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College
Who is Tennessee targeting to fill its biggest need at cornerback?
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Who is Tennessee targeting to fill its biggest need at cornerback?

Who is Tennessee targeting to fill its biggest need at cornerback?

Who is Tennessee targeting to fill its biggest need at cornerback?

Tennessee recruiting-olaijah griffin-cornerbacks

SEC Country reporter Blake Morgan will candidly answer your Tennessee sports queries each weekday in our  Mailbag Question of the Day . Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryVols, Tennessee Insiders Facebook page or by email to Blake at blakemorgan123@gmail.com .


Tennessee is losing three cornerbacks off its 2017 roster. So you’re absolutely right; cornerback is probably the position of biggest need right now for the Vols.

There are no cornerback commits in the Class 0f 2018 to fill those holes. Who are some prospects that coach Jeremy Pruitt is looking at to add some depth at cornerback next season?

Mission Viejo, Calif., native Olaijah Griffin looks like a possible commit. The 6-foot, 170-pound cornerback came to Knoxville on an official visit on Dec. 15 as a UCLA commit. He left with an open recruitment and a lot to think about.

Griffin has told people the Vols are the leaders for him. He might wait until National Signing Day on Feb. 7 to make his final decision. It appears that Tennessee is in a great spot, though.

Griffin rates as 4-star prospect and ranks as the No. 4 cornerback in the class, according to the 247Sports composite. He certainly has the talent to come in and make a difference.

Another prospect the Vols are pursuing is Isaac Taylor-Stuart. Like Griffin, Taylor-Stuart didn’t have much interest in the Vols until Pruitt got the job.

Taylor-Stuart is more of a longshot right now, but Tennessee is trying to climb up the list. He is a 5-star prospect who could start on his first day with the Vols.

Keep an eye on Eddie Smith moving forward, too. He’s had some interest from the coaching staff. He’s a 3-star prospect, but is 6-1 and 181 pounds. He fits the mold Pruitt wants from his cornerbacks.

Tennessee turned away Brandon Cross and Tanner Ingle, who both had interest in coming to Rocky Top. It’s clear Pruitt doesn’t want to just take guys to have bodies on the roster. He is looking for the right fits.

Don’t be surprised if the Vols wade into the junior college waters and try to snag a corner there, too.

For answers to prior Tennessee Questions of the Day,  click here .

The post Who is Tennessee targeting to fill its biggest need at cornerback? appeared first on SEC Country.

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Georgia Sports News

  • It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. That’s all the Braves could’ve asked for Julio Teheran’s return to the mound. Teheran pitched six no-hit innings in the Braves’ 4-1 win over the Padres on Sunday. He was relieved by Shane Carle after throwing 95 pitches. The right-hander was placed on the disabled list June 5 with a thumb contusion. His velocity had dipped into the mid-80s in his last start, but averaged 91-92 mph Sunday. “It was great, the way I was feeling,” Teheran said. “I was excited to be back. I feel fresh. I feel good. All my pitches, the slider there, were working. ... I was just trying to do my part. Everyone’s been playing really good. So I was just going out there trying to win this game.” After walking lead-off man Travis Jankowski and hitting Jose Pirela in the first inning, Teheran retired 15 Padres in a row, including at one point posting six straight strikeouts. Teheran struck out 11, his first double-digit strikeout total since Oct. 2, 2016, when he fanned 12 in the Turner Field finale. “I was throwing bullpens the last couple days, and my arm was feeling good,” Teheran said. “When your arm’s feeling good, you don’t have anything else to worry about. Just go out there and make pitches.” With the pitches piling up, Teheran issued two walks in the sixth. He limped when walking off the mound. That, alongside his high pitch count, made it an easy call to pull him despite a no-hit bid. Braves manager Brian Snitker said Teheran experienced a cramp in his leg. But overall, Snitker was pleased with the outing. “From the first inning on, it was good to see life on the fastball again,” Snitker said of Teheran. “I was curious about (his velocity), but he said he felt good. ... He did exactly what we wanted him to do.” Padres third baseman Cory Spangenberg hit a one-out single off Carle in the seventh for their first hit. The Braves rotation has been exceptional in the past 11 games. Starters have allowed eight earned runs in 72 innings while allowing 34 hits and walking 13. Johan Camargo’s two-RBI double against Jose Castillo put the Braves ahead in the fourth. The Braves third baseman has a hit in seven of his last 10 games, raising his average from .208 to .223. Catcher Kurt Suzuki was hit by Raffy Lopez’s back swing at the end of the second inning. He was removed for precautionary reasons and declared day-to-day. “I’ve never been hit with a backswing like that in 12 seasons,” Suzuki said. “First time getting hit right there. It was pretty brutal. It’s got a lump or whatever.” Up just a run, Tyler Flowers’ two-run homer off Brad Hand in the eighth provided the Braves some breathing room before the final frame. Carle, A.J. Minter and Arodys Vizcaino finished it for the Braves. Each pitched an inning and allowed two hits. San Diego got a run off Minter, but the trio did enough to protect the lead. Teheran and the bullpen combined for 17 strikeouts, the most a Braves team has had since Sept. 14, 2012. The Braves took three of four from the Padres, pushing them a season-best 13 games over .500. They’ve been in first place in the National League East for 43 of the last 45 days, and with Washington’s loss in Toronto, lead the East by 3.5 games. A first-place team has filled SunTrust Park: The Braves announced 40,251 in attendance Sunday, their third-straight sellout and sixth of the season.  “The support’s been great all year,” Snitker said. “People come out and it’s like they know to stay because sometimes it’s late before it happens. But it’s good. The guys love it. They appreciate it and they love it. It’s a great atmosphere.”
  • When Sam Pittman wants one of his guys, he usually lands them. Xavier Truss, a 6-foot-7 tackle from Rhode Island, is the latest example of that trend. Truss committed to UGA on Sunday during a long-planned weekend visit. He shared the news of his decision via his personal Twitter account. pic.twitter.com/ygbws6OPFD — Xavier Truss (@xtruss94) June 17, 2018 Truss rates as the nation’s No. 15 tackle prospect on the 247Sports composite ratings. The massive 350-pounder also comes in at No. 102 overall for 2019. The top player in the state of Rhode Island had been on a Southeast tour of his top schools. He just came away from a visit to Alabama, among other options. Truss becomes the second out-of-state prospect to choose the Bulldogs this weekend. Mississippi QB prospect John Rhys Plumlee also chose UGA on Friday night.  The post BREAKING: Bulldogs add massive 4-star OT Xavier Truss to 2019 hual appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Some extra rest left Julio Teheran feeling so strong he was unhittable for six innings. That was more good news for an Atlanta rotation that is gaining momentum. Teheran pitched six no-hit innings before being pulled from his first start since coming off the disabled list, and Atlanta relievers gave up six hits Sunday while finishing off a 4-1 win over the San Diego Padres. Teheran's velocity was up, with his fastball hitting 92 mph. He had been closer to 89 mph before he missed less than two weeks with a sore thumb. The boost in his fastball also helped his offspeed pitches. 'Those 10 days helped me to get everything on track,' Teheran said. '... It was kind of fun to have my stuff back.' Teheran (5-4) struck out a season-high 11, walked three and threw 95 pitches while recording 15 consecutive outs. Manager Brian Snitker said he could immediately see the difference in the right-hander's pitchers. 'It was just good to see the life on the fastball again,' Snitker said. Teheran's changeup and slider also were effective. 'He was throwing all his pitches for strikes,' said San Diego's Cory Spangenberg. 'I know through three at-bats I only got one fastball. When a pitcher is doing that, he's pretty tough to hit.' Over the last 11 home games, Braves starters have a 1.00 ERA, allowing eight earned runs in 72 innings. No starter allowed more than two runs during the streak. The bid for a combined no-hitter ended with one out in the seventh when reliever Shane Carle allowed a single to Spangenberg. Freddy Galvis added another single before Carle pitched out of the jam. Jose Vizcaino gave up singles to Spangenberg and Galvis in the ninth before striking out Christian Villanueva and Raffy Lopez. Right fielder Nick Markakis, running toward the foul line, made a diving catch of Raffy Lopez's flyball to end the game. Vizcaino earned his 15th save, including his third of the series. Johan Camargo's two-run double in the fourth off Jose Castillo (1-1) gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead. Tyler Flowers hit a two-run homer off Brad Hand in the eighth. The Padres, who lost 1-0 on Saturday, ended a 16-inning scoring drought in the eighth. Franmil Reyes singled off A.J. Minter, moved to third on Eric Hosmer's single and scored on Jose Pirela's sacrifice fly. Hunter Renfroe's fourth strikeout of the game ended the inning. TRAINER'S ROOM Braves C Kurt Suzuki left the game after he was hit on his helmet by Lopez's bat as he struck out with a big follow-through to end the second inning. Suzuki was knocked to the ground but was able to walk off the field. Manager Brian Snitker said Suzuki should be able to play in Atlanta's next game at Toronto on Tuesday. Braves third base coach Ron Washington had words with Lopez when Lopez emerged from the San Diego dugout to open the third inning. Snitker said the discussion was about Lopez not checking on Suzuki before walking away from the plate. SERIES STREAK ENDS The NL East-leading Braves won three of four in the series, ending San Diego's streak of five straight series wins. The Padres' last series loss came on May 25-27, when they dropped two of three to the Dodgers. ROSTER MOVE Braves LHP Luiz Gohara was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he will start. RHP Luke Jackson was re-signed to a major league contract after being designated for assignment on Wednesday. BULLPEN GAME Matt Strahm made his fourth start as the Padres continue to use a bullpen committee approach for one spot in their rotation. Strahm allowed only one hit with five strikeouts in 2 2/3 scoreless innings. San Diego's first four relievers allowed only two runs. 'We just didn't do enough offensively,' manager Andy Green said. UP NEXT Padres: Following an off day on Monday, LHP Eric Lauer (3-4, 6.20) will face Oakland's Paul Blackburn (1-1, 11.05) on Tuesday night in the first game of a two-game home series. Braves: Atlanta is off on Monday before opening a two-game series at Toronto on Tuesday night, when rookie RHP Mike Soroka (2-1, 2.57) faces LHP Jaime Garcia (2-5, 5.71). ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Braves' bid for a combined no-hitter has ended as reliever Shane Carle allowed a single to San Diego's Cory Spangenberg with one out in the seventh inning. Starter Julio Teheran was removed after allowing no hits through six innings. He struck out a season-high 11, walked three and threw 95 pitches Sunday. Teheran was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. He had been out since June 5 with a sore right thumb. Padres leadoff man Travis Jankowski drew a walk to begin the game and Jose Pirela was hit by a pitch later in the first inning. Teheran then recorded 15 consecutive outs before walking Jankowski with one out in the sixth. The Braves lead 2-0. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • When it comes to the SEC East this coming football season, Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs are the consensus favorite. So far this offseason, the chatter mainly has been centering around which team in the division could be their biggest challenger. Early money seems to be on South Carolina. USA Today, among others, has said Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks “look like Georgia’s biggest threat in the SEC East.” Georgia’s defense stopped South Carolina’s offense when it counted last year. (Steffenie Burns/UGA) In part, the belief that the Dawgs should be on upset alert for the game against South Carolina is because the annual Border Bash is reverting this year to its traditional spot as the Dawgs’ conference opener after taking place midseason the past couple of years. After a less-than-challenging season opener at home in Athens against FCS visitor Austin Peay, kicking off SEC play the next week at Columbia could be a stern test for the Dawgs, who are replacing a bunch of key players from last year. Playing in Columbia traditionally is tough, and it’s also noteworthy that, last year in Athens, the Gamecocks put up a stiffer fight than most of Georgia’s opponents. At the time, I called it a “workmanlike win” for the Dawgs, marred by sloppy play, too many penalties, and a turnover on the opponent’s 4-yard line. The Georgia pass defense also was somewhat porous at times against the Gamecocks’ air attack, particularly on third down, and the Dawgs’ rush couldn’t get consistent pressure on quarterback Jake Bentley, who completed 21 of 35 passes. But when it counted, the Georgia defense held, and Georgia’s Jake Fromm proved he could throw the ball, too, tossing 2 touchdown strikes as the Dawgs won 24-10. Another factor in those upset alerts for the Dawgs at Columbia is South Carolina’s apparent status as the choice of the nation’s sports media as the SEC’s “most improved” or “up-and-coming” program. That appears to be based mostly on the fact that the Gamecocks having a talented, experienced quarterback in Bentley, and the return to health of highly rated wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who missed most of last year (including the Georgia game) with an injury . Expectations are that under new offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon — a former Georgia player and assistant coach) —  the Gamecocks will be more dangerous offensively than last year, when they were very inconsistent. Plus, there’s this popular belief that Coach Boom’s defense will be improved from last year simply because he’s usually had good defenses in the past. USA Today’s Paul Myerberg even listed the Gamecocks— who are ranked No. 24 in the paper’s post-spring rankings, with Georgia at No. 6 — as his “dark horse” contender for the conference championship, which he expects to be won by Alabama. Of course, the preseason media darling doesn’t always pan out, and hype has a way of evaporating in the face of hard reality, as happened a few times with Tennessee during the Butch Jones era. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock could challenge a rebuilding Georgia defense. (Perry McIntyre Jr./UGA) Also, remember how Dan Mullen’s Mississippi State Bizarro Bulldogs entered their game against the Dawgs in Athens last season as probably the hottest team in college football, on the heels of a shocking upset of LSU. It only took the Dawgs one play to put that notion to rest — a terrific flea-flicker pass for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage — a play that Fromm says was his favorite of the season. Georgia went on to a fairly easy win. Still, that early date against South Carolina does look like the Dawgs’ first major challenge of the new season. However, it’s not the only potential upset that college football observers see on Georgia’s schedule. Some think Missouri’s Drew Lock, who’s had some success — though not enough — throwing against the Dawgs the past couple of years, might prove too much for a rebuilding Georgia defense. Still, former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley, who spent the past five years coaching receivers for the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, is Mizzou’s new offensive coordinator — a job he’s never held before. I’m not convinced Missouri is going to be an offensive juggernaut, and the Tigers defense probably will continue to be a weak link. Others think that last year’s Georgia blowout of Florida was an aberration and that the Gators, with former Mississippi State coach Mullen now in charge, immediately will return to SEC East contender status. Again, I’m not convinced. Florida still is looking for a quarterback, and must rebuild its offensive line. Plus, Todd Grantham is the Gators’ new defensive coordinator, which should put a big smile on the faces of Georgia’s offensive staff. Yeah, Grantham improved Mississippi State’s defensive numbers last year, but he wasn’t able to handle the Dawgs. And his other game as a defensive coordinator against Georgia since leaving Athens — the 2014 Belk Bowl when he was with Louisville — also went the Dawgs’ way.  Georgia defensive back Tyrique McGhee sacked Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks last year, forcing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. (Curtis Compton/AJC) As for the rest of the SEC East, most analysts expect Jeremy Pruitt to face tough sledding in his first year as Tennessee’s new head coach. Jones didn’t leave him much to work with. SEC sports information directors recently picked the Vols to finish last in the division in 2018. As for Kentucky, the Wildcats may have Benny Snell, probably the conference’s best returning back, but that’s not enough, and Vanderbilt don’t appear any stronger than last year. Actually, the biggest threats to Georgia’s return to the conference championship this season appear to reside in the SEC West. The Oct. 13 trip to Baton Rouge to play LSU concerns some fans, mainly because it’s always tough to play the Tigers at home. But while LSU’s defense again should be pretty good, their offense remains suspect, with the departure of their two best running backs and their offensive coordinator. Really, the toughest game on Georgia’s regular season schedule once again should be Auburn, with whom the Dawgs split a pair last year, winning the one that counted the most in the SEC Championship Game. No matter how that game turns out, Georgia remains the favorite to take the East’s spot in the SEC Championship game and even be  a possible contender for the College Football Playoff. As Lindy’s preview summed up Georgia’s prospects: “A return to the SEC title game is the baseline of what would be acceptable.” No pressure, Kirby. The post Who is Georgia’s biggest threat in the SEC East? appeared first on DawgNation.