Chat with Chris Low
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's SEC blogger Chris Low will stop by to talk some college football.
Low joined ESPN.com in 2007 after 10 years with The (Nashville) Tennessean covering the University of Tennessee and SEC. The Rock Hill, S.C., native lives with his wife in Knoxville and has three sons.
Send your questions now and join Low Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Chris Low (1:03 PM)
Happy post-signing day.
Scott(greenville) [via mobile]
Chris, I had a dream last night....my gamecocks going 14-0 with lattimore winning the heisman. Was this a dream or a glimpse in the future?
Chris Low (1:04 PM)
A dream, although I think the Gamecocks will be good again in 2012 and I think Lattimore, if healthy, will be as good as any running back in the country.
Patrick (Raleigh, NC)
You think I'm crazy to say that UGA's defense will be best in the SEC next year? Yes, better than Bama or LSU...
Chris Low (1:06 PM)
No, I don't think you're crazy. Georgia was a top 5 defense nationally this season and returns most of the key pieces. Boykin will be a big loss. I can see Georgia being better than Alabama because the Tide will be working so many new faces into the lineup. But LSU will again be loaded. The only question with the Tigers will be at linebacker.
Hi Chris, I hope you enjoyed signing day. I know MSU struggled a bit offensively last year, and this class was defensive heavy but I wondered if they signed anyone you think can make an immediate impact on the offensive end of things?
Chris Low (1:17 PM)
Sorry, had to break away for a moment. I would start with the early enrollees. Junior college offensive tackle Charles Siddoway could end up starting right away. The Bulldogs are also bringing in two more junior college offensive linemen -- Nick Redmond and Joey Trapp. They also like quarterback Dak Prescott. Maybe he can push Tyler Russell.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are you surprised at how poorly LSU did recruiting wise this season? The Tigers did not finish in the Top 10 which is unusual for Miles and the Bayou Bengals.
Chris Low (1:19 PM)
Yes, it's odd that LSU didn't capitalize more on all the publicity it received this past season. Some of it was that the state of Louisiana wasn't quite as loaded this year. I wouldn't feel too badly. There is still a ton of talent on the roster.
Woodrow Clemons (Valdosta, GA)
Hey Chris, Georgia signed 19 this recruiting class (and I guess we should be thankful it wasn't 18) leaving a good amount of room for the 2013 class if a lot of JRs declare for the draft as expected. So can Georgia go out and pull a Nutt/Saban and sign 30+ this next recruiting class for what looks to be a very fertile year in state or are there rules against that these days?
Chris Low (1:22 PM)
The rule is simply this: You can only sign 25 players on national signing day that count in that particular class. If you have room in the previous class and didn't sign the full allotment, you can back-count early enrollees in that previous class, which is why you're seeing some schools that have 28 or 29 new players. That means they signed 25 on Wednesday and then had three or four early enrollees (a lot of times junior college players) that are already in school and count against last year's class.
Am I the only one that finds it weird that FSU and Clemson land top classes every year yet only yields average results?
Chris Low (1:24 PM)
At least Clemson was in a BCS bowl last season. But, yes, evaluating signing classes on signing day is anything but an exact science. You can't accurately evaluate classes until two and three years later because you never know how 17 and 18-year-old kids are going to develop athletically, socially, mentally and physically.
Mitch (Kathleen, GA)
Is the morale really that bad at LSU? I'm a Bama alum/fan, but with what LSU has coming back (and what Bama is losing), I'd have LSU as the SEC favorite & pre-season #1...can't believe all the gloom
Chris Low (1:25 PM)
Last impressions can be pretty powerful. LSU will be fine, though.
Kevin (Huntsville, Alabama)
Hey Chris when do you think that ESPN is gonna rank JC recruits? its certainly seems unfair to give Tennessee a 21st ranking when they have arguably three of the top twenty JC recruits in the country and arguably the best overall in Cordarrelle Patterson. I know that rankings arent what makes the team but it would be nice of ESPN to give teams that have JC recruits a little more respect than they get.
Chris Low (1:29 PM)
I can't really answer the question about ranking junior college recruits, because that's not my department. What I can tell you is that Patterson is a very highly thought of player that the Vols' staff was thrilled to get. I wouldn't get too caught up in the rankings, especially in the realm of junior college players. I'm sure you remember Kenny O'Neal. He was also the No. 1-rated junior college receiver when he came out and ended up catching two passes at Tennessee. Junior college players are typically a crap shoot. Dale Carter was a great player for Tennessee from the junior college ranks. All in all, Tennessee's class passes the look test considering that the Vols lost six coaches and have endured back-to-back losing seasons.
Will the Georgia/USC game be even bigger next year? And it's in the middle of the year!
Chris Low (1:31 PM)
Yes. I have a very hard time seeing the loser of that game making it to Atlanta, especially with it being a little later in the season.
Dave (London, UK)
Chris, I for one am very disappointed with the Hogs class. I know they are trying to do what their system dictates. But to have a #5 ranked team and have the worst class in the SEC speaks volumes. I also think that the negative recruting against Bobby Petrino and the Razorbacks continues daily, and yearly. Thayer Evans publised an artivle about DGB's recruiting and it made me sick to my stomach. Ed Aschoff could answer, so I will ask again. What is the knock on Arkansas with all the success, facilities, area, coaching, fan base and support we have? Why can't we get a consistant class of athletes so we can get past Bama And LSU. There has to be an answer. Thanks.
Chris Low (1:35 PM)
First off, Arkansas' class wasn't ranked last in the SEC. The other thing to remember is that eight or nine SEC teams were ranked in the top 25. But most importantly, ranking classes on signing day doesn't mean a whole lot. Petrino has proven he can take players, period, and develop them, and it doesn't matter where they're ranked. Also, recruiting at Arkansas is harder than just about everywhere else in the SEC. There just aren't a surplus of great players in the state, certainly not comparable to Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina. So you're having to go into Texas and butt heads with the Longhorns and Aggies to get players and do the same with the Sooners in Oklahoma. Again, Petrino has taken that problem to elite status in the SEC in four years and won 21 games over the last two years. I wouldn't lose a lot of sleep over where the Hogs are ranked in recruiting. They don't hand out trophies and BCS bowl bids on signing day.
Jason (Arlington, TN)
Chris,I read your ranking report this morning of Arkansas class and thought I had to comment.... I know according to the "experts", Arkansas didn't sign any of the ESPN150.... Yet.... BUT, it seems we rarely do and still continue to win. 21 wins over the last 2 seasons with classes that have ranked near the bottom of the league, tell me 2 things. One, Petrino is a great evaluator of talent and can coach them up better than anyone in the country. Two, the experts don't always know what they are talking about.... Take Texas, their record and their class rankings for instance.I love this class because we filled needs, especially on the defensive side of the ball....
Chris Low (1:37 PM)
You must have read my thoughts before I answered the last question. One thing I'll point out is that the grade was the one given to schools by the ESPN recruiting team and not me.
D.J. (Greensboro, NC)
Chris, does Vandy's recruting success further jeopardize UT coach Dooley's status with the UT faithful?
Chris Low (1:38 PM)
Only if Dooley loses to Vanderbilt next season. The Vols have enough to worry about without getting caught up in how Vanderbilt did in recruiting.
THoughts on J Bullard starting and making an instant impact at UF? Maybe Fowler pushing Powell for the Buck position and maybe Matt Jones finally giving us someone to smash up the middle?
Chris Low (1:40 PM)
I think you hit on all three. I talked to coach Muschamp this morning, and he thinks this class is the kind of physical, attacking group on all fronts that he likes coaching. He especially likes what the Gators did in the offensive and defensive lines. Powell probably needs to be pushed. Maybe competition will bring out the best in him. That said, I think Florida will be very good on defense next season, especially with it being the second year in the system and under Dan Quinn.
john (columbia sc)
The razorbacks did not get the 2 they were after but do you think they picked up enough help to contend this year
Chris Low (1:42 PM)
I already thought they had enough coming back to be a factor in the West, particularly if Knile Davis is the Knile Davis of old. It may be another year or two before we find out if this class is lacking or now. I know Petrino feels good about some of the defensive help the Hogs were able to add in this class.
Feelings on Mizzou's chances next year in the SEC east?
Chris Low (1:44 PM)
Second week is really big for Mizzou. Gotta figure out a way to take down Georgia at home. The East will be a little better, because Georgia and South Carolina will both be at least as good as they were this year. I also think Florida takes a much bigger step, and Tennessee should be improved. But the door is still open for Mizzou to make a move. I don't see anybody in the East going through the league unbeaten.
How do you see Tennessee's season playing out this coming year and do you think anybody from this years recruiting class will make a major impact?
Chris Low (1:48 PM)
I think the Vols win at least seven games in 2012 and maybe eight. Sentimore should play right away in the defensive line with Sal Sunseri running the defense now and switching to a 3-4. McCullers is another JUCO guy who looks like a natural nose guard in the 3-4. And sticking with JUCO guys, I'd say receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will play early, too. Patterson, Hunter and Rogers all on the same field could be pretty daunting for opposing defenses.
Can Hugh Freeze do at Ole Miss what he did at Arkansas State in one year? And what is a realistic record do you see them having?
Chris Low (1:49 PM)
This first season, just getting to .500 and a bowl game would be a huge accomplishment.
Coach Sumlin (Louisville)
Chris, which was bigger...us losing Addison to the Ducks or gaining Thomas?
Chris Low (1:50 PM)
Coach, I'd say getting Thomas out of Dallas outweighs everything else.
bama has alot of speed this year i thank they will finish in the top 3 in the BCS poll what u thank
Chris Low (1:52 PM)
Winning a second straight national title may be a stretch when you consider all the losses on defense, but I think Alabama can definitely be a top 10 team next season. Not sure about a top 3.
Chuck (Port St Lucie, FL)
UF made great strides to beef up their O & D lines. What about the skilled positions for the coming year?
Chris Low (1:53 PM)
They needed another playmaker or two at receiver. That's still a concern. Matt Jones is the kind of bigger back Muschamp likes, and I also think Muschamp is excited about the class of running backs in the state of Florida for 2013.
Isaiah Crowell (Athens)
Chris, is the DawgNation praying that Keith Marshall comes in and takes my spot? Or do I just need to man up in order to keep my job?
Chris Low (1:55 PM)
More production in the fourth quarter would help, Isaiah.
Frank (New Orleans)
Les Miles was punked by high school kids a few times in the past month, it appears he is back to being the laughing stock of college football. Recruits wouldn't pull this with Nick Saban. Is the just a reflection on Miles, or the beginning of the decline of the LSU program?
Chris Low (1:58 PM)
Listen, Miles isn't the first coach to have kids pull the plug on him at the last minute, and he won't be the last. Geez, LSU just went 13-1 and lost in the national title game and will be preseason No. 1 next season, and we're talking about the decline of the program. It was still a top 15 class (whatever that means), and 12 of the top 22 on defense are coming back in addition to a quarterback who has all kinds of ability, five RBs who could play about anywhere and an OL that should again be very strong. I just don't get the gloom and doom because a couple of kids went elsewhere. It happens ... to everybody.
Are you surprised Jarvis Jones returned to Athens for another year given his monster season in 2011?
Chris Low (2:00 PM)
A little bit, but he was smart enough to realize that he had played just one full season of college football. He's poised for even more of a monster season in 2012, which is great news for the Dawgs.
After the way he handled Darius Philon and Justin Taylor, can everyone agree that Nick Saban is a huge jerk? He goes on a rant a few years ago about how if a player commits then they should stop taking other visits and then hoodwinks two young men that had been commited for a year. Disgraceful.
Chris Low (2:04 PM)
I'm not saying what did or didn't happen, but one thing I've always remembered when it comes to recruiting is that there are two sides to every story. Coaches are going to hand out more offers than they have scholarship room for and then try to make the numbers work. It's a fact of recruiting. What matters is how you handle it with the kids, their parents and their coaches and how upfront you are about everything. I've said it and I will repeat it. The 25-signee rule will create more tougher decisions for coaches, and you're going to see more kids getting squeezed, etc.
Thomas (Baton Rouge)
Baton Rouge is still in complete meltdown mode from the BCS game. The game was so bad, that anyone other than Les Miles would be investigated by the FBI for point shaving. But thats whats expected, hey look at Les Miles, he is quirky and stupid. How can any legit sportwriter rank LSU preseason #1, when it is a given that LSU will lose at least 1 game a year just because of their head coach?
Chris Low (2:05 PM)
Nominated for question of the year in my chats!
You think next season could be the year the Razorbacks take down both Bama and LSU at home?
Chris Low (2:06 PM)
I'll go 1-1 for the Hogs next season, which may be good enough for them to win the West if they don't lose anymore.
Chris, you seem to be predicting that the East is going to get better and some of the traditional powerhouses will have more wins. But those wins have to come from somewhere. And as you expect South Carolina and Georgia to be as good as they were last year, who is going to be doing the losing next year in the east?
Chris Low (2:07 PM)
Nah, I think the East teams will still beat up on each other. I think Georgia and South Carolina will be the class of the division again. The Dawgs have the big advantage, though, because of their schedule.
Chris,The espn ranking have MSU as a C+. Scout has their D-line class finishing at #4 in the country. What is your take on grading my bulldogs?
Chris Low (2:08 PM)
Really good on the defensive line. I hear Autry is a beast. Just OK on offense.
Realistically what should I expect from Florida Next Season?
Chris Low (2:09 PM)
To contend for the East title and win nine games.
Based on the signing classes, which team did the best job of filling there needs? Adding depth?
Chris Low (2:10 PM)
South Carolina is up there with what the Gamecocks did at receiver. Alabama also stocked up in the secondary and at linebacker, and I like what Florida did on the offensive line.
Chris Low (2:13 PM)
Thanks for stopping by. I have to check out now. I hope they don't fire Les Miles before next season starts. Is it really as bad as some are making it out to be in Baton Rouge right now with regard to the fans raising you know what? A month ago at this time, we were wondering if LSU was on its way to the greatest season in SEC history. I never cease to be amazed at how quickly it changes in this league.