The 2017 season just can’t end quick enough for Tennessee.
Proving that there have been much better days on Rocky Top, the school has reportedly and unexpectedly dismissed wide receiver Jauan Jennings from the team on Wednesday evening — just hours after the junior went on a tirade against the current coaching staff and posted it to his social media accounts.
Jennings reportedly went off earlier in the day at the staff and called them several choice, NSFW names in videos posted to his private Instagram account.
The receiver was somewhat of a surprise return to practice recently as it was expected he was going to miss the rest of the season after being injured in season opener against Georgia Tech. Jennings enter the year as an All-SEC third team selection in the preseason but was limited to just three catches for 17 yards the first half of the Vols’ first game.
Jennings could transfer to another school as he has a redshirt year available and likely would be able to receive a medical redshirt as well. Declaring for the NFL Draft seems the more likely scenario however but one thing is for certain: a return to Tennessee doesn’t look like it’s in the cards after Wednesday’s actions on both sides.
The whole of college football is making sure its message of support for those who serve gets heard loud and clear.
This year, Veteran’s Day just happens to fall on a gameday, and arguably the biggest college football gameday of the 2017 season in fact. Whether it be helmets or uniforms or in-game presentations, schools throughout the week have unveiled their gameday plans for honoring our nation’s military.
Kevin mentioned a couple on Wednesday; below is but a sampling of others who will honor those brave men and women who have allowed, and continue to allow, all of us to continue to enjoy this great sport, and every other freedom we enjoy for that matter.
And, from CFT as a whole and myself personally, God bless every single member of every branch of the military, past and present. From the bottom of our collective hearts, thank you so much for your service.
The quarterback carousel continued in Gainesville on Saturday. Luke Del Rio, who was just named the starting quarterback for Florida this week after guiding the Gators to a road win at Kentucky last week, was taken out of the game with an apparent shoulder injury late in the first half. Feliepe Franks came in off the bench and had an immediate impact with a deep pass to setup a key field goal and then had an efficient second half through the air to help guide Florida to a 38-24 victory over Vanderbilt.
It is unknown at this time what the future holds for Del Rio. The injured shoulder was the one he had surgically repaired last year, so the caution level is understandably high for the Gators and Del Rio. If he is out for an extended period of time, then it will be up to Franks to provide a steady and reliable arm in the offense moving forward if Florida is to contend for the SEC East.
At least Florida can still generally rely on their defense. Although Vanderbilt put together some good drives at times, the Gators had enough stops to hold off the upset bid from the visitors. But the offense was keyed by the first 100-yard day on the ground by Malik Davis, who took off 39 yards for the dagger on a 4th and 1 late in the game.
After going to halftime tied at 17-17, thanks in large part to a deep pass from Franks to setup a game-tying field goal as time expired in the first half, Florida scored two touchdowns on two straight offensive series while Vanderbilt was held to a three-and-out and fumbled the football away to the Gators. Florida took a commanding 14-point lead on Vanderbilt and that was enough t grab the win at home.
Florida will stay home next week for a game against LSU. Florida snapped a three-game losing streak to the Tigers last season in a game that was transplanted to Baton Rouge following a rescheduling fiasco following a hurricane. LSU ended up hosting the game that was originally scheduled to be played in Gainesville, and to accommodate the change the Gators gained the home game this season.
Vanderbilt will be home next week for another SEC East battle, this time with Georgia. Vanderbilt upset the Bulldogs last season in Athens, 17-16 and the two schools have split their last four meetings.
A week after being steamrolled at home by Alabama, Vanderbilt appears to be much more competitive this week on the road against Florida with the teams tied 17-17 at halftime. If Florida is going to avoid taking a loss at home, the hopes may have to be placed in the hands of quarterback Feleipe Franks after Luke Del Rio headed off to the locker room a few minutes before halftime with a trainer.
After three back-and-forth three-and-outs to start the game by both offenses, Florida finally got the ball rolling with a 10-play touchdown drive capped by Lamical Perine scoring the first rushing touchdown by a Gators running back in a year. But Vanderbilt answered with a touchdown drive of their own. The Commodores marched 75 yards in seven plays with Kyle Shurmur completing a 13-yard pass to Kalija Lipscomb for the game-tying score.
The teams again exchanged touchdown drives a few possessions later to keep the game tight at 14-14. Vanderbilt took the 17-14 lead with a 42-yard field goal by Tommy Openshaw in the final minute of the half.
After taking over the offense, Franks tossed a deep ball down the field to Tyrie Cleveland for a 49-yard gain, but the Gators could not get in the end zone from a 1st and Goal from the nine-yard line in the time remaining in the half. The Gators settled for a field goal to tie the game heading to halftime.
Given the current climate both politically and sports-wise, this may have come at a good time for everyone.
On September 30, 1967, Nate Northington played for the Kentucky Wildcats in a game against the Ole Miss Rebels at the old Stoll Field in Lexington. It was a historic moment as it marked the first time that an African-American played for one SEC team against another team from the conference.
One week before, against the Indiana Hoosiers, the cornerback broke the SEC color barrier by playing against the Big Ten school.
Northington breaking the SEC vs. SEC color barrier was tinged with sadness, however, as Greg Page, a fellow African-American who signed with UK in 1966 along with Northington, died exactly one day before the Ole Miss game from a neck injury he had sustained during a drill in a late-August practice.
“The seeds of change planted by these men and so many others have blossomed today into hundreds of opportunities in every SEC sport and in the academic programs of our universities,” said SEC commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement. “Those who endured in the early moments of change serve as reminders of our mutual responsibility to support opportunities for today’s young people, make certain we foster their education and graduation, and bring together our communities through our universities and athletics programs.”
The anniversary of the groundbreaking integration will be commemorated throughout the league in Week 5. From the conference’s release:
The Southeastern Conference will commemorate the event with a one-minute video message that will air during every SEC football game on CBS and all ESPN platforms on Saturday. The video, titled “Together, It Just Means More,” will include a tribute to Northington as well as Vanderbilt’s Perry Wallace. who broke the color-barrier in SEC men’s basketball the same year, plus imagery from all 14 institutions.