Archive for May, 2009

Who benefits from early signing day?

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

ACC coaches, like most of their counterparts nationally, came out this week in favor an early signing day for college football. But who would it really benefit?

Those who spin it in the most favorable light say it would take pressure off players who have made commitments. If the early signing day is early enough — say, before their senior season begins — they might even be able to play their last year free from the hounding phone calls, the fan hype, etc., because they’d already be in a binding agreement.

That may be. Or, more likely, kids who otherwise would’ve had their senior seasons to make up their minds about where to go to college would be hounded to make that decision even earlier.

Let’s face it: The real benefit isn’t for the player; it’s for the schools that recruit them. Those who say an early signing day would simplify the final weeks of recruiting … simplify it for whom? Coaches who are of mature minds, established and financially …

Continue reading Who benefits from early signing day? »

Marist guard signs with Air Force women

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Marist basketball player Tésia Davis has signed on the line that is dotted. She will play at the Air Force Academy.

Davis, a 5-foot-7 guard, helped Marist to a 28-3 record this past season and the No. 6 final ranking in Class AAAA by averaging 9.1 points and 2.5 assists a game. According to Marist’s public relations manager, Leslie Dunn, Davis also is a two-year winner of the school’s Coaches’ Award, is a team captain for basketball and softball and is on the honor roll.

Continue reading Marist guard signs with Air Force women »

Kiffin responds, Pahokee principal gets backlash

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin insists he has apologized more than once to Pahokee principal Ariel Alejo, but hinted that his gestures weren’t being accepted because the principal is loyal to Florida.

“Yeah, I’ve reached out,” Kiffin told VolQuest.com. “Going way back and even last week. But that’s all I can do and that’s all I can control. Some people’s allegiances are to the college they graduated from.”

Alejo booted one of Tennessee’s assistants off campus in response to the comments that Kiffin made more than three months ago. In this space, we raised the question how effective such moves really are. Kiffin’s answer follows.

“We’ve not seen it affect recruiting at all there, not one bit,” the coach said. “So, we’ll continue to try to reach out to the people who are still upset there, as we have from the beginning. Just continue to compete to make sure everybody feels good about Tennessee football.”

The principal may be getting the approval of …

Continue reading Kiffin responds, Pahokee principal gets backlash »

Walton’s Burrows may be out, but he’s not down

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Walton defensive end Brandon Burrows likely will be out for the upcoming football season after suffering a torn ACL last week in practice. But new Walton coach Rocky Hidalgo is heartened by the responses of the schools that have offered Burrows scholarships.

“Most have called to reaffirm that they’re still interested in him,” Hidalgo said Wednesday, nearly a week after the injury. “I spoke to [Georgia coach] Mark Richt directly and to Alabama, Tennessee, Clemson and Oklahoma, who have all reaffirmed they’re still interested.”

Burrows, a 6-foot-4, 238-pound junior, has offers from those schools and Florida, Maryland, N.C. State, Purdue, among others. Hidalgo was impressed by the speed with which some schools responded to Burrows’ injury.

“Clemson, Coach Richt, Coach [Stacy] Searels [Georgia's offensive line coach], they called me about 8 the next morning to assure him that he still has an offer, as did Alabama and Oklahoma,” Hidalgo said. “They …

Continue reading Walton’s Burrows may be out, but he’s not down »

Spurrier, Kiffin rock different boats in same sea

By DARRYL MAXIE
dmaxie@ajc.com

The high school football coach flexes his muscles. The principal lays down the law. Guess who stands up and takes notice?

Steve Spurrier.

Lane Kiffin.

Recruiting fanatics everywhere.

Developments of the last four months have made coaches from Spurrier’s South Carolina staff persona non grata at Tucker High in DeKalb County, and representatives from Kiffin’s Tennessee staff likewise unwelcome at Pahokee High in Florida. The reasons why have been well chronicled, and speculation fills the cracks where one side or the other has failed — whether by NCAA rule or pure preference — to disclose the whole story.

Is it just a bunch of wrist-slapping grandstanding? Does it really do any good? Or is it potentially harmful, driving a needless wedge between a college that might offer a scholarship and an athlete who could use it?

For all the publicity that Pahokee principal Ariel Alejo got Tuesday by booting Tennessee assistant coach Eddie Gran off his campus, …

Continue reading Spurrier, Kiffin rock different boats in same sea »

Gators offer LaGrange QB

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

LaGrange quarterback Jamius Gunsby could one day follow in Tim Tebow’s footsteps. Florida offered him a scholarship on Tuesday, LaGrange coach Steve Pardue announced today.

Many recruiting services classify Gunsby, a 6-foot-4, 224-pound junior, as an athlete — and given that he also plays basketball and runs track, the title fits him better than many. On the football field, he’s considered a threat both with his arm and his legs. The Gators are one of six favorites he specified in March, when he told rivals.com, “My top six would be FSU, Florida, Oregon, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia.”

Continue reading Gators offer LaGrange QB »

Gators-Kiffin feud lingers at Pahokee

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Not everything is okey-dokey at Pahokee. Especially if you’re representing new Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin.

An assistant coach from Tennessee, who was visiting the high school in the Florida town on the edge of Lake Okeechobee, found the welcome mat officially rolled up.  Eddie Gran was shown the door after Pahokee High principal Ariel Alejo asked him to leave.

It’s just the latest chapter in the bizarre tale surrounding Pahokee receiver Nu’Keese Richardson, who signed with the Volunteers in February despite having been committed to Florida for months.

“I love the fact that Urban [Meyer, the Florida coach] had to cheat and still didn’t get him,” was part of Kiffin’s well-chronicled, incendiary remarks, which he intended for Vols fans only. Though Kiffin said he did not intend for them to become public — an iffy proposition for somebody in such a high-profile position, and particularly in the age of the Internet — he drew a reprimand …

Continue reading Gators-Kiffin feud lingers at Pahokee »

Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood getting popular

By DARRYL MAXIE
dmaxie@ajc.com

Westlake cornerback Darius Robinson seems to be gaining in popularity every day with college football recruiters.

Over the last week and a half, Robinson has received five scholarship offers from Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Purdue and West Virginia.

While Robinson, a 6-foot, 170-pound junior, told rivals.com that he had a slight preference for Miami, he added, “I will look into them — that’s for sure. They have shown interest in me and I will show it back.”

ALSO GETTING MORE LOVE
Interest in Alpharetta High receiver Michael Bennett seems to be picking up, and he’s planning to reciprocate during the summer when he makes his way to several camps. Georgia is among six that Bennett has specified — the others are Florida State, Michigan State, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. … Southwest DeKalb cornerback Jonathan Mincy has another scholarship offer to consider: Oklahoma. … Washington High receiver Antonio Goodwin, who began …

Continue reading Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood getting popular »

Mississippi forward chooses GSU, prep school

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Georgia State men’s basketball coach Rod Barnes is making his former state pay off.

The former Ole Miss coach is expected to sign Emery Kelly, a 6-foot-6 forward from Provine High in Jackson, Miss., though Todd Kelly of the Clarion-Ledger (no apparent relation) is reporting that the player likely will attend prep school first.

If so, Kelly would follow a similar path to Rashanti Harris, a 6-9, 240-pound center who spent this past year at North Carolina’s Patterson School in the hopes of meeting NCAA eligibility requirements. Harris signed with GSU last November and his coach, Chris Chaney, said “it’s going to be close” as to whether Harris will be ready in time to contribute to the Panthers in 2009-10.

Kelly averaged 16 points and six rebounds this past season, though Provine came one point shy of winning its third consecutive state championship.

Continue reading Mississippi forward chooses GSU, prep school »

WR prospect keeps Dogs on list, trims three

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Georgia remains in the running for wide receiver prospect Justin McCay of Shawnee Mission, Kan., and if the Bulldogs want to stay in the running, they’re going to have to step up their game.

McCay, who is No. 6 on The Sporting News’ top 100 prospect list, eliminated three schools over the weekend — UCLA, Nebraska and Oklahoma State — because “just didn’t feel like they fit me,” he told TSN. The Bulldogs reportedly have offered McCay, but he has not scheduled an official visit to Athens. Kansas State, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, however, are high on his list for visits. If the Dogs are serious about him, they’re going to have to close in on their target.

“That’s how I feel about it, that the schools I have the most tight relationships with are the ones I’ll look at the most,” McCay said.

Continue reading WR prospect keeps Dogs on list, trims three »