As has been noted on many an occasion, the concern swirling around the Tennessee football program was keeping their 2010 recruiting class intact in the wake of Lane Kiffin ditching the school last month.
As it turns out, the Volunteers received a surprise commitment today because Kiffin & Company headed out West.
According to the Nashville Tennessean, four-star offensive lineman James Stone committed to Tennessee after it had been assumed for months that Alabama was the front runner.
That status was indeed the case as the Tide was at the front of the line for the lineman’s services. Until Kiffin’s decision that rocked the college football world, that is.
Stone’s high school coach tells the Tennessean that his player had always liked Tennessee, but turned away from the school due to the presence of Kiffin and assistant coach Ed Orgeron. Once the old crew bolted, and Derek Dooley was in place, Stone shifted back to his initial preference.
“He always liked UT, but he wasn’t going to go there with (former head coach Lane) Kiffin and (recruiting coordinator Ed) Orgeron,” Maplewood Coach Ralph Thompson said. “He wasn’t really considering UT as long as Kiffin and Orgeron were there.
“Once Dooley got the job and Kiffin was out of there, once he was able to meet Dooley and see what kind of guy he was, he was all for going to UT.”
So, does this mean UT fans should be thanking Kiffin for his ill-timed decision less than a month ago? Yeah, I’ll hold my breath for that to happen.
Meanwhile, Tide fans can feel free to curse Kiffin from over 2,000 miles away for costing their school another four-star jewel for their Top Five class.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah