Archive for July, 2009

Kiffin, Tennessee are bringing their billboards to Atlanta

This image shall soon be staring down afternoon commuters traveling out of downtown North on I-85. Not that anybody will be able to look away long enough to read it.

This image shall soon be staring down afternoon commuters traveling out of downtown north on I-85 at Piedmont Road and I-285 West at Cobb Drive. Not sure about the dude on the left but we know the one on the right can play. (Courtesy of UT)

Many Atlantans laughed when they heard that new Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin planned to erect billboards touting the Vols’ greatness in Florida. But will they still be laughing when they find out he has a couple going up right here in our backyard?

Two 14-feet-by-48-feet digital billboards will be seen along downtown Atlanta interstates early next week, Tennessee officials confirmed. The advertisements feature an image of Kiffin on the left and star defensive back (and Atlanta native) Eric Berry on the right with the words “It’s Time” in big block letters in the middle. It also says “Tennessee Football 2009″ and gives the web address to buy tickets, UTTIX.com. The billboards will be posted on I-85 North at Piedmont Road and on Cobb Drive at …

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Columbia TE Sessions decides to play for FSU

Decatur’s Tank Sessions was already a college prospect before coach Mario Allen arrived at Columbia High. But his recruitment took a definite upturn after Allen showed up from Newnan.

That’s because Columbia had been mainly a Wing-T, double-tights offense before. As a result, Sessions stood out only on the defensive side of the ball, where he played defensive end.

But then Allen came in this past spring and installed a pro-style, spread offense with Sessions as the lone tight end. The rest, as they say, is history.

Wednesday night the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Sessions committed to Florida State as a tight end. He had camped with the Seminoles earlier this summer and really stood out at the position.

“He’s really come into his own,” Allen said of his new star pupil. “He just got better and better as a tight end in seven-on-seven this summer. Ole Miss and Ohio State came in to look at him as a defensive end but left saying ‘our guys are going to love him as a tight end.’”

Allen, as …

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Dogs’ 2010 class focuses on defensive line

I’m basically in the recruiting business now but I’m still not a big fan of ranking classes. Schools’ needs are simply too varied from year-to-year to compare side-by-side and, as we’ve all seen, the same teams tend to dominate the ratings anyway. So let’s go ahead and put Florida, Southern Cal, Texas, Alabama and LSU up top and be done with it, OK?

But seriously, recruiting is actually about addressing a team’s needs in a given year. So I decided to take a look at Georgia’s and Georgia Tech’s lists of commitments for the 2010 and try to discern how they’re doing so far. In the interest of time and space, I’ll just hit the Bulldogs’ defensive line in this blog and pop backand forth between the two teams and their positions over the next few days or so. (Programming note: I will be out Friday and the blog won’t resume until Monday).

A quick glance at Georgia’s list reveals the Bulldogs’ area of emphasis this year and that’s defensive linemen. Defensive ends in particular. …

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Tennessee’s Kiffin plans to put up billboards in Florida

After the furious run of the past couple of weeks, things are starting to quiet down and mellow out a little on the football recruiting front. At least in these parts it is. So this morning we turn our attentions outside the state’s borders and find out what’s going on elsewhere.

Of course, any time I do that I always look north first to see what’s happening with Tennessee and new coach Lane Kiffin. As usual, the Vols frenetic young coach does not disappoint.

John Adams of the Knoxville News-Sentinel tells us this week that Kiffin plans to erect billboards in Florida. That’s right, billboards.

Adams says that is part of Kiffin’s plan for an advertising campaign to market Vols to recruits. So don’t be surprised to see Kiffin’s mug staring down at a highway somewhere near Pahokee High in Florida saying “I want you to Volunteer!” Could Atlanta’s Downtown Connector be next?

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Nashville Tennessean columnist Joe Biddle also wrote this week that Kiffin …

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No backlash from Florida decision, MLK’s Brown says

Martin Luther King High’s Mack Brown said he hasn’t caught any flak from the locals despite his recent decision to sign with the Florida Gators.

“Oh, no, nobody has given me a hard time about it,” the No. 1 running back in Georgia said of choosing the Gators over the Bulldogs. “Everybody I’ve talked to has just told me congratulations.”

Obviously Brown doesn’t hang around on message boards . . . or recruiting blogs.

The truth is, Brown’s allegiance to Florida predates his intense two-year recruitment, according to his coach.

“All the way back when he first came to MLK Mack said he wanted to go to Florida,” MLK coach Corey Jarvis said. “I was surprised he didn’t commit to them when they first offered. The only thing that concerned him was the [Gators’] offense. Then he got real excited when Georgia started recruiting him because that’s Tailback U.”

It didn’t hurt that UGA’s campus is less than an hour away from his house. In the end, however, Florida convinced Brown in an …

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High school coaches say colleges offering too many prospects

Jackson coach Mike Parris is about as experienced with the recruiting game as any high school coach in the state. While at Forest Park High in the early ’90s, he got an up-close-and-personal look at the phenomena as schools clamored for the services of two of his players, first safety Corey Johnson and then a quarterback named Hines Ward.

Parris has seen a lot of changes since then, and a lot of them he doesn’t like. There’s one recent trend that really bugs him.

“Schools are offering way too many kids,” said Parris, whose latest recruit, Neiron Ball, committed to Florida earlier this week. “Some of them are worse than others, but they’re all doing it. None of them can sign more than 25 but I hear about some of them offering 40, 50, 100 players. Inevitably you’re going to have a lot of disappointed kids.”

Scout.com keeps track of such things and, according to its websites, Georgia offered more than 100 prospects for the 2010 class. Georgia Tech, which has only 12 open slots …

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Clemson lands former UGA target from Carver-Columbus

A Carver-Columbus player that was set to commit to Georgia two weekends ago has now settled on Clemson instead.

Defensive end Corey Crawford was set to commit to the Bulldogs before they withdrew a scholarship offer to teammate Devin Burns during the Dawg Night camp on July 18. That reversal resulted in Carver coach Dell McGee’s decision to ban UGA recruiters from the school.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Crawford, a three-star recruit, then visited Clemson and gave the Tigers a verbal commitment on Tuesday, clemson.scout.com is reporting. Crawford was Clemson’s 13th commitment and followed the lead of another Carver teammate — offensive lineman David Beasley (6-3, 294) — who gave the Tigers a pledge earlier in the day on Tuesday, according to the website.

That gives the Tigers three Georgia players in two days. Centennial cornerback Martin Jenkins committed Monday night. They have four Georgians committed overall including Woodstock-Etowah offensive lineman Reid Webster.

Georgia …

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WR Ambles tells Tennessee’s Kiffin he wants to be a Vol

McDonough’s Markeith Ambles, one of the best wide receivers in Georgia, made Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin a very happy man Tuesday morning. Ambles called to say he wanted to become a Volunteer.

“He was very ecstatic, excited,” said Ambles, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior at Henry County High. “He started yelling and screaming telling the rest of the coaches.”

Ambles couldn’t say whether any of the Tennessee coaches ripped off their shirts.  But they’re getting a good player indeed.

Ambles had 55 catches for 993 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior last season. Nobody could say for sure but Ambles’ coach estimates he had upward of 50 scholarship offers.

“He’s a jewel,” said Henry County coach Mike Rozier. “Very smooth, very fluid, a great quick step, great hands, very physical. He plays free safety for me and he’ll hit you.”

For Ambles, it’s a relief just to have the recruiting process behind him. It the end it came down to Tennessee and Florida, with Alabama, North Carolina and West …

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Centennial’s Jenkins accepts Clemson scholarship offer

Martin Jenkins said the Clemson Tigers had him at “we offer.”

Jenkins, the speedy cornerback from Roswell’s Centennial High School, officially accepted a scholarship offer from Clemson in a phone call to head coach Dabo Swinney Monday night. But he unofficially was a Tiger five minutes after he got the initial offer from defensive coordinator Kevin Steele last Thursday.

“I kind of made my decision right then,” Jenkins said. “Clemson has always been on top of my list. I’ve loved that school a long time. Now I’m a Tiger.”

Jenkins only recently started to draw interest from several other ACC and SEC schools. He was invited to and attended Florida’s Friday Night Lights elite camp this past weekend and received recent overtures from Ole Miss and North Carolina. His only other firm offers before that were from Syracuse, Toledo, Middle Tennessee and Western Carolina.

The only reason Jenkins didn’t accept Clemson’s offer earlier was Florida’s invitation to campus. When the Gators …

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Ball chooses Gators, Yankey heads west to Stanford

UPDATED WITH NEW INFO AT 8:32 P.M. EST

Jackson defensive end Neiron Ball confirmed Monday that has accepted a scholarship offer from Florida and Roswell-Centennial’s David Yankey committed to Stanford.

Ball, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound rising senior, chose the Gators over Auburn and Georgia. Neiron’s older brother Neland is a redshirt sophomore for the Bulldogs. In the end, that fact might have hurt Georgia more than it helped it.

“He was really skeptical about going to Georgia because he didn’t want to be known as Neland’s little brother,” Jackson coach Mike Parris said. “We talked about that a few times. But it basically came down to the kid really enjoyed Florida.”

Parris said Neiron had long been leaning toward the Gators, even recently buying one of their tags for the front of his car. Then he attended Florida’s Friday Night Lights camp this past Friday “and that was the icing on the cake.”

Said Neiron: “I just had a great time when I went down there. It just felt like home to …

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