With a less than two months to go before toe meets leather for the 2010 college football season, Three & Out returns to give you a periodic look at what's going on this summer in the SEC. In today's edition, we take a look at one of the most underrated players in the SEC, the ongoing investigation in Knoxville and the upcoming SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.
DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!?
It's that time of year when the preseason magazines hit the news stands complete with team profiles, player interviews and preseason all-conference teams. While running backs like Mark Ingram, Jeff Demps and Washaun Ealey pop up on top of most All-SEC teams, Kentucky running back Derrick Locke is also getting his share of preseason pub. If you don't know much about Locke, you should – because he's one of the most underrated players in the SEC.
Locke returned with a vengeance in 2009, after having his 2008 season cut short due to a knee injury. As a junior, Locke rushed for 907 yards and six touchdowns, caught 31 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns, and tallied 625 return yards and one touchdown.
Those numbers don't lie – he's very versatile. But what's even more impressive is that in the Wildcats' final seven games, when Mike Hartline's injury forced the 'Cats to start true freshman Morgan Newton at quarterback, Locke rushed for 510 yards on 97 carries (5.3 yards per carry). Kentucky went 5-2 during that stretch, earning a bowl bid for the fourth consecutive season – a first for the Kentucky program. When his team needed him the most, Locked stepped up and carried the load.
He doesn't get the publicity that the other top tier backs in the SEC get. But make no mistake, Locke belongs in that group. If Kentucky can take another step forward in 2010 under first-year head coach Joker Phillips, don't be surprised to see Locke as a first-team All-SEC running back when the postseason awards are announced in December.
MORE TROUBLE FOR VOLS?
By now, you've probably heard about the early-morning bar brawl that reportedly took place last week involving several Tennessee football players and multiple law enforcement officials. Starting safety Darren Myles Jr., who has since been dismissed from the Vols, was charged with simple assault, resisting arrest, evading arrest and public intoxication. Da' Rick Rogers, a highly-regarded wide receiver from Derek Dooley's 2010 recruiting class, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Two more Vols, linebacker Greg King and defensive tackle Marlon Walls, have been indefinitely suspended as a result of the incident.
More trouble could be in store.
According to Wes Rucker of the Chattanooga Times Free-Press, the Knoxville Police Department continues to investigate the incident, and one more Tennessee football player could be charged in the investigation.
Drama just can't seem to stay away from Knoxville, even after Lane Kiffin's unceremonious departure. The Vols are in for an uphill battle in 2010. If they start losing players that are expected to contribute, it could knock them out of bowl contention.
THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN
The SEC's equivalent to Super Bowl Media Day takes place next week, when SEC Media Days hits the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. What nuggets will we learn this year? The barbeque restaurants did Ryan Mallett frequented while he was recovering from his foot injury? The coach that didn't vote for Mark Ingram as a first-team running back? What Urban Meyer's coat size is?
One thing we do know is who will be in attendance. Here is the list of players who will make the trip (no, that's not a typo...Georgia really is bringing their punter):
Alabama: RB Mark Ingram, LB Dont'a Hightower, QB Greg McElroy
Arkansas: QB Ryan Mallett, TE D.J. Williams, DE Jake Bequette
Auburn: OT Lee Ziemba , DB Aairon Savage, LB Josh Bynes
Florida: C Mike Pouncey, DE Justin Trattou, S Ahmad Black
Georgia: WR A.J. Green, P Drew Butler, FB Shaun Chapas
Kentucky: WR/Wildcat QB Randall Cobb, DE DeQuin Evans, RB Derrick Locke
LSU: QB Jordan Jefferson, LB Kelvin Sheppard, CB Patrick Peterson
Ole Miss: DT Jerrell Powe, DE Kentrell Lockett, OT Bradley Sowell
Mississippi State: DB Charles Mitchell, QB Chris Relf, OL Quentin Saulsberry
South Carolina: FB Patrick DiMarco, LB Shaq Wilson, DE Cliff Matthews
Tennessee: TE Luke Stocker, DE Chris Walker, LB Nick Reveiz
Vanderbilt: LB Chris Marve, RB Warren Norman, LB John Stokes
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at
2010 Offseason Three & Out Archive