It’s been a busy couple of days for Auburn athletics, and TWER hasn’t had a chance to touch base. So in an attempt to bring the ramblings and hyperlinkage of daily-ish sports blogging back to the site, I’m taking this opportunity to do just that, to check our way down the list of Tigers-related news and notes, with plenty of “click heres” and banter along the way—just like the good old days. Let’s start with football.
‘KROOTIN: The football team got its ninth commitment for the 2013 class on Sunday in quarterback Jeremy Johnson from Carver-Montgomery, as first reported by the recruiting sites. Johnson is listed as a four-star player on Scout and 247, and rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals. You can get all of your stats and rankings at the news outlet or recruiting analyst of your choice (and Matt Scalici of al.com has gathered a lot of those folks’ takes on Johnson here).
You can find Jay G. Tate’s story on the commitment with plenty of notes and quotes here, and check out some of his own opinions and thoughts on Johnson at HABOTN. It’s all good stuff, including this interesting little tidbit:
On the court, Johnson averaged 19.4 points and 14 rebounds per game. He bumped his production to 22.4 points per game in the playoffs — including 30 points in the Central Regional championship game. He hopes to moonlight as a basketball player.
“There wasn’t really anything said about the basketball thing,” he said. “I’m going to give them a call later on and talk to them about basketball. I’m going to try to work it out over that.”
I’m not so naive to think that it’s likely that in modern SEC football a coach like Gene Chizik would want or even allow a scholarship player, much less a potential quarterback, to risk injury on the basketball court during his free time. But still, your ears can’t help but perk a little when you think about Bo and the Big Hurt (and, yes, Jake Drum), and something as fun and novel to watch as a modern dual-sport athlete on the Plains.
But while it may be unlikely, Chizik and Loeffler might not want to say no, because then all Les Miles would have to do is get Johnny Jones on the line for a three-way call to Montgomery, and this prospect could be on the way to Baton Rouge to play both.
It’s possible that we could see Johnson suit up, or at least try out for Tony Barbee’s club — and goodness knows the hoops squad could use all the warm bodies they can find — and that’s enough to keep me a little interested in the thought.
But Johnson is a football player firs.t And the most important thing here is football. Thoughts this commitment immediately brings to mind: 1.) Scot Loeffler went after a pro-style quarterback. 2.) Johnson mentioned that Auburn told him that he’s the only quarterback they’re going to sign in this class. And 3.) Auburn has quietly brought in a lot of high-upside talent over the past two years in Johnson, Zeke Pike, and Jonathan Wallace, and at least one of those guys is bound to flesh out and fulfill his full potential on the Plains someday, right?
It’s not a ‘Krootin update without the highlights, but unfortunately there isn’t much free video of Johnson out there. AuburnSports has some nice footage of him at a 7-on-7 camp in Hoover last year, but the only in-game action we have is from 247 Sports, who has a pretty impressive single-game reel of Johnson as a sophomore taking on Prattville in 2010.
BASEBALL: The baseball team enters the SEC Tournament today as the 10th seed, and is set to take on third-seeded Florida in the first round at 4:30 p.m. in Hoover. You can catch the game this afternoon on CSS or WatchESPN.com.
The OA- News’ Ryan Wood has a slew of baseball goodness up in advance of today’s game, including his lead-in to the game, his report from Monday’s practice, and a great feature on senior Creede Simpson.
In case you missed Auburn’s thrilling win over these same Gators in the season finale at Plainsman Park on Saturday, the AUfficial YouTube account has your game highlights right here. Give it a watch. Also, senior Zach Blatt proposed to his girlfriend before the game. So, yeah, pretty good day.
With the win, the Tigers are eligible for NCAA tournament consideration, but they’re going to have to pick up a win or two over the next couple of days in Hoover to give themselves a realistic shot of making the cut.
Can the Tigers pull off the upset against the Gators in back-to-back games? They might have to get someone else to propose first.
SOFTBALL: Meanwhile, Auburn softball’s season came to an end on Saturday in a loss to Texas in the NCAA Regionals. It’s a tough way to go out, especially after close losses against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament and Houston at the beginning of Regionals that could have changed things dramatically had they gone the other way. But it was the end of marvelous careers for seven seniors, who have all graduated and will leave the Plains with degrees.
NETWORKING: According to a report by the Sports Business Journal, the SEC is attempting to launch its own sports channel, and it could come as soon as 2014. As Barrett Sallee notes, an SEC Network could bring about a realization as to what this whole expansion thing was for, as the conference would be able to sell the network to cable providers in the Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, and St. Louis markets.
Personally, I think a full network could be huge for the non-revenue sports in this conference, or at least it could be huge for their fans in making it more available to them. Sports like gymnastics, which already has a huge cult-ish following in the SEC, would appear to have a decent ratings potential if it were televised live regularly on the SEC Network instead of on short, chopped up taped replays on SportsSouth.
An SEC Network would probably be at an a disadvantage to the Big Ten Network without one of the Big Four TV spectator sports, as it doesn’t have any scholarship hockey teams like the Big Ten does. But the SEC has plenty of crazed, die-hard alumni fans that will cheer for their team to win anything (and for their rivals to lose in anything), so I can’t imagine there will be a struggle with ratings. The only question is to how many providers in how many markets are going to want to buy what the SEC is selling. I have a feeling that with national ratings the way they are, it might just be available in several more places than just the southeast.
Of course, I also have big dreams of watching stuff like Auburn’s nationally competitive swim teams live on Olympic-style broadcasts with the graphics in the pool and everything, when they’re probably just going to replay the LSU/Alabama 9-6 game over and over and it will suck.
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION: Only Jeremy’s genius wit could come up with a name as great as The Bodda Getta Beat for an Auburn sports blog, and that’s just what he did in helping me name my solo effort over at The Corner. If you just can’t get enough me, you can find my main writing for the weekly in the sports section, and check out the blog, including columns on Tony Barbee and Scot Loeffler, and a piece with more on Jeremy Johnson, right here.
And if you still haven’t had enough, keep it locked right here at TWER. If you have had enough, well, too bad. I’ll soon be bringing back (with a twist) another favorite TWER series. Stay tuned.
* Auburn’s banned 1979 student recruitment poster
* Only undefeated Triple Crown winner owned by Auburn grads
* Elvis says “War Eagle”
* Alabama in Auburn gear
* Diagram of a 1983 Auburn student
* That OTHER time they burned the Glom
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