It's mailbag time on the SEC blog. We were littered with a ton of good questions.
I hope everyone has had a good week and you were able to put up with me while Chris was on vacation. Enjoy the weekend and things will return to normal next week.
Now, on to your questions:
Mike in Kennesaw, Ga., writes: What do you think the chances are that Isaiah Crowell will start for Georgia? I for one saw a lot of key fumbles from the others, especially in the first part of the season? It was very disheartening.
Edward Aschoff: Crowell was one of the top running backs and overall recruits in the entire country last fall. He's got great speed and moves in open space, but he's also a very strong runner. The expectations for him are very high and that's both a good and bad thing. The good thing is that the coaches think he's got the talent to come in and take that starting spot pretty early. The bad news is that the pressure will be on him until he shows that he’ll be a great running back for the Bulldogs. It just comes with the territory when you're a top recruit at a position of need for a team. The spring told us that Georgia is still searching for that elite back. We aren't sure about the future of Washaun Ealey and while Caleb King had a solid spring, he didn't show that he’s ready to be that feature back. Ken Malcome and Carlton Thomas dealt with injuries as well this spring. King said Crowell's arrival adds extra motivation for him, but we'll see if that's the story this fall. I think if Crowell gets comfortable in the offense, he could move to the top of the depth chart. The coaches have to find a playmaker to take some pressure off of quarterback Aaron Murray, and Crowell could be that guy. Fans will need to be patient, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Crowell was the No. 1 running back by midseason.
Krutch in Dallas, Texas writes: Now that Janoris Jenkins missed the date to declare for the NFL draft, is he more likely to try the NFL supplemental draft or sit out an entire year of football? I don't believe he'll transfer elsewhere and wait another 2 years before moving to the next level.
Edward Aschoff: We don't even know if there will be a supplemental draft at this point with the NFL environment the way it is. If there is one, I could see that happening, but I've also been told that Jenkins would like to get one more year out of college football. If he wants to take another year, he'll probably end up going the Division II route. That way he could play this fall and work on his game more. No way he transfers to a Football Bowl Subdivision school and sits out a year just to play one season. I'm not sure what Jenkins really needs to improve on the football field, but his shoulder injury was a major reason why he returned to school. He could use a year to show that he’s healthy. It also might be smart for him to start over for a year in a new place before heading to the NFL. His image took a major hit this spring and this would be a good way for him to clean that up before NFL teams begin speaking with him. If Jenkins wants to improve his draft status he'll head to a D-II school for a year.
Luke in Columbia, S.C., writes: After A.J. Green and Julio Jones go in the first six picks, Alshon Jeffery isn't mentioned by Mel Kiper as a top five prospect at wide receiver, but Greg Childs is? Remember, Alshon was first-team all-conference and the only SEC finalist for the Biletnikoff award. Most Gamecock fans see him as the first in a line of early round draft picks (with Lattimore and Clowney to follow of course). Do you disagree with Kiper?
Edward Aschoff: I've gotten a few emails about Kiper's list. Most revolve around him leaving Jeffery and Alabama's Trent Richardson off his list for top 2012 eligible draft picks. Kiper’s list was a list of players that were eligible for the 2011 draft, but opted to stay in school. Trust me, both will be near the top of his list of top underclassmen for next year's draft. Richardson could be the best running back prospect if he opts to enter the draft. He not only has tremendous speed, but he's one of the strongest players on Alabama's team. As for Jeffery, whenever he decides to enter the NFL draft he'll be right up there with Green and Jones. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he’s as complete a receiver as there is and his hands are phenomenal. He was tremendous throughout the entire 2010 season and if he can replicate what he did last fall it will be hard for him not to declare for next year's draft.
Alex Morris in Lexington, S.C., writes: I was wondering what your thoughts were if Russell Wilson choose to come to USC next year. How much of an impact he would be and how good you could see us being (even though were predicted by some to win the east without him)?
Edward Aschoff: The only way Wilson ends up at South Carolina is if Stephen Garcia doesn't return. At this point, that decision hasn't been made. Will it be made anytime soon? Not sure. But will Wilson definitely play football this fall? Not sure about that either. He hasn't told the Rockies, who drafted him in last year's MLB draft, that he intends to play football this fall. However, Wilson recently said that he'd like to play football and isn't sure if he wants to play professional football or baseball later in life. He's a college student, and his mind isn't made up. Shocker. Teams could be taking quite the risk on him at this point. However, if Wilson is serious about playing one more year of college football and Garcia doesn't return, South Carolina could be the right fit for him. He's a very talented athlete and would fit right into the Gamecocks' offense. He was a natural leader at NC State, so that would be a welcomed trait at the quarterback position for South Carolina. Having Wilson would keep South Carolina as the favorite in the SEC.
Ryan in Zanesville, Ohio writes: Hoping you might speak to this in one of your articles or at least on the mailbag. Looking at the schedules I noticed that 4 SEC teams (South Carolina, Florida, Auburn, and Alabama) all play FCS opponents in the next to last week of the regular season. It doesn't seem right that games that are permitted as tune-ups against lesser foes are being used as de facto bye-weeks right before key rivalry games, particularly since two of these teams are playing ACC rivals who don't have the benefit of resting their starters. I feel like these schools are taking advantage of NCAA rules here and that there ought to be a cut off for how deep into the season an FCS team can be played. Thoughts? Can you defend this practice or do you find it equally appalling?
Edward Aschoff: Honestly, I wish major college football programs had to schedule tougher out-of-conference games. Of course, that’s just out my own selfishness. But when the regular season means so much, every game -- and win -- is that much more important. As far as playing them at the end of the season, most schools do it because they feel like they are tune-up games. Let’s not act like that doesn’t happen. However, with that comes that arrogance that has gotten teams in trouble before. We can't forget that Appalachian State stole national headlines by walking into Ann Arbor, Mich., and beating Michigan in 2007. Virginia Tech fell to James Madison last season and Ole Miss lost to Jacksonville State to begin the year a season ago as well. Another thing to consider is that these schools make a good chunk of money for playing bigger SEC schools. Georgia will pay South Alabama $900,000 for their 2014 matchup. Smaller schools greatly benefit from the money they get for these games. As for resting starters, that's decision left up to the coaches. It can be a risk for some and a reward for others. The ethics in scheduling these games will always be debated, but I doubt smaller schools care that much about when they play major college football programs. And if other schools in different conferences want to schedule FCS schools just before major rivalry games, they should. You can’t blame SEC schools for doing something they feel is an advantage within the rules.
John Hartley in Jackson, Miss., writes: Chris, can you ask Edward if he is related to the late Peter Aschoff. I did most of my college at Alabama but went for a year to Ole Miss. Peter taught the most interesting class I took in the entirety of my college days. The class was the anthropology of the blues. We sat and listened to records all class while Peter described what we were listening to. I can't help but think that peter must have been his father.
Edward Aschoff: I can answer that question for you. Yes, Peter Aschoff was my father and when I was much younger I used to attend his classes during summer school for fun. Oh, and to look at the gorgeous women, of course. What a small world. He always used to joke about how some of his students were shocked to see white man from Iowa who knew everything there was to know about the blues, African-American studies and southern studies. Oh and he loved Tupac. I'm glad you got to take his class. To this day, I still hear nothing but good things about all of them. Thanks for the post!