Archive for August, 2009

Personnel losses result in scholarship gains for Tech, Georgia

Hated to see where Georgia’s Bryce Ros had to give up football recently. The big tight end from Kennesaw, who’s the son of former Bulldog great Frank Ros, suffers from a chronic, degenerative condition in his right big toe. It developed from an injury he suffered in high school and simply got worse with each passing year.

Anyway, Ros is expected to receive a medical disqualification from the NCAA once all the proper paperwork is filed. A lot of people have asked so I figured I’d just make it clear right here: Yes, this opens up another scholarship for the Bulldogs next season.

As a medical DQ, Ros will be allowed to remain on scholarship but will not count against the NCAA-mandated limit of 85. So that gives Georgia one more scholly for the 2010 class and that’s good news since the Dogs are almost tapped out for 2010 here in August of 2009. They have 18 commitments so far and, even with this new development, they currently have room to sign no more than 22. Of course, these …

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Newberg now a grizzled vet in college football recruiting game

Jamie Newberg doesn’t look much different today than that fresh-faced kid that showed up in Atlanta nearly 20 years ago to embark on what turned out to be unlikely career in college football recruiting. But his youthful appearance belies the slings and arrows and pitfalls he has survived to reach the pinnacle of the business.

Today Newberg, 42, is a national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He laughs when recalling how it all began.

“Growing up in the Tampa-St. Pete area, I was always a huge Bucs’ fan,” said Newberg, a graduate of the University of South Florida. “In those days, all you had to look forward to was the draft. So that’s kind of how I got started, following and keeping up with all the players the Bucs might draft. I fell in love with it.”

Back home in St. Pete after college, Newberg said he was the typical 22-year-old. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said. “One of my friends in college had a job at SportsSouth. He said he could get me an internship …

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Union Grove’s Akins won’t stay under radar long

In this day and age of 24/7, 365-days-a-year college football recruiting coverage, it’s hard to run across much in the way of a “sleeper” prospect. But it appears that Union Grove might just have one.

Union Grove's Jordan Akins made his presence known with an impressive performance in a scrimmage against Vigor (Ala.) High this past Saturday. (Photo by Jeff Hurndon/www.jhurndon.com)

Union Grove's Jordan Akins made his presence known with an impressive performance in a scrimmage against Vigor (Ala.) High School this past Saturday. (Jeff Hurndon Photography/www.jhurndon.com)

Jordan Akins doesn’t have a profile on Rivals.com. He has one on Scout.com but there is no information beyond his [incorrect] height and weight, his high school and a reference that he is supposedly being pursued by Central Florida. But that low-key profile is likely to change after this past weekend.

Akins is a 6-foot-4, 192-pound wide receiver/defensive back who also plays some quarterback for the Union Grove Wolverines. He kind of got lost in the shuffle when he left Union Grove after his sophomore year to attend Strong Rock Christian Academy. He came back to Union Church for this, his …

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Georgia Tech gets football/baseball player in Jake Skole

UPDATED WITH NEW INFO AT 4 P.M. . . .

Jake Skole took a long, extensive look at scholarship opportunities outside his Metro Atlanta comfort zone. In the end, however, the lure of Georgia Tech proved just too powerful for the two-sport athlete out of Roswell’s Blessed Trinity High School. Skole committed on Monday to play baseball and football for the Yellow Jackets.

Jake Skole of Roswell's Blessed Trinity High School will play both football and baseball at Georgia Tech. His brother Matt is a sophomore third baseman for the Yellow Jackets. (AJC Photo by Phil Skinner)

“I had a lot of good options,” said Skole, who also considered Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State. “I just seemed like Georgia Tech was the place to be. They called and said they only had one scholarship left and they needed to know something so I decided to go ahead and do it.”

Jake’s brother Matt Skole is a sophomore third baseman for the Yellow Jackets. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder projects as a wide …

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Stephenson’s talent mostly home grown in DeKalb parks

Ron Gartrell has produced dozens of college prospects over the years. (ajc.com photo/Chip Towers)

Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell has produced dozens of college prospects over the years. (ajc.com photo/Chip Towers)

When Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell is informed by an assistant coach that a reporter is there to get a look at his team’s dozen-plus college prospects, he laughs and rolls his eyes.

“I’m going to have to fire that guy,” he says of assistant coach Corey Johnson. “He’s telling lies about us.”

He was joking, of course. But like any head coach, Gartrell is not about to brag on his kids in the dawn of a new season.

But like it or not, Stephenson’s mass production of college prospects is the real deal. And while this year’s numbers are extraordinarily high, it’s something the DeKalb County school in southeast Stone Mountain has been doing for years.

“The last time we had this kind of a group was probably the 2002 team, I think, when we had Reggie Ball and Kregg Lumpkin and T.J. [Gartrell] and Israel Root and all those guys,” Gartrell said. “That team ended up with 15 …

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Stephenson’s Thornton ‘holding out’ for teammates

These 14 Stephenson players have either accepted a scholarship offer or is actively being recruited. Photo by Chip Towers.

These Stephenson players have either accepted scholarship offers or are actively being recruited. Included are Tyrone Cornileus (34), Doral White (57), Martin Adebowale (6), Kenneth Ladler (1), Denzel Hartley (15), Raymond Sanders (25), Jabari Johnson (3), Nathan Benford (8), Chris Sharpe (2) and Ronnie Shields (18). Photo by Chip Towers.

Stephenson’s Michael Thornton, arguably the top uncommitted prospect in the state, heads into the season with a giant chip on his shoulder.

Thornton didn’t like the fact that he was left off the AJC’s Super 11 team.

“I feel like I’m the top defensive tackle in the state,” said the 6-foot-2, 280-pound senior, who holds scholarship offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama and at least two dozen other schools. “But that’s just my opinion; that’s coming from me. So it kind of ticks me off a little bit, yeah. I felt like I deserved to be in there. But it doesn’t mean that much to me. I’m still going to college somewhere. I just want to …

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Former Georgia signee Moody starts over at Kansas JUCO

Dexter Moody won’t be playing for Georgia this fall. But, as it turns out, he’s looking at only about a four-hour drive if he wants to catch the Bulldogs’ season opener at Oklahoma State in two weeks.

Dexter Moody (UGAAA)

I had received a number of inquiries lately as to the whereabouts of the Georgia linebacker signee from Emmanuel County Institute. Today I confirmed what Moody’s former high school teammate Washaun Ealey intimated to me a couple of weeks ago — Moody is at Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas.

This was not immediately apparent because Moody is not listed on the FSCC football roster. So I made a call to the small east Kansas JUCO and talked to head coach Jeff Sims, who confirmed Moody is there.

“He’s here and we’re redshirting him this year,” said Sims, explaining why Moody wasn’t listed on the roster. “He practices and participates just like everybody else and he’ll have a great future.”

As you’ll recall, Moody was a heralded member of the …

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Stephenson’s roster crowded with D-1 prospects

I’m heading over to Stone Mountain today to check out the bus load of college prospects that dot the roster at Stephenson High School.

According to assistant coach Corey Johnson, at least 16 Stephenson seniors are currently being recruited. At least 13 of those have garnered interest from what would be considered major Division I (or FBS) schools (SEC, ACC, Big East, Conference USA, etc.). And that doesn’t include some juniors and sophomores that are also getting looks.

Three of the Jaguars’ players have already committed to programs: LB Tyrone Cornileus (Miami), RB Raymond Sanders (Kentucky) and DB Kenneth Ladler (Vanderbilt). Another one, CB Chris Sharpe, appears on the verge of pledging to Louisville, though that’s just speculation at this point.

Of course, the one uncommitted Stephenson player everybody is interested in is defensive tackle Michael Thornton. The 6-foot-2, 280-pounder is being pursued by Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Alabama, among many others.

I’ll let …

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Some players helped themselves with performances at Dome

Greetings. I’m back from vacation. I’d like to say I was extremely refreshed but it wasn’t really that kind of vacation. It’s whatever you call a vacation that includes painting three different rooms in your house. But there was a little rest and relaxation sprinkled in and I’m glad to be back (and through painting).

But enough about me. Football started over the weekend! And not any of that exhibition stuff that doesn’t mean anything. Football with actual consequences commenced with the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome this past weekend. And there was some pretty good high school football played, by all accounts.

Like last year, Grayson's Ean Pemberton once again stood out with his play in the Corky Kell Classic. (AJC photo by Allen Sullivan)

Like last year, Grayson running back Ean Pemberton once again played big in the Corky Kell Classic. (AJC photo by Allen Sullivan)

I hope you saw where our Michael Carvell wrote about five players to keep an eye on at the CKC this past Saturday. To save you a click, his five were Grayson RB Ean Pemberton, Norcross OL Max Garcia, Norcross RB Delino DeShields, …

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Stephenson linebacker picks Miami over Georgia Tech

At times, it seems like Stephenson High School’s entire starting roster will sign college scholarships this year.

Linebacker Tyrone Cornelius was the latest member of the Jaguars to reveal his college decision, committing to Miami over Georgia Tech. He was also heavily considering South Carolina and Tennessee among 25 offers, according to assistant coach Corey Johnson.

“Tyrone is extremely athletic and fits in with the Miami’s linebacker tradition with being very fast and very physical,” said Johnson, who coaches Stephenson’s linebackers and special teams. “He’s probably the fastest linebacker in the country. He’s runs a legitimate 4.4 in the 40-yard dash … that’s flying.”

How did Miami edge out Georgia Tech? “He has been to Miami twice and really developed a good relationship with the coaches. He felt very comfortable with his decision,” Johnson said. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Cornelius had 117 tackles as a junior.

Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell has said as many as 12 of his …

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