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Monday, October 17, 2011
Five things I learned this weekend

By Jamie Newberg

Rebels land big bruiser
Four-star RB Kenno Loyal (Decatur, Ga./Columbia), who committed to Ole Miss over the weekend, loves the opportunity he has in Oxford.

“One of the main reasons was he wanted to play in the SEC. The playing time opportunity was a big factor to him,” said Columbia coach Mario Allen. “They are young and he can grow with the guys.”

Loyal, 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, rushed for over 1,500 yards as a junior. This season he has over 700 through seven games. He is the No. 15 running back in the country.

“They are getting a running back that brings power and speed,” Allen said. “He’s can be elusive and is just a great football player, with a great football IQ. Kenno will work hard and they will not have to worry about him. He will work hard day in and day out. He’s been a marked man for a while that’s earned every yard. Teams around here are glad he’s a senior.”

Holsey planning on taking some visits
ESPNU 150 CB Josh Holsey (Fairburn, Ga./Creekside) made his Auburn commitment some time ago and now he says he will make some official visits.

“I am thinking about making official visits to both LSU and Florida State,” said Holsey, who is the nation’s No. 5 CB. “I may even take one to Georgia. I just want to see some other schools and have some fun. I told Auburn and they were OK with everything just as long as I sign with them and I plan too.”

Holsey came into this fall with 19 career interceptions. He has added three more to that total.

“We are 4-3 and It could be better. We went through some injuries and that hurt the team. I know in the last few games I have eight touchdowns and three picks,” said Holsey, who has 22 career interceptions. “I have to find ways to get around the ball because teams are staying away from me.”

Yeldon explodes again
T.J. Yeldon (Daphne, Ala./Daphne) continues to pour it on this fall. This weekend he rushed for 375 yards and three touchdowns in leading top ranked Daphne to a 45-24 win over Fairhope. It was a regionally televised game that was broadcasted in seven games throughout the South.

“T.J. really put on a show,” said Daphne coach Kevin Vickery. “He continues to dominate.”

For the season, the Auburn commit has rushed for 1,600 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns on only 139 carries. Yeldon is averaging 11.5 yards per carry. He also has one receiving TD.

This week, Daphne faces Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen, which is also unbeaten and ranked in the top 10 in the state. McGill-Toolen’s coach Bart Sessions was Daphne’s defensive coordinator last season. There are also two other former Daphne assistants who are now at McGill-Toolen.

Clemson rolling along
Carlos Watkins (Forest City, N.C./Chase) became Clemson’s 19th commitment for the Tigers’ 2012 recruiting class. It’s Dabo Swinney’s sixth ESPNU 150 commitment. Watkins joins safety Travis Blanks (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian), offensive linemen Patrick Destefano (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) and Jay Guillermo (Maryville, Tenn./Maryville), wide receiver Germone Hopper (Charlotte, N.C./Berry) and quarterback Chad Kelly (Buffalo, N.Y./Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute).

That’s a third of Swinney’s class. Couple that with a 7-0 start and the Tigers find themselves roaring both on and off the field. Watkins is an extremely athletic big man. At 6-3 and 280 he will likely be a defensive tackle in the Clemson scheme for defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. He has a chance to become another outstanding defensive linemen produced by the Tigers.

Watkins was torn between Clemson and Florida. A big reason he selected the Tigers over the Gators is a common theme of what just about every Clemson commitment says -- “the family atmosphere within the football program.” While Clemson may not be for every prospect, it is to the ones that like that small town feel and the camaraderie in the locker room between the players and coaches. It also helps that Forest City, N.C. is less than 100 miles from the Clemson campus.

The Tigers currently have the No. 7 ranked class in the nation.

Another Heisman for Bama?
Could Alabama have their second Heisman Trophy winner in the last three years? If running back Trent Richardson keeps playing the way he has the answer could be yes. And if that happens, imagine how much Nick Saban and his staff can use that when recruiting backs.

Richardson had another stellar game this past weekend, rushing for a Crimson Tide record 100-plus yards for a sixth straight game. In the process he scored four touchdowns. In seven games Richardson has rushed for 912 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. He’s on pace for an 1,800 yard effort and 30 scores. Consider this, when Mark Ingram became Alabama’s first Heisman winner less than two years ago he rushed for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns.

His campaign could get a giant boost with another good performance when the Crimson Tide takes on the Tigers and a win against LSU in their monster showdown on November 5.

If that happens, running backs all over the country will undoubtedly have to think about Alabama. And Saban and Co. will make sure they do.