Some news, notes and observations from around the Southeastern Conference while sweating on my keyboard:
LSU this summer is touting junior wide receiver Trindon Holliday as the fastest player in college football.
That’s right. Not even Bob Hayes, Herschel Walker or Willie Gault can match Holliday’s speed, according to Tigers football publicists.
On paper, they appear to be right. The 5-foot-6 Holliday, a reserve player last year for national-champion LSU, ran a 10.02 in the 100 meters at last year’s NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Only 69 people have ever run it faster and, according to LSU, none have ever played football or were playing at the time they were clocked.
Holliday, who scored two touchdowns last season, is hoping to make the U.S. Olympic team next month. If you saw LSU play last season, you know how dynamic he can be with the ball in his hands.
“He is a football player with track ability,” Tigers football coach Les Miles told CBSSports.com.
“Just like playing football for LSU is very, very important to him, this is too,” added LSU track coach Dennis Shaver.
HALFWAY HOME: One half of what many consider to be Vanderbilt’s best-ever basketball recruiting class has arrived in Nashville.
Forward Steve Tchiengang of Montverde, Fla., and forward Lance Goulbourne of Princeton, N.J., are on the VU campus and taking summer courses. Guard Brad Tinsley of Oregon City, Ore., and swingman Jeff Taylor of Hobbs, N.M., are expected to arrive just before the fall semester begins in August.
Rivals.com recently ranked the 2008 Commodore class as the nation’s 15th best, ahead of such schools as Duke, Kentucky and Michigan State.
Strange days, indeed.
Florida’s class is ranked No. 9, followed by Tennessee at No. 10 and Alabama at No. 13. UCLA is ranked No. 1.
SHOT DOWN: In case you missed it, SEC presidents and athletics directors rejected a proposed early signing period for football during the league’s annual spring meetings last week in Destin, Fla.
SEC football coaches voted 9-3 to approve in favor of it. Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson is among those who voted in favor of it.
As it stands now, football players sign national letters-of-intent in February, and not before then. In basketball, however, players can sign during the early period in November or the late period in April.
Vanderbilt, for example, signed Taylor and Tinsley in April of this year after Tchiengang and Goulbourne had inked in November.
It’s easy to see why Johnson favors an early signing period. Commodores coaches have to work doubly hard to find diamond-in-the-rough players who can be developed into SEC-caliber players. Securing those players earlier than usual before they can be poached by other schools would be an ideal situation for Vanderbilt.
BIG BUCKS: The SEC will distribute approximately $127.2 million to its 12 member schools in the revenue-sharing plan for the 2007-08 fiscal year, league commissioner Mike Slive recently announced.
It’s the highest total for one year in SEC history and comes mostly from television contracts, bowl games the conference football championship game, the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament and NCAA championships appearances. More than $50 million comes from football TV deals.
How’s this for a jump? In 1980, $4.1 million was distributed to SEC schools.
STORM CLOUDS: Trouble is brewing at Kentucky, which will enter the 2008-09 basketball season with major questions at point guard.
UK already lost last year’s starter, Ramel Bradley, to graduation. Last week, projected starter Derrick Jasper announced he will transfer to another school. Meanwhile, incoming recruit DeAndre Liggins is struggling to gain academic eligibility and has one chance left when he takes entrance tests later this month.
DON’T LOOK NOW…: If you have perused the 2008 SEC football schedule, you know LSU opens with a home game against – you gotta love it – Appalachian State on Aug. 30.
The mind boggles at the possibilities.
Brett Hait covers Vanderbilt and the Southeastern Conference for The City Paper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.