SEC Three & Out: Vandy In Play For O'Brien?
Former Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien
Former Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien
Posted Feb 22, 2012

CFN SEC columnist Barrett Sallee examines the offseason in the SEC.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee

Three & Out returns every Thursday in 2012 to keep fans up-to-date on the latest news and notes from the SEC. This week, we navigate the doldrums of February with a look at Vandy's loaded QB situation, position changes in Athens and checks about to be handed out by the SEC office.

The week-long saga at the University of Maryland involving quarterback Danny O'Brien finally came to an end on Wednesday, when Maryland officially released O'Brien to transfer anywhere. That decision could benefit James Franklin and the Vanderbilt Commodores.

O'Brien - the 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year - will graduate from Maryland this spring; but with two years of eligibility remaining, O'Brien is not subject to the SEC's prohibition of one-and-done transfer players. With Vandy now in play, all signs point to O'Brien reuniting with Franklin, who was his offensive coordinator at Maryland in 2010.

Let's look past the saga with Randy Edsall and look forward to what this would mean for Vanderbilt if it were to land O'Brien.

The Commodores already have Jordan Rodgers on the roster, who looked solid when he took over the starting role in early October. As a junior, Rodgers threw for 1,524 yards and nine touchdowns, and added 420 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Just last week, Vanderbilt got more good news when Jonathan McCrary, a four-star quarterback from Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Ga., spurned his home-state Georgia Bulldogs and the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, and committed to Vanderbilt. McCrary is part of the class of 2013, and would join the Dores next season.

It's rare that Vanderbilt has options at quarterback, but it appears that James Franklin will find himself in that situation. Whether it's one year of Rodgers or two years of O'Brien, Vanderbilt appears to have its quarterback position set for the next half-decade.

Raise your hand if you expected that when the Commodores hired Franklin (put your hand you didn't).

Ray Drew, one of the prized recruits from Georgia's "Dream Team" class of 2011, appears to be on the move...a few steps closer to the line of scrimmage.

In an interview with the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer incoming linebacker Jordan Jenkins hinted at some position changes, the most notable of which is Drew moving from linebacker to defensive end.

That sound you hear is opposing offensive coordinators cringing.

Georgia finished fifth in the nation in total defense last season, and returns 10 starters from that bunch. And now, the Bulldogs are moving studs around to make room for more studs. The junkyard dawg mentality disappeared in the late 2000s, but ever since defensive coordinator Todd Grantham took over in 2010, that mindset has been creeping back.

If you want to knock Georgia for its schedule, fine. I don't agree with it, but I certainly understand the argument. But you don't stumble into 10-game winning streaks, you earn them - and that's what Georgia's defense did last season.

With so much talent returning next season on the defensive side of the ball, Georgia will be the odds on favorite to win the SEC East.

Mike Slive better get those over-sized novelty checks ready, because he's about to hand out 12 big ones when the SEC meets in Destin, Fla. this spring.

According to The Birmingham News, SEC payouts will average $19.5 million per school for 2010-2011, an increase of about $1.2 million from last year and about $1.2 million more than was estimated by the conference last summer.

While that number seems high, it's still lagging behind the payout received by the Big Ten last season ($22.6 million), and the estimated payout coming to the Pac-12 ($21 million) this season. The Pac-12's figure is only going to increase when its television network launches this summer.

So how is the nation's undisputed No. 1 conference behind-the-times when it comes to revenue? Simple, its landmark television deal is already outdated - which is precisely why Texas A&M and Missouri were added. Those two teams bring in four of the nation's top 31 television markets, and allow the conference to renegotiate its media rights deal.

Six consecutive national championships will certainly bring a smile to Slive's face, but this is still a business. When the ink dries on a new television contract, it may be the most important event of his tenure as commissioner. It likely will vault the conference back to the top in terms of revenue, and will likely signal a conference-owned television network in the process.

Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for He can be reached at, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee

2012 Offseason Three & Out Archive
Three & Out - February 23, 2012
Three & Out - February 16, 2012
Three & Out - February 9, 2012
Three & Out - February 2, 2012
Three & Out - January 23, 2012
Three & Out - January 16, 2012

Click here for the 2011 Three & Out Archive
Click Here for the 2012 column archive

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