Dwayne Allen, Marty Markett

Clemson’s Allen becomes first TE to declare early for ’12 draft


Earlier Friday, Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert decided against becoming the first underclassman tight end to leave school early this year.  A few hours later, Dwayne Allen displayed no such qualms.

In a release issued by Clemson, Allen announced that he will enter the NFL draft in April and will not return to the school for the 2012 season.

“I want to first thank all of my teammates, my teammates from the 2011 team and teammates from past years,” said Allen in a statement. “Without them this would not be possible. I also want to thank my coaches, Coach Dabo Swinney, my position coach Danny Pearman and offensive coordinator Chad Morris. They have helped me grow as a player and as a person. Finally I want to thank everyone in Tiger Nation for their support over the years. I want to especially thank them for being patient with me.

“I am basically turning professional because I feel I am ready. This is the appropriate time. I have matured as a player and a person over the last four years at Clemson and this experience has prepared me for the next level. I have just 13 hours (of course work) left to graduate and I will be a proud Clemson graduate.”

Allen finished the year with 50 receptions for 598 yards and eight touchdowns. He was a consensus first-team All-America and named the winner of the John Mackey Award following the 2011 season.

The redshirt junior leaves Clemson tied for the school’s career record in receptions (93) and receiving touchdowns (12) at his position.

“Never have I been more proud of a player’s development than Dwayne Allen,” said Swinney. “Clemson has made a huge impact in his life and he has helped Clemson achieve at a level not seen in 20-plus years. Dwayne has a great future, and I fully support his decision to enter the NFL. I look forward to watching him continue his journey. He will be a great ambassador for Clemson for years to come.”

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.