Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lattimore likes chicken; Allen goes AWOL from Tide

"It felt like the right place for me, plus Spurrier did the cha-cha slide for my mom."

So said Marcus Lattimore, who picked the Gamecocks on Tuesday. Go here for the story and here for the quote.

Earlier: National Signing Day arrives Wednesday with more clarity surrounding the decision of South Carolina's top-ranked recruit and considerable more questions about North Carolina's.

After touring the country, Marcus Lattimore of Byrnes High has all but clicked the ruby slippers and announced "there's no place like home." He is expected to sign Wednesday with South Carolina, taking a bit of the whip cream off Gene Chizik's excellent first recruiting class at Auburn.

Chizik, though, already has 5-star back Michael Dyer out of Arkansas, and Lattimore's decision to roost with the Chickens might swing D.J. Howard of Lincoln, Ala., back to the Plains. Howard is considering Clemson, among others.

The Gamecocks' class doesn't include another running back, with Steve Spurrier making it clear early on that he was all in for Lattimore. Carolina's class is heavy with offensive lineman. Now Spurrier has someone to carry the ball. It may be several years before we know if any of this helps the SEC's worst running offense.

Meanwhile, the recruitment of Greensboro's Keenan Allen has taken a hard left turn into the weird.

Allen, who will be a star on whichever side of the ball he decides to play, had been a longtime fan of coach Nick Saban and Alabama, and he committed to the Tide in November.

But two weeks ago his half-brother, Zach Maynard, last season's starting quarterback at Buffalo, announced he was leaving the program. A family spokesman, Otis Yelverton, said Maynard felt disrespected by the staff hired to replace Turner Gill, who left for Kansas.

The Allen/Maynard family, with the help of Yelverton, the boys' former high school coach, apparently began looking for a package deal so their sons could play together. Clemson offered it. It's unclear if Alabama matched it. Penn State also got involved. Late last week, the family stopped taking calls from either Alabama or Clemson.

Now it appears Allen and Maynard are headed to Cal, which had never appeared to be a serious contender for Allen but coincidentally is now the likely destination of Gabe King, the brothers' former teammate in Greensboro.

Yelverton, by the way, lost his coaching job last year in Guilford County in the wake of a high school residency/recruiting scandal at one of the high schools. He's now athletics director at Oak Hill Military Academy. As part of Guilford investigation, King, the state's top recruit going into his senior season, was declared ineligible.

At Yelverton's suggestion, according to newspaper reports, King moved to Eugene, Ore., and was expected to sign with the Oregon Ducks. But for unknown reasons, Oregon pulled its offer, and King's gaze magically wafted south along the Pacific Coast to Berkeley, where Allen and Maynard are now expected to join him. Home, after all, is where your homies are.

"Strange days, indeed," John Lennon, who could have been talking about recruiting, once wrote.

To which the fans of Alabama and Clemson might add: "Most peculiar, mama!"



Anonymous said...

Losing Lattimore hurts, but Dyer is a nice consolation prize, not to mention the fact that we have McCalebb, who could be a star if he can learn to run more than dance once he has the ball. With the talent being assembled, I think the next 3 Iron Bowls could end up being in the top 5 of all time.

I'm not worried about the Fightin' Chickens. They still don't have a QB with a discernable clue, so Lattimore is going to be awfully sore every Sunday morning.

Hey, MG, I saw Leigh Tiffin in the Senior Bowl. Does that mean he was denied his application for a 15th year of eligibility?

Michael said...


The Red Elephant Club is on the case. One day, while Kiffin is still kicking for Alabama, Jan Stenerud will call him Sir.