SEC: Rennie Curran

Lunchtime links: Tebow defends Meyer

March, 1, 2010
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Taking a look around the SEC as we say hello to March:






  • Former Tennessee safety Eric Berry wants to leave no doubt that he's the best player in the draft, writes Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.


The SEC's 30 best players: Nos. 21-25

February, 5, 2010
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After a brief hiatus thanks to the monster that is recruiting, we continue our postseason countdown of the 30 best players in the SEC.

We’ve unveiled the players ranked Nos. 26 through 30, and there were three Alabama players included -- Mark Barron, Terrence Cody and Julio Jones.

Something tells me they won’t be the last ones, either. Just a hint.

[+] EnlargePernell McPhee
AP Photo/Danny JohnstonPernell McPhee notched 12 tackles for loss in 12 games.
Now, it’s on to selections Nos. 25-21:

No. 25: Pernell McPhee, DE, Mississippi State: One of the top newcomers in the league along with Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, McPhee had stretches this past season where he was unblockable. He should be that much better as a senior after coming over from junior college. McPhee finished with 12 tackles for loss in 12 games. He also had five sacks to lead the Bulldogs and is one of those guys who never gives up on a play.

No. 24: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia: The only thing holding Green back this past season was a late bout with injuries, specifically a bruised lung and separated shoulder that sidelined him for much of November. Green still finished with 53 catches, including six touchdowns, and averaged 15.3 yards per catch. He got off to a brilliant start and was one of the most productive receivers in the country before injuring his shoulder. Had he stayed healthy, Green would have easily been a top-10 player. Few receivers have his combination of speed, size and body control.

No. 23: Shay Hodge, WR, Ole Miss: Hodge followed up an outstanding junior season with an even better senior season and firmly established himself as one of the best receivers in the SEC. Hodge led the league with 70 catches and 1,135 receiving yards. He also caught eight touchdown passes and averaged 16.2 yards per catch. His versatility is what made him so effective. He was good after the catch, made big plays down the field and also made some acrobatic catches (See his improbable grab in the end zone against Mississippi State).

No. 22: Randall Cobb, QB/WR, Kentucky: There were a few players who might have been close, but nobody in the SEC was more versatile than Cobb this past season. He scored 10 rushing touchdowns, four receiving touchdowns and also returned a punt for a touchdown. Cobb was the only player in the league with more than 300 yards in the rushing, receiving, punt return and kickoff return departments. At times, he was a one-man show for the Wildcats and carried them offensively for much of the season.

No. 21: Rennie Curran, LB, Georgia: One of the better tacklers in the league, Curran led the SEC with 130 total tackles. That’s after recording 115 as a sophomore, which was the most for a Georgia defender since 1998. The league was full of great linebackers, and Curran was right up there near the top. But with the Bulldogs taking their lumps the way they did this season defensively, it was difficult to rank Curran as highly as we did in the preseason (16th). Georgia will surely miss him. He’s giving up his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Here's the link to Nos. 30-26.
  • 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

SEC underclassmen added to combine list

February, 2, 2010
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As expected, several SEC underclassmen have been added to the list of NFL combine invitees. Also, Auburn senior defensive end Antonio Coleman was added after inexplicably being omitted on the initial list.

Here are the newest invitees broken down by team:

ALABAMA

CB Kareem Jackson

LB Rolando McClain

AUBURN

DE Antonio Coleman

FLORIDA

DE Carlos Dunlap

CB Joe Haden

TE Aaron Hernandez

C Maurkice Pouncey

S Major Wright

GEORGIA

LB Rennie Curran

S Reshad Jones

DT Jeff Owens

LSU

S Chad Jones

MISSISSIPPI STATE

LB Jamar Chaney

OLE MISS

QB Jevan Snead

SOUTH CAROLINA

DE Clifton Geathers

TENNESSEE

S Eric Berry

CB Dennis Rogan

All-SEC recruiting rankings (defense)

January, 26, 2010
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Now we’ll take a look at this season’s All-SEC defensive players and where they were ranked coming into the league.

South Carolina’s Eric Norwood, a three-time All-SEC selection, had 78 players ranked ahead of him in the state of Georgia alone in 2006.

And in the 2007 class, Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap wasn’t the top-ranked player in South Carolina. Notre Dame’s Gary Gray and South Carolina’s Brian Maddox were both ranked ahead of Dunlap.

Antonio Coleman and Dan Williams were part of the class of 2005, so there’s no data available from Scouts Inc. for them. Terrence Cody was a junior college player when he signed with Alabama:

Antonio Coleman, DE, Auburn

Class: 2005

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: N/A

Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida

Class: 2007

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade 84, No. 2 defensive end, No. 3 player in South Carolina, No. 15 player nationally

Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama

Class: 2008

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: N/A

Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee

Class: 2005

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: N/A

Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama

Class: 2007

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 79, No. 5 inside linebacker, No. 8 player in Alabama, unranked nationally

Eric Norwood, LB, South Carolina

Class: 2006

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 69, No. 99 defensive end, No. 79 player in Georgia, unranked nationally

Rennie Curran, LB, Georgia

Class: 2007

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 79, No. 8 inside linebacker, No. 17 player in Georgia, unranked nationally

Joe Haden, CB, Florida

Class: 2007

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 79, No. 18 safety, No. 3 player in Maryland, unranked nationally

Javier Arenas, CB, Alabama

Class: 2006

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 77, No. 31 cornerback, No. 52 player in Florida, unranked nationally

Eric Berry, S, Tennessee

Class: 2007

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 90, No. 1 cornerback, No. 1 player in Georgia, No. 4 player nationally

Mark Barron, S, Alabama

Class: 2008

ESPN’s Scouts Inc: Grade of 80, No. 19 athlete, No. 12 player in Alabama, unranked nationally

LSU's Jones giving up his senior season

January, 12, 2010
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The feeling back in November was that most of the SEC underclassmen seriously considering a jump to the NFL would end up pulling the trigger.

It's certainly shaping up that way.

LSU safety Chad Jones capped a busy day on Monday of juniors turning pro when his father sent out a press release saying Jones would enter the NFL draft. Jones was also a pitcher on LSU's baseball team, and some thought he might try his hand at pro baseball.

Jones was the fourth SEC player Monday to declare for the NFL draft, joining Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap and Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.

Here's a team-by-team look so far of the SEC players who are turning pro:

ALABAMA

LB Rolando McClain

FLORIDA

DE Carlos Dunlap

CB Joe Haden

TE Aaron Hernandez

C Maurkice Pouncey

GEORGIA

LB Rennie Curran

S Reshad Jones

LSU

S Chad Jones

OLE MISS

QB Jevan Snead

TENNESSEE

S Eric Berry

Lunchtime links: Auburn making strides

January, 11, 2010
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The start of spring practice is less than two months away for some schools, so let's see what's out there in the world of SEC football:

SEC underclassmen pondering the draft

December, 29, 2009
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Here’s an updated list of underclassmen in the SEC who’ve either sent in their paperwork to see where they project in the NFL draft or are thinking about coming out early. Beside each player, I make my best guess as to whether they’re staying or leaving:

ALABAMA

LB Rolando McClain -- Leaving

CB Kareem Jackson -- Staying

ARKANSAS

QB Ryan Mallett -- Leaving

AUBURN

OT Lee Ziemba -- Staying

FLORIDA

S Ahmad Black -- Staying

DE Carlos Dunlap -- Leaving

CB Joe Haden -- Leaving

TE Aaron Hernandez -- Leaving

C Maurkice Pouncey -- Leaving

G Mike Pouncey -- Leaving

RB Chris Rainey -- Staying

S Major Wright -- Leaving

GEORGIA

LB Rennie Curran -- Leaving

S Reshad Jones -- Leaving

LSU

LB Kelvin Sheppard -- Staying

S Chad Jones – Leaving (baseball)

MISSISSIPPI STATE

DE Pernell McPhee -- Staying

OLE MISS

DE Kentrell Lockett -- Staying

DT Jerrell Powe -- Staying

QB Jevan Snead -- Leaving

SOUTH CAROLINA

S Chris Culliver -- Staying

DE Clifton Geathers -- Staying

TE Weslye Saunders -- Staying

TENNESSEE

S Eric Berry -- Leaving

TE Luke Stocker -- Staying

Lunchtime links: Coker fights back

December, 29, 2009
12/29/09
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Checking on what's making headlines around the SEC:

  • Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead should stay put for his senior season, writes Rick Cleveland of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
  • LSU offensive tackle Joe Barksdale explains the tweet that went out right before Christmas saying he was unhappy at LSU and says somebody else did it using his account.

Georgia season recap

December, 9, 2009
12/09/09
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Consistency had been Mark Richt’s hallmark at Georgia. He’d won 10 or more games in six of his first eight seasons on the job, but the bottom fell out this season.

The Bulldogs (7-5, 4-4) lost their opener to Oklahoma State, and it was a rocky ride the rest of the way. So rocky that Richt overhauled his coaching staff for the first time in his career and fired defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, ends coach Jon Fabris and linebackers coach John Jancek.

Defensive struggles have endured for the last two seasons at Georgia, and Richt said he had to take whatever steps necessary to get that winning edge back on defense. The Bulldogs have given up 37 or more points nine times in the last two seasons. In Richt’s first seven seasons, an opponent scored 37 or more on the Bulldogs only twice.


It wasn’t all on the defense this season, either. Senior quarterback Joe Cox threw 14 interceptions, and Georgia was again the most penalized team in the league. The Bulldogs repeatedly hurt themselves with mistakes, and that was never more apparent than the Kentucky loss when they turned it over four times in the second half.

The upset win over Georgia Tech in the regular-season finale took some of the sting out, but it’s not a season they will remember fondly in Athens.

Offensive MVP: A.J. Green, WR. Even though he was sidelined with an injured shoulder and missed the last few games, Green was the most consistent offensive threat the Bulldogs had. He was second in the SEC in receptions per game (5.22) and also had six touchdowns catches in nine games.

Defensive MVP: Rennie Curran, LB. It hasn’t been the best stretch for the Bulldogs when it comes to tackling the last two years, but Curran is the exception. He’s one of the surest tacklers in the SEC, as evidenced by his league-leading 122 tackles.

Turning point: Losing to LSU 20-13 in the final seconds was tough, but the game that sent the Bulldogs reeling was the 45-19 blowout loss at Tennessee the next week. They were stopped in their tracks offensively in the kind of whipping Richt has rarely endured at Georgia.

What’s next: The Bulldogs will be playing in the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl against Texas A&M on Dec. 28. But the bigger picture question is what Richt’s going to do on his defensive staff. He has three coaches to hire, and there could be another opening or two before it’s all over. Look for Georgia to at least make a play for Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

Juniors who could be saying farewell

November, 25, 2009
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This is always an emotional time for seniors as they prepare to play in their final home game.

But the reality is that this final week of the regular season will also see several top juniors and/or third-year sophomores bidding farewell before leaving early for the NFL draft.

Here’s a look at the top 10 underclassmen most likely to turn pro:

1. Tennessee safety Eric Berry

2. Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap

3. Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain

4. Florida cornerback Joe Haden

5. Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez

6. Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran

7. Mississippi State defensive end Pernell McPhee

8. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett

9. LSU safety Chad Jones

10. Georgia safety Reshad Jones

Lunchtime links: Curran mulls NFL decision

November, 13, 2009
11/13/09
12:15
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A check of what's making headlines in the SEC:





  • David Jones of Florida Today thinks the eye-gouging incident may have played a role in Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes not being among the finalists for the Lott Trophy, which recognizes on-field performance and personal character.




SEC has six semifinalists for Bednarik Award

November, 4, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

The SEC topped all conferences with six players being named to the list of 16 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which is given annually to the top defensive player in college football.

Making the cut were Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, Alabama nose guard Terrence Cody, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes, Tennessee safety Eric Berry, South Carolina outside linebacker Eric Norwood and Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran.

To me, one of the most surprising omissions from this list was Florida cornerback Joe Haden, who's been one of the better cornerbacks in the country.

The last SEC player to win the Bednarik Award was Georgia defensive end David Pollack in 2004.

Here's the entire list of the 16 semifinalists:
  • Pat Angerer, University of Iowa, LB, SR
  • Eric Berry, University of Tennessee, DB, JR
  • Navorro Bowman, Penn State University, LB, JR
  • Terrence Cody, University of Alabama, DL, SR
  • Rennie Curran, University of Georgia, LB, JR
  • Jerry Hughes, Texas Christian University, DL, SR
  • Greg Jones, Michigan State University, LB, JR
  • Taylor Mays, University of Southern California, DB, SR
  • Rolando McClain, University of Alabama, LB, JR
  • Gerald McCoy, University of Oklahoma, DL, SR
  • Von Miller, Texas A&M, DL, JR
  • Eric Norwood, University of South Carolina, LB, SR
  • Brian Price, UCLA, DL, JR
  • O'Brien Schofield, University of Wisconsin, DL, SR
  • Brandon Spikes, University of Florida, LB, SR
  • Ndamukong Suh, University of Nebraska, DL, SR

Midseason review: Georgia

October, 20, 2009
10/20/09
1:03
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

The wolves were howling pretty loudly in Athens last week. Georgia (4-3, 3-2) may have quieted them for a while with its 34-10 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday, but all eyes will now shift to that Florida game two weeks from now. The Bulldogs have a bye this week and can certainly use one. They’ve been their own worst enemy for much of this season with turnovers and penalties, and the defense has again struggled. Going back to last season, the Bulldogs have given up 37 or more points in eight of their last 16 games. The loss that stings the most to this point was the embarrassing 45-19 beating the Vols pinned on them two weeks ago. It’s the kind of loss, depending on what happens the rest of the way, that may force Mark Richt to take a long look at his staff at season’s end.

Offensive MVP: WR A.J. Green. The Bulldogs can thank their lucky stars for Green, who’s been spectacular. In a lot of ways, he’s been their only offense. Green has easily separated himself as the best receiver in the SEC and has made one clutch play after another for the Bulldogs. He leads the league with 41 catches, including six touchdowns, and is averaging 16.6 yards per catch. With 682 receiving yards, he’s more than 200 yards ahead of the next closest guy in the SEC.

Defensive MVP: LB Rennie Curran. He leads the SEC with 72 total tackles and has been one of the few bright spots on a defense that ranks 69th nationally in total defense. Curran is one of the better tacklers in the league and also had the play that saved Georgia in the South Carolina game. He came up and tipped away Stephen Garcia’s fourth-down pass in the end zone. Otherwise, the Bulldogs might be looking at a 3-4 record right now.

Five SEC players make Butkus cut

October, 16, 2009
10/16/09
4:57
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low


Picking the three best linebackers in the SEC this season for all-conference honors will be a thankless job.

That's because there are so many great linebackers in this league. Five of them were named Friday to the list of 16 semifinalists for the 25th annual Butkus Award, which goes to the top linebacker in college football.

Making the cut from the SEC were Georgia's Rennie Curran, Alabama's Rolando McClain, South Carolina's Eric Norwood, LSU's Perry Riley and Florida's Brandon Spikes. Curran, McClain, Riley and Spikes were among the 12 finalists for the award last year, which was won by Wake Forest's Aaron Curry.

Here's the complete list of the 16 semifinalists for 2009:
  • Obi Ezeh, Michigan
  • Chris Galippo, Southern Cal
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Greg Jones, Michigan State
  • Sergio Kindle, Texas
  • Sean Lee, Penn State
  • Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
  • Von Miller, Texas A&M
  • Brandon Spikes, Florida
  • Daryl Washington, Texas Christian
  • Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
  • Eric Norwood, South Carolina
  • Perry Riley, Louisiana State
  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
  • Rennie Curran, Georgia
  • Rolando McClain, Alabama

Don't sell Georgia's Curran short

September, 16, 2009
9/16/09
4:19
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low


Trying to pick just three linebackers this season on the All-SEC team is going to be an impossible task.

But if things continue as they are, keeping Georgia's Rennie Curran off that first team is going to be hard.

He's usually not the first guy people mention when they start reeling off the best linebackers in this league, but Curran is off to a fabulous start to the season. He's the only player in the SEC with 20 or more tackles and matched his career high with 15 tackles in the 41-37 win over South Carolina.

More importantly, Curran saved that game for the Bulldogs by tipping away Stephen Garcia's fourth-down pass in the final seconds.

Curran doesn't have prototypical size for an SEC linebacker. He's listed at 5-foot-11, and that might be stretching it.

But he does have prototypical instincts, heart, desire ... and production.

Who cares about the measurables?

"A lot of times, that stuff is overrated and a lot of people put so much stock into that, when at the end of the day, it’s all about who’s the best football player," Curran said. "I feel like it’s more about your technique, more about your heart and more about your effort than any measurables.

"For me, there’s not a huge difference in 5-11 and 6-2. The biggest difference is what’s in your heart and what’s in your mind."

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