Tag:SEC
Posted on: January 13, 2012 11:32 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 11:54 am
 

Alabama's Sal Sunseri to Tennessee as DC

Posted by Chip Patterson

Alabama assistant coach Sal Sunseri will be Tennessee's next defensive coordinator.  Early reports from GoVols247 and the Tuscaloosa Bureau were confirmed in an official release from the school on Friday.  Sunseri replaces former defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who accepted a position on the Washington coaching staff in September.
 
"The chance to work with Derek Dooley, who has been around championships and knows what it takes to build an elite program, combined with the rich tradition of the University of Tennessee, makes this opportunity so exciting to me," Sunseri said in the official release. "I am fired up to work with all of the young talent on the defensive side of the ball, and I can't wait to get up to Knoxville and coach them."

After winning two national championships in three seasons on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama, Sunseri will be in good company with head coach Derek Dooley. Dooley spent five years as an assistant to Saban at LSU, then two more on his Miami Dolphins coaching staff.

Like Dooley, Sunseri's family has been surrounded by college football. His oldest son, Tino, is the starting quarterback at Pittsburgh (where Sunseri was an All-American linebacker in 1981) and his youngest son, Vinnie, recorded just finished a 31-tackle freshman campaign as an Alabama linebacker.

"Sal has had unparalleled success over the last decade in not only contributing to team and unit success, but also in his ability to motivate and develop elite individual talent," Dooley said in a prepared statement. "His combination of defensive knowledge, recruiting success, high-energy personality, ability to connect with players, and personal integrity and character make him an exceptional fit for Tennessee."

Sunseri is Dooley's second hire of the week, looking to fill the positions left by other departing coaches. On Thursday Tennessee announced former North Carolina assistant Sam Pittman as the new offensive line coach. Pittman replaces Harry Hiestand, who left to take a job on Brian Kelly's staff at Notre Dame.

For more information on Tennessee's recent coaching hires, follow Daniel Lewis and the Volunteers RapidReports

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:05 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 5:57 pm
 

LSU losing Claiborne and Brockers

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Though LSU lost the BCS National Championship Game to Alabama, there's still plenty of reason to be optimistic in Baton Rouge because the Tigers are a young team that will be returning most of its starters on both sides of the ball. However, Morris Claiborne and Michael Brockers will not be among those returning.

The school announced on Thursday that both players were leaving school to enter the NFL Draft.

“There are different times for guys to leave our program and the things that both of these men have done is have consistent growth as people and as student-athletes academically,” said Les Miles in the school's release. “Both men have been very humble in their approach to learning football. It started at a level much less to the level they are at now. They improved and improved and became tremendously competitive. They have put themselves in a position to enter the NFL Draft early at an advantaged position.

“Mo is expected to be in the top 10 players if not in the top five players selected in the NFL Draft. The opportunity to improve his draft position really doesn’t exist. I think Michael Brockers has the potential to improve his overall draft position but is making in my opinion a decision that allows him to fulfill an obligation to his family. Both men have done everything we have asked them to do, and they have both represented this program in an exemplary way both on and off the field. We are going to miss them. They are quality men. I have been fortunate to call up a huddle with these guys in it. I can tell you that their teammates will miss them as well.”

Claiborne is widely considered to be the best cover corner in all of college football, even if Tyrann Mathieu received more national attention for his playmaking ability. Which is why Claiborne won the Jim Thorpe Award this season, given to the best defensive back in college football. Claiborne finished the 2011 season with 51 tackles and had 6 interceptions and 6 passes broken up.

He's the top-ranked cornerback in CBSSports.com's position rankings, and is projected to go as early as third overall and no later than sixth in our mock drafts

Brockers is a redshirt sophomore who had 54 tackles, 10 for a loss and 2 sacks from the defensive tackle position. He also blocked a field goal and had an interception.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:52 pm
 

Ryan Swope returning to Texas A&M

Posted by Tom Fornelli

We interrupt this steady stream of college football players announcing that they're leaving school early to bring you news of one player who has decided to return. Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope took to his Twitter account on Thursday to tell the world that he'd be returning to College Station for his senior season.

"Looking forward to wearing maroon and white one more season! Can't wait to play for [Kevin] Sumlin and be a part of something special. Gigem!" tweeted Swope.

Swope had quite the breakout season for the Aggies in 2011, becoming Ryan Tannehill's most reliable target. The junior set single season school records by catching 89 passes for 1,207 yards and also pulled in 11 touchdowns. So Aggieland has to be happy to know that one of its biggest playmakers will be returning to the team next season when Texas A&M makes the move to the SEC and the gauntlet that is the SEC West.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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 2:23 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:28 pm
 

Alabama losing talented duo to the NFL

Posted by Tom Fornelli

if Alabama plans on defending its national championship, it'll have to do so without two of its most talented players from the 2011 team. It was announced at a press conference on Thursday afternoon that running back Trent Richardson and defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick were all leaving school to enter the NFL Draft.

While both players are great, Trent Richardson is the biggest household name, as he went to New York this season as a Heisman finalist. Richardson rushed for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Tide in 2011 and finishes his Alabama career with 3,860 total yards and 42 total touchdowns. Richardson is ranked as the top running back in the 2012 draft class by CBSSports.com, and is projected to go in the first five picks of the draft.

As for cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, he's not exactly a slouch. Kirkpatrick had 29 tackles and broke up 9 passes this season while also forcing 2 fumbles. He did not have an interception in 2011, but that's because opposing quarterbacks tested him as little as possible. CBSSports.com has Kirkpatrick ranked as the second best cornerback prospect in the 2012 draft, behind only LSU's Morris Claiborne. He's expected to go within the first ten picks of our mock draft.

So if it wasn't already clear, this is a lot of talent leaving Tuscaloosa early, and it doesn't even include the seniors like Courtney Upshaw and Mark Barron that are graduating. Of course, this is where we point out that Alabama had four players drafted in the first round of last year's NFL Draft, and that loss of talent didn't stop the Crimson Tide from winning a national title this season.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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 1:50 pm
 

MSU's 'strategically' placed billboard in Oxford

Posted by Chip Patterson

Since his arrival in Starkville, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has made a point to throw some gas on the fire in the Ole Miss rivalry. At this time last year, Mullen made headlines for a massive billboard campaign that welcomed visitors to "Our State." This year, the billboard efforts to fuel the in-state rivalry are less aggressive and more calculated.



(Billboard image via Clarion-Ledger)

The billboard, which features Mississippi State players holding the Egg Bowl trophy after the Bulldogs 31-3 win over Ole Miss on Nov. 26, is featured in five different locations across the state of Mississippi. The billboards went up Jan. 1 and are scheduled to come down Feb. 1; which happens to be National Signing Day.

One of those five billboards is located in Oxford, on Jackson Avenue near Ole Miss campus. A Mississippi State athletic department spokesperson acknowledged the advertisement was "strategically placed" in a response to the Clarion-Ledger.



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Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:01 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 12:02 pm
 

LSU's Russell Shepard entering NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In a rather surprising decision, LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard announced that he was leaving school to enter the NFL Draft on his Twitter account Wednesday. Shepard said that it was "a hard decision to make" but that he had "to do what's best for me and my family." Whether leaving school to go pro is doing what's best for Shepard and his family remains to be seen.

He wasn't expected to leave school, and as a result, he's not even listed on CBSSports.com's top draft prospects at wide receiver. Even if he had been listed, there's no guarantee that Shepard would be drafted.

After coming to LSU as a quarterback, Shepard was moved to wide receiver, and while he had a fair share of rushing attempts in his three years with the Tigers, Shepard only caught 52 passes for 478 yards and 5 touchdowns. Only 14 of those receptions, and 4 touchdowns, came this season. This is due to the suspensions that Shepard had to deal with in 2011.

There was a housing issue that he was cleared of, but he was suspended for three games due to an NCAA violation after talking to the NCAA about his relationship with Willie Lyles. It was because of this suspension that he was passed on the depth chart by freshman Odell Beckham Jr. who joined Reuben Randle as LSU's starting receivers.

And that's likely the reason why Shepard has decided to leave the school. For further evidence, you don't have to look past his Twitter account once again. Shortly after LSU's 21-0 loss to Alabama on Monday night, this tweet appeared in Shepard's timeline.



The next tweets on his timeline were the ones that explained he was leaving school, so I hardly think it's a coincidence.

Shepard has until January 18th to withdraw his name from the NFL Draft should he choose to do so. 

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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 2:05 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 4:10 pm
 

Georgia's Orson Charles entering NFL Draft

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Aaron Murray will be short one big target next season. Georgia tight end Orson Charles announced on Wednesday afternoon that he would forego his senior season in Athens and enter the NFL Draft.

“I want to thank God, the University of Georgia, our coaches and the fans for building me up spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally over the last three years,” said Charles in a release.  “The fans stuck with us through a rough season last year and through our struggles this season and our coaching staff provided me with the tools necessary to make it in football and in life.  Either decision I made, I want to be able to look back at it and be happy with the choice I made and I think I will withthis decision.  It was difficult but not stressful to be in a situation where you can’t go wrong either way.”

Charles finished third on the Bulldogs in 2011 with 45 receptions for 574 yards and 5 touchdowns. He had 94 catches for 1,370 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career at the school.

The 6-foot-3, 241-pound tight end looks to become one of the latest athletic tight ends that have become a huge force in the NFL the last few seasons, like Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Jermichael Finley, and Jimmy Graham before him.

In CBSSports.com's NFL position rankings for draft eligible players, Charles is ranked third behind Clemson's Dwayne Allen and Stanford's Coby Fleener. While he's not projected to be a first round pick, he should go no later than the third round.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home 

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 12:33 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 4:17 pm
 

2011-12 All-Bowl Team

J. Darin Darst

Another season gone and another SEC team has been declared BCS Champions.

And after 35 bowl games, it's time to look back and remember some of the great individual performances of the past month. Here are the best in this year's All-Bowl Team:

QB: Geno Smith, West Virginia (Orange): The junior had quite a homecoming in South Florida, setting three Orange Bowl records. He threw for a record 407 yards and accounted for seven total touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) in the Mountaineers' 70-33 thrashing of Clemson. Smith finished 32 of 43 passing, while also rushing for 26 yards on five carries.Geno Smith

RB: Terrance Ganaway, Baylor (Alamo): All the attention was on Robert Griffin, but the senior had quite a game. He rushed for 200 yards on 21 carries and scored five touchdowns -- all in the second half. He scored on runs of 89, 1, 1, 4 and 43 yards.

RB: Stepfan Taylor, Stanford (Fiesta): Another running back in the shadow of his quarterback, Taylor had a strong performance in the loss to Oklahoma State. In his best game of the season, the junior ran for 177 yards on 35 carries, while scoring two touchdowns (1 and 4 yards).

WR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia (Orange): Not to be overshadowed by teammate Smith, the junior receiver had his own amazing Orange Bowl. He set a bowl record with 280 all-purpose yards, including 117 receiving yards on 11 catches. He also recorded four receiving touchdowns. Austin, who was a member of the CBSSports.com All-America Team as an all-purpose player, also finished with a 23.4-yard average on five kickoff returns.

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (Fiesta): The junior playing in his final college game, went out with a bang. He had eight catches for 186 yards (23.3-yard average) and scored three touchdowns. Blackmon was a huge part of the Cowboys offense, scoring on catches of 43, 67 and 17 yards.

WR: Patrick Edwards, Houston (TicketCity): In an era of huge offenses, it's only fitting to have three receivers on this year's All-Bowl Team. The senior had one of his best games of the season, catching 10 passes for 228 yards with two touchdowns in the victory over Penn State. Edwards scored on passes of 40 and 75 yards.

TE: Ladarius Green, La.-Lafayette (New Orleans): The senior has had quite a career at Louisiana-Lafayette, but before bolting off to the NFL, Green helped the Rajin Cajuns win their first bowl game. He had five catches for 121 yards and scored on a 20-yard reception.

Offensive Line: Nate Potter (LT), Joe Kellogg (LG), Cory Yriarte (C), Chuck Hayes (RG), Charles Leno (RT), Boise State (Maaco): The offensive line not only blocked for Doug Martin, who ended up with 151 yards rushing, but didn't allow a sack in Kellen Moore's final game of his college career. Potter, Yriarte and Hayes go out with Moore as one of the most successful senior classes in history.

DL: Whitney Mercilus, Illinois (Fight Hunger): In his final college game, the junior recorded five tackles, including three for a loss and 1.5 sacks against UCLA. The Bruins were held to 18 yards rushing and Mercilus was a big reason for that.

DL: Cordarro Law, Southern Miss (Hawaii): The defensive MVP of the Hawaii Bowl led the Golden Eagles with seven tackles, 4.5 for a loss and recorded two sacks.

Courtney UpshawDL: Mike Martin, Michigan (Sugar): The senior had a strong performance, recording 10 tackles and 0.5 sacks in Michigan's victory over Virginia Tech. The defensive end helped limit the Hokies to just one touchdown.

DL: William Gholston, Michigan State (Outback): The sophomore had a great game against Georgia, recording seven solo tackles, including five for a loss, with two sacks and a fumble recovery.

LB: Kiko Alonso, Oregon (Rose): The junior recorded five tackles, including 2.5 for a loss with 1.5 sacks. But his biggest play of the game was when he intercepted Russell Wilson late in the third quarter, which set up Oregon's go-ahead touchdown. Alonso earned defensive MVP honors from the Rose Bowl for his outstanding play.

LB: Courtney Upshaw, Alabama (BCS championship): The defensive MVP of the BCS Championship game, Upshaw was the leader for the Crimson Tide, allowing LSU to cross the 50-yard line only once. Upshaw finished with seven tackles, including six solo with one sack.

LB: Khaseem Greene, Rutgers (Pinstripe): He led the Scarlet Knights defense with 13 tackles, including seven solo, to go along with three tackles for a loss and a forced fumble in the victory over Iowa State.

DB: David Amerson, N.C. State (Belk): The sophomore added two more interceptions to his total, giving him an ACC record 13 for the season. Amerson also returned one for a 65-yard touchdown and recorded five tackles in the victory over Louisville.

DB: Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt (Liberty): One of the best defensive backs in the SEC went out in style, recorded eight tackles with two interceptions while being named defensive MVP for the game.

DB: Dexter McCoil, Tulsa (Armed Forces): The junior had one of his best career games, recording 10 tackles and two interceptions against BYU. McCoil actually intercepted a third pass from quarterback Riley Nelson, but it was nullified after a Tulsa penalty.

DB: Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama (BCS championship): The leader of the Alabama secondary recorded four tackles, including two for a loss, while shutting down LSU's Rueben Randle in the BCS championship game.

Eric PageP: Paul Hershey, Ohio (Idaho Potato): The senior had six punts for 300 yards (50.0-yard average), including three inside the 20 (two inside the 10). With 4:23 remaining and Ohio down by a touchdown, Hershey nailed a 49-yarder down to the Utah State 7. That punt allowed Ohio to play the field position game, getting the ball back at their own 39 and scoring the game-winning score with seven seconds remaining.

K: Jeremy Shelley, Alabama (BCS championship): Shelley had quite a redemption game against LSU the second time around. The junior hit five field goals -- 23, 34, 41, 35 and 44 yards in the championship game to help Alabama build a 15-0 lead.

KR: Eric Page, Toledo (Military): One of the best kick return man in the nation, Page returned four kick returns for 153 yards (38.25 avg), including a 87-yard touchdown in the victory over Air Force.

PR: Joe Adams, Arkansas (Cotton): Adams did it again, returning his fourth punt this season for a touchdown, breaking a 51-yarder in the victory over Kansas State.

All-Purpose: De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon (Rose): The freshman had quite a game against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. He rushed for 155 yards on two carries, scoring both times. One of those runs was a 91-yard burst. Thomas also had 125 yards on four kickoff returns, to go along with 34 yards receiving on four catches.







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