There wasn't much news coming out of SEC Media Days last week, as the biggest story line turned out to be trying to figure out which coach didn't vote for Florida's Tim Tebow as the first-team quarterback. The league's lucrative new TV deal with ESPN got plenty of discussion, but other than that, there were no major developments.
Even Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin, who's had the college football world buzzing with his brash statements since arriving in Knoxville, was much more toned down in Hoover, Ala.
Now it's on to some actual football. Here are the dates that SEC teams report for fall camp, with the first team practice taking place the next day: Alabama, Aug. 5; Arkansas, Aug. 5; Auburn, Aug. 4; Florida, Aug. 5, Georgia, Aug. 3; Kentucky, Aug. 6; LSU, Aug. 5; Mississippi State, Aug. 2; Mississippi, Aug. 9; South Carolina, Aug. 3; Tennessee, Aug. 3; Vanderbilt, Aug. 6.
Brooks: Recruiting going well
Rich Brooks said there's no reason to worry about UK's 2010 recruiting class despite the fact that they have just two known commitments going into August.
Brooks attributed the lack of commitments to the fact that the Wildcats coaching staff is going after more elite prospects, and those players often take their time during the recruiting process
"I think recruiting is going pretty well, better than it has in the past," Brooks said. "We may have had more commitments this time last year, but we also have to be a little more careful about who we get commitments from because we're into some guys that are maybe a little more high-profile."
Brooks also said the SEC's new limit on how many prospects schools can sign has been a factor. Schools can now sign only 28 prospects per class. NCAA rules mandate that only 25 recruits can enroll each fall, but UK was one of several schools who typically went over the cap and either grayshirted players or placed them in prep school or junior college.
UK might not use all of its available 25 spots for the 2009 class. The Wildcats signed 28 players, but at least three (Justin Bean, Demetri Merritt, Terrell Mitchell) will not be enrolling, and two more (Donte Rumph, Anthony Kendrick) are still trying to get qualified.
Boyle County athlete Jordan Aumiller, who was originally considered a grayshirt candidate, enrolled this summer. Brooks said that was in part due to the numbers situation but also because Aumiller's recovery from a shoulder injury has gone better than expected.
Gamecocks will have two-way player this fall
South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said that defensive end Cliff Matthews will also work some at tight end this fall. Matthews had 32 tackles and three sacks in 2008 and will team with junior Weslye Saunders at tight end.
"A lot of people think Cliff Matthews' ultimate position in the NFL may be tight end," Spurrier said. "He's a tough kid, can run all day. He's about 260. That's probably about as heavy as he can get. Cliff and Weslye will give us two pretty good tight ends."
No 'Wildcat' for Berry
As much hype as Tebow garnered this week, it was actually Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry who had the most votes on the media's All-SEC team. Berry is a hard-hitting safety who could be the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and he's also a darkhorse Heisman candidate. Tennessee has started an all-out Heisman campaign for Berry, but don't expect Kiffin to use Berry as a 'Wildcat' quarterback to boost his candidacy. Instead, Berry will focus on fully learning the "Tampa 2" scheme installed by Kiffin's dad, Monte.
"This is the first year of this new defense for him to learn," Kiffin said. "This isn't just about today. We have to look for our future. We need to develop our other players at the positions they're supposed to be at. You hinder (Berry's) development at defense, which is not fair to him, and you hinder the development of our offense as well."
Kickoff Luncheon Friday
The UK Kickoff Luncheon will be held Friday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington. Rich Brooks will address the upcoming 2009 season in addition to taking questions from fans. A 2008 highlight video will also be shown. Individual tickets cost $40 each and a table of 10 costs $400. Parking will be available in the High Street parking lot across from the hotel. For reservations, contact Leslie Bray at 859-257-2589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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