SEC: Jared Cook
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Several former SEC players helped themselves at the NFL combine.
The fastest 40-yard dash time to this point from an SEC player was turned in by Ole Miss receiver Mike Wallace, who ran a 4.33. It's also the second-fastest time of the combine so far for any player.
South Carolina tight end Jared Cook had a huge workout, finishing first among all tight ends in the 40-yard dash (4.5 seconds), vertical jump (41 inches) and broad jump (10 feet, 3 inches).
Georgia fullback Brannan Southerland was third among all running backs with 28 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.
Georgia tailback Knowshon Moreno did 25 reps on the bench, but didn't finish in the top 10 among running backs. His two 40 times officially were 4.55 and 4.62.
The defensive backs ran Tuesday morning, and Alabama safety Rashad Johnson turned in a 4.52 in the 40, the second-fastest time among safeties.
Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore didn't run a particularly fast time. He was clocked at 4.54 and 4.58 unofficially in the 40-yard dash.
Some of the other unofficial times for former SEC defensive backs were South Carolina's Captain Munnerlyn (4.44), Auburn's Jerraud Powers (4.47), Kentucky's Marcus McClinton (4.53), LSU's Curtis Taylor (4.59) and Mississippi State's Derek Pegues (4.62).
Here are a few other notables:
- Georgia's Matthew Stafford, third among quarterbacks, 4.81 seconds
- Alabama's John Parker Wilson, seventh among quarterbacks, 4.87 seconds
- Alabama's Glen Coffee, ninth among running backs, 4.58
- Florida's Percy Harvin, tied for sixth among receivers, 4.41
- LSU's Demetrius Byrd, eighth among receivers, 4.42
- Florida's Cornelius Ingram, fourth among tight ends, 4.68
- South Carolina's Jasper Brinkley, sixth among linebackers, 4.72
- South Carolina's Jamon Meredith, second among offensive linemen, 5.03
- Ole Miss' Jamarca Sanford, second among safeties, 29 reps
- Georgia's Asher Allen, tied for sixth among cornerbacks, 22 reps
- Florida's Percy Harvin, fifth among receivers, 19 reps
- Ole Miss' Mike Wallace, fourth among receivers, 40 inches
- Vanderbilt's D.J. Moore, third among cornerbacks, 39.5 inches
- Alabama's Antoine Caldwell, first among offensive linemen, 9 feet, 3 inches
- Ole Miss' Mike Wallace, third among receivers, 10 feet 9, inches
- Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi, fourth among receivers, 10 feet, 7 inches
- Alabama's Glen Coffee, tied for fifth among running backs, 10 feet, 1 inches
- Georgia's Knowshon Moreno, second among running backs, 6.84 seconds
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
It's the essence of the recruiting craze in the SEC. It's what everybody does come national signing day and beyond.
Fans scour the All-America lists to see how many of the "can't-miss" prospects signed with their school. They salivate over the five-star players, hope for four-star players and frown at the thought of signing anybody that hasn't already become a star during the recruiting process.
|Joe Robbins/US Presswire|
|Jay Cutler was recruited to play defensive back out of high school.|
Here's a tip, though. Don't sweat it if your class includes a few prospects who weren't rated particularly high, prospects who were two- and three-star players and prospects who haven't already gone Hollywood before they show up on campus.
The dirty little secret in recruiting is that some of the best players in the SEC over the last few years were guys who flew under the radar in the recruiting process for various reasons.
In keeping with that spirit, we've come up with our own All-SEC team of recruiting nobodies, guys who weren't rated very highly coming out of high school, but went onto have stellar careers in the SEC and many of them are now playing in the NFL.
The players comprising this team had to play in the SEC in the past four years (2005-08):
We'll look at the offensive team first and the defensive team a little bit later Thursday morning:
QB Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt: Any interest Cutler received from Big Ten schools such as Purdue, Indiana and Illinois was as a safety. Finally, about a month before signing day, Vanderbilt offered him as a quarterback, and Cutler wound up being the 11th overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft.
RB Jacob Hester, LSU: Played nose guard his first two years at Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, La. He was a two-star prospect coming out of high school, but still got some good offers as a fullback or linebacker. LSU promised him he could play running back. He rushed for 1,103 yards as a senior in leading the Tigers to the 2007 BCS national championship. The San Diego Chargers traded up in the NFL draft to be able to get Hester in the third round.
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Ole Miss: Signed in 2003 with Indiana after playing high school football in New Orleans and not receiving a sniff from SEC schools. Green-Ellis transferred to Ole Miss following the 2004 season and became only the second running back in Ole Miss history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He was a first-team All-SEC selection in 2006 and started some games at running back this past season for the New England Patriots.
WR Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt: One of those players from the state of Alabama the big boys didn't want. Bennett was unranked nationally as a receiver when he came out of West End High School in Birmingham, Ala. His only other official visits were to Kentucky and Southern Miss. All he did at Vanderbilt was set the SEC record with 236 career catches, becoming the only player in league history to reach the 75-catch plateau in three different seasons. He turned pro early and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the third round.
WR Sidney Rice, South Carolina: Deemed a step slow coming out of high school in Gaffney, S.C., Rice wasn't ranked among the top 50 receiver prospects nationally. He redshirted his first season at South Carolina, but caught 23 touchdown passes the next two seasons and turned pro. He was drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Vikings.
OL Antoine Caldwell, Alabama: Other than Auburn, his main suitors coming out of Montgomery, Ala., were Louisville, Southern Miss and Vanderbilt. Caldwell capped a stellar career at Alabama by being selected first-team All-America this season at center by the Associated Press.
OL Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas: Luigs was a two-star player from Little Rock and wasn't even listed as one of the top 10 prospects in Arkansas his senior year of high school. Similar to Caldwell, he developed into one of the best centers in the country and won the Rimington Trophy in 2007 as the nation's most outstanding center.
OL Tyronne Green, Auburn: Rated by many as a defensive tackle when he came out of Pensacola, Fla., in 2004, Green picked Auburn over Southern Miss and Florida A&M after missing half of his senior season in high school with an injury. He started in 25 straight games at Auburn and was voted the Tigers' best blocker as a junior.
OL Chris Williams, Vanderbilt: Weighed just 245 pounds coming out of high school in Baton Rouge, La., and wasn't recruited by LSU. Williams blossomed in Vanderbilt's strength program and wound up being the 14th pick overall in the 2008 NFL draft. He's the highest SEC offensive lineman to be drafted since Alabama's Chris Samuels in 2000.
OL Clint Boling, Georgia: When he came out of Alpharetta, Ga., in 2007, Boling was the 112th-ranked defensive end prospect nationally by Scouts Inc. and was nowhere to be found among the top 20 prospects in the state of Georgia. The Bulldogs' main competition for Boling was from Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Duke and Wake Forest. Boling wound up starting as a true freshman and was Georgia's most versatile offensive lineman last season.
TE Jared Cook, South Carolina: A 205-pound receiver when he came out of high school in the Atlanta area and missed his junior season at North Gwinnett High after breaking his ankle. His other offers were from Mississippi State, Tulane and Missouri. Cook developed into one of the more athletic tight ends in the SEC and decided to turn pro following last season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
The SEC lost a few more talented underclassmen Wednesday who are headed to the NFL.
Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno made it official by announcing at a news conference that they were turning pro. Also, South Carolina tight end Jared Cook has decided to join teammates Captain Munnerlyn and Emanuel Cook as early entries into the NFL draft.
By school, here are the other SEC players who've said they're leaving school early to enter the draft:
- Alabama: Offensive tackle Andre Smith.
- Auburn: Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and cornerback Jerraud Powers.
- LSU: Defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois.
- Vanderbilt: Cornerback D.J. Moore.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare is Jan. 15, and players can change their mind as long as they don't hire an agent, enter into an agreement with an agent or take money and/or gifts from an agent.
Other SEC underclassmen considering a jump to the NFL include Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, Florida receiver Percy Harvin, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes, Alabama running back Glen Coffee, Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy, LSU offensive tackle Ciron Black, LSU receiver Brandon LaFell, Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley, Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, Kentucky linebacker Micah Johnson and Tennessee defensive tackle Dan Williams.
Two players who changed their minds and now plan to return to school for their senior seasons are South Carolina outside linebacker Eric Norwood and Auburn defensive end Antonio Coleman.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Strolling around the SEC for a check of the latest headlines:
- Former Auburn basketball great Charles Barkley says the No. 1 reason the Tigers didn't hire Turner Gill as head football coach was because he's black.
- Doug Segrest and Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News do a nice job of digging deeper into who new Auburn coach Gene Chizik really is.
- Columnist Rick Cleveland of The Clarion-Ledger writes that Dan Mullen faces a stiff challenge at Mississippi State.
- South Carolina tight end Jared Cook tries to get past his benching in the Clemson game.
- Monte Kiffin confirms that he'll join his son, Lane Kiffin, at Tennessee following the NFL season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Who else is ready for a little fall weather? It ought to be illegal to play in the kind of sauna Georgia and South Carolina did last Saturday in Columbia, which is the perfect segue into this week's edition of "Hot and Not." And, no, Florida fans, there won't be any references to the late field goal against Miami two weeks ago. But thanks for all your cards and letters and thanks most of all for setting me straight on how Urban Meyer would never do anything to rub another team's noses in it:
The SEC's balance: Five teams in the Top 10 of the latest Associated Press poll? That's never happened before, and it's another example of why this league is such a monster. But the real indicator is that teams like Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and South Carolina, teams generally considered to be in the bottom half of the conference, are as dangerous as ever. The only off days in this league are open dates.
Auburn's defense: The Tigers are ranked third nationally in scoring defense. Is this one of Tommy Tuberville's best defenses since he's been on the Plains?
Mississippi State's offense: Whew, now that's what you call a rotten offense. The Bulldogs can't throw it. They're turning it over, and their playmakers (in name, anyway) aren't making any plays.
South Carolina tight end Jared Cook: Yes, I know he warranted a "Hot" mention last week. But I'm not sure I've seen a more impressive tight end in the country to this point. Can you say: N-F-L?
Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody: Alabama's defense has been outstanding, and Mount Cody is one of the big reasons why. No newcomer in the league has had a more profound impact on his team than Cody to this point.
Tennessee fever: How badly do the Vols need a win over Florida? A crowd of 98,000 was announced for the home opener against UAB. The actual attendance was probably closer to 85,000. Either way, it was the fewest number of bodies in the stands to watch the Vols in their home opener since the last major expansion at Neyland Stadium in 1996.
Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore: If Moore were playing for Notre Dame or Southern California, he'd be a Heisman Trophy candidate. He's one of the best multi-purpose players in the country and accounted for 206 all-purpose yards against Rice, which included kickoff returns, punt returns, a 37-yard run and 31-yard interception return.
South Carolina's running game: Simply, the Gamecocks don't have one, which is really going to make things tough for Chris Smelley and the quarterbacks. South Carolina is 107th nationally in rushing offense.
LSU's defense: It's a pretty good debate right now as to who has the best defense in the SEC. If you like defensive football, then find yourself a seat at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night. Both sets of Tigers can bring the heat.
Tennessee tight end Brandon Warren: At what point does Warren ask to transfer back to Florida State? He's only caught three passes in the first two games. He's been open, too. The Vols better figure out a way to get him the ball.
Ice, Ice baby
Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin: Nobody's going to make any rash judgments after three games. After all, the Tigers are 3-0 and ranked in the Top 10. But they will after four games if this new spread offense goes belly-up against LSU and Auburn loses because it can't finish drives, turns the ball over and generally looks dysfunctional on that side of the ball. If you're going to run a spread offense, the first rule of thumb is that you better have a quarterback who can run it. Neither Chris Todd or Kodi Burns has proven that he's that guy yet, at least not in this league.