SEC: James Stone

In the SEC, it's all about recruiting and player development. It's the big reason why the league has won seven straight BCS championships and produced more NFL players than any other conference. The two go hand-in-hand.

The Senior Bowl, which released its 2014 Watch List on Tuesday, further illustrated that fact, selecting nearly 20 percent (72) of its 400 candidates from the SEC. The ACC twas nearly lapped with 48 selections, followed by the Big 10 (46) and the Pac-12 (38).

And the team with the most players should come as no surprise as defending-champion Alabama had 10 make the list, including quarterback AJ McCarron and All-American linebacker C.J. Mosley. Florida, Mississippi State and Missouri tied for the second-most players taken from the SEC with six apiece.

Alabama: WR Kenny Bell, CB Deion Belue, CB John Fulton, P Cody Mandell, QB AJ McCarron, LB C.J. Mosley, WR Kevin Norwood, RG Anthony Steen, S Nick Perry.

Arkansas: WR Jevontee Herndon, DT Brian Jones, DE Chris Smith, C Travis Swanson, DT Robert Thomas.

Auburn: P Steven Clark, DC Chris Davis, DE Nosa Eguae, DE Dee Ford, FB Jay Prosch, DT Jeffrey Whitaker

Florida: WR Andre Debose, DE Dominique Easley, OG Jon Halapio, C Jonatthan Harrison, WR Soloman Patton, DC Jaylen Watkins.

Georgia: OG Chris Burnett, OG Kernarious Gates, TE Arthur Lynch, QB Aaron Murray, OB Garrison Smith.

Kentucky: IB Avery Williamson

LSU: IB Lamin Barrow, RB Alfred Blue, FB JC Copeland, FS Craig Loston, QB Zach Mettenberger

Mississippi State: DE Denico Autry, OG Gabe Jackson, RB LeDarious Perkins, QB Tyler Russell, OB Deontae Skinner, FS Nickoe Whitley

Missouri: OT Justin Britt, QB James Franklin, DC EJ Gaines, WR Marcus Lucas, WR L'Damian Washington, IB Andrew Wilson

Ole Miss: PT Tyler Campbell, IB Mike Marry, DC Charles Sawyer, RB Jeff Scott, IB DT Shackleford

South Carolina: DC Jimmy Legree, QB Connor Shaw, DE Chaz Sutton

Tennessee: OT Ju'Wuan James, DT Daniel McCuller, RB Rajon Neal, DE Jacques Smith, C James Stone

Texas A&M: LB Steven Jenkins, RB Ben Malena, OT Jake Matthews

Vanderbilt: IB Chase Garnham, DC Andre Hal, OT Wesley Johnson, FS Kenny Ladler, WR Jordan Matthews
We have another preseason watch list for your reading pleasure. The Rimington Trophy, which is given annually to the nation's best center, announced its list of 2013 candidates.

The SEC has eight representatives on the watch list and here they are:
If the 2013 Rimington Trophy watch list is any indication, the SEC will be stout up the middle next season on the offensive line.

The Rimington Trophy is awarded each year to the top center in college football, and nine of the 44 players on the preseason watch list are from the SEC -- which is the most in the country.

Alabama's Barrett Jones won the award last season.

Here's a look at the nine SEC centers on the 2013 list:

Opening spring camp: Tennessee

March, 26, 2012
Schedule: Tennessee begins spring practice Monday and concludes with the Orange and White Game on April 21.

What's new: There was a lot of movement on coach Derek Dooley's staff this offseason. Seven new coaches are in Knoxville this spring. Sal Sunseri arrives as the Vols' new defensive coordinator after serving as Alabama's linebackers coach the previous three seasons. After being a defensive assistant at Alabama from 2010-11 and the defensive backs coach at Central Florida for a couple months, Derrick Ansley joined Tennessee's staff to coach the Vols' cornerbacks. Charlie Coiner is Tennessee's new special teams/tight ends coach. Josh Conklin left The Citadel to coach Tennessee's safeties, and Jay Graham left South Carolina to return to his alma mater to coach running backs. John Palermo and Sam Pittman round out Tennessee's new hires. Palermo will coach the Vols' defensive line, and Pittman will coach the offensive line. Tennessee also welcomed seven early enrollees -- Cody Blanc (wide receiver), Alden Hill (running back), Justin Meredith (tight end), Nathan Peterman (quarterback), Darrington Sentimore and Trent Taylor (defensive line), and Tino Thomas (defensive back).

On the mend: Wide receiver Justin Hunter and defensive back/linebacker Brent Brewer are both coming off of ACL injuries from last fall and will be limited during the spring. Linebacker Curt Maggitt, nose guard Daniel Hood and defensive back Prentiss Waggner all had offseason shoulder surgery and will be non-contact this spring. Offensive lineman Zach Fulton will be limited this spring as he tries to recover from a stress fracture suffered a couple of weeks ago during offseason workouts. Offensive lineman JerQuari Schofield and defensive lineman Corey Miller will not be practicing for academic reasons.

On the move: Dooley plans to move a few players around this spring. With Tennessee moving to a 3-4 defense, the team is adding to its linebacker depth. Brewer (defensive back), Channing Fugate (fullback), Jacques Smith (defensive lineman), and Willie Bohannon (defensive lineman) are all working at linebacker this spring. Smith and Bohannon will compete at the Jack linebacker spot. Maggitt is also moving to inside linebacker. Rajion Neal is moving exclusively to running back after playing both wide receiver and running back last season. Waggner is moving back to cornerback after playing safety last season. James Stone, a center last season, will play some guard and tackle this spring.

Questions: The Vols return a lot of bodies on defense, but with a new coordinator, new scheme, and several position changes, there will be starting jobs available. With the 3-4 coming in, Tennessee will be in search of a reliable nose guard. Maurice Couch played there more as last season progressed, but Tennessee's staff thinks very highly of incoming junior college noseguard Daniel McCullers, who will be on campus this summer. Having Hood limited also means depth is an issue there this spring. There is still a little uncertainty in Tennessee's secondary. Waggner moving to cornerback will help with boundary play, but it takes a solid player out of the safety spot. Redshirt senior Rod Wilks takes over at free safey, but has no career starts. The running back position also enters the spring with questions surrounding it. The Vols were last in the SEC in rushing last season, and lose starter Tauren Poole. Only three lettermen return, and none are proven. Neal and Marlin Lane will start spring getting the majority of reps, but they combined for just 414 rushing yards on 102 carries last season.

Key battle: Injuries to Hunter and quarterback Tyler Bray certainly hurt Tennessee's offense last season, but being unable to run the ball effectively really kept the Vols from overcoming their struggles in the passing game. There is no question that Tennessee's run game, which ranked 116th nationally (90.1) last season, needs a major upgrade. Lane and Neal will get the first shots at earning the job this spring, but having Hill on campus early will definitely add some depth, and he should push both this spring. Sophomore Devrin Young, who rushed for 25 yards last season, will also compete for time this spring. Tennessee can't go another season without having much of a running game to speak of if it wants to take a step forward and compete for an SEC East title.

Don't forget about: Tennessee will get back a familiar face on defense this spring when linebacker Herman Lathers returns. After fracturing his ankle last June, Lathers missed all of the 2011 season, but will be full go this spring. Tennessee needs more linebackers, and adding a veteran like Lathers will help. Tennessee's staff is also excited about what Sentimore can bring to the defensive end spot. He played one season at Alabama before going the JUCO route in 2011. He's on campus now, and is listed on the Vols' two-deep at one of the end spots. Sentimore has a good shot at earning a starting spot this spring.

Breaking out: The staff has high expectations for offensive lineman Antonio Richardson. The sophomore spent 2011 playing on special teams, but after being such a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school, the coaches are expecting him to compete for playing time even though the Vols return all five starters. With Fulton limited this spring, Richardson will get his chance to impress. Also, Lane is a player who has the physical tools to make a big jump this spring. He was a top high school prospect, and now has a chance to claim the running back spot for himself. He's a big body with pretty good speed, but Lane needs to work on his consistency.

All eyes on: Bray has yet to play a full season at Tennessee. A thumb injury kept him out for half of the 2011 season, but he appears to be back to full health. He wasn't great when he returned at the end of last season, but rust will do that to a quarterback. Now is a chance for Bray to get back into the swing of things and get more comfortable after his injury. It's also time for him to improve his leadership skills. Those have been called into question during his two years in Knoxville, but now that he's officially a veteran, it's time for him to take hold of this team. He has weapons around him to help his passing numbers, but Bray should look to improve this team as a whole by leading by both example and with his words.

SEC lunch links

November, 10, 2011
A check of what's making news around the SEC:

Offensive line changes in Tuscaloosa

October, 22, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- We are all set down here inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, where temperatures could deep into the 40s tonight.

Both teams are making adjustments to their offensive lines tonight. For Alabama, right guard Anthony Steen is out after suffering a concussion against Ole Miss, so we'll see Alfred McCullough start in his place.

We could also see some of freshman Cyrus Kouandjio at left tackle tonight. Starter Barrett Jones missed time at practice this week, so Kouandjio could get more action tonight.

Tennessee has moved Alex Bullard, who transferred from Notre Dame, from left guard to center. James Stone moves from center to left guard. The Vols worked with this setup during the week — and Stone has had snapping issues all year.

The interesting thing about this move is that Bullard has yet to play center in an organized football game in his life. Well, what a time to make the move.

We could also see Prentiss Waggner play some corner tonight for the Vols, which would mean that freshman Brian Randolph would play in Waggner's place at safety. Waggner is Tennessee's best defensive back and is so versatile that he's also the Vols' best cover guy.

Tennessee will no doubt load the box to try and slow down Alabama running back Trent Richardson, so if someone's going to be on an island back there it might as well be Waggner.

Meanwhile, former Alabama quarterback Joe Namath is the honorary captain for the Crimson Tide tonight.

Tennessee spring wrap

May, 12, 2011
2010 overall record: 6-7

2010 conference record: 3-5

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense: 6, kicker/punter: 0

Top returners

QB Tyler Bray, RB Tauren Poole, WR Justin Hunter, OT Ja’Wuan James, C James Stone, DT Malik Jackson, LB Herman Lathers, CB Prentiss Waggner, S Janzen Jackson

Key losses

WR Denarius Moore, WR Gerald Jones, TE Luke Stocker, DE Chris Walker, LB Nick Reveiz, LB LaMarcus Thompson

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Tauren Poole* (1,034 yards)

Passing: Tyler Bray* (1,849 yards)

Receiving: Denarius Moore (981 yards)

Tackles: Nick Reveiz (108)

Sacks: Malik Jackson* (5)

Interceptions: Prentiss Waggner* and Janzen Jackson* (5)

Spring answers

1. Blossoming offensive line. As scary as it was for Tennessee to go into last season with so many true freshman starters in the offensive line, the future couldn’t be brighter now for the Vols up front. Tackle Ja’Wuan James, guard Zach Fulton and center James Stone are all back after starting as true freshmen a year ago. What’s more, highly touted freshman Marcus Jackson came in early this spring and immediately laid claim to a starting guard spot. The Vols also recently received word that Notre Dame transfer Alex Bullard would be eligible next season without having to sit out a year.

2. Rogers takes flight. It was a highlight show for Da’Rick Rogers this spring, as he made one acrobatic catch after another and served notice that he’s primed for a breakout sophomore season. There were flashes from Rogers as a freshman. But he improved immensely as a receiver this spring, particularly in terms of running routes and doing the little things. He joins fellow sophomore Justin Hunter to give the Vols what should be one dandy receiving tandem.

3. Promising young talent. Time will be the ultimate judge, but Dooley doesn’t think there are very many misses in the past two recruiting classes. From quarterback Tyler Bray to an offensive line that’s stacked with talented first- and second-year players to sophomore defensive end Jacques Smith, the Vols have upgraded their talent level the past two years to move a lot closer in that department to the powers in this league.

Fall questions

1. Is Tyler Bray ready to lead this team? There aren’t any questions about Bray’s ability to throw the ball. The same goes for his fearlessness in the pocket. But coming off that horrific showing in the spring game, Dooley wants to see Bray bring his focus to the playing field every game and every practice and make it abundantly clear to everyone that this is his team.

2. Can the Vols hold up in the front seven? Senior defensive tackle Malik Jackson is a big-time player, and Smith has All-SEC potential. But Tennessee desperately needs junior college tackle Maurice Couch to come in and be an impact player, and the Vols will also be looking for help at linebacker from the incoming true freshmen. It’s never ideal in this league to count on junior college newcomers and true freshmen.

3. Will Janzen Jackson be back? Dooley remains hopeful that Jackson will return for the fall and said the junior safety is on track after withdrawing from school this past semester. If Jackson does return, the Vols immediately get a lot better in the secondary, especially with Brent Brewer coming off a big spring at the other safety spot. Either way, junior college defensive backs Byron Moore and Izauea Lanier are being counted on to come in and play immediately next season in a secondary that lacks depth.

SEC lunch links

October, 21, 2010
A few SEC links to munch on:

Vols get much-needed offensive line help

February, 3, 2010
Tennessee will take all the offensive linemen it can get at this point and picked up one of the top-rated tackles in the country Wednesday when James Stone of Nashville signed with the Vols.

Stone is rated by ESPN's Scouts Inc. as the ninth best tackle prospect in the country, and he picked Tennessee over Alabama.

Indirectly, the Vols can thank former coach Lane Kiffin.

Stone and his high school coach have both said that he wanted no part of Kiffin or former Tennessee recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron. Had that regime stayed in Knoxville, Stone would have almost certainly gone to Alabama.

"He always liked UT, but he wasn't going to go there with Kiffin and Orgeron," Maplewood High School coach Ralph Thompson told The Tennessean. "He wasn't really considering UT as long as Kiffin and Orgeron were there. Once (Derek) Dooley got the job and Kiffin was out of there, once he was able to meet Dooley and see what kind of guy he was, he was all for going to UT."