Archive for August, 2009

Georgia State prepares to welcome its first football recruits

UPDATED WITH NEW INFORMATION, 4:45 P.M. . . .

Mark Hogan will finally get some teammates.

Hogan, a 5-11, 190-pound running back/wide receiver out of Matthews, N.C., has been Georgia State’s lone football player for the past year. But he’ll be joined by 27 signees and 42 walkons as the Panthers welcome their first full crop of players to campus on Tuesday. The team will commence with its first practice three days later at Martin Luther King Middle School. Still in start-up mode, Georgia State won’t start competing until the fall of 2010.

“It really is fun now,” head coach Bill Curry said. “It’s definitely real. We’ve got some real players coming in, a lot of good walkons, some of whom we were surprised to get. But it got real for me when the students voted an $85 a person athletic fee. This is something they wanted, and now they’re going to get it.”

The lure of playing for Curry and having a chance to be part of something new appears to have drawn some talent that exceeds the …

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Georgia Tech gets high marks for 2010 class so far

Continuing with my breakdowns of the local recruiting classes, today we’ll be focusing on Georgia Tech’s class of 2010.

Tech is not going light up any of the national recruiting rankings chiefly because this will be such a small class. The Jackets currently have 13 scholarships to give. That’s up from 12 due to the recent departure from the team of defensive back Kamaron Riley. Most of Tech’s work is done as, with the commitment of defensive end Anthony Williams on Monday, it  already has 10 commitments.

There are two main areas of focus in the 2010 class: defensive line and defensive backfield. And Tech appears to have made some serious hay in both areas.

The Jackets’ recruiting in the secondary has been particularly impressive. They have four commitments, two cornerbacks and two safeties. Ryan Ayers (5-10, 175, South Paulding High) is a 4-star recruit and is generally considered the top cornerback in the state. B.J Bostic, a 5-10, 161-pound quarterback at Jefferson County, …

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Few Georgia ’stars’ in newly revamped ESPNU 150 rankings

You’ll recall that we discussed the yesterday the much-maligned system of rating recruits with star rankings. Quite unscientifically, I listed the preseason All-ACC teams and All-SEC teams and pulled their corresponding star rankings from Rivals.com. The predictable outcome was that the teams weren’t made up of only 4- and 5-star players. In fact, there were more 3-stars (19) than any other ranking and more 2-stars certainly than I expected (five).

In any case, I found it interesting that just today, ESPN, the latest and certainly most formidable player in the recruiting game, has now adopted the star system for rating recruits. Previously it used the numerical grading system similar to the one favored by NFL scouts to rate players. ESPN, which co-ops with Scouts Inc. on its recruiting coverage, will continue to use the numerical ratings but will also include the more widely accepted and understood star system in its ESPNU 150 recruiting rankingsas well.

“The star system is …

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Some of state’s top prospects fall short of Top 5 rankings

It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to have a look around and see who’s reporting what where in regards to recruiting.

Let’s start here in our fair state, where esteemed colleagues Todd Holcomb and Chip Saye are making their e-mailed newsletter, Georgia High School Football Daily, an anticipated part of my morning ritual. These two covered preps for years and years for the AJC, so they really know their stuff when it comes to high school football in the state.

Anyway, I found it quite interesting that, in their last two editions in which they ranked the state’s top five running backs and wide receivers, respectively, some of the better known — and highly ranked — recruits were not included.

GHSF Daily addresses this with qualifying remarks immediately above the rankings: “In making these choices we value a history of production over potential.”

Its top five for running backs (listed apphabetically): MLK’s Mack Brown (Florida), North Clayton’s Clarence Jackson (Ole Miss) …

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Jersey numbers an important part of recruiting ritual

Orson Charles and his coveted No. 7 jersey stand out next to fellow tight ends Bruce Figgins (89) and Bryce Ros (84). (Photo by amatuer photographer Chip Towers).

Orson Charles and his coveted No. 7 jersey stand out next to fellow tight ends Bruce Figgins (89) and Bryce Ros (84). (Photo by amatuer photographer Chip Towers).

One of the most enjoyable traditions of college football is the annual reshuffle-and-grab of jersey numbers initiated by the influx of new freshmen.

As has been well chronicled, the availability of the No. 1 was very important to Georgia signee Branden Smith, considered the top defensive back in the state last year. So was getting the No. 7 for tight end Orson Charles. Charles, of course, could not be assured of his number until Matthew Stafford announced his intention to enter the NFL draft this past January. Smith was assured the No. 1 in recruiting due to Mohamed Massaquoi’s impending graduation. But oftentimes a number could be promised to a letterman who was unable to get it when he first came in.

Alas, both players got what they wanted, as evidenced during Tuesday’s first practice with the Bulldogs. How …

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Dogs plan to play every freshman who’s not a lineman or QB

Marlon Brown, Brandon Bogotay, Orson Charles, Washaun Ealey, Mike Gilliard, Jordan Love, Arthur Lynch, Branden Smith, Chase Vasser, Shawn Williams and Rontavious Wooten.

Those are the true freshmen that Georgia coach Mark Richt said are likely to play for the Bulldogs this season. That’s 11 in all.

Richt did not mention them all by name. But they are all included within the parameters of what is for him a new philosophy regarding true freshmen — to play any and all “skill players” in their first season. In the past he was more inclined to redshirt as many freshmen as possible regardless of position (see Knowshon Moreno).

“What I mean by skill positions is corners, safeties, linebackers, running backs, receivers, tight ends,” Richt explained during his preseason news conference Tuesday. He said he told his staff: “‘let’s start this camp thinking in terms of everybody is available.’ Every true freshman is available in those categories. I didn’t say quarterback, because those …

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Richt: Kwame Geathers ‘jumping through hoops just fine’

I promise this is not going to be a daily update but Kwame Geathers still has not arrived at the University of Georgia.

I report that because I just walked out of coach Mark Richt’s preseason news conference and that was one of the first items he addressed in his opening remarks. The Bulldogs begin summer camp with a practice later this afternoon and a rather ominous opener against Oklahoma State awaits in 32 days. Geathers, even if he was already on campus, probably won’t participate in that contest. But, for now at least, his absence is at the forefront.

So here’s what Richt had to say on the matter:

“Kwame’s still not here yet. He’s still going through the NCAA review. He’s still jumping through hoops. Every hoop he’s had to jump through he’s jumped through fine so far. It’s hard to say how long it will take.”

Of course, there was a follow-up question. “Exactly what is the NCAA reviewing?,” somebody asked.

“It’s an academic review,” Richt answered. “The courses he’s taken …

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Recruiting rankings no predictor of success in ACC, SEC

I love recruiting rankings. I find them particularly interesting because they are absolutely necessary in the world of quantification that we live in but they are also absolutely impossible to quantify.

Who’s really to say that a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle in Dallas should be rated higher than a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle in Fort Mill, S.C.? Yet the recruiting sites that college football fans love to frequent do it every day.

So on the occasion of college football preseason camps opening this week — and high schools, for that matter — I decided to break down the recently-released All-ACC and All-SEC preseason teams based on the players’ recruiting rankings coming out of high school. In the interest of time and simplicity, I went only by how many stars they earned and relied only on the rankings of Rivals.com rather than Scout.com or ESPN. You’ll find the charts listing the preseason selections followed by their star rankings at the bottom of this blog. …

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Kwame Geathers a no-show among reporting Bulldogs

As speculated here earlier today, Kwame Geathers did not show up with the rest of the Georgia Bulldogs’ freshmen tonight.

UGA sent out a release at 8:30 p.m. stating simply that the big defensive tackle from Carvers Bay High in South Carolina was not among the 104 players that reported as scheduled for camp Monday night. NCAA rules permit 105 in camp so clearly the Bulldogs were hopeful.

Regarding Geathers specifically, the statement said: “Bulldog freshman signee Kwame Geathers of Georgetown, S.C., is slated to report once he receives clearance from the NCAA Clearinghouse, according to Georgia coach Mark Richt.”

Said Richt:  “We’re ready to start camp and begin the next phase of preparation for another season. It’s good to see everybody together again.”

Behind the scenes everybody at Georgia still seems fairly confident the 6-foot-6, 320-pound brother of former Bulldogs Robert Geathers Jr. and current South Carolina Gamecock Clifton Geathers will show up by the time classes …

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Yellow Jackets get Union Grove defensive end Williams

Union Grove defensive end Anthony Williams was so exhausted at the end of the day Monday he didn’t even want to talk. So his coach, Steven Collins, did his talking for him.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Williams, a 4-star recruit according to Rivals.com and a 3-star according to Scout.com, called Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson around 8 p.m. Monday night and gave him the good news.

Trouble was, that came at the end of a long day for Williams, including his first full day of school at Union Grove High followed by a grueling practice in Monday’s stifling heat.

“Tomorrow,” Williams texted in reply to an interview request. “Right now just [too] tired to do any interviews.”

Collins filled in the blanks.

“Georgia Tech was his favorite to begin with,” said Collins, who also saw former players Kyle Jackson and Steven Sylvester land with the Jackets. “He’s always liked it there and knows a lot of the players and coaches there. But he wanted to do it the right way and give all the offers he …

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