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February 25, 2011

Roundtable: More trouble for Kiffin

MORE ROUNDTABLES: Jan. 28 | Jan. 29 | Jan. 30 | Jan. 31 | Feb. 1 | Feb. 6 | Feb. 18

Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on topics in a roundtable format.

Will this week's NCAA findings against Lane Kiffin for his time at Tennessee affect either Kiffin or the Vols in recruiting?

Barry Every: You just never know what kind of sanctions the NCAA will levy after it hears the university's response this spring. The NCAA has been pretty inconsistent in my opinion. If it does levy heavy sanctions, the punishment should be focused on the coaches, not the college, in this situation. It's time to stop punishing universities years after the violation occurred and start focusing on the coaches committing the violations.

Mike Farrell: I don't think it will affect Tennessee because this will fall on Kiffin. He's the big name here and the one everyone is focusing on. The Vols have been given the victim role in regards to Kiffin because of the way he bolted after one season. I think it will affect Kiffin a bit as he tries to bring USC back to prominence. And the more controversy Kiffin is involved in (leaving Tennessee the way he did, NCAA slap), the harder it will be going into the living rooms of recruits. Kiffin needs to win and win big this season and next or a seat that is already warm will increase in temperature.

Adam Gorney: I don't think so. USC dealt with sanctions in this past recruiting class and finished fourth. The Trojans could have been higher in the rankings but five-star De'Anthony Thomas left for Oregon in the final minute. As long as recruits won't be specifically affected by the NCAA findings, then I don't think they really care. Players are still going to flock to USC because of its history, tradition and success putting players in the NFL. Kiffin is now removed from the Tennessee situation so I don't think that will play a major role when recruits look at the Vols.

Chris Nee: Outside of the NCAA throwing sanctions on Tennessee, I don't think it will affect the Volunteers. I think that under Derek Dooley and his staff, prospects and people surrounding the prospects realize that they have gone in a different direction and are detached from Kiffin. As for it affecting Kiffin, again, that depends on the sanctions. If the NCAA limits his ability to recruit off-campus or something of that sort, it will have a slight impact. But at the end of the day I think it will be minimal.

Keith Niebuhr: Really, I think it's too soon to tell. A lot will depend on what the final ruling is, and what, if any, sanctions/penalties will be levied.

Which assistant coach do you expect to make a big splash with the 2012 class?

Barry Every: Look for David Kelly to continue his torrid streak of bringing prospects to UCF. Last season he was given credit for 12 signees out of a class of 29. He was able to go into Colorado and snag a couple top players. He went into Kentucky and grabbed the top quarterback. In Georgia, he got one of the best center prospects. He also did well in getting some experienced junior college players.

Mike Farrell: I'll go with Kirby Smart from Alabama. He's already off to a great start for 2012 with a hand in the commitment of four stud prospects for the Tide and he's one of those coordinators who is very, very involved in recruiting and really gets after it. I think he's one of the top combination coordinator/recruiters in the country and will be a guy who takes that next step this year.

Adam Gorney: Look for Colorado offensive coordinator and running backs coach Eric Bieniemy to make a big splash with the Buffaloes. He helped polish up Colorado's 2011 class late and now that he has an entire year to recruit for the 2012 class, there is a good chance he can bring in some quality talent. Colorado has offered some really high-profile running backs - maybe shooting for the stars - but Bieniemy is known by current high school players, he's still relevant to them and he has a chance to recruit well for next year.

Chris Nee: Brennan Carroll will be at the forefront of the success that the Miami has this season. He is a young, aggressive coach with a good personality and already earned consistently positive reviews from recruits when they make their way to the Coral Gables campus. He has also been around big-time football, and big-time recruiting, throughout his coaching career due to his time at Southern California.

Keith Niebuhr: Shane Beamer at Virginia Tech. A noted recruiter, Beamer's ties to South Carolina (he previously was the Gamecocks' recruiting coordinator) should allow the Hokies to make a push into the fertile recruiting areas south of Blacksburg. Virginia Tech already does about as well as any program filling needs and finding players that fit a system. Beamer's addition should only help.

You need to hire one player from the 2012 class as your personal bodyguard. Who do you choose?

Barry Every: I'm going to pick a player I have met more than once in person. Anthony Smith, who just picked up a Baylor offer, is around 6-foot and 285 pounds, and super athletic for his size. He is a sub-5.0 40, a legit 30-inch vertical and he uses his hands like a Kung Fu fighter. I have seen him embarrass many kids during one-on-ones and he never sheds a tear.

Mike Farrell: There are a ton of huge kids in this year's class, but give me Mississippi's Nick James if you're talking about a bodyguard. He's 6-foot-5, 335 pounds and one look at his profile picture or a glance at him in person and you can tell he's not the kind of guy to mess with. There are better football players at his position in the country, but not too many who look quite as intimidating. He looks like he could be in someone's entourage already, guarding the back of Diddy or Snoop. He's a mean-looking man.

Adam Gorney: I'm going with Nick James from Long Beach, Miss. Not only is the dude 6-5 and 335 pounds but he looks like a bouncer, a guy you wouldn't want to mess with. I'd feel comfortable walking through the roughest of neighborhoods with that guy. I saw him at the Army combine and he's an impressive figure.

Chris Nee: I'd go with Long Beach (Miss.) defensive tackle Nick James. He is simply massive and likely would lead to people keeping their distance.

Keith Niebuhr: I'll go with Earl Moore, a Rivals250 watch list defensive tackle from Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder is a ball of muscle with little fat and one of the thickest necks I've seen. On the field, he's a terror. Off it, he's just as nice as can be. I'm pretty sure he'd keep me safe.

Does Barry Sanders Jr., remind you of his father either on or off the field?

Barry Every: He does not remind me of his father. He is taller, leaner and more of a slashing back. His father was a rock-solid, bouncing bowling ball. I personally do not know the elder Sanders, but my impression meeting Junior is that his family did an excellent job raising him. Sanders Jr. comes across as articulate, polite and well-educated, more than just a football star.

Mike Farrell: Off the field he does quite a bit because he resembles his father facially and he talks like him as well. His maturity level off the field is well beyond his age and you can tell he has grown up quickly. On the field, I don't see the same things. He is certainly fast, but no one can do the things his dad did as far as jump cuts, changing direction and reversing field. I hate to say it as well, but he's already much taller than his dad, which doesn't allow him to get as low. Being a tall Sanders isn't an advantage, but Barry Jr. is still very special.

Adam Gorney: They do have similar running styles - that fearless, attack-the-hole, aggressive approach that is refreshing to see from running backs. Obviously, the father succeeded for years in the NFL while the son is still doing it against high school competition. But the potential can definitely be seen. I really enjoyed watching Sanders' highlight tape. He's not afraid to attack and like his father, isn't going to be taken down easily. Living up to those comparisons are tough, but Sanders Jr. definitely has superb talent.

Chris Nee: They definitely look a heck of a lot alike, especially in the face. The younger one does have a few inches on his father in the height department. On the field, there are comparisons that can be made but the older Sanders was an elite NFL back. It is tough to put that kind of pressure, or bestow that kind of honor, on a prospect who is simply a high school junior.

Keith Niebuhr: In terms of running style, a little bit. Like his dad, Sanders has those quick feet, allowing him to start and stop, jitterbug his way out of trouble. That's one aspect of his father's game I always enjoyed. Even when a play was a disaster, he'd find a way to get something out of it. It seems the NFL legend's son has some of that same ability.



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