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Alabama ‘has always been in it’ for nation’s No. 1 running back Trey Sanders

Alabama ‘has always been in it’ for nation’s No. 1 running back Trey Sanders

Welcome to  SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings , a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we talk the latest with the nation’s No. 1 running back.  Alabama still in the mix for Trey Sanders  Trey Sanders, a 5-star running back from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) committed to Alabama more than two years ago when he was in Tuscaloosa for A-Day in April 2016. He kept his commitment to the Crimson Tide for nearly two years before de-committing just before Alabama faced Clemson in the Sugar Bowl this past New Year’s Day. Normally when a recruit de-commits from a school, that program likely doesn’t have a chance at regaining that prospect’s commitment. The last time it happened for the Tide was back in the 2017 class when Xavier McKinney de-committed from Alabama then surprisingly recommitted to the Crimson Tide. McKinney’s recommitment is one of the most surprising moments since I started covering Alabama recruiting in 2015. Sanders says there’s a possibility he rejoins the Tide when he makes his next decision. “Alabama has a shot. Alabama has always been in it for me,” Sanders told my DawgNation colleague Jeff Sentell. “I committed a couple of years ago and I have never lost that relationship with that staff and the program and its coaches.” The nation’s No. 1 running back is at the top of the board for Alabama. The Crimson Tide have not stopped pursuing him, but he hasn’t visited Tuscaloosa this year yet. He is planning on returning this summer but a date for that visit hasn’t been set. The reason why Sanders de-committed from the Tide was because he wanted to see more programs and enjoy his recruitment. He felt like he rushed the process a little bit, so he needed to step aside from his commitment. Whatever he decides to do, Sanders will sign on the day before enrolling early in his school of choice. “I am just taking my time and slowing it down to take my time,” Sanders said. “This is one of the biggest decisions of my life. I just want to find the right school for me for the next four years.” An interesting nugget that Sanders provided to Sentell was when asked which team he felt had the best offensive line for him to run behind. “I’m pretty sure everybody knows this one for me,” Sanders said. “That would be either Georgia or Alabama. No question about that one. Alabama has got a young line that is going to be great. Georgia has a young line that is coming in that is going to be crazy.” How Trey Sanders’ brother going to Florida affects him  There are numerous schools in the mix for Sanders, but the main contenders appear to be Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami and Alabama. The Gators have two familial connections working in their favor when Sanders makes his commitment. His mother wants him to attend Florida where his older brother, Umstead, a 3-star outside linebacker in the Class of 2018, decided to accept a preferred walk-on opportunity with the Gators. The looming question is whether Trey will follow his older brother to Gainesville. It’s not a certainty it will happen. “First of all, for me, I know my brother is going to ball out at Florida,” he said. “He is just that type of player. He feeds off negativity and things like that. I wasn’t the reason why they picked him up. They watched his film and they loved him right away. “He talks to me every day about going to Florida, too. But I feel like at the end of the day we just have to do what is best for us. If Florida is the best thing for me, then it is the best thing. But until then, I still have to make that decision and figure that out. I’m going to just enjoy my recruitment.” But what about his mother’s wishes? “At the end of the day, I am going to have to do what is the best thing for me,” Sanders said. “That’s my mom. She is always going to love me no matter what. I feel like she just wants what is the best for both of her sons. Whatever that may be. … My dad wants the same thing for us. My parents just really tell us that they both want us to be successful in life.” Sanders will visit Florida State this weekend with his family. That’s the only visit he has planned right now. He’s not sure about any of his five official visits this fall, either. I still think it’s going to be a challenge for Alabama to regain Sanders’ commitment; however, he did say the Crimson Tide may be recruiting him harder than any other school and he does plan on returning to Tuscaloosa this summer and possibly this fall, so it’s not out of the question. Other running back targets to know are Ole Miss commit Jerrion Ealy and 4-star prospects Keilan Robinson and Deondrick Glass. Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings recruiting notebook  right here . The post Alabama ‘has always been in it’ for nation’s No. 1 running back Trey Sanders appeared first on SEC Country.

Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Tom Crean face fewer dogs, still bring out barks in Columbus

Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Tom Crean face fewer dogs, still bring out barks in Columbus

COLUMBUS — These Bulldog Club meetings — or Coaches’ Caravans, as they’re calling them this year — just aren’t that big of a deal anymore. That’s the only conclusion one can draw from the latest one, held Monday night at the Columbus Trade & Convention Center. Beautiful venue, by the way. Cool place. The Iron Works, I think they call this particular area, which features a lot of railroad tracks and reclaimed warehouses and the like. Georgia football coach Kirby Smart, men’s basketball coach Tom Crean and radio play-by-play personality Scott Howard flew down here Monday on UGA’s plane and then flew right back out after a short appearance in front of a smattering of fans and alumni. It wasn’t a bad crowd — about 290 according to one of the organizers — but they sort of got swallowed up by the expansive venue and a goodly portion of empty chairs. And based on the dozens and dozens of untouched crabcakes and chocolate-covered strawberries, they were expecting a lot more. But nobody was complaining. Well, there was that one guy at the back of the room. After Smart wrapped up his economical 10-minute speech — which remarkably included zero information about the actual football players — one man turned to his buddy next to him and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “he owes us another 25 minutes, doesn’t he?” Everybody laughed. Otherwise, though, it was what you usually expect of these annual events, especially coming off a 13-2 season and National Championship Game appearance. Smart — and Crean before him — was definitely feeling the love of the crowd. Smart received a rousing standing ovation, complete with barks and a lot of “woos” and “hoos.” Then he made them laugh. “After listening to Coach Crean, he had us all ready to bust through a brick wall,” Smart said. “But I decided I’d just bust through the curtains they have here.” Smart proceeded to tell the group how glad he was to be here in Columbus, which happens to be one of his favorite places. He also remarked about the “fertile recruiting ground” that the area is and thanked the fan base, again, for following the Bulldogs around the country during the magical 13-2 run last season. Then he basically ran through the schedule, where the Bulldogs are on the calendar, how hard the players are going to be worked this summer and the importance of the team concept. You know, “Together Everyone, Achieves More.” He hit on that for a while. Without going into specifics, Smart also mentioned that he has some depth concerns but added he is excited about the freshmen coming in next week and the prospects his staff is currently recruiting. Otherwise, there was no question-and-answer session, usually customary at these types of events. No, Smart addressed the pressing team matters in a 10-minute session with reporters beforehand. However, he and Crean did sign autographs and pose for pictures with fans before delivering their speeches, so perhaps fans got their pressing questions answered then. Sort of abruptly, Smart said thanks for coming and left. It was over. Howard came back to the podium just to make sure everybody knew. “That’s all we’ve got, folks,” he said with a wave of arms over his head, like he was stopping a play clock. “Thanks for coming. And go Dogs!” And off the Dogs went, back on their big bird to Athens. Of course, meetings such as these aren’t as necessary as they once were. Back when Dan Magill first made the UGA’s Bulldog Club tour the greatest of its kind in the country, it was a spectacle. It was a way to reach into the far corners of the state where perhaps Georgia’s coaches and overall presence wasn’t as readily accessible. Nowadays, people can access the Bulldogs anytime they want. There is no shortage of avenues, thanks to the World Wide Web, conference television networks and smart phones. Did I mention DawgNation’s app? But there is still something special about fans being somewhere live and in person with their heroes. Smart and Crean will take their mini tour next to Savannah, where they’ll likely follow a similar script Tuesday night. Then we won’t see them again in a public venue until late in the summer in Atlanta. There will be some donor stops between now and then, but nothing that welcomes “Everyman Fan” and a little media coverage. At the rate these events are regressing, this time next year we may only catch Kirby via hologram. The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Tom Crean face fewer dogs, still bring out barks in Columbus appeared first on DawgNation.

Report: Florida pitching proposal to SEC that could help WR Van Jefferson’s eligibility case

Report: Florida pitching proposal to SEC that could help WR Van Jefferson’s eligibility case

Florida remains hopeful that wide receiver Van Jefferson will be ruled eligible for the 2018 season following his offseason transfer from Ole Miss. But whenever asked, Gators coach Dan Mullen has remained coy about where that process stands. A report Monday from USA Today’s Dan Wolken sheds some more insight on Florida’s approach with the matter. Wolken reports that Florida and Texas A&M have co-sponsored a proposal to be voted on at the SEC spring meetings next week that would lift the conference’s restrictions on athletes who wish to transfer from one SEC school to another if the original program receives a postseason ban, which is the case with Ole Miss. Jefferson would still need to have his eligibility cleared by the NCAA once that official petition is filed by Florida, if it hasn’t been already, but if successfully passed, this SEC proposal would remove any obstacle at the conference level. The Ole Miss football program received a two-year postseason ban from 2017-18 for violations committed under former coach Hugh Freeze, who resigned last August. Ole Miss players entering their final year of eligibility were permitted to transfer without penalty, while other former Rebels underclassmen who transferred out after the 2017 season, including quarterback Shea Patterson at Michigan, have been granted their immediate eligibility, waiving the rule that an athlete must sit out a year following a transfer within the FBS ranks. Jefferson, who would be a redshirt junior this fall, looked like one of Florida’s best wide receivers during spring practice. He totaled 91 catches for 999 yards and 4 touchdowns over two seasons at Ole Miss. His 42 catches for 456 yards last season are more than any other receiver on Florida’s current roster. Florida is also hoping to get a separate eligibility waiver for fellow wide receiver Trevon Grimes, who transferred from Ohio State to be closer to his family in Florida due to a personal matter. The post Report: Florida pitching proposal to SEC that could help WR Van Jefferson’s eligibility case appeared first on SEC Country.

Lowe: Game 4 might tell all in this Cavs-Celtics series Here are the key matchups, adjustments and plays that will shape the action as Boston-Cleveland hits a momentous Game 4.