Archive for August, 2009

There are few vacations in college football recruiting

I’m going away for a while.

No, I haven’t been arrested. I just have to squeeze in another week of vacation before the football season gets under way. I know, poor me. So there won’t be any new recruiting blogs posted here this coming Monday through Friday. I will keep this one up and running, however, and will check in on it when I can. Please take the opportunity to let me know some of the recruiting storylines you’d like to see covered upon my return and be sure to include any recruiting scoop and rumor you might run across so I can follow up on it.

Like the temperatures outside, things are starting to heat up on the recruiting trail. Prospects are starting to finalize where they want to take their five recruiting visits during the upcoming football season, teams are fighting to keep their many early commitments loyal and evaluations are hot and heavy on the Class of 2011. I’ll jump into all of that and more upon my return.

Until then . . .

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Lifelong UGA fan likely to play for Oklahoma State against Bulldogs in opener

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Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has made the state of Georgia his No. 3 recruiting priority after Oklahoma and Texas. Gundy won a recruiting battle against Georgia for Walton fullback David Paulsen last February. Paulsen is expected to contribute to the Cowboys as a freshman (Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State athletics)

Oklahoma State freshman David Paulsen, a lifelong UGA fan who turned down a last-second opportunity to sign with the Bulldogs, is likely to see significant playing time against Georgia.

Georgia plays at Oklahoma State at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 in the season opener for both teams.

Paulsen, who starred at Marietta’s Walton High School, confirmed on Sunday that he is currently holding down a spot as a starter on Oklahoma State’s special teams. The Cowboys have big plans in the future at fullback for Paulsen, who has been practicing with the first- and second-team offense.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was thrilled to hold off the hard-charging Bulldogs to win a …

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SI.com’s ‘freshmen of impact’ doesn’t include any locals

I’ve been writing a lot lately about true freshmen that could have an impact at Tech and Georgia. We’ve talked about the UGA’s Orson Charles, Marlon Brown, Washaun Ealey, Arthur Lynch and Aaron Murray and Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, Izaan Cross, Jamea Thomas and Emmanuel Dieke.

And that’s just scratching the surface. Georgia coach Mark Richt vows to play every non-lineman/quarterback true freshman he can. Paul Johnson said of the Jackets’ new group: “There’s some really good athletes in that class and I’m excited about them as a whole. I think they’re going to do good.”

SI.com’s Andy Staples takes a look at true freshmen of impact across the country. It should be noted that he includes no one from Tech or Georgia. Of the 14 he listed, five play for SEC schools: Tennessee RB Bryce Brown, South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore, Alabama RB Trent Richardson, Florida WR Andre Debose and LSU QB Russell Sheppard. He has two players from the ACC: Florida State DT Jacobi McDaniel and Miami …

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Lars Tate ‘couldn’t be more proud’ of son Donavan

Only Herschel Walker scored more career TDs than Lars Tate, who had 36 from 1984-87. But today the former Georgia tailback is best known for being Donavan Tate's dad. (Courtesy of UGA)

Only Herschel Walker scored more career TDs than Lars Tate, who had 36 for Georgia from 1984-87. But today the former Bulldog is best known for being Donavan Tate's dad. (Courtesy of UGA)

If you’re not uber-agent Scott Boras or San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers, you’re not going to get Donavan Tate on the phone these days. Even though I share one of their last names (no relation), I’m neither guy, so attempts to reach the baseball/football phenom have been unsuccessful.

But I was able to reach somebody close to Donavan Tate. His father, Lars Tate, and I went to college together. Well, not exactly together. He was a star tailback for the Georgia Bulldogs and later played for the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Bucs. I was just a regular student living in a dorm who wrote an occasional story for The Red & Black student newspaper, at least one or two on Lars Tate.

So I’m pretty sure Lars was just being polite when he said, “Yeah, yeah, of course I remember you. Been a …

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Sandy Creek’s Neal soon to decide between three schools

Sandy Creek High's Rajion Neal has narrowed his choices to Kentuckly, Louisville and Mississippi State.

Rajion Neal is getting close to making a final decision on his college choice. But the Sandy Creek tailback is having a hard time pulling the trigger.

“I haven’t set a definite deadline,” Neal said Wednesday. “My parents are still up in the air and have some questions and we’re still doing some research. I planned to do it this weekend but now I’m not sure. I’d like to but I just don’t know.”

Neal’s problem is he has too many good options. He’s narrowed his decision down to (in no particular order) Kentucky, Louisville and Mississippi State. And all three want him badly.

What’s not to like? At 5-11, 190-pounds, Neal is a prototypical SEC tailback. He has legitimate SEC speed with a 4.4-second, 40-yard dash, according to Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker. Walker said Neal has “kind of flown below the radar” after an ankle injury limited his production to 800 yards rushing and 8 …

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Georgia freshman Lynch hopes to carry on TE tradition

Continuing my series of Q&As on notable incoming freshmen, today we turn our attention to Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch.

TE Arthur Lynch

Fellow freshman tight end Orson Charles got most of the buzz in the Bulldogs’ 2009 signing class but a lot of people don’t realize Lynch was actually ranked higher than Charles by Rivals.com. Rivals considered Lynch, of Dartmouth, Mass., the No. 2 tight end in the nation while it ranked Charles No. 7. Scout.com had Charles at No. 3 and Lynch at No. 5.

By any measure, the Bulldogs clearly got two very good tight end prospects to continue the program’s rich tradition at that position. That gives them six tight ends in camp, including returning lettermen Bruce Figgins, Aron White, Bryce Ros and Derek Rich. Figgins will miss the first six games of the season as part of a suspension for team rules violations. White is the No. 1 on the depth chart but sat out Georgia’s most recent scrimmage, so Lynch and Charles each got a lot of snaps. Lynch had …

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Tate returns home to Cartersville from UNC, mulls future

This is an update on the Donavan Tate post I put up earlier today. It appears imminent that the North Carolina football signee and San Diego Padres’ baseball draftee from Cartersville may be close to signing a baseball contract.

That’s just a guess because I’ve been unable to reach Tate. I received this e-mail earlier this evening from North Carolina spokesman Kevin Best, who I had called and e-mailed much earlier Wednesday about trying to get Donavan on the phone:

Donavan Tate, an incoming freshman from Cartersville, Ga., has left North Carolina’s football training camp to consider an offer to play baseball with the San Diego Padres.  Tate was the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft.  He arrived in Chapel Hill last Saturday and attended quarterback meetings and three days of practice before leaving Wednesday morning.

I can’t think of any other reason Tate would come back home unless he was going to the baseball money. We are, afterall, talking …

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Tech’s Stephen Hill making a strong impression on the field

Stephen Hill has proven to be quite a catch for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Stephen Hill has proven to be quite a catch for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

I was real excited about getting the chance to talk to Georgia Tech’s freshman wide receiver Stephen Hill yesterday. Apparently he was not equally excited to talk to me.

And that’s OK. Hill signed with the Yellow Jackets out of Lithonia’s Miller Grove High to catch footballs, make plays and block better than your average wideout. He’s not there because of his riveting interviews.

Reports on the football side of things in Tech’s camp have all been very positive regarding Hill. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound receiver has been hauling in everything thrown his way and is getting some intense instruction on the art of blocking, which is just as critical in the Yellow Jackets’ run-oriented spread option attack. Just from an aesthetic point of view Hill sure does look good lined up on the opposite side of the field from Demaryius Thomas (6-3, 229, Jr.).

Georgia Tech freshman Stephen Hill. (GTAA)

Georgia Tech freshman Stephen Hill. (GTAA)

Just to refresh …

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Cartersville’s Tate showed up at UNC, but for how long?

Cartersville's Donavan Tate and his agent Scott Boras have the San Diego Padres in an unenviable position. Tate reported to the Tar Heels' camp over the weekend. A No. 3 draft pick of the Padres, they have until Aug. 17 to meet their contract demands or reach an agreement. (AJC Photo)

Cartersville's Donavan Tate and his agent Scott Boras have the San Diego Padres in an unenviable position. He reported to the Tar Heels' camp over the weekend. The Padres, who drafted Tate No. 3, have until Monday to come to an agreement on a contract.

North Carolina quarterback Donavan Tate of Cartersville faces a fast-approaching deadline to make a decision whether to remain with the Tar Heels or sign with a professional baseball contract with the San Diego Padres, who bothered to select him third in last June’s Amateur Baseball Draft.

You’d think it’d be a no-brainer, what with that draft position drawing an expected signing bonus of $3 to $6 million. But Tate insists he’s serious about being a two-sport athlete for the Tar Heels and he bothered to show up for their preseason football camp, albeit it a little late.

And Tate’s agent is Scott Boras. So, of course, anything could happen.

Here’s a take on it from the pro baseball perspective. Three of Padres’ top four prospects …

Continue reading Cartersville’s Tate showed up at UNC, but for how long? »

Freshman DE Cross on track to see the field for Tech

When it comes to Georgia Tech’s true freshmen and who might play and who won’t, you won’t get a lot out of coach Paul Johnson.

“I think there’s going to be some guys that play. I don’t know how many yet but there’s definitely going to be some,” he says cryptically.

Asked if there were certain positions where that was more likely than others, he grins mischievously. “Just where they look like they’re better than the other guys,” Johnson says. “If they can help us in the two-deep they’re going to play. We’re not going to use them just to mop up but we’re going to have to have some play.”

Cross

Cross

Izaan Cross appears to be such a player. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end from Flowery Branch has been wowing coaches with his quickness and effort in the Yellow Jackets’ camp. Already he has gotten work with the No. 1 defense and he appears entrenched at No. 2 on the depth chart.

I sat down with Cross for a quick Q&A after Tuesday afternoon’s steaming hot practice — the second of the …

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