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August 22, 2013

Auburn football: Six Tigers selected to coaches’ All-SEC preseason teams

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra | Like the blog on Facebook

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn had six players named to the SEC coaches’ preseason all-conference teams released Thursday, led by running back Tre Mason and center Reese Dismukes.

The pair was selected to the all-conference second-team offense. They were joined by kicker Cody Parkey and punter Steven Clark, who also earned second-team honors, while tight end C.J. Uzomah and defensive end Dee Ford were named to the third-team.

Junior running back Tre Mason was named to the SEC coaches' preseason all-conference second-team on Thursday. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)

Junior running back Tre Mason was named to the SEC coaches’ preseason all-conference second-team on Thursday. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)

Auburn was one of three teams — along with Kentucky and Missouri — to have no players voted to the first-team. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players.

Mason, a junior, rushed for 1,002 yards along with eight touchdowns last season. Dismukes is a mainstay on the offensive line, making 23 starts in the past two seasons.

Clark, who hails from Kansas City, Mo., averaged 39.8 yards per punt last season, with 15 of his attempts being downed inside the 20-yard line. Parkey was Auburn’s leading scorer in 2012, converting 11 of his 14 field goal attempts and hitting all 27 of his extra-point tries.

Uzomah had seven receptions for 136 yards last year, but is expected to take on a more prominent role in the Tigers’ offense this season. Ford is the team’s top returning pass-rusher after totaling six sacks last year, but according to defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, he will miss the season opener to continue recovering from a knee injury suffered during fall camp.

August 14, 2013

4 at 4: Off day provides time to catch up on latest news in college football

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra | Like the blog on Facebook

AUBURN, Ala. — It’s a rare day on the Auburn football beat.graphics4

First, there’s no media availability. Second, and of greater import to non-reporters, the Tigers aren’t practicing today.

Head coach Gus Malzahn said this day will be used exclusively for the coaching staff to continue its evaluations of every player, as well as to start to pare down the positions that are still up for grabs.

With that in mind, it seems like a good day for a “4 at 4,” with some links highlighting both Auburn and other teams around college football.

1. I normally like to lead off with links to recent content published on the blog for those who might not have had a chance to read them yet. I see no reason to change that, so let’s start with a few pieces from the last two days: Avery Young and Patrick Miller continue to tussle to become the team’s starting right tackle, while receiver Sammie Coates said the game has “slowed down” for him entering his third season on the Plains. We have a post which includes post-practice video interviews with Coates, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and center Reese Dismukes. Finally, we have quarterback content galore: an update on the competition from Lashlee’s perspective along with a pair of profiles on current (and former) signal-callers, with the first focusing on Jonathan Wallace and the second on the Tigers’ newest safety, Kiehl Frazier.

And something to keep in mind for Thursday: I’ll be live chatting at 3 p.m. ET. I hope you’ll join.

2. In other Auburn news, Jason Dufner sure seems to be reaping the rewards of his victory in the PGA Championship. Heck, he even slept with the Wanamaker Trophy. (Check out the photo posted by his wife, Amanda, on her personal Instagram account.)

And a good get from colleague Brandon Marcello, who tracked down Matt Miller, the offensive coordinator at Garden City Community College in Kansas, where Nick Marshall lit up the junior college circuit last year. His former coach thinks Marshall “could be as good as any quarterback in the SEC” and compared him to former Kansas State great Michael Bishop, the Heisman Trophy runner-up (to Ricky Williams) in 1998.

3. How about a few interesting stories around college athletics? According to The Washington Post, Maryland’s move to the Big Ten hasn’t paid immediate dividends, as the athletic department is projected to operate at a deficit “until at least the 2017-18 academic year.” Meanwhile, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant hopes the NCAA punishes Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel if the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is proven to accepted money in exchange for his autograph.

Speaking of punishment, Alabama has suspended starting inside linebacker Trey DePriest for a violation of team rules; meanwhile another SEC linebacker named “Trey” is looking to exit the league completely — LSU’s Trey Granier is seeking to transfer, according to Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune.

4. As we’ve done multiple times in the past, a tip of the cap to Scott Scroggins — the master statistician who works in the media relations arm of Auburn’s athletics department for finding another great video to bring today’s “4 at 4″ to a close.

Scroggins has been counting down the days until Auburn’s 2013 campaign begins, now standing 17. With that number on “Scroggins’ noggin,” he decided to link to the famous “Punt Bama Punt” game, which Auburn won 17-16 over Alabama in 1972, thanks to two blocked punts by Bill Newton. Both were returned for touchdowns by David Langner, who also came up with an interception on the final drive of the contest to seal the victory and help the Tigers topple the No. 2 Crimson Tide.

VIDEO: Post-practice interviews with Rhett Lashlee, Reese Dismukes and Sammie Coates

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra | Like the blog on Facebook

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, center Reese Dismukes and wide receiver Sammie Coates met with reporters following a situational scrimmage Tuesday morning. The Tigers had another practice scheduled for the evening that was not open to reporters, so what you see below offered the only insight media members would be able to learn all day.

There’s nearly 15 minutes worth of video here, so watch it all at once or take your time and come back to view them at your leisure.

Lashlee

Dismukes

Coates

August 13, 2013

Auburn football: Starting right tackle battle ongoing, Rhett Lashlee says Tunde Fariyike ‘improved’ snaps since spring

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra | Like the blog on Facebook

AUBURN, Ala.Reese Dismukes isn’t worried about the right tackle position.

Auburn’s starting center knows whoever winds up winning the job — be it redshirt freshman Avery Young or sophomore Patrick Miller — will man it capably.

Patrick Miller (51) is continuing to battle Avery Young to become Auburn's starting right tackle. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)

Patrick Miller (51) is continuing to battle Avery Young to become Auburn’s starting right tackle. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)

“They’re both coming out every day, competing hard and that’s what we need,” Dismukes said following Tuesday morning’s situational scrimmage. “They’re getting the best of each other and that’s what happens when you get a competition going like that. I think that they’re just doing the best they can and whichever one wins the job we’ll stick with.”

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee wasn’t worried, either, saying both Young and Miller “are good players.” When the job is finally settled, Lashlee said it will also have implications for the rest of the offensive line.

“How does it work shuffling everything else, from backup guards to centers to left tackle, all those things will play into that (right tackle) position,” he said. “Those guys have really come along and gotten much better. Whoever wins that job will also alter how we go in with our top six, seven, eight linemen going into the game.”

Four spots on the line seemed set heading into the season, with Greg Robinson at left tackle, Alex Kozan at left guard, Chad Slade at right guard and Dismukes at center.

Kozan, specifically, has impressed Dismukes.

“He’s taking a big step in the film room,” he said. “Really just focusing on technique each and every day and just going out there every day and getting better. That’s the big thing he’s done. Still same guy he was in the spring. He’s just kind of set himself apart in the fall. I think that’s what he wanted to do and that’s what’s happening.”

Lashlee felt the same about Tunde Fariyike, noting the gains he has made snapping the ball after struggling during the spring. Though he’ll likely serve as Dismukes’ backup this season, Lashlee said Fariyike’s versatility makes him a valuable asset.

“He’s a guy that could maybe get in the mix at other spots on the line too in a reserve role,” Lashlee said. “I do think we’ve got three or four guys that can snap the football behind Reese, (who) certainly is kind of the leader and anchor of that unit. We got to be very cautious with him and he’s very important to us, but if something were to happen, we feel like we’ve got several options, with Tunde being one of them.”

Dismukes said he does his best to assist his teammates — linemen or otherwise — any way he can.

“My main goal is for us to win football games,” he said. “Whatever guy needs help out there, whether a receiver needs help or quarterback needs help, I just try to help them. I think everybody can be replaced.”

August 6, 2013

Auburn Practice Report, 8/6: Tigers don full pads for first time, Demetruce McNeal inactive once again

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra | Like the blog on Facebook

AUBURN, Ala. — Reporters were permitted to approximately 20 minutes of practice on Tuesday, the first time the team donned full pads during practice. It also marked Day 5 of Auburn’s fall camp. Here are some thoughts and observations from the media’s short viewing window.

This wide-lens photo of strength and condition coach Ryan Russell working the team through stretching drills was about as interesting as it got at Auburn's practice on Tuesday. (Photo by Todd Van Emst)

This wide-angle photo of strength and condition coach Ryan Russell working the team through stretching drills was about as interesting as it got at Auburn’s practice on Tuesday. (Photo by Todd Van Emst)

  • This was the least-interesting practice reporters have had a chance to see thus far. And that’s being generous. Due to rain, most of the Tigers’ drills were forced to take place inside, and the ones on display likely wouldn’t enrapture the fan base. But we’ll forge on nonetheless.
  • Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson finally lifted the curtain on what’s been ailing Demetruce McNeal on Monday: The senior safety had an infection that required a minor surgery. Johnson figured McNeal would be out for “several more days,” and his prediction was right. Safety No. 16 at least seemed to be moving around well on Tuesday, bobbing his head and twirling a football on his fingertips. He also had some fun with right tackle Avery Young during stretching drills. After Young finished one of his steps, McNeal jogged by and tapped him on the helmet with a football. “You know I got you, dog,” Young told him.
  • The quarterbacks didn’t throw any passes while media members were present. Jonathan Wallace was a holder on field goals, with the rest of the quarterbacks off to the side running with ropes tied to them. Jeremy Johnson paired up with Tucker Tuberville and Kiehl Frazier did the same with Nick Marshall.
  • The first-team offensive line stayed the same, with Greg Robinson at left tackle, Alex Kozan at left guard, Reese Dismukes at center, Chad Slade at right guard and the aforementioned Young at right tackle. There was a change on the second-team line, however, as Will Adams replaced Jordan Diamond at right guard. The rest of Auburn’s second-team offensive line: Shon Coleman at left tackle, Devonte Danzey at left guard, Tunde Fariyike at center and Patrick Miller at right tackle.
  • The only contact that took place during the viewing portion was courtesy of the defensive backs. Coach Melvin Smith had his unit working on jamming drills.
  • The punt returner group was identical to Monday, consisting of wide receivers Quan Bray, Trovon Reed and Marcus Davis and Tony Stevens as well as cornerback Chris Davis. The punt returns were also the only unit adversely affected by practicing indoors, as many of Steven Clark’s kicks reach the roof of the facility. (Unfortunately, I didn’t keep a running tally, though I saw at least five bounce off the ceiling.) Wide receiver Sammie Coates was a new face among the kick returners on Tuesday. He joined a trio of running backs in Tre Mason, Corey Grant, Johnathan Ford, wide receiver Ricardo Louis and cornerback Jonathan Jones.
Read more here: http://www.wareagleextra.com/#storylink=cpy

August 4, 2013

Auburn notes: Quarterbacks struggle with turnovers for third straight day, Gus Malzahn touts team leaders

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra | Like the blog on Facebook

AUBURN, Ala. — For the third consecutive day, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn kept any information regarding the team’s quarterback battle close to the vest.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said  Sunday that the four quarterbacks fighting to be the starter had problems with turnovers for the third straight day. (File photo)

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Sunday that the four quarterbacks fighting to be the starter once again had problems with turnovers. (File photo)

One difference on Sunday was that the Tigers started to mix-and-match the units the four candidates took reps with. Malzahn couldn’t remember, however, whether newcomers Nick Marshall and Jeremy Johnson took snaps with the first-team offense.

“I believe (offensive coordinator) Coach (Rhett) Lashlee tried to rotate them, at least with a different group than they’ve been working with,” he said. “They’ve only been working with the younger guys, and both of them rotated with the older guys.”

There was still little separation among Marshall, Johnson and the veteran pair of Kiehl Frazier and Jonathan Wallace. That might change once the coaching staff has a chance to sit down and break down film from practice, though.

“When you have a whole lot of reps and you’re going quick, there’s some good, and you really just (need to) get in the (film) room and see things,” Malzahn said. “All positions are being evaluated a lot better once we were in shells, and the quarterbacks were no different.”

Tight end C.J. Uzomah was impressed with the level of play from the quarterbacks on Sunday. He was surprised how well they moved around during the first day in “shells,” which consists of helmets and shoulder pads.

“They warmed up well and we had a lot of individual periods with them,” he said, before running down a list of the specific period numbers. “Once we started getting our timing and mesh correct in 7-on-7 and one-on-one in team periods, they looked spectacular, really.”

Malzahn didn’t share Uzomah’s sentiment, focusing on the mistakes his signal-callers made. The team’s first three fall practices have been marred by quarterbacks struggling with their decision-making.

“There’s always going to be turnovers when you’re rotating four quarterbacks, so it’s just a matter of protecting the football, making good decisions,” he said. “We’re going to put these quarterbacks in a lot of different situations, so there’s a lot of plays. There’s some good, there’s some bad. That’s to be expected when it’s that type of setting.”

Regardless, Malzahn said it’s still “too early right now” to make any proclamations about the eventual starter, which is the same approach he takes with every position on the field.

“You gather information at every position,” he said. “But at this point it’s way too early for me to be able to stand up here and tell you we’re going to be able to make it earlier rather than later.”

Team leaders remain the same

While Malzahn provided little insight on how the quarterback battle is shaping up, he had no problem highlighting the players he views as the team’s leaders.

All are pretty familiar faces, since it’s the same group who took on those roles during the spring: center Reese Dismukes and fullback Jay Prosch on offense and hybrid safety Justin Garrett and cornerback Chris Davis on defense.

They just haven’t had a chance to make their voices heard at practice yet — for good reason.

“You’ve got to understand that we’re straining them,” Malzahn said. “It’s hard to be real vocal when we’re practicing at the pace we are.”

Quick hitters

Malzahn said safety Demetruce McNeal sat our practice for the third time in as many days. “But he’s getting better,” Malzahn said. The Tigers have yet to specify why the senior hasn’t participated in the first three days of fall camp, other than to say he’s battling an undisclosed “medical issue.”

July 27, 2013

‘Eager to learn’ freshman defensive line trio don’t disappoint in summer workouts

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra

AUBURN, Ala. — Not all players are built the same.

Carl Lawson

Carl Lawson

Take the much talked-about freshmen defensive line trio of Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and Elijah Daniel. All three arrived on campus physically fit far beyond their years.

It didn’t take their new teammates long to notice, either.

“Those guys came in with college bodies,” senior defensive end Nosa Eguae said. “We’re all looking forward to it. They’re all eager to learn. Me and Carl (Lawson), we sat down for 30 minutes just going over the playbook the other day.”

Eguae left little doubt that he believed all would be able to step in and help the Tigers from Day 1.

“Definitely, they do,” he said. “But you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to do it with the pads on. We all know that and they know that. We’re all looking forward to getting those pads on, getting with (defensive line) Coach (Rodney) Garner, getting into the grind of two-a-days and making plays.”

Then again, that doesn’t make the trio any different than the rest of Auburn’s 2013 recruiting class. Head coach Gus Malzahn said the expectation is that all first-year players — be they true freshmen or junior college transfers — will be given the chance to get on the field right away.

“That’s just where we’re at as a team,” he said. “We’re going to go into this thing and try to give them as many opportunities early in fall camp so we can evaluate them and try to make quick decisions. That’s the tough thing as a coach — you’ve got to make decisions fairly quick about moving forward, especially with young guys. But they’re all going to have an opportunity to help.”

The difficult equilibrium the coaching staff has to maintain is between pushing them to contribute instantly and expecting too much, too soon.

After 30-plus years in coaching, Tigers defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson has confronted this issue on countless occasions.

“They’re very capable talent-wise, and we do have some areas where we think their ability is going to be key — third down, edge pass rush,” he said. ” … Still, until you get them on the field and start working with them in the big picture, you just never know.”

While Lawson, Adams and Daniel have yet to don pads, they have impressed their teammates all summer during “captain’s practices.” Perhaps the most readily-apparent trait they’ve brought is an endless supply of energy.

That exuberance can get a bit out of control at times, though.

“I have to remind some of them, ‘Listen, this is no pads,'” senior defensive tackle Jeff Whitaker said. “And they’ll look at me like, ‘No problem, no problem.’ And then they go out there and try to bullrush. And I’m like, ‘Oh, no, no. We’re just walking through the steps. We’re going to be all right.'”

Reese Dismukes echoed Whitaker, noting how much enthusiasm the three have displayed during the player-led summer practices. But he wasn’t willing to go too far in his praise, pointing out that doing it in the summer is fine. What really counts is doing the same in front of the coaches during fall camp, and eventually, during the season itself.

“I mean, they all look good,” the junior center said. (But) you never know what the guy’s going to do until you put pads on, and you get out there and it’s 110 degrees and everything’s flying at you. You never know how anyone’s going to respond to that.”

Aside from their natural talent, Dismukes said the group has one other factor in its favor which others may not take into account.

“I think it’s better that they’re on the D-line,” he said. “They have more of a chance to step in and provide. I’m not real familiar with their scheme or anything, but I know that it’s not as intense as learning the whole offensive playbook. But I think they’ll all have a chance to succeed.”

An attribute all three have been blessed with is a quick first step, with members of both the offensive and defensive lines continually praising how well they “get off” the ball. It doesn’t hurt that they join an already-stacked unit to lean on for advice.

Left defensive end Dee Ford is one of the top players in the SEC at his position, joined by Eguae on the right side. Then there’s Whitaker, Gabe Wright and Angelo Blackson at tackle, not to mention Kenneth Carter, who saw time at end during spring practice after spending his first three years at tackle. Needless to say, the Tigers have no shortage of talented defensive linemen — and that’s before throwing Lawson, Adams and Daniel into the mix.

Whitaker, for one, couldn’t contain his excitement. The defensive line is a sight to behold.

He hopes to be able to say the same this fall and in the years to come.

“When we were out there the other day during warmups, it was like a whole team of D-linemen,” he said. “It just makes you feel better about the young group. The future looks good.”

July 21, 2013

Auburn center Reese Dismukes learns from past mistakes, matures into team leader

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra

AUBURN, Ala. — In Reese Dismukes’ mind, leaders fall into one of two groups.

Auburn center Reese Dismukes has taken on a leadership role not only for the offensive line, but the team as a whole.

Auburn center Reese Dismukes has taken on a leadership role not only for the offensive line, but the team as a whole.

The first are those who take charge by barking out orders and motivating through sheer personality — the “vocal guys.” Then, there is the more understated type, the one others look up to simply because he goes about his business each day with machine-like efficiency, preferring to let his actions speak for themselves.

It just so happens that Dismukes, the junior center considered the leader of Auburn’s offensive line, says he’s a member of both categories.

“I feel like that’s the kind of guy I am,” he said Friday, “and I feel like over time I’ve gained everybody’s trust.”

That Dismukes is in a position of authority may be surprising to some. Just eight days before last year’s season opener against Clemson, Dismukes was arrested on a public intoxication charge, leading to a one-game suspension from then-coach Gene Chizik. He returned to the lineup one week later, but winning back the respect of his teammates and coaches may have taken even longer. But Dismukes left no doubt when the turning point occurred: After suffering a high ankle sprain during the team’s open date prior to taking on Arkansas, the center should have been out for three weeks.

He forged ahead, taking his place in the Tigers’ starting lineup the next week against the Razorbacks, cast and all.

“I think guys really respect when you go out there and you do things that you feel like you have to do,” he said.

His refusal to miss any time led to an even more painful injury, though. In that Arkansas contest, Dismukes dislocated his elbow.

The new injury served him well in one regard, however.

“When you dislocate your elbow, it takes all the pain away from the ankle,” Dismukes said. “When you go out on Saturday, it doesn’t matter how hurt you are. You’ve got adrenaline running, you really don’t feel anything until after the game. I mean, you’ll feel it here and there, but it is what it is.”

Dismukes was equally candid about his first two years as a Tiger. When he arrived, he still had maturity issues to sort out, no different than many other college freshman.

“Coming in two years ago, you’re 18 years old stepping into a whole new world,” he said. “Once you get to where I am now, you see what you have in front of you. As long as you do the right things, and do everything you can to better yourself and everyone else around you, I think you just try to do the best you can.”

Dismukes also got the chance to start with a clean slate with a different coaching staff when Gus Malzahn was hired.

“From Day 1, we told Reese, ‘Hey, what you do from this point forward is all that (offensive line) Coach (J.B.) Grimes, myself and Coach Malzahn care about,'” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “And since we got here, everything has been great. I’ve really been proud of how he handled himself, on the field, off the field, leading guys.”

Dismukes took on the role because, well, somebody had to.

“We were 3-9 last year,” he said. “Somebody’s got to step up, and I kind of put that on my shoulders. As far as the offense goes, trying to put that on my back and get guys going in the right direction and take charge.”

Of course, no one starts 23 games (out of the last 25) by accident. Dismukes may be the anchor of the line, but he’s far from the only experienced player, as four of the Tigers’ five starters return.

It’s a chemistry and comfort level Dismukes couldn’t tout enough.

“We’ve been playing together,” he said. “You look at the guy to your left, and he knows what that look means when he’s down in Baton Rouge (against LSU). It’s obviously going to help not being the first time, so the sky’s the limit there.”

That unlimited potential could also be applied to Dismukes individually. He has already been recognized multiple times heading into fall camp, being named to the Rimington Award watch list, which goes to the nation’s top center, as well as being selected to the All-SEC second-team.

Not that Dismukes really cares about the accolades. He hears about it from others, yes. But he knows the individual honors will come in due time.

Winning games, Dismukes said, is paramount.

“If I’m at top on the end of the year, that’d be awesome,” he said. “My goal is win a championship, and that’s how it’s going to be.”

July 18, 2013

SEC Media Days, Day 3: Tigers picked to finish fifth in West, place six players on All-SEC teams

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra

HOOVER, Ala. — Prior to the final teams making their appearance at SEC Media Days on Thursday, the conference released the predicted order of finish by the media.

Auburn cornerback Chris Davis was one of six Tigers named to the media's preseason All-SEC teams. Media members also picked Auburn to finish fifth in the Western Division.

Auburn cornerback Chris Davis was one of six Tigers named to the media’s preseason All-SEC teams. Media members also picked Auburn to finish fifth in the Western Division.

And according to media pundits, Auburn will finish in fifth place in the Western Division, behind predicted champion Alabama, second-place Texas A&M, third-place LSU and fourth-place Ole Miss. Auburn was picked ahead of Mississippi State and Arkansas, respectively. In the East, Georgia was picked to repeat as the SEC Eastern champion for the third consecutive season, followed by South Carolina, Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky.

As for the overall conference champion, the Crimson Tide were favored to capture it once more, picking up 182 first-place votes, with Georgia (38), South Carolina (18), Texas A&M (4) and LSU (1) being the only other teams to snag a pollster.

Despite being picked to finish fifth in the division, the Tigers were well-represented on the preseason All-SEC teams, with six players earning recognition. On the second-team were running back Tre Mason, center Reese Dismukes, defensive end Dee Ford and kicker Cody Parkey. The Tigers also had two members on the third-team in cornerback Chris Davis and punter Steven Clark.

The preseason All-SEC teams and the media’s predicted order of finish is listed below.

PRESEASON ALL-SEC

OFFENSE

First-Team
QB – Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (119)
RB – T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (221)
RB – Todd Gurley, Georgia (206)
WR – Amari Cooper, Alabama (194)
WR – Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (106)
TE – Arthur Lynch, Georgia (148)
OL – Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (193)
OL – Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (176)
OL – Anthony Steen, Alabama (109)
OL – Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (88)
C – Travis Swanson, Arkansas (92)

Second-Team
QB – AJ McCarron, Alabama (67)
RB – Tre Mason, Auburn (15)
RB  – *LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State (12)
RB – *Keith Marshall, Georgia (12)
WR – Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss ( 46)
WR – Mike Evans,  Texas A&M (33)
TE – Rory Anderson, South Carolina (33)
OL – Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (76)
OL – Jon Halapio, Florida (51)
OL – Chris Burnette, Georgia (50)
OL – Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee (50)
C – Reese Dismukes, Auburn (33)     

Third-Team
QB – Aaron Murray, Georgia (52)
RB – *Matt Jones, Florida (5)
RB – *Jeff Scott, Ole Miss (5)
RB – *Alfred Blue, LSU (5)
WR – Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (28)
WR – Jarvis Landry, LSU (19)
TE – Brian Vogler, Alabama (18)
OL – La’el Collins, LSU (37)
OL – Josh Williford, LSU (30)
OL – Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt (18)
OL – *A.J. Cann, South Carollina (14)
OL – *Zach Fulton, Tennessee (14)
C – *James Stone, Tennessee (30)
C – *Jonotthan Harrison, Florida (30)

DEFENSE

First-Team
DL – Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (223)
DL – Dominique Easley, Florida (162)
DL – Anthony Johnson, LSU (127)
DL – Chris Smith, Arkansas (56)
LB – C.J. Mosley, Alabama (231)
LB – A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (107)
LB – Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss (94)
DB – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama (203)
DB – Craig Loston, LSU (135)
DB – Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (117)
DB – Deion Belue, Alabama (77)

Second-Team
DL – Xzavier Dickson, Alabama (49)
DL – Ed Stinson, Alabama ( 39)
DL – Dee Ford, Auburn (38)
DL – Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama (31)
LB – Adrian Hubbard, Alabama (66)
LB – Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (64)
LB – Lamin Barrow, LSU (29)
DB – Damian Swann, Georgia (70)
DB – Andre Hal, Vanderbilt (69)
DB – Marcus Roberson, Florida (50)
DB – Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama (36)

Third-Team
DL – Garrison Smith, Georgia (26)
DL – Daniel McCullers, Tennessee (23)
DL – Alvin Dupree, Kentucky (23)
DL – C.J. Johnson, Ole Miss (22)
LB – Ronald Powell, Florida (24)
LB – Tahj Jones, LSU (20)
LB – *Trey DePriest, Alabama (16)
LB – *Avery Williamson, Kentucky (16)
DB – E.J. Gaines, Missouri (34)
DB – Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss (25)
DB – Jalen Mills, LSU (22)
DB – Chris Davis, Auburn (20)

SPECIALISTS

First-Team
P – Kyle Christy, Florida (108)
PK – Carey Spear, Vanderbilt (100)
RS – Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (74)
AP – Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (69)

Second-Team
P – Cody Mandell, Alabama (54)
PK – Cody Parkey, Auburn (71)    
RS – Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (62)
AP – Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (44)

Third-Team
P – Steven Clark, Auburn (33)
PK – Zach Hocker, Arkansas (39)
RS – Andre Debose, Florida (53)
AP – Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida (36)

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

SEC CHAMPION
Alabama – 182
Georgia – 38
South Carolina – 18
Texas A&M – 4
LSU – 1

EASTERN DIVISION
Georgia (149) – 1570
South Carolina (75) – 1474
Florida (19) – 1300
Vanderbilt – 858
Tennessee – 694
Missouri – 577
Kentucky – 331

WESTERN DIVISION
Alabama (225) – 1681
Texas A&M (11) – 1333
LSU (7) – 1324
Ole Miss – 883
Auburn – 579
Mississippi State – 516
Arkansas – 488

NOTES (provided by the SEC league office):

* – Official attendance at 2013 SEC Media Days is 1,239, a new high for the event. The previous high was 1,085 in 2012.
* – 243 voters is an all-time high for SEC media days.  The previous high was 222 voters in 2012.
* – The top two vote-getters were defensive players: C.J. Mosley, Alabama and Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina.
* – Since 2000, Arkansas’ Darren McFadden is the only unanimous selection to the SEC Media Days Team, collecting all 80 votes.
* – Alabama had the most first-team selections this season with seven.  Since 1992, the most players on a first-team were nine by Alabama in 2011 and eight by Alabama (2010) and Florida (2009).

July 9, 2013

Reese Dismukes, CJ Uzomah named to preseason award watch lists

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra

For the second consecutive day, Auburn players found their names on various preseason award watch lists.
Auburn Vanderbilt Football

CJ Uzomah

On Tuesday, CJ Uzomah was named to the Mackey Award watch list, while center Reese Dismukes was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list. This followed Dee Ford’s selection to the Bednarik Award watch list on Monday.

Dismukes was one of 44 players named to the watch list, marking the second straight year the Spanish Fort, Ala., native garnered a nomination for the Rimington, which is annually awarded to the top center in college football. The junior has been a key piece of the Tigers’ offensive line the past two years, starting 23 games during that span.

Uzomah’s selection — one of the 37 participants nominated by the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and one of five representatives from the SEC — could be considered a bit of a surprise. The junior from Suwanee, Ga., notched seven receptions (including one touchdown) for 136 yards in 10 games last season. Uzomah was inserted into the lineup and started three games following Philip Lutzenkirchen‘s season-ending hip surgery last October. Uzomah then dealt with an injury of his own after breaking a bone in his right hand late in the season.

Uzomah will likely split time at tight end with Brandon Fulse, a player noted more for his blocking than his pass-catching abilities.

Links to the full watch lists for both awards are included below.

WATCH LISTS

Mackey Award

Rimington Trophy