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...
SEC quarterback power rankings: Post-spring edition

SEC quarterback power rankings: Post-spring edition

Spring practice has come and gone, and now we have to wait three long months before fall camps begin around the SEC. There’s only so much to take away from spring ball. Many practices are closed, and most spring games aren’t much more than glorified scrimmages. But — and you knew there was a “but” coming — the arrival of summer marks a convenient time to take stock of the talent around the SEC, and in particular the conference’s quarterbacks. With a couple of exceptions, most of this spring’s SEC quarterback battles offered a good bit of clarity regarding who should start where in 2017. So with that in mind, let’s dive into a set of power rankings. Tier IV: The unknowns Feleipe Franks, Florida Quinten Dormady, Tennessee Nick Starkel, Texas A&M Kellen Mond, Texas A&M We haven’t seen any of these guys play a meaningful snap, so I won’t bother putting them in any sort of order. Dormady, a junior, attempted 39 passes in two seasons as Josh Dobbs’ backup, just about all of which came in garbage time. Still, Dormady emerged as the favorite over 4-star redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano following a 10-for-10, 120-yard, 2-TD passing performance in the Vols’ spring game. He profiles as a potentially above-average SEC quarterback. Franks, a former 4-star prospect with a blue-chip arm to match, made a strong push to lead Florida’s offense following a quality spring game showing. Luke Del Rio will get a chance to reclaim his spot when he returns from injury this fall, but he seems to be behind Franks for now. Starkel and Mond are both in contention to snag the Aggies’ starting job. Neither has separated himself...
A closer look at next steps of Antonio Callaway’s football career

A closer look at next steps of Antonio Callaway’s football career

Florida Gators football is the No. 1 topic in Good Morning, Gators every day — but we cover news, notes and analysis from across the Gators sports world. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Florida football, recruiting, basketball and more. Where Antonio Callaway goes from here The news came out Thursday that wide receiver Antonio Callaway ended his Florida football career by signing with an agent and will now prepare for the NFL draft. On Sunday, his agent, Mel Bratton, talked with SEC Country about the immediate next steps of Callaway’s future and said he is optimistic about Callaway’s pro potential. In summary: “This is no BS. I’m very close with a lot of my guys in the league and I called them before I took the kid and said, ‘Listen, where do you have this kid?’” Bratton said. “One particular scout, he’s hard, he’s a tough [evaluator]. He basically said, ‘This kid is a top 15 pick. We’ve got a top 15 grade on him.’ And the other two teams, nobody said less than [Round] 1. Nobody. So, where all these articles are coming out [that] he’s a late-round, free agent, fifth-round, whatever like that, they’re doing it on the character deal. He’s a real reserved kid. He’s very quiet and that’s the thing I have to work on because he has to speak up.” Recruiting roundup A lot of Florida recruiting news came out over the weekend. The highlights: Quarterback commit Matt Corral will be hosting coach Dan Mullen on Monday before visiting Florida once again. Defensive back commit...
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