Archive for June, 2010

LIVE: Second day of MLB Draft coverage: Another strong day for Georgia players?

Georgia is still basking in the glow of having five high schoolers selected in the opening round of Monday’s major-league draft.

The second day of the three-day, 50-round draft begins at noon today. Join us on ajc.com to talk draft coverage.

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Tennessee football recruit Da’Rick Rogers had ‘a lot of bad dealings with UGA coaches’ before switch, according to QB Nash Nance

Why did Calhoun wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers, the state’s No. 1-rated football prospect, make the last-minute switch from UGA to Tennessee last February?

Rogers isn’t talking, but his high school quarterback provided some insight into the infamous flip, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

“The [UT] coaches are a lot more professional … He had a lot of bad dealings with Georgia coaches,” said Nash Nance told the newspaper.

Nance and Rogers both signed with Tennessee, and enrolled in summer classes last week.  Neither Nance nor the News-Sentinel disclosed any specifics on the “bad dealings.”

Da'Rick Rogers (left) isn't talking but QB Nash Nance is (AJC)

Da'Rick Rogers (left) isn't talking but QB Nash Nance is (AJC)

Here are a few other items of interest from the article:

  • After Rogers changed his mind, Nance and his father “got crucified a lot on the Internet.” Nance said both he and Rogers got death threats, …

Continue reading Tennessee football recruit Da’Rick Rogers had ‘a lot of bad dealings with UGA coaches’ before switch, according to QB Nash Nance »

SHOW ME THE MONEY! Five Georgia high schoolers drafted in baseball’s first round

Shall we call them the Fab Five?

Who was No. 1 out of Georgia? DeShields (Brian Christian photo)

Who was No. 1 out of Georgia? DeShields (Brian Christian photo)

Georgia sent shockwaves across the baseball world when five homegrown products were selected in the first round of Monday’s major-league baseball draft. Three of the five were grabbed by the one team — the LA Angels
Here’s the roll call:

  • No. 8, Houston Astros with Delino DeShields, 2B, Woodward Academy: It’s hard to live up to expectations when Baseball America tags you as the “Best 12-year old” in the country, but DeShields accomplished it — despite having the pressures of playing in the shadows of his father by the same name (but different middle name), who played in the majors for 13 seasons. DeShields was a lock to go to the Houston Astros but with the team’s second-round pick at No 19. However, DeShields blew Houston officials away with his private workout last Thursday, and the Astros knew he probably wouldn’t make it past the Toronto Blue Jays at No. 13. The 5-foot-9, …

Continue reading SHOW ME THE MONEY! Five Georgia high schoolers drafted in baseball’s first round »

Georgia Tech football recruit Jake Skole drafted No. 15 overall by Texas Rangers

Georgia Tech football recruit Jake Skole drafted No. 15 overall by MLB's Texas Rangers (AJC)

Georgia Tech football recruit Jake Skole drafted No. 15 overall by MLB's Texas Rangers (AJC)

  • BREAKING NEWS ON JAKE SKOLE: Georgia Tech football recruit will sign with Texas Rangers by the end of the week, says report (click here)
  • BASEBALL: SHOW ME THE MONEY! Georgia has five high school baseball players drafted in the first round (Clickhere)
  • FOOTBALL: Tennessee recruit Da’Rick Rogers had “a lot of bad dealings with UGA coaches” before switching, according to QB Nash Nance (Click here)

Georgia Tech will likely lose one of its top football recruits, Blessed Trinity’s Jake Skole, after he was selected in the first round of Monday’s baseball  draft.

The Texas Rangers picked Skole with the No. 15 overall pick. He was one of the fastest “late risers” in the country in the weeks leading up to the draft, due to an explosive playoff performance and making it clear with baseball front offices that he was willing to give up football.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder missed nearly all of …

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Will the Atlanta Braves go after Georgia HS talent at No. 35 pick in Monday’s MLB Draft? (UPDATED)

This year’s crop of Georgia high school baseball prospects for the major-league draft is considered one of the best — and deepest — in years.

Which Georgia HS baseball prospect do you think BOTH will likely be available and heavily considered at No. 35?

  • Cook P/3B Kaleb Cowart
  • Woodward CF Delino DeShields
  • South Forsyth 2B Zach Alvord
  • Blessed Trinity OF Jake Skole
  • Marietta CF Chevy Clarke
  • East Coweta P Cam Bedrosian
  • Other (see remarks below)

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Depending on negotiations over the final hours, as many as five high schoolers from the Peach State could be selected in the top 50 of Monday’s opening day of the draft: Cook High pitcher/infielder Kaleb Cowart, Woodward Academy outfielder Delino DeShields, South Forsyth middle infielder Zach Alvord, Blessed Trinity outfielder Jake Skole and Marietta outfielder Chevez Clarke.

What about the Atlanta Braves? Will they dip into Georgia’s deep talent pool with the No. 35 overall …

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IT’S OFFICIAL: AJC’s Mr. Basketball is member of Georgia Bulldogs after first day of classes

When the AJC’s Mr. Basketball attended his first day of college classes on Friday, he officially became  a member of the Georgia Bulldogs.

AJC's Mr. Basketball officially became UGA recruit after attending first day of Friday's college classes (AJC)

AJC's Mr. Basketball officially became UGA recruit after attending first day of Friday's college classes (AJC)

Westlake High’s Marcus Thornton committed to UGA on May 18, and signed non-binding athletic grant-in-aid papers the same day. Because Thornton had signed a letter-of-intent with Clemson last November — and later was released after the departure of coach Oliver Purnell, Thornton was prevented from signing a second LOI with another school in the same calendar year under NCAA rules.

In other words, despite Thornton’s commitment to Georgia two weeks ago, he was eligible to pick another college until attending his first day of summer school. Thornton reported to Georgia for summer-session orientation last Monday, and then began classes on Friday, which made him a binding member of the UGA’s 2010 basketball recruiting classes, according …

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Home-schooled pitcher from Atlanta area intrigues scouts for Monday’s MLB draft

Connor Mason has a different background than most pitching prospects for Monday’s major-league baseball draft.

Connor Mason (Photo by Cheryl Mason)

Connor Mason (Photo by Cheryl Mason)

Mason was home schooled from kindergarten until his recent graduation.

The Suwanee resident has signed a baseball scholarship with Rice. Mason, who has been clocked at 94 mph, was projected to be drafted within the top 10 rounds before a recent elbow injury.

“He was really looking forward to making a statement to the baseball scouts this spring, ” said his father, Mike Mason. “Maybe a team will still draft him. But if he ends up going to Rice, then that’s a great thing, too.”

How did Mason do it? How did he earn the Division I baseball scholarship and get looks from pro scouts while being a home schooled student? Mason got high visibility after playing for club teams during the summer and fall seasons the past three years. MLB’s scouting service called earlier this week to get an update on Mason.

“I definitely think he’s still …

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Georgia Tech accepts it may LOSE top FOOTBALL RECRUIT to the MLB Draft

Georgia Tech’s football staff has accepted that they may lose one of their prized recruits, Blessed Trinity safety Jake Skole, to Monday’s major-league baseball draft.

What advice would you give Jake Skole?

  • If the $$$ is right from MLB, take it and never look back
  • Play football and baseball at Georgia Tech

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Skole is one of the state’s hottest baseball prospects after seeing his stock soar over the past month. He is projected to be selected within the draft’s top five rounds.

Tech football assistant Buzz Preston contacted Skole and his family last week to discuss the issue.

“[Preston] was kind of laughing about it,” Skoke said. “He said, ‘We’re hearing a lot of good news about you in the newspapers. Too bad it’s not the sport we’re coaching you for.’

“I’m pretty close to most of the football coaches. We have a good enough relationship where I think they would understand if I signed a pro baseball …

Continue reading Georgia Tech accepts it may LOSE top FOOTBALL RECRUIT to the MLB Draft »

Cook High FLAMETHROWER Kaleb Cowart (97 mph) named as Gatorade NATIONAL player of year

Cook P-3B Kaleb Cowart, who is projected to be selected in the first round of Monday’s major-league baseball draft, was named as Gatorade’s National Baseball Player of the Year on Thursday afternoon.

GATORADE NATIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2Cowart was surprised by the news on Thursday by Delino DeShields, who played 13 years in the majors. He currently manages in the minors for the Cincinnati Reds. Ironically, DeShields’ son by the same name, Woodward Academy CF Delino DeShields (not Jr. because of different middle names) is competing with Cowart to be the first Georgia high school player drafted. Georgia Tech pitcher Deck McGuire is projected for the top 10 picks.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Cowart led Cook to the Class AA championship series, where it lost to Calhoun on Tuesday. Cowart finished his senior year with a 10-1 record and 1.05 ERA, while striking out 116 batters in 73 innings. He also batted ,654 with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs. Cowart, who has signed a baseball scholarship with Florida State, said he hopes to …

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The next Chipper Jones? Cook High pitcher throws 97 mph, but wants to play 3B

The No. 1 pitching prospect from a Georgia high school for the major-league baseball draft would prefer not to pitch in the pros.

What would you advise to Kaleb Cowart?

  • Take the $$$ at pitcher
  • Hold your ground at 3B, scare off other teams, get drafted by the BRAVES in the second round, and get paid first-round money
  • FSU baseball

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Cook High’s Kaleb Cowart, whose fastball has been clocked at 97 mph, is projected by several draft analysts to go as high as the first round Monday. In the college ranks, Georgia Tech pitcher Deck McGuire likely will be selected within the first 10 picks.

What’s the deal with Cowart, a rocket-armed right-hander? Why does he have low interest in a pitching career? The explanation is surprisingly simple — and refreshing.

“I want to play baseball every day,” Cowart said. “I’d much rather play in the field every day than pitch once every five days.

“I really enjoy baseball and have a …

Continue reading The next Chipper Jones? Cook High pitcher throws 97 mph, but wants to play 3B »

Georgia Southern had worries about ex-football recruit, Brookwood RB Julian Suber, BEFORE ARREST for armed robbery

Julian Suber's photo on Gwinnett County Sherriff's website

Julian Suber's photo on Gwinnett County Sherriff's website

Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken had major concerns about one of his top football recruits, Brookwood tailback Julian Suber, long before his recent arrest for armed robbery, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Monken confirmed to newspaper that Suber was released in late April from the Georgia Southern football letter-of-intent that he had signed last February. Last week, Suber was charged with armed robbery, felony weapons and marijuana possession from a alleged May 17 incident in Lawrenceveille.

“The deal we had [with Suber] was keep your nose clean, go to class, do everything your high school teachers tell you and show us you’ve matured,” Monken told the Morning News. Monken said Suber’s football scholarship was revoked on April 21.

“The opportunity to be on the football team is a privilege, not a right,” Monken told the newspaper’s Donald Health.

No. 20 helped lead Brookwood to an upset over McEachern in the playoff opener (AJC)

Suber (No. 20) helped lead Brookwood to an upset over McEachern …

Continue reading Georgia Southern had worries about ex-football recruit, Brookwood RB Julian Suber, BEFORE ARREST for armed robbery »

Woodward’s Delino DeShields could be first Georgia high schooler taken in MLB draft — $$$$$

Woodward Academy’s Delino DeShields will follow in the baseball footsteps of his famous father. But it was only after DeShields proved he could’ve taken another sports path, if he had wanted.

Which Georgia HS baseball player will be taken first in the MLB Draft?

  • Woodward Academy OF Delino DeShields
  • Cook pitcher Kaleb Cowart
  • Marietta OF Chevez Clarke
  • Other (see below)

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DeShields, the one-time college football prospect, and Cook pitcher Kaleb Cowart are candidates to be the first Georgia high schoolers selected in Monday’s major-league draft.

“I’ve heard rumors about where I might get drafted, but we’ll see what happens,” DeShields said. He said a “fair offer” with bonus money — and not where he is drafted — will be the determining factor on going pro or attending LSU on …

Continue reading Woodward’s Delino DeShields could be first Georgia high schooler taken in MLB draft — $$$$$ »

How did spring football go at Pace Academy? They didn’t have one

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

How did spring practice go at Pace Academy? It didn’t.

The Atlanta private school did not hold spring drills for football.

How important is spring football practice?

  • Very important
  • Overrated

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“The reality for us is that spring sports — even without playoffs — end only one week before AP Exams begin, so to ask our student-athletes to spend that time beginning another sport seems unrealistic to me,” Pace coach Matt Hall said. “With the entire summer to get players in the weightroom and to have the opportunity to work with specific athletes, I do not see the merit in a spring practice at this level.”

Pace, which has around 170 …

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