Archive for September, 2009

McGowan latest N. Gwinnett player to catch recruiters’ eyes

One of the benefits of playing for a powerhouse football program with some major college prospects as teammates is it tends to get other good players noticed as well.

Brandon McGowan

Brandon McGowan

North Gwinnett linebacker Brandon McGowan is just such a player. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound junior is just starting to gain some of the recruiting attention previously directed at the Bulldogs’ big senior tackles, JaWuan James (undecided) and Austin Shepherd (Alabama), and junior quarterback sensation C.J. Uzomah.

“It HAS picked up,” McGowan told me when I visited the Suwanee school earlier this week. “It has actually improved quite a lot lately.”

McGowan said he’d gotten very little attention prior to this season. But starting late this summer, he has heard from Clemson, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Kentucky and Georgia, among several other smaller schools. He actually took a trip up to Wake Forest earlier this year.

Last weekend McGowan and Uzomah accompanied coach Bob Sphire on a …

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Christian Green’s father: ‘It’s serious’ with Georgia

OK, so now I’ve talked to Christian Green’s father, Hiram Green. He accompanied his five-star recruit son to Athens this past weekend for his official visit at Georgia.

I refuse to give up my pursuit of Christian, however. I’ve been trying to reach the 6-foot-2, 195-pound wide receiver prospect from Tampa since Sunday. Dad says he’s going to help me out with that. Says his son’s phone troubles are the reason for my struggles.

Christian Green is a quarterback at Tampa Catholic High but he's a 5-star prospect as a wide receiver.

Christian Green is a quarterback at Tampa Catholic High but he's a 5-star prospect as a wide receiver. (Photo by

“He’s having some problems with his phone,” Hiram Green says. “It keeps going in and out on him. At least he told ME his phone’s not working [laughs]. He wants me to get him a new one.”

Word is Christian is a very smart young man. Hmmm. Avoid calls and get a new phone out of the deal. Brilliant!

Anyway, for what it’s worth, I talked to Mr. Green about his impressions of their trip to Athens last weekend and Christian’s …

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Kareem Martin gets star treatment from Georgia Tech

Kareem Martin said his official visit to Georgia Tech this past weekend went flawlessly and elevated the Yellow Jackets significantly in his eyes. But not so much that he’d be willing to cancel other trips.

So it will likely be after the football season before Martin lets Tech know whether or not he’ll be playing on The Flats next fall. But in the meantime he definitely like what he saw.

“I had a great time,” said Martin, who is also considering North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. “It helped [Georgia Tech] a lot. I liked everything about it. But being an official visit, I need to take some official visits to other places so I can compare them fairly.”

Martin is a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end from Roanoke Rapids, N.C. He is pretty much the Jackets’ only remaining target for the 2010 recruiting class. Tech already has 12 commitments for its February signing class and, unless there is some sort of roster attrition between now and then, it won’t be able to …

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Union Grove’s Walls lands offer from Oklahoma, visits GT

For every recruit, there is always going to be a first offer. No matter what it’s going to be memorable if for nothing else than being the first one, which legitimizes you as a college prospect.

For Union Grove’s Avery Walls, that first one was quite a doosie.


Union Grove safety Avery Walls has burst onto the recruiting scene as a junior. He recently received his first scholarship offer — from Oklahoma. (Photo by Jeff Hurndon/

Walls, a 5-11, 185-pound junior defensive back, got his first official scholarship offer from Oklahoma this past week. Usually it’s a mid-major school from the MAC or possibly some ACC or SEC bottom dweller that pulls the trigger first. Not a BCS powerhouse such as the Sooners.

“At first I was just speechless,” Walls said Tuesday. “I couldn’t believe it. Then I just felt real blessed.”

Walls  is a solid college prospect for sure. But he hadn’t previously received the treatment of some of today’s superstar underclassmen. So the offer …

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Comments create controversy for Christian Green’s coach

It seems that my little report on five-star recruit Christian Green created a bit of controversy down in his hometown of Tampa.

If you recall, I wrote about this dynamic 6-2, 195-pound quarterback/wide receiver in advance of his trip to Athens this past weekend for an official visit to the University of Georgia. In that report I quoted Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez talking about all the connections that Green had with the Bulldogs, namely that his older cousin E.G. Green played wideout under coach Mark Richt while Richt was at Florida State and that Green was buddies with fellow Tampa natives Aaron Murray and Orson Charles, who played at rival Plant High and now play for Georgia.

Tampa Catholic coach Bob Henriquez made a quip about Murray helping recruit Green for the Bulldogs. “Yeah, Aaron Murray’s been working on him,” Henriquez said with a laugh. “Aaron tried to recruit him away from Tampa Catholic over to Plant when he was over there, too. So I guess he’s …

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Ex-Bama-commit James opens up about opening up recruitment

North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire pokes his head out of his fieldhouse office and let’s loose a yell that penetrates the cacophony of clings and clangs and shouts emanating from the weight room next door. “JaWuan, come here just a minute, would ya?” he barks. Seconds later, JaWuan James arrives obediently, his 6-foot-6, 305-pound frame filling seemingly every inch of the red-painted doorway. Informed a reporter is there to talk to him, James’ hulking shoulders slump ever so slightly in a subtle show of disappointment. But a slight grin, smiling eyes and a firm handshake soon erase any signs of reluctance. The elusive James — a four-star offensive tackle who committed to Alabama last May but abruptly reopened his recruitment two weeks ago — has done his level best to avoid any in-depth discussions about the when-what-why of that decision. But, realizing there’s no avoiding it this time, James chooses one of the two chairs in front of Sphire’s desk and swivels it around toward the …

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James says Bama still in it but Dogs and Vols look strong

Just came from a one-on-one interview with North Gwinnett offensive tackle JaWuan James.

I’m not going to get into everything we talked about just now. You can check that out tomorrow morning when I run our Q&A in full. But I’ll give you just a taste here now and just give you my firsthand impressions.

First of all, I must pay my compliments to JaWuan’s parents and to coach Bob Sphire. I found him to be a very polite and engaging young man and incredibly articulate for a high school senior. A lot of times when you interview these blue-chip prospects they have to talk to so many people they don’t feel like opening up or putting forth much thought or effort into their answers. Now JaWuan is definitely being very careful about what he says, especially when it comes to the touchy subject of his “decommitment” to Alabama. But he does so without shutting down altogether.

Secondly, just from our exchange and our brief time together I’d say this battle is going to come down between …

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Landers’ Lady Dogs land Washington D.C. point guard

Georgia women’s basketball coach Andy Landers received a huge verbal commitment over the weekend when Ronika Ransford, one of the top point guards in the country, told him she intends to sign with the Lady Bulldogs.

The 5-foot-6 senior at H.D. Woodson High in Washington D.C. chose the Bulldogs over Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Rutgers and Cal. She will sign a letter-of-intent during the early signing period, which begins the week of Nov. 11. Rated the No. 14 college prospect nationally, Ransford was scheduled to make official visits to Louisville and Cal in coming weeks but canceled after committing to Landers during a visit to Athens this past weekend.

“I felt as if Coach Landers could help me reach my full potential and saw it as great opportunity to become a better person on and off the court and mature as a young woman,” said Ransford, who averaged 17 points a game as a junior.

“She’ll have a major impact,” Woodson coach Frank Oliver said. “She’s a program changer.”

That’s …

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Recruiting news: James, Vaughters, Martin, Christian, Shaw

Recruiting activity has increased exponentially in the last couple of weeks. A lot of those early commitments from this past summer are starting to look shaky as teams are hitting prospects with their full-court press as they show up for unofficial and official visits.

I was out of town this weekend and unable to make calls Sunday night but will talk to a bunch of prospects this week. In the meantime, here’s some of the news that developed over the weekend:

  • I’m meeting with North Gwinnett OT JaWuan James in a prearranged interview this afternoon. James (6-6, 300) visited Georgia unofficially for the Arizona State game this past weekend and plans to go back for another unofficial as the Bulldogs play LSU this Saturday, according to both and Georgia hopes James will eventually come in for an official visit but he hasn’t decided on a date yet. He’s reportedly also considering Florida, which he visited last week, and Tennessee, and hasn’t eliminated the …

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N. Clayton’s Clarence Jackson drawing attention of Kiffin, Vols

North Clayton’s Clarence Jackson showed there’s more to him than just toss-sweep right this past weekend as he put the ball in the end zone three different ways in the Eagles’ 34-13 win over Mt. Zion-Jonesboro.

Jackson had his normal productive night running the football with 18 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown but he also had two receptions for 56 yards and a TD and scored on a 93-yard interception return.

To top it off, Jackson was crowned “Mr. Homecoming” at halftime.

Jackson’s exploits this season continue to draw the attention of recruiters, even though he has long been committed to Ole Miss.

“[Tennessee] Coach [Lane] Kiffin is on him hard,” North Clayton assistant coach Demarco Mitchell tells me.

Jackson was one of several committed prospects that had big nights this weekend. Some others were:

  • Jefferson County QB B.J. Bostic: The Georgia Tech commitment had 150- yards passing and 3 TDs and 100 yards rushing on 11 carries.
  • Collins Hill RB Charles Perkins: The …

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