Dallas Colleges: Marcus Lattimore

Kiper's Big Board entering NFL combine

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
2:00
PM CT
Players are gathering in Indianapolis, so that means this year's NFL combine is officially underway. The first two days are all about the interviews and eye tests, while the on-field workouts begin Saturday.

But before any of them stepped foot in Indy, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. released his pre-Combine Big Board Insider. Naturally, it's loaded with SEC players. Twelve of the 25 players on Kiper's Big Board are from the SEC, including six of the top 10 players.

Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones kept his place in the No. 1 spot, while Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel jumped in front of teammate Damontre Moore to move from No. 3 to No. 2.

Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd made a major move up Kiper's rankings, moving from No. 15 to No. 8.

Here's where all 12 SEC players ranked on Kiper's Big Board heading into the Combine:

1. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia

2. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

3. Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

6. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

8. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

10. Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

12. Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU

15. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

16. D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

18. Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia

21. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

25. Matt Elam, S, Florida

Kiper also updated his position rankings Insider this week. Twenty-eight SEC players made Kiper's position rankings, and the league was represented by at least one player at every position, except fullback.

Here's where Kiper put SEC players in his position rankings:

Quarterbacks

4. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas

Running backs

1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama

5. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

Fullbacks

None

Wide receivers

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

Tight ends

3. Jordan Reed, Florida

Offensive tackles

1. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

3. D.J. Fluker, Alabama

Offensive guards

1. Chance Warmack, Alabama

3. Larry Warford, Kentucky

4. Dallas Thomas, Tennessee

Centers

2. Barrett Jones, Alabama

Defensive ends

1. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

4. Barkevious Mingo, LSU

Defensive tackles

2. Sharrif Floyd, Florida

3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

Inside linebackers

1. Alec Ogletree, Georgia

3. Kevin Minter, LSU

5. Jon Bostic, Florida

Outside linebackers

1. Jarvis Jones, Georgia

4. Zaviar Gooden, Missouri

5. Cornelius Washington, Georgia

Cornerbacks

1. Dee Milliner, Alabama

3. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

Safeties

2. Matt Elam, Florida

4. Eric Reid, LSU

5. D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina

Kickers

2. Caleb Sturgis, Florida

Punters

2. Brad Wing, LSU
We checked on the SEC's 3,000-yard passers from 2012 on Thursday, so we're taking a look at the running backs who hit the coveted 1,000-yard mark last fall.

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Last summer, we looked at 10 running backs we thought could eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark. The SEC had four players reach 1,000 yards on the ground in 2011, and had nine, including Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, in 2012. I thought it was supposed to be the Year of the Quarterback?

Here's how the Texas A&M running backs we looked at last year did in 2012:

6. Christine Michael, Texas A&M: Like Lattimore, Michael was coming off of an ACL injury this fall, but he never seemed to really fit in the Aggies' new spread scheme. Eventually, he really wasn't Texas A&M's first option at running back and he finished the season with 417 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in 11 games of action.

Who was overlooked:
  • Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: The Heisman winner was arguably the nation's most elusive player in the country when he took off running. He shredded defenses all season and led the SEC with 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also averaged 7 yards per carry.

Previewing the 2012 SEC media days

July, 16, 2012
7/16/12
12:53
PM CT

It's almost time for hundreds of media folk to pile into a swanky ballroom and kick off another year of SEC media days.

The festivities begin Tuesday at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala., and last until Thursday afternoon. The event serves as the unofficial kickoff to SEC football season.

So what should we be on the lookout for this year?

Well, the biggest news is all the star power that won't be making the trip. Two of the league's top rushers -- Marcus Lattimore and Christine Michael -- won't be in town. Yes, they are both coming off season-ending injuries, but so is Arkansas' Knile Davis, and he'll be in attendance.

One of the league's best, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray won't be in Hoover, either. Nor will Bulldogs wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell.

Some other big names not on the list include Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Missouri quarterback James Franklin.

There are a lot of interesting storylines revolving around all those players, who serve as faces for their respective programs, and it's disappointing that they won't be around this week.

However, some quality names are on this year's roster, including Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones, Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, Texas A&M linebacker Sean Porter, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw.

I'm sure they'll all have plenty to say and should keep us all entertained.

Here are some other things to keep an eye on this week:
  • If you're coming into town, make sure you bring your protective gear for Thursday. That's when Alabama's up, and you'd better believe the lobby will be jam-packed with Tide fans. They come out in full force and expect things to be even tighter this year after that championship.
  • Arkansas players will have to answer a lot of questions surrounding their former coach, Bobby Petrino. How much of a distraction will his exit be this fall?
  • Also, what will new Arkansas coach John L. Smith say? He sure knows how to make a news conference exciting, so don't expect anything to be different in front of all those SEC scribes.
  • One coach not afraid to put on a show while at the podium is South Carolina's Steve Spurrier. The Head Ball Coach has been chirping this year, and he probably won't stop in Hoover.
  • Last year, there were a lot of questions about the quarterback talent in this league. This year, that isn't the case, as the league is as plentiful at the position as it has been in years.
  • Although only Davis will be in town, expect a lot of talk about three of the league's best running backs all coming off major, season-ending injuries.
  • Georgia has had an eventful offseason away from the field, and it's time to see how players and coach Mark Richt are feeling about all of the silly distractions. Also, what's in store for the Bulldogs' running game now that Isaiah Crowell is gone?
  • I wonder how many times Nick Saban and his players will be asked questions about comparisons to the 2010 team. You know how much Saban loves comparison talk. ...
  • Tennessee coach Derek Dooley should field a lot of questions about his job security this week. Regardless of how you feel about the time he's had and all the issues he's had to deal with, his seat is hotter than ever.
  • Texas A&M and Missouri are now officially members of the SEC. How will their players and coaches react to being surrounded by all those SEC writers? And how many more questions will they get about adjusting to their new conference?
  • LSU was on top of the college football world until last year's national championship. The Tigers bring back a boatload of talent, but can they finish things this year?
  • The good news for Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee is their coaches won't have to deal with NCAA questions, unlike last year.

Aggies' Michael picked to bounce back

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
10:00
AM CT
We asked the fans last week in our SportsNation poll to pick the player in the SEC who would bounce back the strongest this season from injury, and the winner was Texas A&M running back Christine Michael.

It was a good race among three outstanding running backs. With more than 12,000 votes cast, Michael collected 31 percent of the vote. South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore was second with 25 percent of the vote, while Arkansas' Knile Davis was third with 23 percent of the vote.

Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter was fourth with 17 percent of the vote, and Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley was fifth with 4 percent.

For some, it might have been a surprise that Lattimore didn't win. He's been a first-team pick at running back on pretty much every preseason All-America team. But Michael was also on his way to a tremendous season a year ago before tearing his ACL against Oklahoma and missing the Aggies' final four games.

The 5-11, 213-pound Michael has terrific speed and great cutting ability and is never hesitant about taking on any defender. He rushed for 899 yards before his injury last season and averaged 6 yards per carry. He's averaged 5.4 yards per carry during his career, but has had each of his last two seasons cut short by injuries. Two years ago, it was a broken leg that sidelined him.

Michael, who will be a senior, was held out of contact in the spring, but insisted he could have played in a game if the Aggies were playing in one. If healthy, he has everything it takes to be a 1,200-yard rusher in this league. He just has to prove that he can make it through an entire season.

It remains to be seen how much he will be used as a receiver out of the backfield in Kevin Sumlin's new offense, and Michael could again end up splitting carries similar to the last few years with Cyrus Gray. The Aggies are still unsure if Oklahoma transfer Brandon Williams will be ruled eligible by the NCAA this season, and incoming freshman Trey Williams also has loads of talent.

Regardless of how it all shakes out, Michael is the kind of runner who can take over a game. He lit up Arkansas last season for 230 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries.

He'll be a treat for SEC fans to watch play. That is, unless you're cheering for the team trying to tackle him.

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