A Belarussian hunter places duck decoys

Urban Meyer on the hunt for Duck recruits


It didn’t take long after Chip Kelly‘s abrupt about-face for other schools to take aim at Oregon’s 2013 recruiting class.  Specifically, USC and Ohio State were looking to poach several high-profile recruits from what many were looking upon as a lame duck, so to speak, recruiting class.

A week and a half away from National Signing Day, the Buckeyes are ratcheting up the pressure on new UO head coach Mark Helfrich‘s attempts to keep the class from tumbling even further into mediocrity.

UO’s 2013 class, which ranks anywhere between 25th and 36th depending on the recruiting service, contains verbal commitments from four out-of-state players who carry four-star rankings.  Starting the day Kelly left for the NFL, Urban Meyer and his OSU coaching staff has gone hard after every single one of those four-star recruits.  From The Oregonian‘s John Canzano:

Dontre Wilson, a 5-foot-10, 174-pound running back from Texas, committed to Oregon last spring. He now plans to visit Columbus this weekend. Meanwhile, Ohio State celebrated Kelly’s NFL announcement by rushing Buckeyes offensive coordinator Tom Herman to San Diego to visit four-star wide receiver Darren Carrington Jr., another UO recruit. Also in San Diego, Ohio State offered two more critical Oregon commitments, twin basketball/football stars Tyree and Tyrell Robinson, scholarships after the Eagles-Kelly business went public.

Suffice to say, Urban Meyer (pictured) knows how to successfully navigate the recruiting trail — his 2013 class is currently No. 2 according to 247Sports.com and Scout.com, No. 4 according to Rivals.com — so there’s much concern about Helfrich’s ability to retain the upper-tier of what’s now his class.

As was the case the day of Kelly’s departure, though, it’s not all negative recruiting-wise for the Ducks as the crown jewel of UO’s class this year, five-star running back Thomas Tyner, is expected to follow through on his verbal commitment and sign with the Ducks early next month.

How many of his fellow high-profile commits follow suit, however, remains to be seen, especially with the dogged Meyer hot on their scent.

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.