Archive for June, 2009

Alpharetta’s Bennett commits to Dogs

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Considered by many to be one of the more underrated receivers available, Alpharetta High’s Michael Bennett is one thing today.

No longer available.

Bennett, a 6-foot-3, 186-pound rising senior, has committed to Georgia, choosing the Bulldogs instead of Syracuse and a bevy of Big Ten schools — Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana and Purdue — all of whom had offered him.

“Getting that first SEC offer, and it was right in town, I just loved the school and loved the coaches, it just felt right when I got the offer,” Bennett told the Athens Banner-Herald.

Bennett impressed Georgia’s coaches at a camp over the weekend.

“When it came time for the 1-on-1’s, I have to admit I was pretty much unstoppable out there,” he told ugasports.com.

Actually, Bennett made his decision at the camp, and confirmed it to ugasports.com on Monday night. The web site held off on publishing his commitment until today at Bennett’s request. Now that he plans to be a Bulldog, …

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Afterglow: Dogs bask in Benedict’s commitment

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

One “monster pickup” a week and Georgia could redefine the meaning of great recruiting class.

The Bulldogs, and especially assistant Stacy Searels, have reason to bask in the afterglow today after landing a commitment from Bolles School offensive tackle Brent Benedict of Jacksonville. They snatched him away from notable adversaries Florida, Alabama, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State and Clemson. Last week, Bulldogs fans rejoiced over beating the Gators to top receiver Da’Rick Rogers.

Here’s what the experts are saying about the Benedict coup:

“This is a monster pickup for Georgia,” said Jamie Newberg of Rivals. “To go down to the Sunshine State and pull one of the top linemen in the nation is huge. They beat Florida in their own backyard, USC and others. Benedict is an exceptional offensive line prospect that’s nasty, has great size, feet and athleticism. The Dawgs have really picked it up in Florida.”

According to Scout.com South …

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Miami offers Gainesville DB Carr

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Gainesville defensive back Daunte Carr participated in a one-day camp at Miami on Sunday. On Monday, the Hurricanes confirmed that they liked what they saw of him.

Secondary coach Wesley McGriff offered Carr, a 6-foot-1, 188-pound rising senior, a scholarship, with the idea that he would play weakside linebacker at Miami — a position that would make the most of his defensive back skills.

Miami has its work cut out, however. Carr named four favorites last week — two in California (UCLA and Stanford) and two in North Carolina (Wake Forest and N.C. State) — all of whom he said are “programs on the rise.”

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Tech could be more than halfway home

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

It’s about two-thirds of a year to National Signing Day 2010, but Georgia Tech could be more than halfway there. The Yellow Jackets’ three commitments over the weekend ran their total to seven, and recruiting coordinator Giff Smith has stated that they will sign between 12 and 15 players come next February. So the Jackets try to make the most of those they get.

Offensive linemen Morgan Bailey and Catlin Alford joined safety Isaiah Johnson as newly committed to Tech. Bailey is a 6-foot-4, 285-pounder from Loganville who is being offered by five SEC and four other ACC schools. Alford (6-4, 275), from Adairsville, has been offered by Navy, Ohio and Western Michigan. Johnson (6-2, 175), from Sandy Creek, has been offered by three SEC schools (including Georgia) and two ACC schools, also chose Tech.

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Tucker’s Vaughters hits Tobacco Road

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Tucker linebacker James Vaughters had what his father considered a productive trip to the Tobacco State this past weekend.

Vaughters, a member of the Class of 2011, visited Wake Forest and North Carolina, and in an e-mail his father said they are “strong competitors to UGA and others for James’ early interest.”

According to his father Jonathan’s e-mail, “Wake Forest was impressive because of their strong academic reputation, the intimacy of their campus due to their relatively small enrollment [4,000 students] and the recent success Aaron Curry had there [drafted 4th in this year's NFL draft]. For what its worth, they mentioned that James might have that level of talent. Their defensive coordinator recruiting James, Brad Lambert, was Aaron’s position coach.”

After meeting privately with North Carolina coach Butch Davis, Vaughters expects to receive a scholarship offer from the Tar Heels as soon as NCAA rules permit. The Vaughterses’ expectation …

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Georgia Tech reels in three more commits

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

In one weekend, Georgia Tech nearly doubled its number of committed players from the Class of 2010.

Georgia High School Football Daily reports that Loganville guard Morgan Bailey, Adairsville guard Catlin Alford and Sandy Creek safety Isaiah Johnson all made known their intentions to become Yellow Jackets, giving Tech seven commits.

All seven are in-state players — the others being Jefferson County quarterback Barry Bostic, Northview defensive tackle Denzel McCoy, Collins Hill running back Charles Perkins, and Thomasville safety Fred Holton.

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Parkview’s Jacobs clarifies: ‘Still committed to Auburn’

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Not so fast, says Parkview running back Brandon Jacobs.

Though he was quoted as saying he would sign with the Boston Red Sox, after being taken in the 10th round of the major league draft, Jacobs stressed moments ago that it’s hardly a done deal.

In a statement e-mailed to the AJC, lightly edited here, Jacobs had this to say:

I would like to make my status clear regarding my potential professional baseball career.

As of now, I am still committed to Auburn University until there is an agreement made with the Boston Red Sox.  As you know, all players must give a final number value before anything is done and then the organization needs to negotiate the numbers before signing. We are in the middle of negotiating with the Boston Red Sox at this time.

If we are [fortunate] to make an agreement with the Boston Red Sox, I will make my final decision at that point.

Brandon Jacobs

Reports indicated that he is expected to sign a deal between $500,000 …

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Douglass’ Smith likes USC’s ‘real cool dudes’

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Being recruited by USC has taught Douglass defensive tackle Garrison Smith a thing or two about life on the West Coast.

“I actually talk to two coaches, Coach T-Mac [Todd McNair] and Coach [Jethro] Franklin,” Smith told scout.com. “They are real cool dudes and are just real down to earth. They aren’t Hollywood type people like a lot of people like to stereotype those who live out in California.”

Smith, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound rising senior, hasn’t been to California — yet, anyway — but it’s in his plans.

“Oh, yeah, oh yeah, that’s a big trip and I gotta go see what it’s like in California,” he said. “I heard it never rains in southern California, just like the song says.”

With more than 50 schools offering him scholarships — Georgia and Georgia Tech long ago became part of that number, along with the who’s who of college football — Smith has his pick. But for now he lacks interest in anointing a favorite.

“I’m just looking at all the schools and …

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Centennial speedster Jenkins slows for offers

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Martin Jenkins may be one of the fastest recruits in the Class of 2010, but even he can’t outrun a groin pull. Maybe that’s how Middle Tennessee State caught up with him Thursday.

The 5-foot-9, 168-pound Centennial cornerback got his fourth scholarship offer from the Blue Raiders, joining Syracuse, Toledo and Western Carolina. He’s waiting to see if some of the ACC and SEC schools that have expressed serious interest in him — Florida, Wake Forest, Ole Miss and Duke — decide to follow up with a scholarship.

“I would really love that,” Jenkins told the AJC.

His father, Lee Jenkins, who played for Johnny Majors at Tennessee and for Bill Parcells with the New York Giants, would love that, too. Especially Tennessee.

“I don’t put any pressure on him, but I do wear orange around the house all the time,” the father said. “I bought him some orange underwear. Just a subtle hint. Florida is a cuss word around here, but when it comes to your kid getting in …

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Can Tide put it all behind them?

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Alabama coach Nick Saban said he’s glad the scandal that led to the school being placed on three years’ probation is over.

“First of all, I think the University of Alabama, Dr. (Robert) Witt, and Mal Moore did a great job of demonstrating institutional integrity in the way they handled this internally,” Saban told the Birmingham News. “I’m really happy for the players we have in the program that this won’t affect their future, nor will it affect the players we’re recruiting. We’re always happy to be moving on, and we’re looking forward to the future.

But Dothan Eagle columnist Ken Rogers isn’t sure the Tide can move on. An excerpt from his column follows:

Athletics director Mal Moore sounded the alarm — and practically begged for good behavior — in his brief comments about the sanctions.

“It is important that our fans and supporters understand this: the ruling does not hinder our efforts going forward in recruiting or in competition,” Moore …

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