we got from this game was that Vegas oddsmakers -- who had the Sooners installed as the biggest favorite of the entire bowl season -- know what they're talking about. And who didn't know that already?

29. Holiday. It wasn't that long ago when Jeff Tedford's Cal and Mack Brown's Texas squaring off would have been appointment television. This game was, too, though in the sense that it was the sort of game you made an appointment somewhere else to avoid viewing.

30. Hawaii. Nevada and Southern Mississippi were collectively as sharp as your average butter knife, but let's see you spend a week chilling in Hawaii and then play a quality football game. The best players the NFL has to offer try it every single year and haven't succeeded yet.

31. Pinstripe. The only thing we remember from this game was our wish to travel back to, say, 1998, and explain to a random college football fan that in 2011, Rutgers would win a bowl game in Yankee Stadium that would give them the nation's longest postseason winning streak. (We're still not sure it's actually happening.)

32. Beef 'O' Brady's. Newton's Second Law of Bowl Aesthetics: Whensoever a Game Produces Fewer Offensive Touchdowns Than the Game Has Apostrophes in its Title, That Game Shall Be, Verily, Entirely Terrible.

33. New Mexico. We'd waited so long to be able to sit down and watch a college bowl game, and by halftime we were sort of wishing we'd gotten to wait a little bit longer.

34. BBVA Compass. For two straight years, Pitt has been forced to play in Legion Field on a January weekday afternoon in front of no one under an interim coach against a nondescript opponent. Vs. SMU the Panthers looked like they'd much rather be off somewhere doing something much more fun, like peeling potatoes with their teeth--and we don't blame them a bit.

35. Kraft Fight Hunger. Comedian Patton Oswalt once called a certain famous KFC product a "failure pile in a sadness bowl." Capitalize that B, and we can't think of a better way to describe 2011 Illinois "battling" 2011 UCLA.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:08 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 1:10 am
 

SEC Recruiting Reset

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Now that the 2011 season has come to an end it's time to move on to the next phase of the college football year: recruiting. With the SEC 
Recruiting Reset we fill you in on what you may have missed in the SEC and what you should expect to see between now and signing day.

TOP THREE CLASSES

1. Alabama. The new national champions continue to roll on the recruiting trail with what's currently nation's No. 1 class. The Tide already have five commitments from the Maxpreps Top 100 and 26 overall, nearly every one a blue-chipper. In particular, don't expect the passing game lockdown on display vs. LSU to change anytime soon; the highest-ranked three of those top 100 recruits are all defensive backs, and athlete Cyrus Jones (the No. 88 overall prospect) could play in the secondary as well. Sweetest of all is that much of the Tide's success has come at the expense of their SEC West rivals--the Tide just stole top safety (and No. 12 player overall) Landon Collins out of Louisiana from LSU, and flipping powerhouse running back T.J. Yeldon in mid-december was a huge blow to Auburn.

2. Florida. The bumpy transition from Urban Meyer to Will Muschamp meant that the Gators' 2011 class wasn't up to the program's usual standards, but that's not going to be an issue in 2012. Five of the Gators' 18 commitments are top 100 prospects, led by 6'6" five-star offensive lineman D.J. Humphries, No. 14 overall. Though (as always) the Gators are getting a huge boost from their home state -- as with Seffner (Fla.) five-star running back Matt Jones -- Muschamp hasn't hesitated to take the Gators national again, landing Humphries from Charlotte, linebacker Antonio Morrison (No. 76 overall) from Illinois, and tight end Colin Thompson from Pennsylvania.

3. LSU. As long as Les Miles is on the Bayou and winning games, there's going to be too much talent in Louisiana for the Tigers to not finish with one of the nation's best recruiting classes, and that's true again this year; 14 of the Tigers' 21 commitments are from their home state, with six more hailing from Texas, Georgia, or Florida. What is a surprise is that the single commitment from outside SEC country just so happens to be the headliner: top-ranked quarterback and No. 2 overall recruit Gunner Kiel, who'll be expected to solve the passing woes on display in the Superdome by no later than 2013.

TOP PLAYERS AVAILABLE

1. Stefon Diggs -- Many of the top local prospects across the Southeast have already made their decisions -- or have said so publicly, anyway -- but that doesn't mean SEC schools aren't still battling away over available prospects in other parts of the country. One of those is Olney, Md. wideout Stefon Diggs, a total-package burner who ranks as the cuntry's No. 18 overall prospect. Though Diggs has been highly noncommital about his recruitment and has discussed possibly waiting past Signing Day to sign, Auburn received one of his early visits and Florida has long been considered one of Diggs' favorites. The Tigers and Gators will have to fight off a long list of national suitors for Diggs' signature, however.

2. Josh Clemons -- This 6'5" safety/wide receiver prospect (and the nation's No. 54 overall recruit) hails from Valdosta, Ga., only minutes from the Florida-Georgia border. So it's no surprise the two schools believed to be battling it out over Clemons are, you guessed it, Georgia and Florida. The Gators may have a slight edge, but in a race still far too close to call, expect Clemons to take his decision down to the wire.

WORK TO DO

1. Ole Miss. No one will blame Hugh Freeze if the Rebels don't boast a top-25 class after their miserable 2-10 season and coaching overhaul, and early signs -- like the commitment of highly prized in-state defensive end Channing Ward -- are good. But he still needs to find a way to get his first class's numbers up; the Rebels are currently sitting on an SEC-low 12 commitments.

2. Auburn. The Tigers currently check in at No. 16 in the Maxpreps rankings and have four top-100 recruits, so it's not as if there's alarm sirens going off for Gene Chizik or anything. But with just 15 commitments as of Tuesday, Auburn is banking on a big finish with lots of big names choosing the orange-and-blue. If those names go elsewhere, Chizik could be left with the league's eighth- or ninth-best class.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com