Coach Mason said it after the Tennessee game, that was a pretty good football team we played Saturday Night. Their quarterback, Ronald Butler, is outstanding and they were ranked No.25 in the FCS rankings last week. Good victory for the team, 35-17, over Tennessee State before 31,084 at Vanderbilt Stadium. .
Ralph Webb and Khari Blasingame had huge games. Ralph ran for 125 yards on 9 carries including a long of 49. Our line is doing a superb job opening holes and Ralph is finding them, making cuts and making explosive play after explosive play. Khari ran for 101 yards on 14 carries with 3 TDs. He's a bulldozer with excellent speed and burstabilty. Ralph is leading the SEC in rushing yards with 855, and has rushed for 6 TDs on the season. He's averaging 107 yards per game. Khari has rushed for 301 yards and 7 TDs. Really super 1-2 punch in the backfield we have this season. Ralph is the cutter, explosive player. Just excellent. Khari with his 6'1", 235 pound frame is the power runner who can get the tough yards and get in the end zone. Khari can make explosive plays also, and Ralph can definitely get the tough yards when called upon. Awesome to have'em both. We really had some great versatility in the offense as Coach Ludwig called a superb game. Josh Crawford came in late in the game and rushed for 49 yards on 6 carries. Good to see Josh get involved. He's an excellent running back. He will help us going forward. Got some other guys involved. Darrius Sims had some nice plays on jet sweeps gaining 50 yards on 5 carries. Like Darrius being involved heavily in the offensive game plan. He can really help us win more games. Trent Sherfield had a 14 yard TD run on a reverse and freshman Donaven Tennyson took a reverse for 13 yards. Dallas Rivers got some carries, too. Dallas can help us in the final four games of the season and most hopefully a bowl game.
I want to give a lot of credit to our offensive line. Coach Cameron Norcross has done an outstanding job with this group and has developed an excellent unit. We ran for 358 yards on Saturday, which is through the roof good. Center Barrett Gouger, left guard Ean Pfeifer, left tackle Will Holden, right guard Bruno Reagan and right tackle Justin Skule have been terrific this season. Really love this group. Most of them will be back, like a lot of players on this football team next season, which is extremely exciting. But we want to send our seniors, guys like Holden, Oren Burks, Darrius and Torren McGaster, out as bowl winners.
Kyle Shurmur did a nice job under center as well. Kyle was 15-of-23 for 143 yards and a touchdown, a 21 yarder to tight end Jared Pinkney, on a really nice roll out pass to the right. Jared made a nice catch and run to get the 7. Kyle took care of the football well. I still know that Coach Ludwig, Coach Mason and the offensive coaches firmly believe that Kyle can be a big time player for this football team. The broadcasters for the game said they had watched practice and Kyle was making all the throws. They were highly impressed. I know Kyle has it in him to be a big time quarterback for us the rest of this season and in the next two years. I expect that from our talented sophomore, starting against Auburn in two weeks.
We have an off week this week, then go to Auburn for a November 5th game at 11 AM. TV will either be ESPN, ESPN2 or the SEC Network. Will keep you posted when a final decision is made. Huge challenge, but one this team will be ready to take on. I have a lot of belief in these players, this team. Auburn is outstanding it looks like now, they have really hit their stride, and it's at Auburn, which makes it tough. But what the heck. We just need to go in there knowing we can win, just like we did against Georgia. Coach Mason said in his postgame press conference that he has put his players through two weeks of highly physical, challenging practices and it's shown. We have played with a lot of mental and physical toughness and everybody on the team is contributing.
Safety Ryan White led the defense with six tackles and made a beautiful knock out forcing a fumble that defensive end Dare Odeyingbo recovered. Good hustle by Dare to get on the football, too. Ryan is a super player for our team. Tre Herndon had four tackles, Ja'karri Thomas had four, Arnold Tarpley had 4, and a half tackle for a loss, and Zach had four and half a tackle for loss. Zach didn't put together his usual dominating performance, because it was more of a collective effort by our defense. Oren Burks had a tackle for loss and a sack, and Nifae Lealao had a tackle and a half for loss and a sack and a half. Good to see Nifae, who was a 95 four star three years ago out of Sacramento, Cali, make plays for us. Expecting more of that out of Nifae. Our defense allowed some yards from the TSU offense, but they're pretty good on offense and their quarterback, Butler, is a great passer and runner. But we only gave up 17 points and no points in the second half, so that was good. Torren picked off a pass as well.
This is a young team which is exciting, but we have some really good seniors on it who deserve to go out with a bowl victory. We want to win every game, but we need 2 victories to qualify for the postseason. We're pretty healthy, so that's really good right now. Please knock on wood and say a prayer for the health of our team. If we can stay healthy, 2 wins is very attainable and quite possibly more.
After Auburn, we're @ Missouri Nov. 12th, then we're home vs Ole Miss Nov. 19th, then home vs the that team from the Eastern part of the state on Nov. 26th. Should be pretty riveting going forward watching our football team. Really excited about the immediate and long term future for this team. Coach Mason and the coaches are recruiting well for 2017 as we have 11 solid commits with a lot of guys very interested in joining the 2017 fold. We don't have a lot of spots left in this class, so hopefully we'll finish strong with 15-20 commits, and really explode in 2018 recruiting. Coach Mason and the coaches are working hard on that class as well. We'll have a full 25 man class in 2018.
I really like our quarterback commit for 2017, high three-star Jacob Free out of Brantley, Alabama. Through a week and a half ago, Friday, Oct. 14th, Free had completed 97-of-172 passes, 56%, like to see that improve some, for 2,040 yards, 24 TDs and only four ints. He has rushed for 349 yards and eight TDs. Brantley was 5-3 through Oct. 13th. Jacob is 6'5", 200. Love that height and Coach James Dobson will get Jacob bigger and stronger without a doubt. He's already pretty strong, so the foundation is there. With Kyle, Wade Freebeck, Deuce Wallace, if Stank can make it back, and Jacob, we are set at quarterback for the next four to five years. Always need a quarterback in each class and Coach Mason and the coaches have done an excellent job securing one every year. Exciting.
High three star inside linebacker Collin Anderson, 6'2", 210, from Brooks High School in Killen, Alabama, has 56 tackles through 9 games, 14.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, an interception return for a TD, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, a blocked punt and a blocked kick. Wow. That makes my head spin it's so good. Colin's team was 6-2 through last Friday. Looks like Zach Cunningham, 2.0.
Solid three star offensive line commit Bryce Bailey, (6'5", 290) out of Newburgh, Indiana had 23 pancake blocks and is a major part of an offense that has generated 3,244 total yards. Bryce's team, Castle High School, was 6-3 a week and a half ago and is headed to the Class 5A playoffs this weekend.
Wide receiver James Bostic has 15 receptions for 232 yards. James, out of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, FL., is 6'3", 200 and will really help us in the future along with the studs we'll have coming back next year in C.J. Duncan, Trent Sherfield, Caleb Scott, tight end Jared Pinkney, and super freshmen Kalija Lipscomb and Donaven Tennyson. Look for true freshman Jackson Winrow to be a major player for us in the future.
Solid three star safety commit Tae Dailey has 46 tackles, four tackles for loss, two ints, a blocked punt, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery for a 7. Tae is from Northside High in Warner Robbins, Georgia, and is 5'11", 175. Northside knocked off the No. 1 team in Class 6A defeating Lee County, 26-7. Tae posted five tackles, had a tackle for loss and a pass breakup. Northside is 7-1. Excellent football player on an excellent team.
Solid three star Randall Haynie is a 6'0", 178 pound safety out of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale and is teammates with James Bostic. Cardinal Gibbons is 5-1. Randall has 23 tackles, four pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and a blocked punt he recovered and took to the house.
Stellar three star wide receiver/running back McLane Mannix out of Midland High School in Midland, Texas, has 25 receptions for 571 yards, and five TDs. I watched film on McLane and he looks like a Christian McCaffrey-type player, at least the McCaffrey from last year. McLane looks like a game changer for us as an offensive weapon. McLane is 5'10", 175. Coach Dobson will get McLane bigger. I like the potential for this young player.
Offensive tackle Grant Miller out of perennial Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale has 19 knockdown blocks and 6 pancakes this season. Grant has good size at 6'4", 278 with plenty of room to grow. For an example of what Coach Dobson does with players, Nifae was 285 coming out of high school and he now weighs 317. Grant has the frame to really get bigger and stronger. Aquinas has posted 2,512 total yards and 1,179 yards rushing. They are 4-2. They are perennial state and national championship teams through the years and look to excel this postseason.
Dayo Odeyingbo, Dare's little brother, is having a super year at defensive end for Ranchview High School in Irving, Texas. Dayo, a solid three star who is 6'4", 235, has 42 tackles on the season, 18 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hurries, seven sacks, 9 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a 7. Looks like a super d end or outside linebacker at VU. Ranchview is 5-2.
Jalen Pinkney, Jared's little brother from Norcross High School in Georgia, is a solid three star, 6'3", 225 pound defensive end. Jalen has posted 49 tackles on the season, 16 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, four quarterback hurries and three pass breakups. Another potential d end/OLB for us. With Coach Mason's defensive schemes, Jalen, like Dayo, and the other guys on the present team, can do both. There's a lot of versatility in Derek's defenses. Norcross is 7-0.
Adam Sparks is a 6'0", 170 pound three star cornerback out of Dutchtown High School in Geismar, Louisiana. Adam has posted some stellar stats with 19 tackles, two ints, seven pass breakups, two blocked kicks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
What I like about this group besides their super stats is their teams, most all of them, are doing extremely well. They know how to win. That's important. Adam's team may not be as stellar, but he's putting up super numbers.
6'5", 286 three star offensive tackle Cole Clemens out of Jordan, Utah is high on us, as is four star safety Chaz Ah You, also out of Utah. Chaz is 6'1.5, 199 pounds. Solid three star linebacker Dimitri Moore out of Cedar Hill, Texas, is very interested. Dimitri is 6'2", 195. Solid three star wide receiver Austin Connor, a 6'0", 180 player from Dutch Fork High School in South Carolina, is very interested. Safety Nico Bolden, a 6'4", 190 solid three star safety out of St. Paul, Minnesota, has major interest in us. Three star offensive tackle Jonathan Stewart, 6'8", 292, is a massive lineman who has major interest in us. Another major target and a guy who has major interest is 6'2", 175 pound receiver Amonyae Watson out of Newport News, Virginia. Amonyae is not rated by 247 Sports, but is definitely a diamond in the rough. I watched his film, and he caught five bombs for TDs. He's got length and superb speed. Amonyae would be an outstanding pickup.
There are plenty more. So plenty of recruiting work left to secure the guys we have in February and add these others.
But we've got a bowl game to get to first. Nice to have a week off and heal up and be ready to go against Auburn.
Will have some stuff on our basketball team as soon as I can get in touch with Coach Drew. Working on it. Like our core guys we have back in Matthew Fisher-Davis, who's going to light it up from deep; Riley LeChance, who looks to return to his stellar All-SEC form from his freshman year;Jeff Roberson, a solid blue collar excellent basketball player, a winner; Luke Kornet, who should have a super year from the inside and outside; Joe Toye, who I'm expecting big things out of his sophomore year; Camron Justice, who I'm excited to see light up the building with his shooting; Nolan Cressler, another blue collar, winner of a player, who was a superb shooter a couple of years ago at Cornell and I bet we'll see that this year out of Nolan; Djery Baptiste is going to give us good size underneath at 6'10", 240 to go along with Luke. Don't know about Djery's offensive skills, but the future is through the roof exciting for him. And we'll add freshmen point guard Payton Willis and 6'8" freshman Clevon Brown to the mix this season. Both guys were highly rated. Really excited to see what Coach Drew can do with this team.
And I love the three, 4-star recruits Bryce has committed for 2017. They are 6'9", 230 pound center Ejike Obinna out of Ashburn, VA., 6'2", 180 pound shooting guard Maxwell Evans out of Houston, and 6'1", 175 point guard Saben Lee out of Tempe, Arizona. Hopefully we'll get all three to sign in the early signing period between Nov. 9th and Nov. 17th. Need to get these three young men in the fold. Like the team we have and love the future under Coach Drew. See us a tournament team this year, and once you get there, you never know. Like this group.
Casey Hayward and the Chargers claimed the victory yesterday in a riveting game over the Falcons in Atlanta, 33-30, in overtime. The Chargers played an excellent game. Casey recorded 6 tackles and has three ints on the season. Casey has found a home in San Diego. The Chargers moved to 3-4 and are getting better and better every week. Quarterback Philip Rivers, from Athens, Alabama, was awesome in the victory completing 27 of 44 passes for 371 yards and a 7. He was super clutch in the final moments of the game and in overtime.
Jordan Matthews had three receptions for 10 yards as the Eagles beat the previously undefeated Minnesota Vikings, 21-10. On the season, JMatt has 25 receptions for 354 yards and two TDs. JMatt should be lighting it up soon as he and rookie Carson Wentz, from North Dakota State, get more familiar with each other. Wentz and JMatt are going to have a lot of fun playing together. The Eagles moved to 4-2.
Andre Hal is playing tonight for the Texans at the Denver Broncos. Tough assignment for Andre and his team, but doable. The Texans are 4-2 and the Broncos are 4-2. Andre is firmly entrenched at safety for the Texans.
Wesley Johnson is getting to play a lot for the New York Jets. Haven't seen Wes play yet, but will catch up on him this coming weekend. The Jets moved to 2-5 with a 24-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. They have a lot of talent, just need a quarterback to step up.
Jay Cutler may play this weekend for the Bears. The Bears are 1-6 and really struggling. This year may be it for Jay in Chicago. I hope not, but if they're not going to show him respect, I want him to go somewhere where he is appreciated. Would love to see him reunite with last year's Bears' offensive coordinator Adam Gase at Miami. Gase is the head coach of the Dolphins and he and Jay really clicked last year in Chicago. Also, Denver would be an excellent place for Jay. Gary Kubiak is a super coach, and they have an awesome team. Jay would fit in well there.
I hear Spencer Pulley is playing for the San Diego Chargers as well. Will keep an eye out for Spence in the Bolts next game.