SEC BUZZ

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SEC BUZZ

THE SCOOP

Da’Shawn Hand, a unanimous five-star prospect by the major recruiting services, says he will play college football at Alabama. The Crimson Tide’s early list of commitments is at 23, and the group ranks No. 1 in all four major recruiting services.

At 6-foot-4, 254 pounds, Hand is the nation’s top prospect among defensive ends. Hand, from Woodbridge (Va.) Senior High, committed live on national television on the NBCSports Network. Signing day is in February.

“I took two visits up there, went to a camp, and I got to really see how the campus life is outside of football season,” he said. “I went on my official, and I saw how the gameday atmosphere is and saw the culture.

“They have a winning tradition, all the coaches care about their players and they don’t lie to you. They tell you how it is. I know when I go in, I’m not going to be No. 1 on the depth chart, and I know I’m going to have to do a lot of hard work.”

Hand chose the Tide over Florida and Michigan.

HEISMAN CHATTER

Some Texas A&M teammates are miffed that reigning Heisman Trophy holder Johnny Manziel isn’t considered the front-runner to repeat. He has two more games to make a final statement.

“You know how society is, they get bored with people,” Aggies receiver Malcome Kennedy said. “You know, you win one and it’s like: ‘OK you don’t want to be greedy.’ But when it comes down to it, the numbers say it all. He knows it, we know it and people who watch sports know it.”

For comparison sake, Manziel has thrown for 31 touchdowns (26 last season) and for 3,313 yards passing (400 yards shy of 2012).

“I look back to last year, and we had a lot of senior leaders … and we didn’t really have to have Johnny step up and be a leader,” receiver Travis Labhart said. “He did, but this year he’s a completely different leader. He’s vocal; he challenges guys.”

ACADEMICS

Former Auburn linebacker Ashton Richardson has been named a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for an opportunity to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. On Saturday, he will be presented the Cliff Hare Award, the highest award an Auburn athlete can receive. Richardson, one of Auburn’s seven Rhodes Scholar finalists since 2009, also was a finalist last year and was re-nominated by Auburn this year. He currently is a veterinary student at Texas A&M.

HE SAID IT

“Mississippi State, I think, has probably the best 4-5 team in the country. They’ve lost five games to top-20 teams and have played extremely well all year long.” — Alabama coach Nick Saban, either giving the Bulldogs praise or subtly letting SEC fans know they are underachieving

BY THE NUMBERS

0 LSU coaches who have had four consecutive 10-win seasons. Les Miles can accomplish it if the Tigers (7-3) win their final three games, counting a bowl appearance, something Miles hasn’t done since 2006.

Compiled by Ray Cox

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