The next for football is not for another seven months but you’d think it was already February the way commitments have been pouring in this week.
Alabama, Georgia and Georgia Tech each collected commitments alone. The Bulldogs landed four-star defensive end T.J. Stripling of Southwest DeKalb; Georgia Tech got a pledge from Grayson, defensive tackle Shawn Green; and , the state’s top-rated tight end out of Columbus (Brookstone), announced that he’d be signing with Alabama.
Stripling was the third commitment in the four days for Georgia. He joined Douglass defensive lineman Garrison Smith, who had a commitment announcement party at a Midtown restaurant, and speedster Nickell (pronounced Nuh-KELL) Robey of Frostproof, Fla., who made his decision public .
Yet another commitment came down late Wednesday when Alpharetta quarterback Justin Burns went public with his decision to attend Delaware. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound signalcaller has a couple of notable teammates in wide receivers Michael Bennett, who is headed to UGA, and Brandon Terry, who is Wake Forest-bound.
All the early activity adds fuel to the argument of numerous college football coaches who would like to see an early signing period for football in July. To a man, all of the players who announced commitments this week said they were doing so in part because they wanted to get the decision – and the recruiting process – behind them so they could concentrate on getting ready for their senior seasons.
“I feel like I’m stress-free now,” said Smith, considered the No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com. “It’s all good pressure, no doubt. But now I’m hoping I can focus on the season and getting ready to play at the next level.”
Nice idea in theory, but not likely. Certainly in the case of national prospects such as Smith and Vogler, rarely does a commitment shut down the recruiting process altogether. As UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner quipped, “A commitment just lets the other guys know who they have to beat.”
Tech, Georgia filling up
If there was an early signing period, the Dogs and Jackets could pretty much rest on their laurels for the rest of their calendar years. Based on the number of scholarships they will have available for next season, ’s 2010 class is 75 percent complete (nine of 12) and Georgia’s is 85.7 percent complete (18 of 21).
Of course, the numbers game is fluid in college football. Early enrollment, medical disqualifications, academic and disciplinary casualties, transfers and retirements can all open up scholarships.
Carver-Columbus flap goes national
The big news this week was the decision by Carver-Columbus coach McGee to ban all Georgia coaches from his school’s campus because the Bulldogs mishandled a scholarship-withdrawal situation with quarterback Devin Burns.The story got a lot of media attention, drawing nearly 40,000 page views on ajc.com and getting a mention on ESPN’s national news.