SEC: Terrence Toliver

SEC NFL draft snubs

May, 4, 2011
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It’s got to be a little nerve-racking for the guys we’re about to talk about. Undrafted players have always had a chance to sign with NFL teams following the draft. They might not have been the lengthiest contracts, but at least players could get into camp to try to earn a spot.

Now, with the NFL in disarray, undrafted players are forced to play the waiting game. Drafted players can't even have contact with their new teams, and teams can’t make offseason moves. Everyone seems to think there will be a 2011 season, but there has to be a sense of nervousness circulating through the minds of players who didn’t hear their names called over the weekend.

Here is a list of some SEC snubs who will be waiting for the league to get its act together:

Darvin Adams, WR, Auburn
Not only was he one of Auburn’s top playmakers in 2010, but in his last two seasons with the Tigers, he grabbed 112 receptions for 1,960 yards and 17 touchdowns. The knock on him is that he has average height and speed to be a productive receiver in the NFL, but that didn’t keep him from making plays at Auburn. Once the league resumes, expect him to get into camp somewhere.

Chas Henry, P, Florida
Punters aren’t the biggest commodities in the draft, but Henry was the best at his position last year. He won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter and was a consensus All-American, averaging 45.1 yards per punt and pinning 18 of his 50 kicks inside the 20-yard line. He also kicked field goals last season.

Derrick Locke, RB, Kentucky
Locke was a major part of Kentucky’s offense at times, but he did have injury issues during his career. Locke has great speed and is a tough runner who accumulated 2,618 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns during his career at Kentucky.

Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU
Toliver has great size and speed at receiver, but didn’t hear his name called over the weekend. He caught 126 passes for 1,820 yards and 12 touchdowns during his four years at LSU. Ninety-four of those catches came in his last two seasons.

Ladi Ajiboye, DT, South Carolina
He was one of the Gamecocks’ top interior linemen, and while he doesn’t have great size, he was very fast off the line. He had back-to-back 40-plus-tackle seasons at South Carolina and recorded nine tackles for loss in that time.

Chris Walker, DE/OLB, Tennessee
He has battled injuries throughout his career, but had a solid last two years with the Volunteers. He totaled 87 tackles (14.5 for loss) and had nine sacks. He’s got good speed and has some room to bulk up a little more. When allowed to, he should field a few calls from teams.

Nick Reveiz, LB, Tennessee
Reveiz doesn’t have great size for a linebacker, but he almost always seemed to find himself around the ball in 2010. He was fifth in the SEC with 108 tackles last season. He has natural leadership skills and should get invited to a camp when (if) the lockout ends

How SEC five-star prospects have fared

February, 7, 2011
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I had a question last week about five-star prospects and how many of those guys have panned out in the SEC.

Well, I went back to the 2007 signing class, and SEC schools have signed a total of 33 players who were five-star prospects or received grades of 85 or higher from ESPN coming out of high school.

That includes the 2011 signing class.

Florida leads the way with nine five-star signees during that span. LSU is second with eight, followed by Alabama with five, Georgia with four, Auburn with three and South Carolina and Tennessee with two apiece.

Of the 33 five-star prospects to sign with SEC schools, one has already played in the Pro Bowl (Tennessee safety Eric Berry), and two others transferred or left school (Tennessee running back Bryce Brown and Florida safety Jonathan Dowling). Brown transferred to Kansas State after Derek Dooley took over at Tennessee, and Dowling was dismissed from Florida's team by former coach Urban Meyer for violating team rules.

Counting Berry, four of the 33 five-star prospects earned first-team All-SEC or first-team All-America honors. The other three were Georgia receiver A.J. Green, Alabama receiver Julio Jones and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.

The following is a year-by-year breakdown of the five-star prospects signing with SEC teams going back to the 2007 class:

2011 (7)
  • Georgia – 2 (RB Isaiah Crowell, DE Ray Drew)
  • LSU – 2 (DT Anthony Johnson, OT La’el Collins)
  • Alabama – 1 (OT Cyrus Kouandjio)
  • Auburn – 1 (OT Christian Westerman)
  • Florida – 1 (QB Jeff Driskel)
2010 (5)
  • Florida – 4 (DE Ronald Powell, DT Dominique Easley, S Matt Elam, S Jonathan Dowling)
  • Auburn – 1 (RB Mike Dyer)
2009 (11)
2008 (6)
  • Florida – 2 (S Will Hill, S Dee Finley)
  • LSU – 2 (CB Patrick Peterson, DE Chancey Aghayere)
  • Alabama – 1 (WR Julio Jones)
  • Georgia – 1 (WR A.J. Green)
2007 (4)

Looking back at the 2007 class

January, 31, 2011
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The ESPN recruiting team has a fascinating look back at the 2007 class and how the ESPNU 150 prospects panned out.

In putting this package together, it re-ranked the top 10 classes in 2007 and included a list of hits and misses, not to mention prospects who exceeded expectations.

It's a reminder to us all that, while recruiting great players is a must if you're going to compete for championships, it's what you do with these players once they get onto campus that separates the good programs from the great programs.

Of ESPN's top 25 players in the 2007 class, six signed with SEC schools -- No. 4 Eric Berry with Tennessee, No. 7 Terrence Toliver with LSU, No. 9 Mike McNeil with Auburn, No. 14 Brian Maddox with South Carolina, No. 15 Carlos Dunlap with Florida and No. 25 John Brantley with Florida. Ryan Mallett was No. 12 in that class, but he signed with Michigan out of high school before transferring to Arkansas.

Keep in mind that Auburn's Cam Newton was also in that 2007 class, but had eight other quarterbacks ranked ahead of him nationally when he signed with Florida. Nick Fairley was a member of the 2007 class, too, and wasn't even on the ESPNU 150 list. In fact, he was ranked as an offensive tackle, the No. 32 offensive tackle prospect in the country, but failed to qualify academically and went to junior college.

Fans pick SEC 'All-Bowl Team'

January, 24, 2011
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The fans of the SEC have spoken and picked their SEC "All Bowl Team," honoring the top individual performers in bowl games this season.

It's pretty close to the All-SEC bowl team we selected a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, here's the SEC Nation's "All-Bowl Team":

Offense:
QB - Cam Newton, Auburn
RB - Michael Dyer, Auburn
RB - Knile Davis, Arkansas
WR - Terrence Toliver, LSU
WR - Julio Jones, Alabama
TE - DJ Williams, Arkansas
OL - Derrek Sherrod, Mississippi State
OL - Lee Ziemba, Auburn
OL - Joseph Barksdale, LSU
K - Wes Byrum, Auburn
KR - Patrick Peterson, LSU

Defense:
DL - Nick Fairley, Auburn
DL - Drake Nevis, LSU
DL - Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State
LB - Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
LB - Josh Bynes, Auburn
LB - Kelvin Sheppard, LSU
LB - Nick Reveiz , Tennessee
CB - T'Sharvan Bell, Auburn
CB - Patrick Peterson, LSU
S - Ahmad Black, Florida
S - Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
P - Chas Henry, Florida

Here's a link to the ESPN.com All-SEC bowl team. One of the chief differences is that we picked Mississippi State's Chris Relf as our quarterback. We also tabbed LSU freshman Tyrann Mathieu over his veteran cornerback teammate, Patrick Peterson.

The players making both teams were Auburn running back Mike Dyer, LSU receiver Terrence Toliver, Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams, Auburn offensive lineman Lee Ziemba, Mississippi State offensive lineman Derek Sherrod, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw, Tennessee linebacker Nick Reveiz, Florida safety Ahmad Black and Auburn kicker Wes Byrum.

The 2010 All-SEC bowl team

January, 14, 2011
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Having had a few days to digest the 2010 bowl season, here’s a look at the All-SEC bowl team:

OFFENSE

QB Chris Relf, Mississippi State

One of the most improved players in the SEC, Relf was on top of his game in the Bulldogs’ 52-14 rout of Michigan. He was 18-of-23 for 281 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, and he also rushed for a touchdown.

RB Mike Dyer, Auburn

He said before the game he had fresh legs, and the true freshman delivered for the Tigers in their 22-19 win over Oregon in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game. Dyer rushed for 143 yards on 22 carries, including 57 of their 73 yards on their game-winning drive.

RB Spencer Ware, LSU

Where was this guy all season? The true freshman rushed for 102 yards on 10 carries in LSU’s AT&T Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M and served notice that he’ll be somebody to reckon with in 2011.

[+] EnlargeLSU's Terrence Toliver
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezLSU's Terrence Tolliver had a career day, catching five passes for 112 yards and three scores.
WR Terrence Toliver, LSU

Toliver saved his best game of the season for the last game. He had five catches for 112 yards and three touchdowns, including a 42-yarder and 41-yarder. The three touchdown catches tied a Cotton Bowl record.

WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina

It was another disappointing bowl trip for the Gamecocks, but Jeffery capped a brilliant season with nine catches for 130 yards.

TE D.J. Williams, Arkansas

He finished with five catches for 38 yards in the Hogs’ Allstate Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State and also caught a two-point conversion pass on what was a terrific effort play, where he extended the ball over the goal line with his right hand after appearing to be stopped on the play.

OL Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State

One of those guys who won’t be easily replaced, Sherrod ended his Mississippi State career with another dominant performance up front from his left tackle spot in the Bulldogs’ 52-14 walloping of Michigan.

OL Lee Ziemba, Auburn

His 52nd consecutive start at Auburn will be his most memorable. The Tigers, rolling up 519 yards of total offense, defeated Oregon 22-19 for the national championship.

OL Barrett Jones, Alabama

The Crimson Tide really missed Jones in their loss to Auburn to end the regular season. But he was back at his right guard spot in the bowl game, and Alabama rolled up 546 yards of total offense.

OL Will Blackwell, LSU

He made his first start at right guard since his injury in the season opener, and LSU had a field day running to the right side against Texas A&M in piling up 288 yards rushing.

C Ryan Pugh, Auburn

One of the rocks of Auburn’s veteran offensive line all season long, Pugh saved one of his best games for the Tigers’ most important game.

DEFENSE

DL Marcell Dareus, Alabama

Alabama’s defensive front-seven was too much for Michigan State, and Dareus was a big reason why. He had two tackles for loss, including a sack, and also led the Crimson Tide with three quarterback hurries.

DL Antoine Carter, Auburn

Another key cog in Auburn’s defensive masterpiece against Oregon, Carter had a tackle for loss and also broke up a pass in his final game in an Auburn uniform.

DL Nick Fairley, Auburn

Oregon coach Chip Kelly said after the game the Ducks simply couldn’t block Fairley. Then again, nobody else did this season, either. He finished with three tackles for loss, including a sack, and also forced a fumble in spearheading Auburn’s most impressive defensive performance of the season.

DE/OLB Justin Houston, Georgia

Georgia's defense wasn't the culprit in the 10-6 loss to UCF in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, and Houston led the Bulldogs with 10 tackles and two quarterback hurries.

LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

One of the mainstays in holding Michigan State to minus-48 yards rushing, Upshaw was dominant in the Crimson Tide’s 49-7 romp in the Capital One Bowl. He finished with three tackles for loss, including two sacks and forced a fumble.

LB Anthony Leon, Arkansas

The former safety was all over the field for the Hogs in the Sugar Bowl. He finished with two tackles for loss and also broke up a pass. One of his biggest plays was the initial hit in the end zone that led to a safety.

LB Nick Reveiz, Tennessee

An inspiration to his teammates with the way he fought back from a serious knee injury the year before, Reveiz led the Vols with 14 tackles in their Music City Bowl loss. He also had two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry.

DB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

One of the most promising freshman defensive backs in the league, Mathieu had seven tackles, including a sack, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and one pass breakup in the Tigers’ Cotton Bowl win.

DB Ahmad Black, Florida

His 80-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed Florida’s 37-24 victory over Penn State in the Outback Bowl, sending Urban Meyer out a winner. Black, a senior safety, also went out in style with two interceptions, while tying for the team lead in tackles.

DB Tramain Thomas, Arkansas

Thomas led the Hogs with 12 total tackles. He also forced two fumbles and broke up a pass. One of his forced fumbles came on fourth-and-1 from Ohio State’s own 38 when he knocked the ball loose on what would have been a first down.

DB Mike McNeil, Auburn

The Tigers’ senior safety, who came back this season from a broken leg, led all players in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game with 14 total tackles, including a couple of key stops in the open field.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Wes Byrum, Auburn

With the pressure on, Byrum’s 19-yard field goal as time expired lifted Auburn to its first national championship since 1957. It was his third game-winning field goal of the season.

P Dylan Breeding, Arkansas

He dropped four punts inside the 20-yard line, including three inside the 10 -- and two of those came in the fourth quarter. He averaged 43.7 yards a kick for the Hogs.

KR Randall Cobb, Kentucky

In what was his final game in a Kentucky uniform, Cobb had a combined 119 yards on kickoff/punt returns in the Wildcats’ 27-10 BBVA Compass Bowl loss to Pittsburgh. His long was a 40-yard kickoff return.

LSU runs all over A&M Wrecking Crew

January, 8, 2011
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- LSU knew what it wanted to do, or needed to do, rather.

Texas A&M finished its season as the Big 12's best rush defense, reclaiming the "Wrecking Crew" nickname in the process.

"We had to mix it up," said Tigers offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. "We felt like if we could loosen them up with some big passes, we'd be able to run the football."

Few figured the Tigers would have the kind of success they did doing both, but they did. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson had thrown four touchdown passes in 12 games entering Friday's Cotton Bowl, including just two in his past 11 games.

[+] EnlargeLSU's Terrence Toliver
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezLSU softened the Texas A&M defense with long passes to Terrence Toliver, who finished with a three touchdown catches. The Tigers then ran for 288 yards.
He threw three on Friday, and two were longer than 40 yards, softening up the Aggies defense exactly as planned to help beat Texas A&M 41-24 in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic in front of 83,514 fans at Cowboys Stadium.

"I thought he threw the ball about as good as I've seen him throw on tape," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said. "He was decisive, aggressive and accurate."

With Jefferson keeping the Aggies honest, LSU rolled over the Wrecking Crew for 288 rushing yards. Running backs Stevan Ridley and Spencer Ware both topped 100 yards, and Jefferson made a handful of plays with his legs, extending drives on third down on plenty of occasions and finishing with 67 yards on 12 carries.

"For our run game, I thought we were doing a really good job of dominating the line of scrimmage," Crowton said.

Early on, the Aggies were up 10-0, but with one torque of a knee they were down a leader. Senior linebacker Michael Hodges suffered a sprained ACL in the first quarter, and Texas A&M's leading tackler never returned.

"He is the heart and soul of our defense in many ways," Sherman said. "At the same time, you can't use that as a reason why we didn't perform the way we should have been capable of performing. ... One guy gets hurt, another guy has to step in and make the play."

His replacement, Kyle Mangan, managed just four tackles, the same amount Hodges had already accumulated in the first quarter.

"I think Kyle, put in the situation he was in, he played well," defensive end Lucas Patterson said. "You can't replace a player like Hodges."

With Jefferson having one of his best games of the year, and the Aggies patching together a run defense that often looked out of character, there was little expectation after Texas A&M's 10-0 lead had evaporated that chants of "Wrecking Crew" would make an encore in Cowboys Stadium.

Early on, it might have. Jefferson's first deep pass -- and the Tigers first attempt to soften the defense -- was interecepted with one hand by Coryell Judie. But Jefferson's first of three connections in the end zone with senior receiver Terrence Toliver assured an end to the Aggies' six-game winning streak.

"I came back with the next deep ball call when we got in the right situation," Crowton said. "Jordan stood in there, took a big hit, but got the touchdown. I knew we'd be alright from that point on because we were going to run the ball. We pound it in there."

The Aggies had no answer for the majority of the night. Gaps went unfilled and runners sliced through wide lanes. The Tigers ran the ball 55 times, and averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

"Our offensive line came to play," LSU coach Les Miles said. "Our offensive line said this is a challenge they wanted. I think they played to that challenge."

Instant analysis: LSU 41, Texas A&M 24

January, 8, 2011
1/08/11
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LSU rallied from an early 10-0 deficit to defeat Texas A&M 41-24 on Friday night in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

Here’s an instant analysis from the game:

How the game was won: It wasn’t LSU’s best start, as Texas A&M returned the opening kickoff 69 yards to set up a touchdown and added another field goal to jump out to a quick 10-0 lead. The Tigers never flinched, though. They settled down defensively in the second half and had one of their most dominant games of the season up front offensively in terms of running the football, finishing with 288 rushing yards. They outscored Texas A&M 35-7 to break the game wide open and take a 35-17 lead in the early stages of the third quarter.

Turning point: After LSU took a 21-17 lead in the second quarter, Tigers freshman safety Eric Reid intercepted a Ryan Tannehill pass and returned it 34 yards to the Aggies’ 2-yard line. LSU turned that pick into a touchdown three plays later and never looked back. Reid’s interception was one of three by LSU freshmen.

Star of the game: LSU senior receiver Terrence Toliver tied a Cotton Bowl record with three touchdown catches, including a 42-yarder and 41-yarder. He finished with five catches for 112 yards.

Star of the game II: After throwing just four touchdown passes all season long, LSU junior quarterback Jordan Jefferson threw three touchdowns in the win over Texas A&M and also rushed for a touchdown. All four of his touchdowns came during the Tigers’ decisive 35-7 run.

Star of the game III: LSU freshman defensive back Tyrann Mathieu was all over the field for the Tigers with 5.5 tackles, a key sack and pass breakup. He also had a big hit and fumble return for a touchdown that was negated by a penalty late in the game.

Stat of the game: LSU freshman running back Spencer Ware had a total of 73 rushing yards coming into the game, but exploded for 102 yards on 10 carries against Texas A&M.

What it means: The Tigers (11-2) capped the season with one of their more complete performances, scoring the most points Texas A&M has given up all season. It’s the fourth time in six years that Les Miles has led LSU to at least 11 wins in a season. There’s sure to be some more chatter about whether or not Miles will go to Michigan, but this is a team with plenty of talent returning and should be right there among the favorites to win the SEC championship in 2011.

SEC lunch links

December, 31, 2010
12/31/10
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Thanks to Tennessee's implosion at the end of regulation and a controversial decision to put a second back onto the clock, the SEC starts off 0-1 in bowls. Here are some links heading into two more games Friday involving SEC teams:

Video: LSU receiver Terrence Toliver

October, 10, 2010
10/10/10
12:48
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Andrea Adelson talks with LSU receiver Terrence Toliver after the game-winning catch against Florida.

Les Miles and LSU was full of fight

October, 10, 2010
10/10/10
12:10
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The bottom line is what counts, and no matter how lucky LSU was to win a week ago, the Tigers showed Saturday night with their 33-29 win at Florida that this is a team not easily distracted.

For a solid week, LSU coach Les Miles was torched for the way the Tigers butchered the end of the game in the 16-14 win over Tennessee.

His own players felt the need to come to his defense. Miles was the butt of jokes, and the talk nationally was how lucky he was.

Maybe he is, but his team is 6-0 and finding different ways to win every week. The Tigers kept their game-winning drive alive against the Gators with a fake field goal that was close to being a forward lateral, but was upheld by a review.

And for the second straight week, LSU won the game on its final offensive play, this one a 7-yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Lee to Terrence Toliver.

Miles loves the fight in this group, and regardless of what anybody thinks about him, it’s been a trademark of all of his teams. There’s a reason the Tigers have 15 comeback wins in either the fourth quarter or overtime since the Mad Hatter arrived in 2005.

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