College Football Notebook
Auburn picked up its first in-state commitment of the 2008 recruiting class Sunday when Birmingham defensive end Cameron Henderson chose the Tigers over Mississippi State and Arkansas.
Henderson, a 6-foot-5, 240-pounder, is Auburn’s eighth commitment. According to Rivals.com, Henderson nearly committed to the Razorbacks last month, but after a good showing at Auburn’s camp, the Tigers made him an offer.
“I really wanted to go (to Auburn), and when they offered, that was it,” Henderson told Rivals.com. “It was tough because I really liked Arkansas, but I’ve watched Auburn a lot growing up and felt at home when I went to camp.”
Henderson, who attends Shades Valley High, spent Saturday in Auburn watching the team practice and meeting with Auburn defensive ends coach Terry Price. At a camp this summer Henderson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds and had a 40-inch vertical leap.
“I like the way Auburn plays, especially the defense,” Henderson told the Web site. “I think I’d fit in very well in their scheme.”
Daily Sports Writer
TUSCALOOSA — Freshman running back Terry Grant and sophomore Roy Upchurch received most of the carries with the first team during Alabama’s practice Sunday, while Jimmy Johns had limited snaps with the top group.
While head coach Nick Saban cautioned that the team has no depth chart, it appeared during the spring and at the end of the 2006 season that Johns would be the natural successor to former starter Kenneth Darby at tailback.
Last season, Johns, now a junior, was second on the team in rushing with 293 yards.
“The depth chart is there for organizational purposes, not to create speculation,” Saban said. “Sometimes when you do that, it affects people.”
? When the Crimson Tide took photos Sunday before the team’s fan day, one former Alabama player was decked out in a coach’s uniform of khakis and a white polo shirt.
This was former defensive tackle Byron Walton, a West Morgan High graduate who ended his football career last week because of recurring rhabdomyolysis, a disease that breaks down muscle and releases toxins into the blood stream, potentially harming the kidneys.
During Sunday’s practice, Walton wore a gray Alabama shirt as he monitored the defensive line.
? Wide receiver Nikita Stover, a Hartselle High graduated, went up for a pass and came down awkwardly on his back near the end of Sunday’s practice.
Stover stayed on the ground for several minutes, and Alabama’s training staff brought over the stretcher at one point. But Stover was helped to his feet and went to the locker room.
He returned to the field after practice to sign autographs, not appearing seriously hurt.
? Freshman running back Demetrius Goode limped onto the field at Bryant-Denny stadium with the aid of crutches Sunday.
Saban said Goode will miss five to nine months with a torn knee ligament. An MRI on Saturday revealed the problem, and surgery is set for Tuesday, according to Saban.
Daily Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. — An embarrassed and angry Steve Spurrier blasted South Carolina’s admissions process Sunday, apologizing to two recruits who signed with the Gamecocks last winter and were denied academic entry this summer.
“In my opinion, I still believe we made a mistake in doing this,” Spurrier said Sunday.
Spurrier had spoken with university president Andrew Sorensen and the two agreed, the coach said, that things needed to change.
Spurrier was angered that receiver Michael Bowman of Wadesboro, N.C., and Arkee Smith of Jacksonville, Fla., were cleared by the NCAA to enroll, yet were turned down by the university.
The rest of the Gamecocks football team officially reported Friday for preseason practice.
“Hopefully, I truly believe this is the last year this is going to happen, because I can’t operate like that,” Spurrier said. “I can’t operate misleading young men.”
Spurrier signed a contract extension, which included a raise of nearly a half-million dollars, that ties him to Carolina through 2012. However, he said if things didn’t change on admissions “then I have to go somewhere else, because I can’t tell the young man that he’s coming to school here,” then not have him admitted.
The Associated Press
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