Forget what may or may not happen between a certain College Station institution of higher learning and the SEC in the future; the biggest on-field news in the here and now for the conference involves a current member in Fayetteville.
According to multiple media outlets, Arkansas running back Knile Davis suffered an injury of unknown severity to his left leg during the seventh play of a scrimmage Thursday. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the injury is to Davis’ ankle, although there are unconfirmed — repeat, unconfirmed — reports that the injury could be to the ACL. The junior captain apparently had gotten his leg rolled up on in a pile at the end of a running play and let out a scream “so loud it will haunt us in our dreams” before collapsing to the ground.
Davis was prone on the field for several minutes while being tended to by school medical personnel. He could not put any weight on his left leg, and left the field on a cart.
Head coach Bobby Petrino was not scheduled to meet with the press following the scrimmage, so the extent and severity of the injury is unknown and not yet confirmed by anyone officially connected to the football program. While the offensive coordinator and some players did speak afterwards, none would or could address Davis’ injury or his status.
We’re expecting an update on Davis’ condition either late tonight (unlikely) or at some point Friday (more likely).
If the injury to Davis is indeed serious — and the general sentiment seems to be pointing in that direction — it would be a significant and devastating blow to a Razorback team looking to challenge Alabama and LSU for SEC West supremacy in 2011. In 2010, Davis led the conference in rushing with over 1,300 yards, and is viewed as a darkhorse Heisman candidate this preseason.
With Arkansas replacing Ryan Mallett under center with Tyler Wilson — probably — Davis’ experience and talent were going to be that much more important for the Razorbacks and their chances for taking a step to the next level this season. It’s not fair to say those chances would be shot if Davis were to miss most or all of the season; it would be fair to say the chance to accomplish those goals get a whole helluva lot more difficult with a Davis-less squad.
When Ryan Finley announced he would put off the NFL Draft in order to spend his senior season at NC State, Jalan McClendon announced he would not spend his own senior year backing up Finley.
Now we reportedly know where McClendon will spend his final season.
According to Yahoo‘s Pete Thamel, McClendon will pursue a graduate transfer to Baylor.
A Charlotte native, McClendon appeared in 21 career games as a Wolfpack. He completed 26-of-47 passes (55.3 percent) for 262 yards with one touchdown against four interceptions while rushing 40 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
At Baylor, McClendon will step into a depth chart with a hole left by a transfer of its own. The Bears spent 2017 juggling their QB1 spot between Arizona graduate transfer Anu Solomon, sophomore Zach Smith and freshman Charlie Brewer. Solomon graduated and Smith has transferred to Tulsa, meaning McClendon will have to compete with the rising sophomore and brother of former Texas Tech and Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer. The younger Brewer was Baylor’s best signal caller in a downtrodden ’17 campaign, hitting 139-of-204 passes (68.1 percent) for 1,562 yards with 11 touchdowns against four interceptions.
The ACC and the American have struck a deal for a football officiating alliance, the American announced Monday. The new program will see the two conferences cooperate on all things officiating, from training to scheduling to evaluation.
With the move, the ACC’s Dennis Hennigan will oversee the alliance, while the American’s Terry McAulay will step down as the league’s coordinator of football officiating and the American will hire a new supervisor of football officials.
“We are excited to partner with the ACC regarding the administration of our football officiating program,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “This alliance will provide both conferences with a deep roster of the best college football officials and will provide for greater efficiency and consistency in the training and evaluation of officials as well as enhanced opportunities for the recruitment of officials. We look forward to working with Dennis Hennigan, who was regarded as one of the top on-field officials in college football and has since become a leader on the administrative side. I also want to thank Commissioner John Swofford for his cooperation in reaching this mutually beneficial arrangement.”
The new alliance means ACC officials could oversee a Tulane-Tulsa game, while AAC officials would work a Clemson-Georgia Tech game. The ACC-AAC Alliance will go into effect for the 2018 season.
The ACC and American Athletic Conference are coming together with the intent on improving officiating oversight between the two conferences. According to an announcement from the AAC, ACC supervisor of officials Dennis Hennigan will serve as the lead administrator and take on the responsibility of hiring and training officials used in both conferences.
“We are excited to partner with the ACC regarding the administration of our football officiating program,” AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said in a released statement. “This alliance will provide both conferences with a deep roster of the best college football officials and will provide for greater efficiency and consistency in the training and evaluation of officials as well as enhanced opportunities for the recruitment of officials.”
The AAC reportedly removed Terry McAulay from his long-time role as the conference’s coordinator of football officiating, a role he held in the old Big East and carried over to the AAC amid conference realignment changes. The AAC confirmed McAulay will no longer be associated with the conference in that role. The statement from the AAC says the conference will hire a new Supervisor of Football Officials that will help manage the officiating in the AAC and act as a go-to contact for coaches around the league.
There is no word on whether or not this alliance will lead to a combined instant replay process with a central command hub for instant replay reviews. Instead, the alliance seems to focus on working with officials to ensure calls are being called consistently throughout each league. Having officials on the same page with calling penalties and managing a game has been a problem with few answers. This likely won’t guarantee a perfectly called game every week in each conference, but it may prove to be a step in the right direction.
Surely this is all a coincidence and not at all a way to gain a recruiting advantage, but junior college linebacker Umstead Sanders will join the Florida Gators as a walk-on player this year. The Gators do have a need to boost the depth at linebacker, so the addition of a junior college player is a quick and easy fix to address that concern, but there is a little more to the story here. Sanders is also the older brother of Trey Sanders, a five-star running back in the Class of 2019 from Bradenton, Florida.
Umstead Sanders announced he will be joining the Florida program with a message on Twitter over the weekend. He will do so as a preferred walk-on, which will likely lead to him landing a scholarship later this year. Sanders is expected to enroll at Florida this summer, so he is not around for spring football practices already underway in Gainesville. While the addition of a 6′-2″ 240-lb linebacker is nice, the whole thing smells like a package deal pitch to lure Sanders’ younger brother into the program down the line.
Package deal commitments and recruiting strategies have long been a part of the game, so this would hardly be anything new if there is a wink and nod to the recruiting efforts going on at Florida. There are no recruiting rules that could prevent Florida from offering a scholarship to a junior college player with the hope of landing his brother in the next recruiting cycle. Other schools have gone so far as to hire the fathers of certain recruits to hopefully gain an advantage, and making sales pitches to high school teammates and family members with scholarships involved has been a trendy technique some schools have put to good use.
Dan Mullen certainly knows what it takes to revamp the Florida program, and taking advantage of all the recruiting angles he can is fair game.