BLOG: Today’s episode of the Sideline View on RebelSportsRadio.com has been posted.Feel free to check it out on demand by clicking HERE.
On today’s show John Davis and myself caught up with Monroe Journal’s Brandon Speck, who was in St. Petersburg, Fla., for Channing Ward‘s college announcement. (The Aberdeen DE selected Ole Miss over finalists Alabama and Mississippi State. Click HERE to read JD’s article on the selection).
We also spent time talking about the Oxford High basketball teams and caught up with both boys coach Drew Tyler and girls coach Shayne Linzy. Both squads open division play tonight against New Hope at home. The Lady Chargers kick things off with a 6 p.m. tip.
We wrapped up the show discussing a little Lady Rebels action (Ole Miss fell to Florida 59-55 on Thursday), the Dundrecous Nelson news and the baseball cuts (including the recent news regarding Jimel Judon).
WARD TRENDING: Ward’s decision to pick Ole Miss last night almost immediately made him trend on Twitter. Plenty of Ole Miss’ football players (current, past and present) had things to say about his verbal commitment:
While Ward’s verbal commitment is non-binding until he signs on National Signing Day on Feb. 1, it’s obvious he has given Ole Miss’ players and fans a big boost. Now the question is will that boost translate into success on the field?
JUST DO IT: Ole Miss just announced that it will continue its partnership with Nike. The following is Ole Miss’ release:
In December, the University of Mississippi renewed its athletics partnership with Nike, the world’s leader in sports gear.
This renewal extends the long-standing relationship by seven years and more than doubles the annual compensation to Ole Miss compared to the previous agreement.
Nike will continue to supply game uniforms, warmups, shoes and/or other equipment for all 18 of the Rebels’ men’s and women’s varsity teams.
“Nike is the No. 1 sports gear brand in the world, and I’m proud that Ole Miss can call them a partner,” said head football coach Hugh Freeze. “Whether it’s fans or recruits, everyone knows the significance of the swoosh. Our student-athletes deserve the best, and that is Nike.”
Due to the long-term nature of the agreement, the renewal was presented to and approved by the Athletics Committee last month and University Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Larry Sparks formally signed the agreement.
“The athletics department researched the marketplace, and it was clear that Nike gives us a competitive advantage,” Sparks said. “In addition, the commitment Nike is making to Ole Miss continues to prove how powerful the Ole Miss brand is across the U.S.”
The purpose of the Ole Miss Athletics Committee is to advise the Chancellor on matters regarding the operation of the athletics department. The committee is comprised of representatives from the faculty, alumni, staff, student body, and the M Club.
LOCKETT AN ALL-STAR: Ole Miss also just announced that senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett has been selected to participate in the East-West Shrine Game:
TAMPA - Ole Miss’ Kentrell Lockett has accepted an invitation to play in the 87th East-West Shrine Game®. The Game will be held Jan. 21 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., kicking off at 3 p.m. CT and televised live on the NFL Network.
A defensive end from Hahnville, La., Lockett totaled 26.0 TFLs, 22 QB pressures and 9.0 sacks during his Rebel tenure, which spanned six years due to injuries. The two-time team captain was an All-SEC honoree in 2009 and a preseason All-SEC pick each of the past two seasons.
Lockett joins an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and 62 NFL Hall of Famers, who have played in the East-West Shrine Game along with 52 players currently on active NFL rosters.
“The East-West Shrine Game has always fielded players among college football’s best,” said East-West Shrine Game Executive Director Harold Richardson. “With all 32 NFL teams represented by GMs, coaches and scouts during game week, our players have the terrific opportunity to showcase their talents and get their first glimpse of life in the NFL … `Just Like on Sunday.’”
While the teams are divided by East and West, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children®, an international pediatric specialty health care system.
“We hope our supporters all over the country will come out and enjoy this exciting game,” said Douglas E. Maxwell, president and CEO of Shriners Hospitals for Children. “Our health care system depends on the generosity of our supporters, and this game is one of our signature events benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children.”
The East-West Shrine Game tickets are on sale now through all Ticketmaster outlets. Fans can purchase tickets for the January 21, 2012 game online at www.shrinegame.com, www.ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 727-342-5777.
All game tickets are $15 general admission tickets (price does not include service fees).
MORE BASEBALL RANKINGS: Who doesn’t love rankings? Baseball America continues its winter rankings of Major League Baseball’s top prospects. Recently, former Rebel ace Drew Pomeranz was named the Rockies’ top prospect and 2015 Opening Day starter (maybe sooner than that?) and Garin Cecchini, former LSU signee and brother of Ole Miss signee Gavin, was listed as Boston’s No. 7 prospect. Baseball America will wrap up its Top 10 lists on Jan. 30 with the Texas Rangers.
JUDON CONSIDERING FOOTBALL? In case you missed it, the other day I reported that Judon is considering a switch to football now that he no longer has a spot on the baseball team. HERE‘s what was said:
Just had a good conversation with Judon’s father regarding his future with Ole Miss athletics. According to his dad, Judon is considering talking to new Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze about walking onto the football team.
Judon is on an academic scholarship so his schooling is completely paid for. If he opted to transfer to continue his baseball career he would only receive a fraction of a scholarship. While playing baseball is Judon’s first love, getting his education paid for is priority No. 1.
Judon’s father said Jimel was “heartbroken” about being cut from the baseball team but he “loves Ole Miss and loves the school dearly.” As such, he doesn’t want to go anywhere else.
Judon is expected to meet with Freeze once he’s back in town for school in the hopes of earning a walk-on spot on the football team.
One big question, however, is can Judon play football? Judon, coming from Myrtle High, which does not have a football program, has never played football.
I suppose time will tell, but at a listed 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, why not give it a shot.
PARTING IMAGE: I’ll leave y’all with this. The past couple of days the Ole Miss baseball coaching staff (Mike Bianco, Carl Lafferty, Cliff Godwin and Fuller Smith) have been participating in the ABCA National Coaches Convention in Anaheim, Calif.
About an hour ago Lafferty tweeted this image of himself and Internet sensation Domingo Ayala:
Never know where you’ll bump into some people, “my frens.”
Have a good weekend, y’all. (January 6, 2012)