When Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC, getting out of the shadows of the Texas Longhorns was just part of the reason. Since moving to the SEC the Aggies have been establishing a renewed identity as a potential football power and head coach Kevin Sumlin is running with it. Fans of the Aggies know when Texas A&M has received a verbal commitment from a recruit if they follow Sumlin on Twitter, as he will tweet a “YESSIR!” after receiving the good word. Just in the past few days there were three consecutive tweets with the same message, each coinciding with a new recruit on the board for Texas A&M’s latest recruiting class.
The other hashtag making the rounds through the Texas A&M social networks now is #WRTS, which supposedly stands for “We run this state.” Sumlin has not used the hashtag but others have been using it to help support the idea that Texas A&M is dominating the state of Texas when it comes to recruiting compared to both in-state and SEC rivals. So, where is the top talent in Texas heading?
Rivals.com ranks the recruits in each state for the Class of 2014. In Texas, the number one recruit, defensive end Myles Garrett, committed to Texas A&M. So did No. 9 defensive back Nick Harvey. Out of the top 50 players ranked in Texas, 11 are heading to Texas A&M. Essentially, one out of every five of the top players in the talent-rich state of Texas is heading to College Station to play college football. It continues with the Class of 2015 as well. According to the same Rivals ranking for 2015, 12 of the top 50 players in the state of Texas are committed to Texas A&M.
Seven of the top 50 players in 2014 from Texas will be Texas Longhorns. Four will join Baylor, fresh off a Big 12 championship. Two are heading to Texas Tech.
Alabama had a recruiting class widely regarded as the runaway winner, but just one of the top 100 players in the state of Texas will join the Crimson Tide. Of course, that would be the state’s number two recruit, defensive back Tony Brown. Four of the top 50 players in Texas are heading to LSU.
Is Texas A&M running the state of Texas? When it comes to recruiting, it sure seems like it. The question is for how long will that continue to be the case? Texas with a new head coach (Charlie Strong) should start getting back on track in short order, and when the Longhorns are back to battling for Big 12 championships the momentum could balance out a little bit. What Texas A&M will really benefit from would be a division title in the SEC West, and perhaps an SEC conference championship. Accomplish that and running the state could come with even greater ease.
Former LSU quarterback Brandon Harris has found himself a new home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Harris announced via Facebook and Twitter he has chosen to commit to North Carolina.
“Obviously, it has been an important time for me, looking for a great situation and another opportunity to grow as a young man and as a student as well as a football player,” Harris said in his statement. “After my [official] visit this weekend to the University of North Carolina, I’m going to get that opportunity. With that being said, I’m fully committed to UNC this upcoming year and I look forward to the opportunity to play for coach [Larry Fedora] and UNC.”
Harris will be eligible to play for UNC immediately this fall after graduating from LSU this summer, and the timing may not be better for Harris. UNC is losing its starting quarterback (Mitch Trubisky) to the NFL and has a wide open spot to fill in the starting lineup as a result. But the job will not automatically go to Harris upon his arrival at UNC after missing out on spring practices at North Carolina.
Harris played in just four games last season, in which he passed for 139 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. Since the season-opener against Wisconsin, Harris was reduced to backup duty and did not play in any of LSU’s seven final games of the 2016 season, including the bowl game against Louisville. Harris announced his decision to transfer in February, which was pretty much expected given how last season played out amid a coaching change.
Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley has not been practicing this spring, but it has nothing to do with his offseason misdemeanor from a couple of weeks ago. Instead, a foot injury appears to have sidelined Ridley for the spring.
According to a report from Gridiron Now, Ridley has been out due to the foot injury. When the foot injury occurred is not reported. Even if his foot was not injured, it remains unknown if Ridley would be participating int he spring, at least at this point. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has said Ridley will be internally disciplined for his misdemeanor pot possession from earlier this month.
“He’ll receive discipline,” Smart said. “We are very disappointed in his decision. We do not condone that behavior. I think Riley is going to learn a valuable lesson from this mistake.”
When Ridley may be available again remains unknown, as does what exactly the punishment to him will be from Smart. A one-game suspension is the expected result for Ridley according to the university’s student-athlete handbook.
USF defensive back Hassan Childs was injured in a shooting incident overnight. Fortunately, Childs is currently said to be in stable condition, according to USF.
“We are deeply concerned that an incident occurred overnight in which one of our guys, Hassan Childs, was injured in a shooting,” a statement from USF head coach Charlie Strong said. “Thankfully, Hassan is in stable condition and being well cared for, and no one else was injured. There is an ongoing investigation of the incident and we are in the process of gathering further information.”
The shooting took place off campus, but details about the incident have not been reported.
Childs played in eight games for the Bulls last year. He recorded 16 tackles and returned two punts for three yards in a backup role.
The Atlanta Braves opened the doors to their brand new baseball stadium over the weekend to fans as the baseball team gets ready to open the 2017 season in their new digs. Meanwhile, at the old home of the Braves, Georgia State University is moving along according to schedule in downsizing and renovating Turner Field to serve as the permanent home of the football program. So far, so good, as the university fully anticipates the stadium will be ready to go for the season opener on August 31 against Tennessee State.
“The job that’s being done is incredible,” Athletic Director Charlie Cobb told 11Alive. “Each and every time I walk in, I see something new being done.”
Renovation and construction at Turner Field got started in February. The entire project will be done in phases as the university plans to develop around thew football stadium for an expanding university. As far as the stadium goes, the seating capacity will be retrofitted to hold a capacity of 23,000 fans. That will be the first phase of the master plan, with a second phase to complete building the rest of the stadium and add additional seating for fans.
“We plan on doing some unique things capturing the history of the stadium, but also creating a football facility that speaks to Georgia State,” Cobb said. “One of the stories we want to tell is the fact that it went from being an Olympic venue, to the home of the Braves, and now to the home of Georgia State. I think we can write that third chapter.”
Georgia State previously played its home games in the Georgia Dome, the now former home of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. The Falcons are also moving into a new football stadium this season. The Falcons’ new home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also welcome some college football action to the stadium this season with the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff will move to the new stadium from the Georgia Dome. This year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff features Alabama and Florida State on September 2 and Georgia Tech and Tennessee on September 4. The SEC Championship Game and the Peach Bowl will also be hosted in the new stadium and the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be played there on January 8, 2018.
Georgia State may have their new home, but perhaps one day they will get to play in the new stadium too.