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2012 class for Kentucky announced

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(Kentucky’s press release on the Wildcats’ 2012 recruiting class.)

Daron Blaylock, DB, 6-1, 215, Fr-HS, Marietta, Ga. (Walton) – Played both safety and linebacker in high school … Second-team all-state in Class AAAAA by the Georgia Sports Writers Association … Played at Walton HS in Marietta, Ga. … Helped Walton to a 14-1 record and state runnerup finish in Class AAAAA … Ranked as the No. 31 inside linebacker in the nation by 24/7 Sports … One of the nation’s top-100 linebackers by … Posted 75 tackles and an interception during his junior season … Has been timed in the 4.5-second range in the 40-yard dash, an excellent time for a linebacker … Coached by Rocky Hidalgo … Son of Mookie Blaylock, who played 13 years in the NBA with New Jersey, Atlanta and Golden State … Twin brother of fellow UK signee Zack Blaylock … Name pronounced same as “Darren.”

Shawn Blaylock, DB, 5-10, 166, Fr-HS, Lithonia, Ga. (Stephenson) – Two-way player in high school, seeing action as a wide receiver and cornerback at Stephenson HS in Stone Mountain, Ga. … Projects as a defensive back as a collegian … Broke the school record with three interceptions in a game … Team posted a 9-2 record and advanced to the state playoffs both his seasons at Stephenson … Also played corner his sophomore season at Shiloh HS in Snellville, Ga. … The nation’s No. 77 corner by … Has been timed under 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Coached at Stephenson by Ron Gartrell … Teammate of current UK signee DeMarcus Sweat … Will join former Stephenson products Jabari Johnson, Raymond Sanders and Ronnie Shields at UK.

Zack Blaylock, DB, 6-0, 188, Fr-HS, Marietta, Ga. (Walton) – Big-play performer from his safety position … Intercepted 11 passes as a senior, returning five for touchdowns … First-team all-state in Class AAAAA by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Sports Writers Association … Played at Walton HS in Marietta, Ga. … Helped Walton to a 14-1 record and state runnerup finish in Class AAAAA … Cobb County Defensive Player of the Year … Rated the No. 34 safety in the nation by … Rated No. 52 nationally by … One of the top-40 prospects in Georgia by SuperPrep … Coached by Rocky Hidalgo … Son of Mookie Blaylock, who played 13 years in the NBA with New Jersey, Atlanta and Golden State … Twin brother of fellow UK signee Daron Blaylock.

Kory Brown, DB, 6-0, 208, So-JC, Moncks Corner, S.C. (Berkeley/East Central Community College) – Enrolled at UK in January … Has three years of eligibility at UK after redshirting 2011 while recovering from a knee injury … Spent the last two years at East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss. … Played four games at safety as a freshman until sustaining the injury … During those four games he made 26 tackles, caused two fumbles and intercepted a pass … The nation’s No. 69 junior-college player as ranked by 247 Sports, also the No. 11 juco player in Mississippi and the nation’s No. 3 juco safety … Coached by Brian Anderson … “Kory’s physical nature stands out,” Anderson said. “He gets off blocks well and is a big hitter. He’s also a quality young man of the finest character.” … Played high school football at Berkeley HS in Moncks Corner, S.C. … Three-year starter who played cornerback and safety … An all-region pick as a senior … Helped Berkeley to three strong runs in the state playoffs, including a state semifinal appearance his junior year and quarterfinal berths as a sophomore and senior … Played for the winning South team in the South Carolina North-South All-Star Game following his senior season … Coached at Berkeley by Jerry Brown … Berkeley’s defensive coordinator, Ed Moore, said, “Kory was the most instinctive player I’ve ever coached, always at the right place at the right time. He’s a very physical player, very good in run support as well as pass coverage. He’s also a great young man.” … In addition to football, participated in basketball, baseball, wrestling and track and field in high school … Advanced to the state meet in the high jump his senior year and had a best leap of six feet, four inches … Comes from an athletic family … An older brother, Omar, played football at Marshall and was a senior in 2011 … Another brother, Evan McKelvey, currently plays at Marshall … A cousin J.J. McKelvey, played at Clemson and is now playing arena football … Kory enjoys community service and has helped coach children in youth league sports.

Thomas Chapman, DL, 6-4, 285, Fr-HS, Louisville, Ky. (duPont Manual) – Highly regarded defensive tackle prospect … The nation’s No. 30 DT and the No. 2 prospect in Kentucky by … The No. 31 tackle and No. 4 Kentucky prospect by 24/7 Sports … The No. 32 tackle nationally by … No. 4 in Kentucky by ESPN and SuperPrep … Selected for the Offense-Defense All-America Game at Cowboys Stadium … Played at duPont Manual HS in Louisville … Bounced back to play his senior year after missing most of his junior season because of injury … Team went 9-3 his senior season and was in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs … Coached by Dr. Oliver Lucas.

Landon Foster, K/P, 6-1, 198, Fr-HS, Thompson Station, Tenn. (Independence) – Has the ability and versatility to be a punter and kicker on the collegiate level … Named first-team all-state in Class AAAAAA as a kicker by the Tennessee Sports Writers’ Association … Picked as the punter for the all-state “Dream Team,” covering all classifications, by the Nashville Tennesseean … Made 11 of 16 field goals as a senior with a long of 49 … Averaged 41.3 yards per punt… 50 of his 56 kickoffs went for touchbacks and four of the others were on-side kicks … Named his team’s Most Valuable Player, a rare honor for a kicking specialist … Independence HS went 8-3 his senior year and reached the state playoffs in Class AAAAAA … Rated the No. 8 kicker in the nation by and the No. 12 kicker by 24/7 Sports … The No. 10 prospect in the state of Tennessee by SuperPrep, which wrote, “Technically strong with good hang times and directional ability. Also performs well under pressure.” … Played for the winning West team in the Tennessee East-West All-Star Game … Coached by Kevin Dyson … Has worked with former Tennessee Titans punter Craig Hentrich … Also played soccer in high school.

Patrick Graffree, DL, 6-4, 270, Fr-HS, Elizabethtown, Ky. (Central Hardin) – Second-team all-state as a senior by The Associated Press and the Louisville Courier-Journal … Played at Central Hardin HS in Cecilia, Ky. … Team’s best finish was 9-3 as a junior, advancing to the second round of the state playoffs … Totaled 91 tackles as a junior, featuring 10 tackles for loss, six quarterback sacks and a pass interception … Participated in a pair of postseason all-star games after his senior year … Played for the winning Greater Louisville team in the Best of the Bluegrass All-Star Game, defeating a team from the remainder of the state … Also played in the Kentucky vs. Tennessee Border Bowl … One of the top-10 prospects in Kentucky by, 24/7 Sports and SuperPrep … The nation’s No. 72 defensive tackle by 24/7 … Head coaches at Central Hardin were former UK quarterback Mark Perry and Mike Lawson.

Josh Harris, DB, 6-0, 191, Fr-HS, Maysville, Ky. (Mason County) – Versatile athlete … His multiple skills were displayed at Mason County (Ky.) High School, where he played running back, receiver, linebacker and defensive back … Rushed for 2,848 yards and 42 touchdowns in his career, despite missing most of his senior season because of injury … Totaled 582 receiving yards and eight TDs … Also threw a couple of touchdown passes … Totaled 287 tackles and six fumble recoveries on defense … Team went 9-2 his junior season and 10-1 as a sophomore … One of the nation’s top-60 running backs as chosen by … The No. 2 prospect in Kentucky by SuperPrep … Coached by David Buchanan … Also played basketball in high school.

Khalid Henderson, LB, 6-0, 213, Fr-HS, Mableton, Ga. (Pebblebrook) – Linebacker combines good size with outstanding athleticism … Has been timed as fast as 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Made 74 tackles with two interceptions as a senior at Pebblebrook HS in Mableton, Ga. … The No. 19 outside linebacker in the nation by ESPN and the No. 17 prospect in Georgia … Rated as the No. 51 outside linebacker in the nation by … One of the top-60 prospects in Georgia by 24/7 Sports … Coached by Randall Smith … Named is pronounced “kah-LEED.”

T.J. Jones, OL, 6-6, 290, Fr-HS, Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Myrtle Beach) – Offensive line prospect who projects as a tackle on the collegiate level … Played tackle at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) HS … Helped his team win at least 11 games every season … Myrtle Beach won the Class AAA state championship his junior year with a 14-1 record … State quarterfinalist as a senior with an 11-2 mark … 13-2 record and state runner-up his soph season … Rated the No. 23 prospect in South Carolina by 24/7 Sports and No. 28 in the state by … No. 34 in South Carolina by SuperPrep … One of the nation’s top-100 offensive tackles by 24/7 and … Coached by Mickey Wilson.

A.J. Legree, WR, 6-1, 178, Fr-HS, Fort White, Fla. (Fort White) – Gifted wide receiver combines pass-catching skills with the athletic ability of a state-champion high jumper … Played wide receiver and cornerback at Fort White (Fla.) HS … As a senior, caught 47 passes for 698 yards and 10 touchdowns … Made six interceptions on defense, returning two for touchdowns … First-team all-state in Class AAA by The Associated Press … Named the Area Player of the Year by the Gainesville Sun … Helped Fort White to an 8-4 record and second round of the state playoffs … Turned in a breakout performance in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Game … Was named the No. 2 prospect in the game by and the “Sleeper of the Night” by … Coached by Demetric Jackson … Won the state high-jump championship as a junior with a leap of six feet, 10 inches.

Dyshawn Mobley, RB, 5-11, 205, Fr-HS, Powell, Tenn. (Powell) – Set Tennessee single-season rushing records with 3,068 yards and 44 touchdowns as a senior … Averaged 12.2 yards per carry … Led Powell (Tenn.) to a 14-1 record, reaching the state championship game in Class AAAAA … Named to the all-state “Dream Team,” covering all classifications, selected by the Nashville Tennesseean … First-team all-state by The Associated Press … Career totals feature 5,849 rushing yards, averaging more than 10 yards per carry, and 76 touchdowns … Three-year all-district choice … Helped Powell to an 11-1 mark and second round of the state playoffs as a junior … Also excelled as a linebacker on defense … Rushed for a record 118 yards in the Tennessee East West All-Star Game and was named the East Offensive Most Valuable Player … Coached by Matt Lowe … Name is pronounced “DAY-shawn MOBE-lee.”

Zach Myers, OL, 6-3, 285, Fr-HS, Miamisburg, Ohio (Miamisburg) – Combines good athletic ability with offensive line skills … Played offensive guard at Miamisburg (Ohio) HS … Could become a center as a collegian … Rated as the No. 52 offensive guard in the nation by … Also the No. 79 guard by 24/7 Sports and the No. 85 guard by … One of the top 60 prospects in the talent-rich state of Ohio by Rivals … Named second-team All-Southwest Ohio … Coached by Tim Lewis … Son of Brad Myers, an offensive lineman at UK from 1984-87 … Brad played one year with Joker Phillips (1984) and blocked for three of the top rushers in Kentucky history – George Adams, Mark Higgs and Marc Logan.

Langston Newton, DL, 6-4, 254, Fr-HS, Carmel, Ind. (Carmel) –First-team all-state as a senior at Carmel (Ind.) HS … Helped lead Carmel to a 14-1 record and state championship in Class AAAAA … A disruptive presence in the defensive line, combining good size, strength and athletic ability … Projected as an end in the collegiate ranks … The No. 6 prospect in Indiana and the No. 28 strongside defensive end in the nation by 24/7 Sports … No. 8 in Indiana and the No. 40 strongside end nationally by … Rated as the No. 69 overall prospect in the six-state Midwest area by SuperPrep … Helped Carmel to the state finals his soph season … Coached by Kevin Wright … Also outstanding in track and field, as he had full scholarship offers in that sport from nationally prominent schools … Competes in the shot put and discus throw, events that put a premium on quickness and explosion as well as strength … Brother of current Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton.

Cody Quinn, DB, 5-10, 163, Fr-HS, Middletown, Ohio (Middletown) – Brings outstanding speed to the cornerback position, having run the 40-yard dash under 4.5 seconds … Helped Middletown (Ohio) HS to three-consecutive 10-win seasons and berths in the state playoffs … Third-team All-Ohio by The Associated Press as a senior … Intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and had 10 pass breakups … His speed also indicated by the fact that he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as a junior … The No. 63 prospect in Ohio by ESPN and also the nation’s No. 68 cornerback … The No. 102 prospect in the six-state Midwest area by SuperPrep … Coached by Troy Everhart.

Jonathan Reed, DB, 5-9, 185, Fr-HS, Indianapolis, Ind. (Pike) – Swift cornerback has been timed as low as 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash … Played at Pike HS in Indianapolis, Ind. … Helped Pike to a state playoff berth each season … Runner-up in the state sectional as a junior with a 9-3 record … One of the top-10 prospects in Indiana by ESPN … Also the nation’s No. 44 cornerback prospect by ESPN … Named to the juniors-only all-state team in 2010 by the Indiana Football Coaches Association … Coached by Derek Moyers.

DeMarcus Sweat, WR, 6-1, 192, Fr-HS, Lithonia, Ga. (Stephenson) – Combines good size with explosive ability … Has good height for a receiver … Big-play potential shown by his three punt return touchdowns and three kickoff return touchdowns during his senior season at Stephenson HS in Stone Mountain, Ga. … Has been timed as fast as 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash … One of the nation’s top-100 wide receivers by ESPN … One of top-80 prospects in Georgia by ESPN and 24/7 Sports … Team posted a 9-2 record each of his last two seasons at Stephenson … Coached at Stephenson by Ron Gartrell … Teammate of current UK signee Shawn Blaylock … Will join former Stephenson products Jabari Johnson, Raymond Sanders and Ronnie Shields at UK.

Jordan Swindle, OL, 6-7, 310, Fr-HS, St. Johns, Fla. (Creekside) – Second-team all-state as a senior in Florida Class AAAAA by The Associated Press … Big offensive line prospect … His height and long reach are ideal for pass protection … Played at Creekside HS in St. Johns, Fla. … Helped lead Creekside to an 8-4 record as a senior and the first state playoff win in school history … Named All-First Coast (all-area) by the Florida Times-Union … Also named to the Florida Times-Union “Super 24” list of top area prospects … One of the nation’s top-100 offensive tackles as evaluated by ESPN … Coached by Greg Stanton.

Justin Taylor, RB, 5-10, 200, Fr-HS, Atlanta, Ga. (North Atlanta) – Projected as one of the South’s top running backs heading into his senior season … Committed to Alabama prior to his senior year at North Atlanta HS but incurred a knee injury in September … Decided to re-open his recruitment after Alabama asked him to grayshirt … Knee rehabilitation is going well and is expected to be ready to compete when practice begins in August … Rushed for approximately 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior at Washington HS in Atlanta … Named All-Atlanta as a junior … One of the nation’s top-40 running backs by ESPN and 24/7 Sports … Coached by Stanley Pritchett.

Kadeem “Pancho” Thomas, LB, 6-0, 225, Fr-HS, Tallahassee, Fla. (Godby) – A tackling machine at Godby HS in Tallahassee, Fla. … Racked up 142 tackles as a senior … Helped team to a 9-3 record and a spot in the second round of the state playoffs … Totaled 143 stops as a junior, ranking sixth in the state in tackles, and was named the Area Defensive Player of the Year by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club … One of the nation’s top 40 inside linebackers by, 24/ 7 Sports and ESPN … Played for the winning North team in the Florida North-South All-Star Game sponsored by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association … Coached by Ronnie Cottrell … Name is pronounced “kah-DEEM.”

Fred Tiller, DB, 6-0, 180, Fr-HS, Homerville, Ga. (Clinch County) – Outstanding athlete could play either side of the ball in college … Standout wide receiver and cornerback at Clinch County (Ga.) HS … First-team all-state by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Georgia Sports Writers Association as a senior … Helped Clinch to a perfect 15-0 record and Class A state championship as a junior … Caught 31 passes for 736 yards and nine touchdowns during that junior year, along with 65 tackles and five interceptions on defense … Rated the No. 45 athlete in the nation by … Coached by Jim Dickerson.

Jon Toth, OL, 6-5, 290, Fr-HS, Indianapolis, Ind. (Brebeuf Jesuit) – Big offensive lineman who also is noted for his athleticism … Could be slotted as a guard or tackle on the collegiate level … Played at Brebeuf Jesuit in Indianapolis, Ind. … Helped Brebeuf advance to the state playoffs each year he was on the varsity … Ranked as the No. 11 player in Indiana and the No. 33 offensive guard in the nation by 24/7 Sports … Rated the nation’s No. 60 offensive tackle by … Coached by Ryan Gallogly … Name is pronounced “TOETH” with a long “o” sound.

Patrick Towles, QB, 6-5, 242, Fr-HS, Ft. Thomas, Ky. (Highlands) – Named to the Parade magazine All- America team … “Mr. Football” for the Commonwealth of Kentucky … Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky … Won the Paul Hornung Award as the Kentucky Player of the Year … Big, strong-armed quarterback who also has notable running ability … Led Highlands HS to three consecutive state championships as the starting quarterback, Class AAAA as a senior and Class AAAAA as a sophomore and junior … Team compiled a three-year record of 44-1, including 38-1 with Towles as the starter … As a senior completed 171 of 279 passes (61.3 percent) for 3,820 yards with 42 touchdowns and only one interception … Also rushed for 589 yards and 15 TDs … Career totals feature 7,429 passing yards and 73 touchdown passes while rushing for 1,718 yards and 38 TDs … The No. 1 prospect in Kentucky and one of the top-10 pro-style quarterbacks in the country by and 24/7 Sports … Athleticism is such that ESPN rates his college position as “athlete” instead of quarterback … Coached by Dale Mueller … Highlands’ quarterbacks coach was former UK QB Jared Lorenzen … Strong arms are in Towles’ heritage as he is the grandson of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning … Last name is pronounced “TOLES.”

Jordan Watson, OL, 6-4, 315, Fr-HS, Fayetteville, Ga. (Whitewater) – Well-regarded offensive lineman … The No. 39 offensive guard in the nation by … No. 37 nationally by 24/7 Sports … Rated as the No. 31 prospect in Georgia by SuperPrep … Earned first-team all-state honors by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution … Played at Whitewater HS in Fayetteville, Ga., and blocked for current Wildcat Josh Clemons … Earned a spot in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All- Star Classic … Coached by Amos McCreary.

Jalen Whitlow, QB/ATH, 6-2, 210, Fr-HS, Prattville, Ala. (Prattville) – Exciting athlete with multiple skills … Helped Prattville (Ala.) HS to the Class AAAAAA state championship and a top-25 national ranking … Split time at quarterback and wide receiver … Earned honorable-mention all-state honors even though he wasn’t the team’s full-time quarterback … Listed as the nation’s No. 12 dual- threat QB and the No. 20 prospect in Alabama by 24/7 Sports … The No. 32 prospect in Alabama by … Coached by Jamey Dubose.

Sterling Wright, DB, 5-11, 201, Fr-HS, Miami, Fla. (Coral Reef/North Carolina Tech) – Played prep school football at North Carolina Tech in Charlotte, the same school that produced current Wildcat Farrington Huguenin … Known as a hard hitter with good range … Coached at N.C. Tech by Tim Newman … Played his high school football at Coral Reef HS in Miami, Fla. … Helped team to a 6-4 record senior year … Totaled 55 tackles and caused eight fumbles … Coached at Coral Reef by Chevas Clements.

Georgia reportedly hires Kirby Smart as head coach

Kirby Smart

Sometimes the rumors really are true.

Seemingly since he arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, the worst-kept secret in college football was that Kirby Smart wouldn’t jump from Nick Saban‘s perch until the Georgia job opened.

And now, one day after Mark Richt said goodbye in Athens, multiple reports say that’s exactly what will happen – Smart will be the next Bulldogs coach.

Outside of Houston’s Tom Herman, Smart was the only target UGA athletics director Greg McGarity truly targeted and, barring a major turn of events between now and the SEC championship, he’ll have landed him.

Hailing from Bainbridge, Ga., Smart played safety for Georgia from 1995-98, then returned in 2005 as running backs coach. In between he made stops at Valdosta State, Florida State, LSU, the Miami Dolphins and, finally, Alabama, where he helped the Crimson Tide to three national titles and never produced a defense ranked lower than 18th nationally in yards per play defense.

This year’s Crimson Tide defense ranks second nationally heading into an SEC title game date with Florida. If, as expected, Alabama wins and, as expected, Smart is introduced as Georgia’s next coach, he would have to decide whether or not to pull a move much like Herman last year and work double-duty through Alabama’s run in the College Football Playoff. Or he could rip a page from his predecessor’s book and dump Alabama to drive straight into the Georgia job.

What sort of program will Smart run? Other than the Process-based enterprise seemingly microchip implanted into the brain of every Saban aide, it’s hard to say. Smart only spoke to the media three times annually.

But here’s one guarantee: he’ll need to nail his offensive coordinator hire. Saban’s former offensive coordinators — Jimbo Fisher and Jim McElwain — have thrived, while his most prominent defensive coordinator-turned-head coach protege — Will Muschamp — failed mightily at Florida because he could never conquer the other side of the ball.

Smart will be expected to win, win big, and win quickly. You don’t fire a coach with 145 wins in 15 years and 19 victories in the last two for any other reason.

Why Steve Spurrier retired, as told by Steve Spurrier

Steve Spurrier

When Steve Spurrier abruptly retired in October, most stopped to reminisce about a true college football original’s career come to a sudden, but not unexpected end. But others pointed out that Spurrier essentially quit on his team in the middle of a tough season. It was an easy take and, hey, it’s not like the Old Ball Coach himself wouldn’t have said something if Mark Richt had done something similar.

In a letter provided to The State, Spurrier reasoned his retirement truly was better for the team, that the team played better without him around and that his presence would’ve generated speculation that would have suffocated the rest of the season.

Considering the Gamecocks lost to The Citadel, one has every reason to doubt that claim. But it’s the one Spurrier is going with.

The letter in full:

In the last few years when asked how much longer I plan to coach, I have said often that if our team is going in the wrong direction I need to resign and allow someone else to take over as head coach here. After six games, we were 2-4 with two blow-outs by Georgia and LSU. We were behind at halftime against UCF (a team that went 0-12 this year). We were definitely going in the wrong direction. I felt that I was doing a lousy job as head coach and a change would help our team become more competitive.

I told our team after I resigned that they needed new leadership, new enthusiasm and a new plan. By stepping aside, this allowed Shawn Elliott the opportunity to change our direction, change our attitude, and hopefully, he could be named head coach after the season. If this happens, some of our assistant coaches would be retained, and this was a major reason for me to get out of the way. Also, by resigning, I forfeited the buyout clause in my contract that saved our university three million dollars.

I certainly believe, as the media has said, that our team played better after I resigned. Shawn Elliott did an excellent job getting this team prepared to play with enthusiasm and effort the rest of our season. Unfortunately, the close games turned into close losses.

When I mentioned I may coach again, I meant possibly as a volunteer coach at a high school. After thirty years as a head coach, I positively know that my head coaching career is finished.

I understand the critics have asked why I didn’t announce I was retiring at the end of the season, as some other coaches have done. I felt that if I had done this, I would have been a distraction throughout the remainder of the season about my last game everywhere I went. I did not want a “Spurrier Farewell Tour.” The players deserve to be the story of each game. Also, it would have prevented Shawn Elliott, a coach that has loved the South Carolina Gamecocks his whole life, from getting the shot to be the interim head coach, with the possibility of becoming the Head Coach here.

When a coach gets fired, the change is often good and helpful to the team. Miami was 4-3 when Al Golden was fired, and the interim head coach went 4-1. Randy Edsall was 2-4 at Maryland when fired and his replacement got the team playing better. Clay Helton, the interim coach at the other USC, was recently named head coach as they went 5-2 under his watch.

Our university was not going to fire me, so I thought it was best for our team that I basically fire myself by resigning. The players have enjoyed playing for Coach Elliott and again the media has said the team has performed better after I resigned.

Thanks to all Gamecocks for allowing me to be your coach for over ten years. My wife Jerri and I will always be thankful and appreciative to the University of South Carolina for this opportunity.


Steve Spurrier

Top four remains same in penultimate College Football Playoff rankings

Bob Stoops

The penultimate College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night and the top four remained the same from last week. Michigan State sits at fifth, meaning Saturday’s Big Ten Championship is officially a national quarterfinal.

Stanford, heading into this week’s Pac-12 Championship, checked in at No. 7, while party-crasher-to-be North Carolina jumped from No. 14 to No. 10.

Ohio State checks in at No. 6, but Stanford seems primed to pass the Buckeyes with a win over No. 20 USC. Getting into the top four, however, would require a loss by No. 1 Clemson or No. 2 Alabama. No. 3 Oklahoma is seemingly in the playoff with a completed 11-1 regular season.

TCU moved one spot ahead of Baylor after a rain-soaked double overtime win over the Bears on Friday night.

Houston, USC and LSU moved back into the rankings, while Tennessee joined the party for the first time this year.

Tuesday night’s release was the final dress rehearsal of the 2015 season; the next time we hear from the CFP selection committee will be to announce the four semifinal selections.

But while these are the second-to-last set of rankings, we can ask 2014 TCU about how much they ultimately mean.

The full rankings:

1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. Iowa
5. Michigan State
6. Ohio State
7. Stanford
8. Notre Dame
9. Florida State
10. North Carolina
11. TCU
12. Baylor
13. Ole Miss
14. Northwestern
15. Michigan
16. Oregon
17. Oklahoma State
18. Florida
19. Houston
20. USC
21. LSU
22. Temple
23. Navy
24. Utah
25. Tennessee

Dabo Swinney wins ACC Coach of the Year award

Dabo Swinney

When you go undefeated, people tend to give you awards.

In the wake of Clemson’s first perfect regular season, its first since 1981, head coach and pizza party patron Dabo Swinney was named the ACC’s top coach on Tuesday.

Swinney received 27 of the 50 available votes, edging North Carolina’s Larry Fedora (21). Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi each gobbled up one of the two remaining votes.

Aaron Brenner of the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier notes Swinney is due a $25,000 bonus for winning the award.