Ole Miss OC Phil Longo discusses Air Raid offense, why Shea Patterson is a ‘perfect fit’

Ole Miss OC Phil Longo discusses Air Raid offense, why Shea Patterson is a ‘perfect fit’

OXFORD, Miss. — Just like his boss, Hugh Freeze, new Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s journey to the SEC began in the high school ranks. His ascension to college football’s most competitive level, however, marks an indirect return to the birth-grounds of his schematic philosophy. This goes back to the late 90’s, when Mike Leach ran Kentucky’s offense under Hal Mumme, himself a former Texas high school coach who became an architect of the Air Raid. Longo, then just a head coach at Parsippany Hills High School (Troy, N.J.), drove down to Lexington and attended one of Leach’s coaching clinics. The trip opened Longo’s eyes, to say the least, and so started a long-running relationship between the two men. Longo spent the next two decades gradually climbing the coaching ladder, jumping to colleges like D-III William Patterson, Slippery Rock, Minnesota-Duluth and Southern Illinois. Eventually he garnered national attention while presiding over the absurdly prolific offense at Sam Houston State, an FCS program that led the country in total yards per game last season, and parlayed that success into his first ever D-I coaching job. Longo spent this spring retooling an Ole Miss offense that loses starting quarterback Chad Kelly and leading receiver Evan Engram, along with experienced wideouts Quincy Adeboyejo and Damore’ea Stringfellow. In their absence, the Rebels will rely on what they hope is a new cast of stars — 5-star quarterback Shea Patterson, young receivers like Van Jefferson and D.K. Metcalf, and now-eligible running back Jordan Wilkins. “The lights started coming on last week,” Longo said one day before the Rebel’s spring game. “I think things are starting to get into a rhythm...
The Crock Pot: What recent NCAA rule changes mean for the SEC’s recruiting dominance

The Crock Pot: What recent NCAA rule changes mean for the SEC’s recruiting dominance

Welcome to The Crock Pot, your one-stop shop for all the SEC news, notes, quotes and mishaps of the past week. Here’s what we’ve been stewing over … Gather round, ye college football fans, and listen up as we break down the latest batch of rule changes to come rolling down NCAA Mountain. Early signing day (pending conference commissioner approval) On the surface, this feels like a win for recruits who know where they’re going to college — assuming they’re committed to a program with stability. The addition of a Dec. 20 National Signing Day, in addition to the one that already exists in early February, allows prospects to officially end their recruitment about six weeks earlier than they could have under the old system. With just about three weeks between the end of the regular season and the early signing day, things could get chaotic for schools that fire coaches, or lose them to other job opportunities. This could result in more firings taking place in November, as the season winds down, as opposed to the first week of December. But you never really know how often that’ll happen in practice. The early date would more likely affect coordinators and position coaches who find themselves on the move in December and early January. High school players still weighing their options can still choose to delay signing a letter of intent until Feb. 1 as they could before. There’s technically nothing forcing prospects, but as we know, coaches can and certainly do put pressure on kids to make their decision when it best suits the school. One can only assume...
Kentucky basketball recruiting: Could fast-rising Kira Lewis get next 2019 offer from John Calipari?

Kentucky basketball recruiting: Could fast-rising Kira Lewis get next 2019 offer from John Calipari?

INDIANAPOLIS — Kentucky coaches have compared him to De’Aaron Fox. He’s lit up the Nike AAU circuit this spring. New scholarship offers arrive daily. So how is Kira Lewis just barely considered a top-100 recruit by most of the major services? Simply put, it was an industry-wide oversight, and it will be corrected very shortly. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have an opportunity to evaluate him prior to this spring,” said 247Sports scouting director Evan Daniels, whose site currently ranks Lewis the 96th-best prospect in the Class of 2019. “Now that I have, it’s safe to say he’s due a big bump.” The 6-foot-3 Lewis ranks sixth in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League in points per game (21.8) and fourth in steals per game (2.6) to go with 3.4 assists per game and 40 percent 3-point shooting through two weekends against some of the best players in America. Kansas just offered him a scholarship, well behind most of the SEC. Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, Tennessee and Vanderbilt have already thrown their hats into the ring for the Hazel Green, Ala., native — as have Baylor, Clemson, Connecticut, Indiana, among many others — and now Kentucky is calling. Wildcats assistant coach Kenny Payne dialed Lewis after a breakout first weekend in the EYBL last month and “was telling me about how he liked my game, my speed, which kind of reminded him of De’Aaron Fox a little bit and John Wall,” Lewis said. “So that was great to hear from him. He puts guys in the league — Coach Cal does and Coach Payne does — and it’s a guard school. They just let their...
The secret to an Isaiah McKenzie return TD? ‘There’s no fear’ for former Georgia standout

The secret to an Isaiah McKenzie return TD? ‘There’s no fear’ for former Georgia standout

Between the highlight reels and the records, Georgia football fans are well-acquainted with the return game wizardry of Isaiah McKenzie by now. NFL fans could be the next to know his skills if the next few months go according to plan. For three years with the Bulldogs, McKenzie’s penchant for the home-run play shocked sitting fans to their feet as they watched the diminutive receiver dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge would-be tacklers running at reckless speeds. One slight change of direction was all it took for hungry special teamers to be left in the dust. So how exactly does McKenzie, all of 5-foot-7 and 173 pounds, manage to thrive on what some consider to be the most dangerous play in football? “The secret is there’s no fear,” McKenzie told SEC Country. “There’s tenacity in everything I do. I can’t be scared to take a hit. It’s just no fear, having the confidence to go out there and do it no matter how big you are. I don’t look at it like that. I’m just as fast. I’m just as strong. I just have a different body figure.” McKenzie finished his Georgia career with a school-record 6 return touchdowns, and it’s an achievement that probably beat his own college expectations. But those who know the wide receiver best saw this coming years ago. ‘A second family’ These days, McKenzie spends most of his time training at South Florida high school powerhouse American Heritage, where he first began wowing coaches and teammates as a sought-after high school star. Back then, his teammates included Georgia tailback Sony Michel, Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and a litany...
2018 NBA mock draft: Projections for first round, top players, 2018 NBA Draft order (May 30, 2018)

2018 NBA mock draft: Projections for first round, top players, 2018 NBA Draft order (May 30, 2018)

The 2018 NBA mock drafts are ready to go as the 2018 NBA Draft draws near. Below you can find first-round projections for the draft, the top available players and the 2018 NBA Draft order. Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. should be one of the first picks in the 2018 NBA Draft, as should Alabama’s Collin Sexton. For those who don’t hire an agent, they have until Wednesday to withdraw from the draft and return to school. NBA mock draft 2018: Projections, top players by SEC Country RELATED: Sign up for our NBA Draft newsletter here  No. Team Player School/Country Position Year 1 Phoenix Luka Doncic Slovenia SG Intl. 2 Sacramento Deandre Ayton Arizona C Fr. 3 Atlanta Jaren Jackson Jr. Michigan State C Fr. 4 Memphis Marvin Bagley Duke PF Fr. 5 Dallas Mo Bamba Texas C Fr. 6 Orlando Michael Porter Jr. Missouri SF Fr. 7 Chicago Wendell Carter Duke C Fr. 8 Cleveland (via Brooklyn) Mikal Bridges Villanova SF Jr. 9 New York Trae Young Oklahoma PG Fr. 10 Philadelphia (via LA Lakers) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Kentucky PG Fr. 11 Charlotte Miles Bridges Michigan State SF Soph. 12 LA Clippers (via Detroit) Collin Sexton Alabama PG Fr. 13 LA Clippers Robert Williams Texas A&M C Soph. 14 Denver Kevin Knox Kentucky SF Fr. 15 Washington Lonnie Walker Miami SG Fr. 16 Phoenix (via Miami) Zhaire Smith Texas Tech SG Fr. 17 Milwaukee Troy Brown Oregon SG Fr. 18 San Antonio Kevin Huerter Maryland SF Soph. 19 Atlanta (via Minnesota) Dzanan Musa Bosnia & Herznogvina SF Intl. 20 Minnesota (via OKC) Jacob Evans Cincinnati SF Jr. 21 Utah Gary Trent Jr. Duke...
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