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August 13, 2012

Around the SEC, August 13th

Our look around the SEC through the eyes of the Rivals.com network of sites.

Offensive lineman Brandon Hill is heading to Hargrave Military Academy for a semester to shore up his grades, and then plans to head back to Tuscaloosa rather than re-opening his recruitment. The Crimson Tide also lost defensive back Jarrick Williams, who'd have been a key special teams player, for the year with a torn ACL, and reserve defensive back Travell Dixon, who left the team. On the field, the 'Tide got eight carries for 57 yards in a weekend scrimmage from Eddie Lacy, who appears to be recovering well from toe surgery.

More Alabama coverage: TideSports.com

The Arkansas defense had a great showing in Saturday's scrimmage, allowing just 4.5 yards per play in a 162-play day. What was significant was that the first-team offense went against the first-team defense, and the second-teams also scrimmaged each other. Converted receiver Brandon Mitchell led the team with nine catches for 72 yards. Running back Knile Davis is getting some action in contact drills, but is still being held out of full-contact scrimmages as a precaution. Defensive starters Tenarius Wright, Alonzo Highsmith and Eric Bennett are also being held out with minor injuries.

More Arkansas coverage: HawgSports.com

Kiehl Frazier may be earning the starting quarterback role almost by default, since Clint Moseley's shoulder is still causing him problems. Coach Gene Chizik did praise Moseley for throwing "One nice deep ball" over the weekend, though. The Tigers are still without freshman running back Jovon Robinson, whose grades are under investigation after a Memphis guidance counselor resigned for allegedly changing one of Robinson's grades to make him eligible. Defensively, sophomores Angelo Blackson and Justin Garrett appear to be emerging as starters at tackle and strong-side linebacker, respectively.

More Auburn coverage: AuburnSports.com

LSU sent shock waves through the college football world when it dismissed Tyrann Mathieu from the team on Friday. That puts coach Les Miles in a tough spot, as the Tigers are missing eight defensive backs from last year, and his likely replacement, Jalen Collins, hasn't played a college game. To complicate things, Collins is also currently out with an injury and so another freshman, Jalen Mills, filled in for him. In the Tigers' first post-Honey Badger scrimmage on Saturday, quarterback Zach Mettenberger completed 15-of-30 throws for 190 yards, two scores and a pick.

More LSU coverage: TigerBait.com

Ole Miss
Barry Brunetti and Bo Wallace got equal reps at quarterback with the first and second teams this weekend, and coach Hugh Freeze wasn't particularly pleased with either. On Saturday, Wallace was 11-of-24 for 145 yards, and Brunetti, 12-of-25 for 94. Each was intercepted twice. Freeze said both will play in games. True freshman I'Tavius Mathers continues to push for time at tailback, carrying 10 times for 47 yards. Starter Jeff Scott remains out after taking a blow to the back of the head last Wednesday.

More Ole Miss coverage: RebelGrove.com

Mississippi State
The MSU offensive line lost three starters, but coach Dan Mullen said that that positional group stood out most during Sunday's practice. Mullen said he's nowhere close to settling on a starting five, however. And in an odd turn of events, defensive back Xavier Grindle left MSU and actually signed with Pearl River Community College before returning back to Starkville two days later.

More Miss. State coverage: BulldogBlitz.com

Texas A&M
It's still a three-man race at quarterback in College Station. Jameill Showers has been in the lead, but after taking the offense to scores in the first two drives of Saturday's scrimmage, he didn't make good decisions or show much accuracy. That may have allowed Johnny Manziel, who was sharp the same day, to make up some ground. Coach Kevin Sumlin said Matt Joeckel, who also played well Saturday, is still in the mix. Meanwhile, freshman running back Trey Williams stole the show on Saturday with three touchdowns, including runs of 25 and 75 yards. End Damontre Moore was the star on the other side with a pair of sacks and a good effort against the run.

More Texas A&M coverage: AggieYell.com

The Gators sustained two significant injuries on the defensive line last week. Second-team tackle Nick Alajajian fractured his right knee and is done for 2012. Reserve end Kendric Johnson also dislocated his knee and will be out "a significant time." The Gators hope to get reserve cornerback Jeremy Brown (wrist surgery) back within a month, and freshman safety Marcus Maye (MCL) should start drills any day. On offense, redshirt freshman receiver Ja'Juan Story is transferring, and coach Will Muschamp will not make a decision between quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel until a couple more scrimmages are complete.

More Florida coverage: InsidetheGators.com

Coach Mark Richt isn't committing to anything, but it appears that former five-star recruit John Theus might be the starter at right tackle in his first year on campus. Theus is getting most of the reps there so far. The rest of the line as it stands so far: Chris Burnette (RG), David Andrews (C), Dallas Lee (LG) and Kenarious Gates (LT), none of which come as a surprise. A little bad news there: second-team guard Hunter Long broke a foot and is out 6-8 weeks. Richt also confirmed that true freshman running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall will play this fall.

More Georgia coverage: UGASports.com

Quarterback Maxwell Smith seems to be in the lead to retain his job after a Saturday scrimmage, with senior Morgan Newton the backup. Newton is still building back the strength he lost after having labrum surgery. The Wildcats need help at tailback, and freshmen Justin Taylor and Tyshawn Mobley continue to do well there. On defense, sophomore linebacker Alvin Dupree looks like a rising star and will be counted on as a major factor in UK's pass rush. He's added 30 pounds from last year and is up to 255.

More Kentucky coverage: CatsIllustrated.com

Missouri's first-team defense was excellent on Saturday, not allowing a touchdown the entire scrimmage. However, quarterback James Franklin continued to show he's recovered from spring labrum surgery by completing 18-of-22 passes for 228 yards. Tailback Kendial Lawrence, Missouri's top tailback with Henry Josey hurt, also had a solid day with 87 combined yards and a score. But the Tigers needed a good day out of guard Evan Boehm, who's been pressed into starting duty with the injuries along the line, and didn't get it. Good news on defense: Will Ebner has been plagued by injury throughout his career, but the Tigers' starting middle linebacker is healthy and performing very well in camp thus far.

More Missouri coverage: PowerMizzou.com

South Carolina
The best news came Saturday when tailback Marcus Lattimore looked healthy, his day highlighted by a 19-yard run that included a broken tackle and a cutback to the outside. Replacing Alshon Jeffery is impossible, and Ace Sanders doesn't have the now-Chicago Bears WR's talent. However, Sanders is having a good camp by making all the plays he needs to make after moving out of the slot, and seems to have improved over last season. Incumbent receiver starter D.L. Moore has also improved. On defense, true freshmen Chaz Elder (DB) and Jordan Diggs (SPUR) look like they may play this fall.

More S. Carolina coverage: GamecockCentral.com

Rajion Neal seems to have a slight edge over Marlin Lane at tailback, as Tennessee's running game continues to show improvement under first-year running back coach Jay Graham's tutelage and a more cohesive offensive line. Neal had nine carries for 134 yards in UT's Saturday scrimmage. The Vols' backup quarterback, Justin Worley, has also shown to be a more capable player this fall than he was a year ago.

More Tennessee coverage: VolQuest.com

It had been a good-news camp for Vandy in the way of injuries and personnel losses until this weekend, when coach James Franklin announced that linebacker Tristan Strong, who might have been a starter, was no longer with the team. No reason was given, but Strong had been rehabbing an injury that knocked him out of last season and hadn't planned to return for this year. Depth at linebacker is perhaps the team's biggest issue, and the problem is compounded by the fact that Chase Garnham and Archibald Barnes have been wearing red jerseys in practice. A good sign for the offense: quarterback Jordan Rodgers continues to show more consistency as evidenced by a 12-of-16, 153-yard day in a Saturday scrimmage.

More Vanderbilt coverage: VandySports.com

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