Tag:Mike McNeil
Posted on: May 24, 2011 11:32 am

Former AU player McNeil faced lawsuit, evictions

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When he was one of four now-former Auburn players arrested in connection with an armed robbery March 11, ex-Tiger safety Mike McNeil had no criminal record beyond a speeding ticket. But as the Birmingham News reported today, that didn't mean McNeil wasn't facing his share of legal troubles.

According to court documents, McNeil and teammate Mike Blanc had been served with eviction papers and eventually a lawsuit by a former landlord. The suit resulted in a judgment against McNeil -- only days following his arrest -- for more than $12,000. McNeil and Blanc had also recently been evicted from a second apartment they shared with current Auburn cornerback Neiko Thorpe, who has been named as a witness in the robbery case.

Neither Blanc nor Thorpe have been accused of any wrongdoing in connection with the robbery. But the living arrangement helps explain why Thorpe (along with teammates Mike Dyer, Anthony Morgan and DeAngelo Benton) has been named as a witness.

Living expenses like rent might be one of the uses for the proposed "full cost of attendance" scholarships that have become a hot-button topic the past week. But obviously they'll arrive far too late to make a difference for the likes of McNeil.

Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:57 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 5:58 pm

'Auburn Four' indicted on robbery charges

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In early March four Auburn football players were arrested following a robbery of a residence and were all quickly dismissed from the football team. Though just because the four players are no longer playing football, that doesn't mean that their done with dealing with the consequences of their actions, and on Wednesday the four players were indicted.
A Lee County grand jury has indicted four former Auburn football players on armed robbery charges in relation to an incident at an Auburn trailer park home in March, according to court documents.

Antonio Goodwin, Mike McNeil, Shaun Kitchens and Dakota Mosley were each indicted on five counts of first-degree robbery, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of third-degree theft of property. Mosley faces an additional charge of misdemeanor conspiracy to hinder business.

They are scheduled for arraignment in Lee County Circuit Court on May 26. A tentative trial date has been set for June 16.
The four players were arrested on March 11th after breaking into a trailer home south of Auburn's campus, and according to witnesses, making off with cellphones and a safe before leaving the scene in a car driven by Mosley. The players also brandished handguns as they committed the robbery. The players were then picked up by Auburn police in a routine traffic stop where a gun was recovered along with the stolen property, and after being fingered by witnesses, all four players admitted to their roles in the robbery.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 11:37 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 6:00 pm

Indictments hit Harvey Updyke

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's been a big 24 hours for the legal system in the state of Alabama, as grand juries have handed down two high-profile indictments.

The first is of accused Toomer's Corner oaks poisoner Harvey Updyke, against whom a state grand jury issued six new indictments May 11, the Birmingham News reported yesterday. In addition to his previous district court charge of first-degree criminal mischief, Updyke now also faces "two counts of criminal mischief, two counts of desecrating a venerable object, and two counts of a state law that includes making it unlawful to damage, vandalize, or steal any property on or from an animal or crop facility."

Updyke will be arraigned on the new charges May 26, with his trial currently scheduled to begin June 20. (The trees Updyke stands accused of poisoning are, unfortunately, not doing well at the moment.)

Posted on: March 25, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 2:00 pm

Spring Practice Primer: Auburn

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice  . So we here at the Eye on College Football    will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers   . Today, we look at Auburn , which started spring practice on Wednesday.

Spring Practice Question: Does Auburn have the playmakers to stay in contention?

In 2010, no team in America deserved the "big-play team" label more than Auburn. It's an easy argument, offensively speaking; the Tigers finished No. 1 among all BCS teams in yards per-play, first overall in yards per-pass attempt, and second overall per-rushing attempt. Cam Newton alone accounted for 46 plays of 20 yards or greater, or an average of more than three such players per game.

But it wasn't just the offense. The Tiger defense hemorrhaged yards and points at a rate far, far greater than any previous BCS championship-winning team, finishing a mediocre 60th in the FBS in total defense and 53rd in scoring defense. But led by Nick Fairley's constant presence in opposing backfields, the Tigers made up for it with an SEC- leading (and sixth nationally ) 99 tackles-for-loss. Combine that with a penchant for timely turnovers -- like Antoine Carter's famous strip-from-behind of Mark Ingram to keep Auburn alive during their first-half struggles against Alabama -- and the Auburn defense kept its head just enough above water (BCS title game excepted) for the offense to power its way to a crystal football.

Entering 2011, it's likely Auburn will need more of the same. The offense won't be built to grind out four-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust drives, not with Newton's third-down magic gone and four offensive line starters representing nearly 200 career starts having departed. (Not that Gus Malzahn has ever designed his offenses to plug away Wisconsin- style, of course.) The defense may not be able to get a whole lot worse in terms of down-to-down success, but it may not get much better, either, with all three members of the late-season defensive tackle rotation graduated, six of their top seven tacklers gone, the top three safeties departed (following Mike McNeil's involvement in the recent four-player armed robbery embarrassment), two senior defensive ends, etc.

All of that means that to either move the ball or get stops, Auburn will have to stick to the same big-play formula that worked so well in 2010. But this begs the question that's going to hang over the Tigers throughout spring practice: who's going to make those big plays? No Newton, no Fairley, no Carter, no Darvin Adams, no Terrell Zachery (the underrated big-play threat at wideout who averaged better than 14 yards a reception), no Josh Bynes, no Zac Etheridge ... where are those difference-making plays going to come from?

There's an easy answer for Auburn at running back, at least, where Mike Dyer and Onterio McCalebb form what should be one of the better inside-outside running combos in the SEC, if not the country. (Though both will need to stay healthy; Auburn's third option at tailback is likely to be true freshman Tre Mason.) But everywhere else, the "Help Wanted" sign will be in the window. A few candidates that will need to prove themselves up to the job this spring:

Corey Lemonier: The only returning starter on Auburn's defensive line is redshirt sophomore end Nosa Eguae, but it's the hotly recruited sophomore defensive end from south Florida who's most likely to emerge as a pass-rushing force in the vein of former Tiger greats like Quentin Groves. In any case, it's the ends that will have to fill Fairley's disruptive shoes; with nothing but new tackles on the inside, they'll have their hands full focusing on plugging up opposing running games.

Trovon Reed: Another member of the Tigers' well-regarded 2010 recruiting haul, Reed was on track to play a sizable role last fall as both receiver and Wildcat quarterback before an injury in fall camp forced him to redshirt. Emory Blake is a nice start, but there would seem to be room in the Tiger receiving corps for a poor man's Percy Harvin- type rushing/receiving threat; if healthy, Reed needs to show he can fill that role.

Neiko Thorpe: One of the few bright spots in Auburn's disastrous 5-7 2008 campaign, Thorpe was expected by many on the Plains to develop into a lockdown, All-SEC corner after a freshman season that saw him hold down a starting job from Day 1 and make freshman all-conference. It hasn't happened, as Thorpe has spent much of the past two seasons getting beaten deep and watching other players (Walt McFadden, Demond Washington) emerge as Auburn's best one-on-one cover guys. Now Ted Roof has moved Thorpe to safety, both to take advantage of Thorpe's size (6'2", 185) and provide cover at one of Auburn's thinnest positions. If the position switch doesn't generate some big plays out of the Auburn secondary, it's not easy to see what will.

Spring Practice Primers
Then, of course, there's Barrett Trotter, the likely heir to Newton's throne after serving as the Heisman winner's backup last season. Though Trotter still has to fend off challenges from Clint Moseley this spring and highly-regarded incoming freshman Kiehl Frazier this fall,his mobility and knowledge of the offense should see him safely through to the starter's job ... if he can make the downfield throws that have been Malzahn's stock-in-trade since the day he moved to the college ranks.

Thanks to three years of savvy recruiting by Chizik and Co., there's no shortage of candidates for the playmaking roles Auburn so desperately needs. But it's one thing to put those candidates on a roster; it's another to see them perform on the practice field, the spring game, under the lights. If players like those above aren't putting their best foot forward this spring, it's hard to see how Auburn doesn't fall out of contention in their follow-up season in the most cutthroat division in college football.

Posted on: October 18, 2010 12:57 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 3:24 pm

Banged-up Auburn secondary goes from bad to worse

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

By any measure, Auburn 's 2010 season to-date has been a stunning success. Gene Chizik 's Tigers are sporting a surprising 7-0 record, the No. 4 ranking in the initial BCS rankings, and potentially sole possession of first place in the rugged SEC West after this week's visit from fellow unbeaten LSU . (Which, by the by, you can watch at 3:30 ET this Saturday, only on ... wait for it ... CBS!)

But those accomplishments have all been earned despite the struggles of an increasingly flammable secondary, one that suffered a 428-yard, five-touchdown carpet bombing at the hands of Arkansas last week and now ranks 108th in the country against the pass. Auburn fans might have argued that things couldn't possibly get worse after that performance, but no, things can actually get worse: Chizik has announced that injured starting safety Aairon Savage will have surgery today and is officially "out for a while."

Unofficially, however -- according to other reliable reports out of Auburn , anyway [Nevermind--see below.--ed.] -- Savage has broken multiple bones in his leg and is unlikely to return this season. It's a heartbreaking development for Savage, a sixth-year senior who had already lost consecutive seasons to a torn Achilles tendon and an ACL tear before being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.

But it's hardly good news for Auburn, either. The Tigers will likely replace Savage with fourth-year junior Mike McNeil , who missed all of 2009 himself with a broken leg suffered during Auburn's spring game. The next safety up in the rotation? Either sophomore walk-on Ikeem Means or true freshman Demetruce McNeal , neither of whom have ever started a collegiate game.

It gets even worse for the Tigers from there. Current nickelback T'Sharvan Bell was forced to leave the Arkansas game with what's reported to be a hamstring injury and might not be ready for LSU, forcing Auburn to turn to either converted high school quarterback Chris Davis (also a true freshman) or sophomore Anthony Morgan . Again: neither has ever started a game at Auburn. Take one of the worst secondaries in the nation, subtract two of its top five players, replace them with underclassmen, and what do you get? Auburn may really, really not want to find out.

If there's any silver lining to this thunderhead, it's that LSU's 113th-ranked passing offense -- fresh off throwing for all of 54 yards against FCS McNeese St. -- doesn't look poised to take advantage of Auburn's issues this particular week. But if Auburn wants to stay undefeated and in the thick of the BCS race, McNeil is going to have to step into the void with authority, and Chizik will have to find some way of keeping his beleaguered unit afloat.

UPDATE: According to a report in Savage's hometown Albany Herald , Savage has broken a bone in his ankle and could return as soon as six weeks. That would give him a chance to be ready for the season-ending Iron Bowl or potential SEC Championship game, and certainly by Auburn's bowl game. Good news.

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