LB Trey DePriest (So.)
2011 season: Played in all 13 games as a true freshman, posting 25 tackles as a reserve inside linebacker and special teams contributor. Two-time special teams player of the week selection by UA coaching staff.
2012 spring practice: Worked with the first unit at weakside linebacker in the base defense and also an option at the money and mack spots in the nickel and dime packages. Recorded four tackles in the A-Day game. One of five players to receive Ozzie Newsome Most Improved Freshman Award at the end of spring drills.
What he brings to the table: Projects as UA's next great every down inside linebacker. In addition to playing will in the base, DePriest is capable of handling the money and mack responsibilities in the nickel and dime. In a scheme that leans heavily on situational performers at times, DePriest has the physical tools needed to become sub-proof.
Mike Slive uses a favorite talking point when bragging about the SEC. If the SEC were a nation at the 2008 Summer Olympics, it would have finished fourth in the world with 51 medals. It's an impressive statistic that wows Slive's audiences. It's also outdated, especially with better analogies available to compare the SEC's dominance in the highest-profile college sports. John Wooden and UCLA will suffice. There's a redundancy to this column every year. I'd stop writing it if the SEC stopped redefining our concept of dynasties.
1. Alabama (Michigan at Arlington, Texas, Western Kentucky, at Arkansas, Florida Atlantic, Ole Miss): The opener has a BCS feel to it with a Michigan team that is top-10 material. Western Kentucky and FAU don't stand much of a chance, but that game at Arkansas will be huge. A younger Alabama defense versus arguably the SEC's top offense. Should be fun.
5. Alabama (at Missouri, at Tennessee, Mississippi State): The defending champs aren't getting many favors in 2012. After having the toughest September, the Crimson Tide must play two consecutive SEC games on the road before coming home to play what should be a tough Mississippi State squad.
Simply put, the APR is not a very useful tool for measuring academic success or graduation rates. The way the APR is determined is actually a bit simpler than it is made out to be. Each player is capable of earning up to two points per semester, which is four points for the year. One point is awarded for being in good academic standing at the end of the semester. Another is awarded for the player returning to the same school. The latter can be waived as a potential point for a number of reasons, including if the player transfers out of the program or signs a professional contract after leaving in good academic standing (earning a 2.6 GPA). The total number of points earned is added up and divided by the total number of potential points. In other words, the reason that Calipari wants all of his one-and-done freshmen to finish up their spring semester classwork is so they don't hurt his team's APR score. When they enter the NBA draft in good academic standing, their score would be three out of three potential points instead of three out of four potential points. It is a subtle, but incredibly important, difference.
Dave Hart came on as athletics director last September after a successful run as AD at Florida State followed by several years as the No. 2 man running the day–to-day operations at Alabama. Since he arrived Hart has been working to take a lot of the non-football tasks (dealing with faculty, administration) off Dooley's desk. "Because of Dave's background he knows what it takes to be successful at this level," said Dooley. Hart also knows that the No. 1 job for an AD in the SEC is to make sure that the football program is healthy. Under Dooley, it is 11-12 the past two seasons. It has to be moving in the right direction at the end of 2012 in order for Hart to give Dooley a fourth season in Knoxville.
"In our mind, in our belief it's going to be more than one year," he said. "That's the way we have to make it. That's the way the coaches, football team and players have to make it. How often do you get opportunities in life? If you get an opportunity to run with the bulls you're going to do it?"
Industry sources told Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com that Boise State still has not officially withdrawn from the Mountain West Conference in order to join the Big East for football in 2013, and that on July 1 the price to do so increases dramatically.