Darrell Williams

Four-star recruit considers flipping from Auburn to Alabama


Darrell Williams‘ commitment to the Auburn Tigers is what is commonly referred to as a soft verbal.

Williams originally committed to Auburn May 7. It hasn’t slowed Alabama or Oklahoma’s interest in the four-star linebacker. And Williams is smart enough to keep all of his options available.

“Auburn is the school I’m committed to, but at the same time, at the end of the day, people change their minds,” Williams told Al.com’s Wesley Sinor. “You just have to go with the flow. Everything happens for a reason. If I were to go to Auburn, then that’s the place for me. If I were to go to Alabama or Oklahoma, then that would be the place for me.

“Alabama is coming hard and Auburn is talking to me and keeping up the relationship. Oklahoma is trying really hard, but it’s hard because they’re so far away. I like their defense and the way they play, so it’s nothing against them. If I’m holding back a bit (from Oklahoma) it’s because of the two in-state schools.”

Williams grew up an Alabama fan, which could eventually cause him to flip his commitment.

“I talk to Coach (Mario) Cristobal probably the most, and Coach (Kirby) Smart,” he said. “Every now and then they get me on the phone with Coach (Nick) Saban. They want me to come there, obviously. Coach Smart knows how recruiting is, he tells me I have to go where I want to go.”

If Oklahoma wasn’t so far away from his home in Hoover, Ala., the Sooners might actually be the obvious choice for Williams. Both the Tigers and Crimson Tide have three commitments from linebackers. The Sooners don’t have any linebackers verbally committed to their 2015 class, and Williams said he likes their defense.

Williams also has scholarship offers from the Cincinnati Bearcats, Florida State Seminoles, Mississippi State Bulldogs and Tennessee Volunteers.

(Photo courtesy of Rivals.com)

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.