SEC: Aaron Hernandez

SEC lunch links

July, 25, 2013
7/25/13
12:00
PM ET
Linking our way around the SEC:

SEC lunch links

July, 3, 2013
7/03/13
12:56
PM ET
Let's see what's shaking in the SEC:

SEC lunch links

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
12:04
PM ET
Hopping around the SEC on a Tuesday:

SEC lunch links

July, 1, 2013
7/01/13
12:50
PM ET
We welcome the month of July with a stroll around the SEC:

SEC lunch links

June, 28, 2013
6/28/13
12:00
PM ET
It's Friday, and we'll check in on what's making news in the SEC before diving into the weekend:

Lunchtime links

June, 27, 2013
6/27/13
12:00
PM ET
Making the SEC rounds on a Thursday with some links.

SEC lunch links

June, 25, 2013
6/25/13
12:05
PM ET
Our Tuesday stroll around the SEC:

SEC lunch links

June, 24, 2013
6/24/13
1:10
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Hopping around the SEC on a Monday:
Green and Gators just haven't gone well together lately.

This year alone, three Florida players -- cornerback Janoris Jenkins and linebackers Chris Martin and Kedric Johnson -- had misdemeanor marijuana-related arrests. Jenkins, an All-SEC performer in 2010, was dismissed from the team last week following his second arrest in three months for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

[+] EnlargeJanoris Jenkins
Kim Klement/US PresswireNew Florida coach Will Muschamp dismissed cornerback Janoris Jenkins from the team.
On the same day as Jenkins’ dismissal, it was reported that former Florida offensive lineman Maurice Hurt tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Former Gator receiver Percy Harvin tested positive for marijuana before the 2009 NFL draft, and tight end Aaron Hernandez admitted before last year’s draft that he failed a drug test during his time at Florida.

So when new coach Will Muschamp met with reporters before he spoke to the Central Florida Gator Club in Orlando on Tuesday night, he was asked if he thought there was a drug problem, specifically marijuana, with players at Florida.

Muschamp said he hasn’t specifically addressed marijuana use with his players, but said there is continuous effort to help them with the decision-making aspects of life outside of football.

“We’re constantly in the mental conditioning stage with our football team of making good choices and decisions,” Muschamp said. “It’s a constant effort. When you’re dealing with young people, that’s every day. It’s not going to change. We could have no incidents for 10 years, but we’re still going to be doing it.

“When you’re dealing with young people, you’re always in that developmental stage of making good choices and decisions.”

Despite the four incidents this spring, Muschamp classified those as isolated situations and doesn’t believe marijuana use is a rampant problem circuiting throughout his entire team.

“We’ve got a good situation going,” he said. “We’ve got some good kids on our football team. Some guys make poor decisions and choices and that shouldn’t reflect on the whole team.”

Though coaches are allowed to administer their own dismissals, Florida has the only drug policy in the SEC that allows an athlete to remain on a team with four failed tests. A fourth failed drug test results in a player missing 50 percent of the season.

Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee dismiss athletes after a third positive test, while Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi State dismiss athletes after a fourth.

Former Florida coach Urban Meyer recently told The Gainesville Sun that marijuana use among players was an issue at Florida before he became head coach in 2005.

Four of the 30 arrests during Meyer’s six-year tenure at Florida were for possession of marijuana.

"It was a problem when we got here," Meyer told The Sun. "I thought we put a little bit of a dent in it. But it's still a problem.

"It's an issue at a lot of places. I've talked to a lot of other coaches who told me they were dealing with it as well. But at Gainesville, it's a national story.

"We sought counselors. We did a lot of things. There comes a point when you have to separate the player from the university, and I did that several times."

Meyer said he cut players loose after a third failed test.

Muschamp made a powerful statement when he cut Jenkins loose.

While marijuana use might have been a problem before Jenkins’ dismissal, it doesn’t look like Muschamp will make it much of one anymore.

Lunchtime links: Why fret over Gray?

April, 28, 2010
4/28/10
12:05
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A check of what's making headlines around the SEC:

Lunchtime links: Slive not sorry Kiffin's gone

April, 27, 2010
4/27/10
12:43
PM ET
Making the rounds in the SEC:

SEC combine report: Tate sparkles

March, 1, 2010
3/01/10
9:35
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The NFL combine wraps up Monday and Tuesday, and already several former SEC players have helped themselves.

A few might have hurt themselves, too.

Auburn running back Ben Tate had a super workout session. Weighing 220 pounds, he turned in the third fastest 40-yard dash time among the running backs (4.43), was second among the running backs with a 40.5-inch vertical leap and tied for the most reps on the bench-press among running backs with 26. He also had a 10-4 broad jump, which tied Tennessee's Montario Hardesty for first among the running backs.

Hardesty, who had bulked up to 225 pounds, ran a 4.49 40-yard dash and did 21 reps on the bench.

The defensive linemen and linebackers are working out on Monday, and Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens set the bar pretty high on the bench-press with 44 reps. His teammate, Geno Atkins, did 34 reps. As a comparison, Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh did 32 reps.

Kentucky linebacker Micah Johnson put up 31 reps Monday morning.

The strongest former SEC player of the combine was Arkansas offensive guard Mitch Petrus, who did 45 reps over the weekend. That tied a combine record (since 2000).

The fastest former SEC player was LSU return specialist Trindon Holliday, who ran a 4.34 40-yard dash.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow didn't throw at the combine. He'll show off his new delivery at the Gators' pro day on March 17, but he did demonstrate what kind of athlete he is. He ran a 4.72 40-yard dash, fourth fastest among the quarterbacks, and tied Josh McCown's record for quarterbacks with a 38.5-inch vertical leap. Tebow's hands (10 1/8) also measured the largest of the quarterbacks.

One of the biggest surprises of the combine so far was that Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster didn't turn in a faster 40 time. Weighing 172 pounds, McCluster ran a 4.55, but did show off his strength with 20 reps on the bench-press.

LSU receiver Brandon LaFell also had a disappointing 40 time (4.6), while Ole Miss' Shay Hodge was even slower (4.63).

Some players chose not to run the 40 and/or work out because they were injured or simply wanted to wait until their school's pro day. Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez had a strained back and didn't run.

The defensive backs work out on Tuesday.

The SEC's 30 best players: Nos. 15-11

February, 9, 2010
2/09/10
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All right, five more selections until we get to the 10 best players in the SEC from this past season.

There’s a distinct Florida flavor to these next five selections. Unfortunately for the Gators, all three of them will be playing in the NFL next season.

Here are numbers 15-11 in our countdown of the SEC’s 30 best players from the 2009 season:

[+] EnlargeCarlos Dunlap
Rick Dole/Getty ImagesCarlos Dunlap was second in the SEC with nine sacks.
No. 15: Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida: His college career ended on a sour note with the DUI arrest and subsequent suspension the week of the SEC championship game, but there was no denying Dunlap’s impact this past season as a pass-rusher. He was second in the SEC with nine sacks and came back strong in his final game against Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. Few players possess Dunlap’s combination of size and burst off the edge. He gave up his senior season to enter the NFL draft and is a lock to go in the first round.

No. 14: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: Peterson blossomed during his sophomore season as one of the most complete cornerbacks in college football. He has great range and cover skills along with the size to overpower receivers at the line of scrimmage. Peterson was also one of the better tackling cornerbacks in the SEC. He finished third in the conference with 15 passes defended and also had two interceptions. He’ll easily be the top returning cornerback in the SEC next season.

No. 13: Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida: Spikes’ senior season wasn’t quite as productive as his junior season, but he was still one of the top three linebackers in the league. He was a key cog in a Florida defense that ranked near the top of the country in just about every category. Unfortunately for Spikes, the whole eye-gouging incident will be what a lot of people remember about his final year. But his leadership and productivity from his middle linebacker position established Spikes as one of the top defenders in the league for the second year in a row.

No. 12: Eric Norwood, LB, South Carolina: The first half of the season belonged to Norwood, who racked up six sacks, an interception return for a touchdown and a blocked kick in the first four games. He slowed down a little bit as the season wore on, but he was still one of the best big-play defenders in the SEC. Norwood finished the season with seven sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss and also led the Gamecocks with 11 quarterback hurries from his outside linebacker position. He leaves South Carolina as the school’s all-time leader in sacks and tackles for loss.

No. 11: Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida: Hernandez was perhaps my biggest whiff on the preseason Top 30 list. Just a bad oversight on my part. But there was no missing him this past season. He was a first-team All-American and established himself as one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the country. Hernandez led the Gators with 68 catches, including five touchdowns. He was a nightmare matchup for teams and was extremely effective after the catch. He was one of five Florida juniors declaring early for the NFL draft and is being projected as a first-round pick.

  • No. 16: Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
  • No. 17: Ben Tate, RB, Auburn
  • No. 18: Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee
  • No. 19: Mike Johnson, OG, Alabama
  • No. 20: Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida
  • No. 21: Rennie Curran, LB, Georgia
  • No. 22: Randall Cobb, QB/WR, Kentucky
  • No. 23: Shay Hodge, WR, Ole Miss
  • No. 24: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
  • No. 25: Pernell McPhee, DE, Mississippi State
  • No. 26: Malcolm Sheppard, DT, Arkansas
  • No. 27: Mark Barron, S, Alabama
  • No. 28: Terrence Cody, NG, Alabama
  • No. 29: Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU
  • No. 30: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

Ranking the SEC's 30 best players (postseason)

February, 2, 2010
2/02/10
5:17
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If you want to have a little fun at my expense, go back and look at my Top 30 players in the SEC heading into last season.

Not that I was the only one, but I didn’t even have the Heisman Trophy winner anywhere on the list. Mark Ingram didn’t make the cut. Talk about coming from nowhere to win college football’s most prestigious individual award.

[+] EnlargeSheppard
Dennis Hubbard/Icon SMIMalcolm Sheppard had 11 tackles for loss this season.
Some of the other things that stick out is that I obviously had Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster (No. 28) too low and Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead (No. 3) too high.

I also whiffed on Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez. I knew soon after completing that list that leaving Hernandez off was a bad mistake.

Others like Ole Miss’ Greg Hardy and Kentucky’s Trevard Lindley were injured and didn’t have big seasons, so I had them ranked too high.

In short, if we were doing a postseason Top 30 list in the SEC, it would look a lot different.

How different?

Let’s sketch one out and see.

Beginning today, I’ll unveil picks No. 30 through No. 26, and we’ll count it down to the top player in the SEC this season.

Keep in mind that this ranking is based on this season only, including the bowl games.

So here goes:

No. 30: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: He was a top-5 player on the preseason list and deserved every bit of it based on a fabulous freshman season. But this season, Jones suffered a knee injury in the second game that held him back during the first half of the season. He came on once he got healthier and made a huge play in the LSU game to turn that game around. He's still a great player with great upside. He just didn't have a great sophomore season.

No. 29: Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU: Consistency was the name of the game for LaFell, who was also a member of the preseason list. LaFell led the SEC with 11 touchdown catches. That's after catching eight touchdowns as a junior. In reality, he was about the only semblance of offense the Tigers had most of the season, and they probably should have gotten him the ball even more than they did.

No. 28: Terrence Cody, NG, Alabama: He had one of the plays of the year with his blocked field goal as time expired to save the Tennessee game, and he's unquestionably a load when it comes to stopping the run. But Cody wasn't an every-down player and was probably overrated when you consider all the first-team All-America honors he raked in. There's still no denying his presence in the middle.

No. 27: Mark Barron, S, Alabama: One of the breakthrough players of the season in the SEC, Barron led the league with seven interceptions on his way to first-team All-SEC honors. His emergence helped to solidify an Alabama secondary that proved to be one of the best in the country.

No. 26: Malcolm Sheppard, DT, Arkansas: One of the bright spots for the Hogs on defense, Sheppard was a force in the middle and finished second among SEC interior defensive linemen with 11 tackles for loss. He was also effective at pushing the pocket in pass-rushing situations. He had two of his best games against the two best teams Arkansas faced -- Alabama and Florida.

All-SEC recruiting rankings (offense)

January, 26, 2010
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It’s always a lot of fun three and four years later to see where players were ranked by the recruiting analysts coming out of high school.

So we’ll take a two-part look at this season’s Associated Press All-SEC team and where those players were ranked.

Keep in mind that some of these guys were academic risks, which affected their ranking. Others came in at different positions.

As a teaser, we can tell you that 107 players were ranked ahead of this season’s Heisman Trophy winner, Alabama running back Mark Ingram, in the 2008 class. On the flip side, star players such as Tim Tebow, A.J. Green and Aaron Hernandez were ranked very highly when they signed.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc. wasn’t ranking players in 2005, so there’s no data for players in that class.

We’ll look at the All-SEC offense first and defense later in the day:

OFFENSE

Tim Tebow, QB, Florida

Class: 2006

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 90, No. 4 quarterback, No. 1 player in Florida, No. 15 player nationally



Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

Class: 2008

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 81, No. 12 running back, No. 3 player in Michigan, No. 108 player nationally



Anthony Dixon, RB, Mississippi State

Class: 2006

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 40, unranked among running backs or nationally

Shay Hodge, WR, Ole Miss

Class: 2006

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 76, No. 63 receiver, No. 16 player in Mississippi, unranked nationally

A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

Class: 2008

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 91, No. 2 receiver, No. 2 player in South Carolina, No. 5 player nationally

Dexter McCluster, AP, Ole Miss

Class: 2006

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 76, No. 71 running back, No. 64 player in Florida, unranked nationally

Randall Cobb, AP, Kentucky

Class: 2008

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 74, No. 86 athlete, No. 24 player in Tennessee, unranked nationally

Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida

Class: 2007

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 81, No. 1 tight end, No. 1 player in Connecticut, No. 49 player nationally

Mike Johnson, OL, Alabama

Class: 2005

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: N/A

Ciron Black, OL, LSU

Class: 2005

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: N/A

Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida

Class: 2007

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 77, No. 18 offensive guard, No. 71 player in Florida, unranked nationally

John Jerry, OL, Ole Miss

Class: 2006

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 40, unranked among offensive linemen and nationally.

Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

Class: 2007

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 79, No. 9 offensive guard, No. 32 player in Florida, unranked nationally

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