Kevin Sumlin‘s first press conference as the new coach of Texas A&M went about as well as it could have. Sumlin has great charisma and a confidence about him that’s unmistakable; it’s no wonder he’s an ace recruiter.
Whether or not his next five years will go as smoothly for Sumlin as the Aggies transition into the toughest conference in college football — and the toughest division based on recent history — is yet to be determined.
Some quick notes from Sumlin and A&M athletic director Bill Byrne:
- Sumlin said nothing was finalized on the job until Saturday morning. It was reported that A&M was making a late run at Georgia coach Mark Richt.
- Sumlin will be out recruiting beginning this afternoon. It’ll be a situation similar to what’s happening at Ohio State. The current A&M staff will continue to prepare and coach the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas while Sumlin handles A&M’s 2012 class.
- Byrne said Sumlin’s basic contract, which has not been finalized, is for five years at $2 million annually. Never thought I’d refer to a $2 million salary as “modest”, but it reveals two very important facts: 1) Sumlin really wanted the job (he could have negotiated for more) and 2) it leaves plenty of wiggle room for Sumlin to tackle his first major assignment — hire the best damn defensive coordinator that wiggle room will allow.
Which brought up a good question: how does Sumlin, an offensive mind, adjust to a league that has been known for outstanding defensive play?
“Wherever I’ve been, we’ve done what’s necessary to win that league or division,” Sumlin said. “We’re going to do what’s necessary to win [in the SEC]… we’re going to be diverse in what we do.”
Indeed. A&M’s been a .500 program or so for the past decade in the Big 12. It’s not going to get any easier in the SEC. But, the best minds navigate to the highest levels, and Sumlin’s a bright mind.
Sumlin and A&M will be one of the most-watched, and certainly most-scrutinzed, teams for the next few years.
For today, though, Sumlin’s press conference was smiles and rainbows.
“I have a real appreciation for the traditions here at Texas A&M,” said Sumlin, who was an assistant at A&M from 2001-02. “It’s a very, very special place.”
In the post below this, we noted that Jovani Haskins is officially a member of the West Virginia football program. T.J. Simmons can say the same as well.
After Simmons announced it via social media over this past weekend, WVU has confirmed that the wide receiver has signed a grant-in-aid for the 2017-18 academic year and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Mountaineers. That continuation won’t happen immediately as, after sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, Simmons will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Mountaineers.
Simmons had decided last week to transfer out of the Alabama football program.
A three-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2016 recruiting class, Simmons was rated as the No. 58 receiver in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Alabama.
As a true freshman, Simmons played in 12 games, mainly on special teams. In this year’s annual spring game, the 6-2, 201-pound receiver caught six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown for the Crimson Tide.
One down, one to go.
Over the weekend, both former Miami tight end Jovani Haskins (HERE) and ex-Alabama wide receiver T.J. Simmons (HERE) indicated on social media that they would be transferring and continuing their collegiate playing careers at West Virginia. Monday, WVU confirmed that the former has signed his grant-in-aid for the 2017-18 academic year.
Haskins will have to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Beginning with the 2018 season, he’ll have three years of eligibility remaining.
A three-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class, the 6-4, 245-pound Haskins was rated as the No. 18 tight end in the country and the No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.
Earlier this month, Haskins opted to transfer from The U in order to “get a fresh start somewhere else.”
Haskins is the third Power Five player to officially transfer to the Mountaineers this offseason, joining former Syracuse defensive back Corey Winfield (HERE) and ex-Miami quarterback Jack Allison (HERE).
A little over a month after leaving The Plains, Antwuan Jackson has reportedly settled on a new college football home.
Citing multiple sources familiar with the situation, 247Sports.com is reporting that Jackson has signed with Blinn Community College in Texas. The defensive tackle will play for the JUCO this season, with his eyes set on a return to the FBS level, perhaps as early as December.
On his Twitter account earlier Monday, Jackson hinted at an unspecified development regarding his football future.
In mid-May, Jackson announced his decision to transfer from Auburn. AU blocked him from transferring to a handful of schools he had requested, including Ohio State. It’s believed the Buckeyes have emerged as the favorites to land the lineman when he jumps back to the FBS level.
Jackson was a four-star member of AU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country; the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 49 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Only three players in the Tigers’ class that year were rated higher.
As a true freshman last season, Jackson took a redshirt.
Auburn will be forced to go to a backup when it comes to its famed pregame mascot flights.
The university announced Monday that’s live eagle mascot, War Eagle VII, has ben grounded for the entire 2017 season. The university stated that its College of Veterinary Medicine faculty diagnosed the 18-year-old golden eagle with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart.
The diagnosis was made following what was described as a routine checkup.
Below are the comments of the veterinarians in charge of the care of an eagle who has been a part of gamedays on The Plains since 2004.
Nova has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, indicated by an enlarged left ventricle, decreased systolic function and supraventricular premature complexes (arrhythmia),” said Dr. Seth Oster, an avian veterinarian at the raptor center and the college’s Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital.
“These areas of constriction can increase the systolic pressure of the heart so that Nova’s heart has to pump harder to move blood around his body,” said Oster. “This type of problem could have multiple causes, the most common of which in birds is atherosclerosis.”
“Vessels that are constricted, like those that are seen in Nova’s scan, can have dangerous complications when put under increased stress from exercise,” said Dr. Seung-Woo Jung, an assistant professor of cardiology in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine. “This includes aneurysm or clot formation that could lead to vascular rupture, stroke, aortic thromboembolism or heart attack.
The release added that due to “the risk of severe medical complications, veterinary medical staff decided that Nova should not be placed in situations that cause his heart to work harder than usual, including flying in the stadium before each game.”
With War Eagle VII sidelined, pregame duties will fall to Spirit.
Spirit is the only bald eagle that has ever flown in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Her first game flight was in 2002, and she is recognizable by her bright white head and tail feathers. In 1995, Spirit was discovered as an injured fledgling in Florida. She came to Auburn in 1998 and joined the educational collection at the Southeastern Raptor Center. Her damaged beak makes her non-releasable.