WACO, Texas — Baylor head coach Art Briles announced Wednesday the signing of 23 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to play football at the school. The 23 2012 signees are comprised of 22 high school standouts and one junior college transfer.
“We feel very confident and very passionate about this class,” Briles said, “as being as good as we’ve ever signed in our five signing classes at Baylor. We got some outstanding players on both sides of the ball that we know have the potential to be All-American football players and to play on Sundays.”
The focus of Baylor’s 2012 signing class is clearly the defense, as nearly two-thirds of the newcomers are likely to play on the defensive side of the ball under second-year D-coordinator Phil Bennett.
“This year’s class certainly fills needs, we went heavy on defense; we felt like we needed to make sure that we give ourselves every opportunity to have as good a defense as possible,” Briles said. “And we filled in the needs that we had to have offensively.”
The class is highlighted by two defensive prep All-Americans – lineman Javonte Magee of Sam Houston High School in San Antonio and linebacker Brian Nance of Trinity High School in Euless, Texas – and an additional national top-250 prospect on the offensive side – receiver Corey Coleman of Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas.
“Every class that we’ve been able to sign here at Baylor continues to get better and better,” Briles said. “As we’ve produced better on the football field, with the addition of a new stadium coming, all these events pay great dividends in the recruiting world.”
Baylor’s 2012 class is made up predominantly of Texas recruits (22 of 23 from in-state schools) and includes two student-athletes currently enrolled in Baylor’s spring semester who will participate in 2012 spring drills (scheduled to begin March 18): mid-year junior college signee Eddie Lackey of Riverside Community College and early high school graduate Lynx Hawthorne from Refugio High School.
At the moment, BYU is looking at one hellacious start to the 2019 season.
Thursday afternoon, BYU announced tat it has added a future home-and-home series with Tennessee. The Volunteers will serve as the host for a Sept. 7, 2019, matchup at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, with the second game set for Sept. 1 or 2, 2023, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
The 2019 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.
“There’s something about those orange and white checkerboard end zones that shouts ‘Tradition!’,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “When the opportunity to play a series with Tennessee presented itself, we didn’t blink. They’re a storied football program with a winning tradition, national championships, a classic stadium, incredible fans and hall of fame coaches.
“It will be a great experience to visit SEC country and play in Neyland Stadium, and later host Tennessee in Provo.”
BYU will kick off the 2019 season against Utah, followed by games against Tennessee, USC and Washington the next three weeks. They also have a pair of mid-October games against Washington State and Boise State.
UT’s other non-conference games that season include Georgia State, Chattanooga and UAB.
Lovie Smith is not a big fan of fighting amongst his Illinois players, a lesson he shared with his aptly nicknamed Fighting Illini squad Wednesday evening.
According to the Decatur Herald & Review, Illinois’ spring practice session yesterday came to an abrupt and premature end after a fight between players broke out. The names of those involved in the fisticuffs are not known as the media hadn’t been permitted to view practice.
From the Herald & Review‘s report:
…a source said Smith wanted to send a strong message about how he hates fighting and considers it an inexcusable transgression that robs the rest of the team of a chance to concentrate on getting better.
The field was cleared at about 5:35 p.m., nearly an hour before practice was scheduled to end. The players were sent to the locker room and the field was quickly cleared of equipment. Reporters were told there would be no interviews and were told to vacate the Memorial Stadium facility.
The Illini, which finished 3-9 in their first season under Smith last year, kicked off spring practice feb. 14 and will conclude it March 10 with the annual spring game.
With spring practice getting set to kick of en masse all across the country, there’s more of the expected personnel attrition settling in and coming to light.
On his Twitter account Wednesday, Andy Dodd announced that it is in his “best interest” to transfer from LSU and continue playing college football elsewhere. “This decision was not an easy one, but it is what’s best for me moving forward,” the offensive lineman wrote.
Dodd was a three-star member of the Tigers’ 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No. 17 guard in the country.
After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, the lineman played in eight games the next two seasons. He played in six games, with one start, in 2016.
Another graduate transfer has made a move, albeit with a slightly different bent than most others.
Auburn confirmed Wednesday that Casey Dunn has been added to Gus Malzahn‘s football roster. The center comes to The Plains as a graduate transfer, which makes him eligible for the 2017 season.
He also comes to Auburn from Jacksonville State, an FCS school that would’ve made him immediately eligible aside from the grad transfer exception. Oh, and his new position coach is excited to have him in the personnel fold as well.
The past two seasons, Dunn was an FCS All-American. While Dunn comes to the Tigers as a center who started 27 games at that position for the Gamecocks, he could play anywhere along the interior of the Tigers’ offensive line.
Malzahn is also very familiar with Dunn’s talent as the lineman started for the JSU squad that took him to overtime in 2015.