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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sportaholic Mid-Week Speed Drills: Nashville Preds Update, Tennessee State Fairgrounds News, Vandy Basketball and Recruting News for UT and Vandy.

National Signing Day: Tennessee Vols Head Coach Derek Dooley is charging hard at the finish line on national signing day. The second year coach has closed on three 4-star recruits over the last 48 hours including the top ranked player in the state Antonio Richardson of Pearl-Cohn. UT also signed Cameron Clear out of Memphis as the Vols are doing a good job closing the borders of the state and keeping the talent in Tennessee Orange. The other top recruits for the Vols include Curt Maggit from Florida, DeAnthony Arnett from Michigan, Maurice Couch a JUCO transfer from Kansas, Marcus Jackson from Florida, Marlin Jackson from Florida and A.J Johnson of Georgia. The Vols have a total of 27 commitments and are ranked 11th by in the nation and 10th by The Vols needed to beef up their defensive line and secondary and by all indications they have emphatically did so with these signings. Recruiting in the SEC is as cutthroat as it gets but it appears Dooley can hold his on against the big boys of Nick Saban, Les Miles, Mark Richt and Gene Chizik. Derek Dooley and his staff did one heck of a job for Tennessee and should reap the benefits next fall. For a complete list of all the UT signings click this link:

Vandy’s new Head Coach James Franklin also did a tremendous job for the Commodores as he reined a few surprise recruits to his first class. The biggest issue facing Vandy was quarterback and they addressed that by signing Lafonte Thurgood, a 4-star stud from Virginia Beach, VA. He should come in and immediately compete for the QB position. Franklin also snuck in on Dillon Van Der Wall of Westlake Village California. He originally committed to Arizona State but after meeting with Franklin changed over to Commodore black and gold. Vandy has a solid class following the late start they got due to coaching search. To see Vanderbilt’s full list click this link:

Predators Update: The Nashville Predators have 31 games left to make their playoff push and things didn’t get started the way they would have liked against the Calgary Flames last night. The Preds, losers of their last 3, lost in a shootout battle thanks to Rene Borque as he scored the only goal in the shootout.

The Preds led 1-0 off the strength of a Patric Hornquist goal going into the 3rd period, only to see their lead be erased as Matt Stajan and Corey Sarich each tallied goals for Calgary. The lost dropped the Preds to 5-4-1 over their last 10 games. Nashville had been 6-2 in shootout games entering this contest but just couldn’t come away with the victory this time around.

“At least we got one point, but there comes a point where we've got to figure out how to lock things down. There are 31 games left, and if we're not going to...” Said defensemen Shea Weber.

The Preds look to get back in the win column this Thursday as the take on the Philadelphia Flyers.

Vandy Basketball: Florida 65 Vandy 61: The Commodores traveled to Gainesville for a national televised ESPN game against Florida. Vandy shot the ball well early and took an early lead. Jeff Jenkins showed why he is the SEC scoring leader, as he scored a game high 22 points on an array of acrobatic lay-up, runners and three-point shots. However the Dores continued to give the Gators second chance shots as Florida annihilated Vandy on the boards 42-29. Chandler Parsons of Florida was the thorn that stuck Vandy all game as he tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds, Vandy simply didn’t have an answer for his offensive versatility. Vandy’s big men added to their misery as Festus Ezeli, Steve Tchiengang, and Jeffrey Taylor all fouled out during the game which left the Commodores front-court paper thin. Without the big men to protect the basket, the 6-9 Parsons begin doing his damage in the paint. He drove toward the lane and hit a jumper that put Florida ahead 60-59. Florida got a big three-pointer from guard Kenny Boynton on their next possession to go ahead for good. Jenkins would get another shot for Vandy but air balled a three-point attempt. From my view it clearly looked like a foul was committed by Boynton but no call was made by the ref. Boynton all but admitted fouling after the game saying I think I got him, but I think on the other end they missed some fouls, too,” Boynton said. “If they called it, they called it. I think I jumped too high and he kind of tried to draw it. It was a foul, but they missed it.” Vandy Head Coach Kevin Stallings also had some input about the late-game no call “I’m pretty sure there was a reason there was an air ball,” Stallings said. “I’m not saying our guys shot an air ball. I think there might have been a reason.” The lost coupled with their defeat at the hands of Arkansas this weekend marks the first time Vandy (15-6 3-4 SEC) has lost consecutive games all year. Vandy looks to regroup and they face South Carolina this Saturday.

Tennessee Fairgrounds Racetrack Is Safe.... For Now: The demise of the Tennessee fairgrounds have been greatly exaggerated as the Metro council ratified a bill to keep the fairgrounds in business. This comes after a very public outcry that included some of the biggest race-car driver names in Tennessee with the likes of Sterling Marlin and Darrell Waltrip coming on board to save the track. This is good news for all local sports fan as a piece of nostalgia Nashville was saved. The track is one of the oldest in the country as it has been around since 1904 and has hosted Winston cup (Sprint Cup now) from 1958 to 1984. It would have been a shame to see it be demolished but looks like the local support saved it. Give yourself a pat on the back Nashville.

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