I’m not Max Emfinger or Tom Lemming. I’m not Michael Carvell or Darryl Maxie. I am not the world’s greatest source on football recruiting. But I can, contrary to popular belief, read. And here’s what my reading of Brian McLaughlin’s exhaustively annotated list in Sporting News Today of the top 100 prospects for 2010 tells me:
Other schools are coming at Georgia hard — in Georgia!
On Page 2 it gets more intriguing, as we find that running back Mack Brown (ranked No. 32 overall) of Lithonia’s MLK has declared the hated Gators as his leader in the ol’ clubhouse, and also that receiver Markeith Ambles (No. 39) of Henry County is assessing West Coast schools as well as Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia.
From Page 3: Georgia is tracking running back Brannan Clay (No. 40) of San Diego and defensive linemen Jordan Allen (No. 43) of West Monroe, La. and Brandon Willis (No. 56) of Duncan, S.C. And also that Georgia would appear to lead on defensive lineman Garrison Smith (No. 53) of Douglass High.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
From Page 4: Georgia is pursuing receiver Ted Meline (No. 74) of Miami.
From Page 5: Receiver Tai-Ler Jones (No. 82) of Gainesville has already committed to Stanford, while Tennessee, Auburn and Alabama are chasing UGA target Garry Peters (No. 81), who’s a defensive back from Heritage High. And defensive lineman Denzel McCoy (No. 89) of Duluth is headed for Georgia Tech, which is fighting with Mississippi State for quarterback Barry Bostic (No. 98) of Jefferson County. And defensive back Alec Ogletree (No. 91) of Newnan wants to attend college along with his twin brother.
There was a time when the Bulldogs had essentially buttoned up the state borders, but now there’s the Urban Crier to the south and Li’l Kiffy to the north and Coach Satan and the limo kings to the west and Paul Johnson sitting tall at the Flats. So this could be a more difficult recruiting season than Georgia has known since Mark Richt arrived from Tallahassee.
Then again, it could just be business as usual. Rodney Garner isn’t known as The Closer for nothing.
Writing on SI.com, Peter King ranks the Falcons No. 11 among the NFL’s 32 teams. And if that doesn’t sound all that hot, consider: He puts Atlanta far above the other three clubs in the NFC South. He has Carolina No. 18, New Orleans No. 24 and Tampa Bay No. 26.
And you might recall Arizona coming within seconds of winning the Super Bowl four months ago. Pete has the Cardinals No. 12 — one spot behind the Birds.
Speaking of the Cardinals, Sporting News Today polled its NFL experts as to the identity of the league’s best receiver, and it will come as an utter shock to learn that Larry Fitzgerald is No. 1. Calvin Johnson (Tech guy) is 11th; Roddy White (Falcons guy) is 15th, and Hines Ward (Georgia guy and my down-the-street neighbor) is 19th.
Can’t believe I’m always linking to Sporting News Today, given that the publication’s editor-in-chief has never had a good idea in his life. (I’m kidding. Esteemed former colleague Jeff D’Alessio is the best in the business.) Anyway, here’s an interview Bill Eichenberger conducted with Chipper Jones, who likes the Braves’ chances even after their middling start.
Speaking of hockey: The Hamilton Spectator reported over the weekend that a local group was making a bid to buy the Thrashers and move them to Ontario. (Speaking to esteemed colleague Chris Vivlamore, general manager Don Waddell quickly refuted the report.) And that’s a good thing, isn’t it? The Thrashers staying?
Well, isn’t it?
From Bret LaGree on Hoopinion comes this factual nugget: “[Josh] Smith attempted 68 jump shots in 11 playoffs games. He made 15 of them.” (That’d be 22 percent, for those without a handy pocket calculator.)
From The Human Highlight Blog comes this sobering note: “If we are to believe … that the team learned many great things from the loss in last year’s Boston series, then we must hope that lessons will be taken from this [swept-by-Cleveland] experience as well. To continue to stick the franchise’s collective head in the sand will only bring these issues out again next year … No matter how much older this young core will get, the results, if unchecked, will remain the same.”
Here’s the famous YouTube video of Rodney Garner’s response to a question from esteemed colleague Chip Towers on Signing Day 2008.