GHSF Daily isn’t a recruiting newsletter and doesn’t evaluate high school talent for the next level, so it comes as a surprise sometimes who is heavily recruited and who isn’t.
Here are a few players we’ve wondered about, with updates. If you have info on other top players whose recruiting status confuses you, let us know.
*Ralph David Abernathy IV, Westminster: Abernathy is one of only four Georgia seniors to be named first-team all-state players by all three groups that award that honor: the coaches (GACA), the media (GSWA) and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (in conjunction with GHSF Daily). The others, if you’re wondering, are RB Isaiah Crowell, Carver (Columbus); QB Nick Marshall, Wilcox County; and RB Kyle Karempelis, Wesleyan. Abernathy rushed for 1,501 yards last season. He’s a big recruit but not a full-fledged blue-chipper despite huge total-yardage numbers (he’s a great receiver and return man). We’re told Abernathy has offers from Ole Miss, Cincinnati, Louisville and Air Force.
*LB Tanner Botts, Peachtree Ridge: Botts is a four-year starter for a top-flight Class AAAAA program and is his school’s all-time leading tackler. He made 15 tackles in the victory against McEachern last week. He’s 6 feet 2, 225 pounds. Yet he’s lacking offers, and he missed making the Gwinnett Daily Post’s preseason Super Six. His coach, Bill Ballard, thinks it’s just a matter of time before the offers come in for Botts and his twin, Tyler, a defensive lineman. “They’re getting mail from pretty much everybody in the country, just not a lot of offers yet,” Ballard said. “They’ll get offered later. There are a lot of people [schools] offering the same guys, and they can’t get them all.” And then they’ll turn to Botts, Ballard said.
*D.J. Rozier and Zack Walker, Johnson County: Folks around Johnson County are baffled by the lack of major interest in Walker, a first-team all-state wide receiver who had 72 receptions for 1,172 yards last season. He’s been to Georgia Tech and Middle Tennessee, and South Carolina apparently is his favorite, but his only firm offer apparently is Southeastern Louisiana. His hands are excellent, but coaches seem to think he’s a step slow. Walker’s teammate, quarterback D.J. Rozier, also has an offer from USL. Rozier’s issue is his height (5-7). He threw for 1,753 yards (19 TDs) and rushed for 919 (17 TDs).
*Merritt Hall and Kyle Karempelis, Wesleyan: Hall and Karempelis have been named Class A offensive or defensive players of the year in Class A, an unusual feat for underclassmen. Now they’re seniors, and teammate David Andrews, a lineman, is the top recruit. He’s committed to Georgia. Wesleyan coach Franklin Pridgen said Hall and Karempelis have made the rounds in camps and combines this summer. Look for Karempelis (who has rushed for some 3,500 yards and scored 51 TDs in his career) to get a preferred walk-on offer at a top program, while Hall is being courted strongly by top FCS schools (formerly Division I-AA) in the South.
*RB Montravious “Whistle” Gladdin, Washington County: Gladdin rushed for 1,750 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. He’s the guy that makes the headlines at Washington County, but two others made our preseason all-state team (TE Jrametries Kirksay and OL Chartavious Danzy). Georgia Tech really likes Danzy, but he’s only 6-1, 262 pounds, hardly ideal in the ACC, and an offer has yet to be made. Coach Joel Ingram said of Kirksay, “He is a helluva player, the most dominating player on the field at times.” Of Gladdin, he said: “A great running back, just very small.” He noted that Gladdin had more than 200 yards against Troup twice last season and 285 yard with five TDs against Burke County.
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