When you think of legendary head coach Bear Bryant, the Alabama Crimson Tide typically comes to mind. After all, that’s where he solidified his status on the Mount Rushmore of college football and had the most success of any coach not named Nick Saban.
Some outside the South may not realize it though, but Bryant really developed his reputation running a football team at another SEC and only some fans would be able to guess that came during his eight seasons at Kentucky. During his tenure in Lexington, Bryant guided the Wildcats to their first SEC football title (in 1950) and saw unprecedented success (before or since) on the gridiron at the school that included several top 10 finishes. Now it appears that connection to UK could play a role in landing a budding 2019 recruit.
Per AL.com, Paul Tyson was the latest player to receive a scholarship offer from Mark Stoops and his staff and, while that name might not ring a bell, it turns out that Tyson is the great-grandson of one Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound signal-caller from Hewitt-Trussville High is not yet considered a blue-chip recruit but 247Sports is reporting that several power programs (including Alabama) are interested in him. Tyson didn’t even start for the varsity team last season but given his good size and good genes, it’s safe to say he could see his stock explode over the coming years.
The real question is though, if the Crimson Tide come along with an offer, would the quarterback be able to turn down a chance to play in Tuscaloosa? As with everything in recruiting, we’ll have to wait until pen meets paper on National Signing Day.
The prohibition of alcohol at football stadiums has undergone one interesting about-face in college athletics the past 15 years or so. While various suite levels at stadiums across the country have generally had access to a few adult beverages, there’s been some very large programs that have opened up the taps in the general seating areas the last few years.
From West Virginia to Texas to Ohio State, more and more programs are selling beer and/or liquor across the board and raking in hundreds of thousands (if not millions) in added revenue while doing so. One conference that isn’t jumping in on that trend however has been the SEC, which has numerous restrictions on where those types of beverages can be sold. That may be about to change in the near future however according to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.
“At some point, I’m relatively certain, there will be further review of the prohibition,” said Sankey on Monday, per The Tuscaloosa News. “That doesn’t predict any outcome.”
While you may think that the league is close to opening the floodgates on alcohol being served at stadiums across the conference, you probably shouldn’t jump to any conclusions on the matter as Sankey seemed to hold his ground and stand firm on keeping things as is right now.
“The conference has a policy that says that we’re not selling alcohol in the general seating area,” he added. “Now, you can agree or disagree with that policy, but that’s the policy. The basis for changing that or maintaining it is one that’s developed in the conversation.
“I think we were at like 98 percent ticket sales in football… So is that one-percent margin a trade that we’re going to make?”
It’s no secret that of-age fans can easily find a few beverages at SEC tailgates prior to games nowadays but it seems momentum is slowing building in the conference to allow fans to buy some during a game. It might not happen anytime in the very near future but the conversation is certainly going to keep popping up each year with many more schools across the country jumping in on this trend.
We’re still over a month away from the SEC’s annual spring meetings down in Destin, Fla. but one item we might be able to confirm is on the agenda will be the graduate transfer rules for the conference.
It’s a hot topic around the league and particularly so at Florida, which is in the mix to land Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire but can’t officially take him due to restrictions from the conference office.
That may change however, as SEC commissioner Greg Sankey confirmed in a radio interview on Friday with ESPN Gainesville.
“It will come up,” Sankey said, according to SECCountry.com. “I do think we need to look where we’ve been restrictive in the past because of the absence of national rules and look at reducing some of those restrictions. I’m one who would position it as interest in freeing things up without just removing every restraint, because I think the restraints have been healthy for us.”
At the heart of the issue is a rule that limits schools from taking additional graduate transfers if previous graduate transfers failed to meet academic requirements after enrolling. The move was designed to prevent a number of situations where players would transfer over just to play and not really go through coursework at their new school.
Other NCAA conferences have failed to follow the SEC’s lead in this area however and now the league is being put at a bit of a disadvantage on the graduate transfer market. This is particularly an issue with the Gators this offseason but it seems as though there will be quite the discussion down in Destin among athletic directors and head coaches about changing the rules to be on more of a level playing field with other conferences on this front.
Wide receiver Jeff Badet made his decision to leave Kentucky for Oklahoma public in early March, but now the move is officially official. The Sooners announced the addition of Badet on Thursday. He will be eligible to slide into the Oklahoma offense immediately as a graduate transfer.
Badet announced his decision to transfer from Kentucky in mid-January. Oklahoma was an immediate possibility with a good recommendation between head coaches. Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops is brothers with Kentucky’s head coach, Mark Stoops.
This past season, Badet finished the year with 670 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 13 games for the Wildcats. At Oklahoma, Badet will be counted on to help pad the depth concerns following the departure of Dede Westbrook. Oklahoma has had recent success with graduate transfers at the wide receiver position, so there is reason for optimism for Badet in his new program once he gets going.
Badet could also be used on special teams after recording a kickoff return average of 22.9 yards per return at Kentucky.
At least a little bit of fairness and/or common sense has cropped up in The ‘Ville.
Friday, Shaq Wiggins, who revealed earlier this offseason that he would be leaving Louisville as a graduate transfer, confirmed that he had been barred by head coach Bobby Petrino from signing with five schools — Kentucky, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Purdue and Western Kentucky. Kentucky and Purdue on the U of L’s 2017 schedule, so that pair makes some semblance of sense.
The most curious of the off-limit quintet is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are not on the Cardinals’ upcoming schedule, although their former defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, left this offseason for the same job at MSU.
Wiggins admitted that MSU would be high on his to-do list were it not for Petrino’s head-scratching restriction. As it turns out, Starkville will be an option as, because of a successful appeal, Wiggins will be permitted to transfer to MSU if he so desires. The restrictions on the other four schools remain in place.
In addition to MSU, Wiggins will also consider a couple of other SEC schools in South Carolina and Tennessee. The Bulldogs, though, would seem to be the prohibitive favorite based on his relationship with his two-time coordinator.
In early May of 2014, Georgia announced that Wiggins had decided to transfer from the Bulldogs; later that month, he followed Grantham to the U of L.
Wiggins started at corner for the Cardinals in 2015, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors. Injuries plagued him throughout the 2016 season, and he announced in January that he would be transferring a second time.