Vanderbilt Commodores

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 24: Head coach Derek Mason of the Vanderbilt Commodores speaks to an official regarding a play that was called a non-fumble on the opening kickoff against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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Vandy assistant Osia Lewis battling liver cancer


A serious medical event has caused a shakeup on Derek Mason‘s Vanderbilt coaching staff.

The football program revealed in an article posted to its official website Tuesday night that outside linebackers coach Osia Lewis is battling cholangiocarcinoma, a form of liver cancer.  The 54-year-old coach was diagnosed in mid-January after undergoing a battery of tests the last couple of months.

Lewis, who is married with two children, has already started chemotherapy, although the school writes that, “[f]or now, the tumor is inoperable due to its location, but doctors are hopeful treatment will make an impact.”

As Lewis continues to battle, he will move from his on-field role to what the program describes as the chief consultant to the head coach and senior defensive assistant. “But as soon as I’m ready to go, I’ll be back,” the coach said.

“Osia is family,” Mason said. “Some people run from these things, but we’ve chosen to run to it. I believe Osia and Darlene, with what they’ve poured into this program, their journey is a testament to what it means to be family. They’ve given everything they have to this program, moving from San Diego to Nashville because I asked them to. I truly believe it’s important for us to take the journey with them.

“That’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

Vandy the new home for transferring Michigan longsnapper

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 22: Ryan Glasgow #96 and Scott Sypniewski #31 of the Michigan Wolverines leave the field after a 41-8 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 22, 2016 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Yeah, it’s a long-snapper, but it’s not a punter, right?  And it’s the offseason, so there’s that too.

Regardless, Scott Sypniewski (pictured, No. 31) announced in late December that he had decided to transfer from Michigan.  A month and a half later, the long-snapper took to his personal Twitter account to announce that he has decided to transfer to Vanderbilt.

Sypniewski will be coming to the Commodores as a graduate transfer, giving him immediate eligibility for what will be his final season of college football.

From 2014-16, Sypniewski played in 36 games for the Wolverines. He was the team’s primary long-snapper each of the past two seasons.

More than likely, Sypniewski will be best known as the triggerman for one of the most bizarre endings in college football history.

SEC rakes in over half a billion dollars in revenue

COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 15:  An SEC sign sits atop a yardage marker during the game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Breaking: The SEC has a lot of money.

The conference announced Thursday it collected and subsequently divided $584.2 million in revenue during the 2015-16 fiscal year. Each school received an average of $40.4 million, which leaves around $18.7 million for the conference office.

That number represents a sharp spike from recent years, a 286 percent increase since 2008-09.

“Each of our institutions sponsor from 16 to 22 intercollegiate athletics teams and offer their student-athletes in those sports the highest level of commitment to their athletics and academic experience,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.  “This distribution from the SEC helps our universities’ athletics programs continue to fully support broad-based opportunities for thousands of female and male student-athletes in all sports.”

According to a copy of the SEC’s tax return obtained by CBS Sports, television and radio revenue grew from $311.9 million in 2014-15 to $420.1 million in 2015-16, a growth made possible by SEC Network. Postseason revenue also grew from $162.8 million to $180.6 million, thanks to the College Football Playoff.

The 2015-16 fiscal year also represented Mike Slive‘s swan song as commissioner, for which he was paid nearly $4.2 million. New commissioner Sankey made $1.2 million for the year.

SEC National Signing Day recap: Alabama reigns supreme but Georgia isn’t far behind

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 09:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates their 38-17 win over the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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When it comes to recruiting, there’s Alabama and there’s everybody else playing for second. It seems that way on the field each season and it is certainly evident on the first Wednesday of every February when Nick Saban puts together yet another ho-hum No. 1 overall recruiting class.

How high of a level are the Crimson Tide operating on? Well, when you are so loaded that you are grayshirting top 100 recruits, you know things are going pretty well in Tuscaloosa.

Despite another banner day for the defending SEC champions though, the rest of the league once again impressed when it came to reeling in the talent. Schools from the conference stacked half of the top 10 in the class rankings and nine of the 14 programs cracked the overall top 25. Nobody surged as much as Georgia did, with Saban protegé Kirby Smart cleaning up in the state while cherry-picking some great players elsewhere too. Only Alabama and Florida State signed more five-stars than the Bulldogs and the Tide and Michigan were the only two programs in the same league when it came to top 100 players. LSU closed strong in Ed Orgeron’s first recruiting class as head coach of the Tigers and SEC West stalwarts Auburn and Texas A&M continued to add depth with top 12 classes.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 3 overall Najee Harris (RB, Alabama), No. 4 overall Alex Leatherwood (OT, Alabama), No. 13 Dylan Moses (LB, Alabama), No. 14 Trey Smith (OT, Tennessee), No. 16 Isaiah Wilson (OT, Georgia)

Top 25 classes: No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia, No. 7 LSU, No. 9 Auburn, No. 10 Florida, No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 17 Tennessee, No. 21 South Carolina, No. 24 Mississippi State

Biggest storyline: Georgia finds plenty of success to keep the Tide from rolling away

Alabama’s recruiting domination is no surprise but it’s the Tide’s former defensive coordinator who made one of the biggest splashes on Signing Day by landing a top three class. Of course it’s not too hard to recruit at a school like Georgia in such a fertile recruiting area but the fact that Smart and company were able to haul in the group they did is still impressive. Adding this group to the young team that is returning for 2017 should ratchet up expectations even further in Athens going forward.

Biggest surprise: Ole Miss’ dramatic departure from the top 25

The Rebels have been a mainstay in the top 15 ever since Hugh Freeze took over the program but the specter of impending NCAA sanctions really hampered the team’s recruiting efforts in 2017. Ole Miss found itself in the 30’s of the team rankings, right behind Kentucky with fewer four- and three-star players than the Wildcats. Freeze didn’t exactly sound like a happy camper on Wednesday and there’s no secret why that is.

Don’t sleep on: Auburn

Their in-state rival took home all the headlines but don’t overlook the work that Gus Malzahn did despite not having an offensive coordinator for several weeks. Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham will rightfully get the most attention and he could be one of the most talented QB’s to head to the Plains since a recent Heisman Trophy winner. In addition, the Tigers landed five-star offensive tackle Calvin Ashley and came out of nowhere to snag Markaviest Bryant from several of their SEC rivals.

We’ll see about: Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina

Georgia was the top, um, dawg in the rankings among SEC East teams but the other half of the league still managed to put together some fairly highly ranked classes. Florida closed very strong on Wednesday to sneak into the top 10 with some late flips, but the Gators still missed on adding an impact defensive tackle and landed only one top-tier offensive lineman. The Vols had the No. 1 offensive tackle enroll early but didn’t quite have the momentum of past years on the recruiting trail. South Carolina was among the surprises in the top 25 team rankings but the question with the Gamecocks and the other two divisional rivals listed above is if that is all going to be enough to close the gap on the SEC West.

Illini transfer RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn tweets he’s heading home to Vandy

CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 3: Ke'Shawn Vaughn #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini runs the ball against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Champaign, Illinois.  Illinois defeated Nebraska 14-13. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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Before we get to a full day of high schoolers revealing their new football homes, we have a current college player revealing his.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday night, former Illinois running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn revealed that he’ll enroll at Vanderbilt and continuing his playing career for the Commodores. The move comes just under two weeks after Vaughn tweeted his decision to leave the Fighting Illini.

It was also mark a homecoming for the back as Vaughn played his high school football in Nashville.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Vaughn will likely have to sit out the 2017 season. He will, though, have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.

Vaughn rushed for a team-high 723 yards and six touchdowns as a true freshman in 2015. This past season, he was third with 301 yards and three touchdowns.