The feel-good story of UGA’s 2009 recruiting class is Chris Burnette.
Not only is he one of the nation’s top-rated offensive linemen, he is also a valedictorian candidate at Troup High School. UGA coach Mark Richt told Burnette he was the first valedictorian he had ever recruited. He also said that if Burnette got to speak at graduation, that he would do his best to be there in person to hear it.
Richt’s vow earned Georgia, and college football in general, a wave of good publicity. Then the big and bad NCAA got in the way.
As it turned out, it would be against the rules for Richt to attend the celebration of his recruit’s academic achievements. Richt, being the nice guy he is, felt bad about not being permitted to go but said he would still listen to the speech via a videotaped copy.
That’s where things stand right now. And now is where I think Richt should consider taking a stand … in
Douglass defensive end Garrison Smith, one of the nation’s leaders in early scholarships with around 30, had been offered by all of his dream schools except for one. That was Southern Cal, and Pete Carroll called with the news on Wednesday night.
“[Carroll] said he thinks I’m a good player, that I’d be a good fit, and I ought to come out to the West coast,” Smith said. “I was real excited about talking to him. USC is a legendary team with a legendary coach, and always winning championships. It’s just another blessing.”
The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Smith was offered by Oklahoma last week, and also holds scholarships from Georgia and Georgia Tech. His older brother, Greg Smith, played for Georgia Tech.
He was rumored to be considering making an early decision, but says he is unsure about when he will commit. “I just want to check out all of my options,”
Although new Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin has gotten the most press from his coaches’ shirt-ripping stunt during an early March Junior Day visit from recruits, in truth it was men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl who really started the whole Tennessee Topless phenomenon when he showed up shirtless and painted in orange to show support for the Lady Vols in a 2007 game against rival Duke.
Pearl went shirtless again Monday night when he and three Vols athletes performed a rap song during Tennessee’s athletics awards ceremony. The hoops coach sported one of his trademark orange-and-white checkered sport coat, orange tie and… a lot of skin.
For his part, Lane Kiffin remained clothed, performing in a skit with father / defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
VIDEO: Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl’s topless rap
Coffee defensive back Pernell Williams said he committed to the Florida Gators, but it appears that the reigning BCS champions have not yet accepted his commitment.
Here’s a quick recap: Williams said he got on the phone on Thursday morning with Florida assistants Vance Bedford and Brian White, and told them he was committing to the Gators. Then Williams texted reporters, saying he was excited about picking the Gators.
However, word later got back to Williams and his family that maybe the Gators hadn’t accepted the commitment just yet. Apparently, there was some miscommunication. Former UGA player Reggie Weeks, who is the brother-in-law of Williams, said he called Bedford late Thursday to clarify the matter.
“[Bedford] said ‘We definitely want Pernell and he has an offer from Florida,’” Weeks said. “He said they (Florida) didn’t want Pernell to rush into it so soon with committing where he might change his mind later on. So Florida is coming to
Washaun Ealey, who some say is the state’s most accomplished tailback since Herschel Walker, has to clear one final hurdle before making it to Georgia.
The record-breaking senior from Emanuel County Institute told the AJC that he is close to meeting college entrance requirements.
“I’m almost there. By the time graduation comes around, I should be fine,” Ealey said Tuesday night. “I’m doing good in all my classes. I’ve got the test scores. If I keep my grades where they are now, then my test scores are good enough for me [to be academically qualified]. It’s really looking good now.”
Ealey’s sprint toward graduation is a major storyline over the next two months for UGA. The Bulldogs lost Knowshon Moreno to the NFL, and only signed one running back in this year’s recruiting class, Ealey. Georgia coach Mark Richt, who
Georgia coach Mark Richt granted ex-UGA LB recruit Dexter Moody an “unconditional” release, meaning he could play for any school. Moody told the AJC he could end up playing for Lane Kiffin at Tennessee.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Moody said he was invited to Tennessee’s Orange and White game on Saturday by the Volunteers. ”Me and my dad are planning on going up there,” Moody said. “They talked liked they were going to offer me a scholarship. I don’t know. I guess we’ll see. They just want to meet me in person and everything.”
Moody, who earned All-America honors last year at Emanuel County Institute, said he has had contact with several schools, including Florida, Memphis, Central Michigan and Troy, since breaking ties with Georgia last month. Moody said he has been offered by Marshall, and that he is very encouraged by Tennessee’s Lance Thompson, who coaches linebackers
North Gwinnett’s Jawuan James, one of the nation’s top offensive lineman, is finished with his world tour. Well, almost. James, who has nearly 30 scholarship offers, plans to attend Alabama’s spring game on Saturday.
Over the few weeks, James has traveled from coast to coast. On the west side, he went as far as Nike Country, i.e. the University of Oregon. Somewhere along the way, James also stopped by UGA, Tennessee and Florida.
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound James has a stack of scholarship letters and says his top five are Alabama, UGA, Florida, Tennessee and Oklahoma. And he’s really liking the Gators after spending five days in Florida last week over spring break.
“I got to see [Urban Meyer] every day,” James said. “He said they really like me, and need athletic offensive tackles. He said that don’t have a true tackle-sized person … they didn’t have another lineman on their team that was both as big as me and as athletic as me. They said I was on the top on Florida’s list for
Gainesville wide receiver Tai-ler Jones, who will announce his college decision on Thursday, has Notre Dame among his finalists.
There’s a good reason. His father, Andre Jones, played linebacker and defensive end for Notre Dame. The younger Jones has narrowed down to UGA, North Carolina, Stanford, California, UCLA, Ohio State and the Fighting Irish. He is one of the nation’s leaders in early scholarships offers with 32.
“Notre Dame is a great school … and I know that because my dad says that about every day,” Jones said with a laugh.
“He tells me all the time about his experiences, and how the college life and connections you make at Notre Dame are different than any other school in the country,” Jones said. “It’s like one big brotherhood, and they all help each other out.”
Jones said he feels like