Archive for September, 2009

Georgia focusing hard on 10 remaining 5-star prospects

Georgia has been at 18 commitments and holding for quite some time now and likely won’t have room to sign more than 22 or 23 players when National Signing Day rolls around in February. That has afforded the Bulldogs the luxury of being choosy with its remaining scholarships.

Consequently, Georgia has been able to focus the majority of their recruiting efforts on the pursuit of the best of the best among remaining uncommitted prospects across the country. Currently the Bulldogs are “in the mix” with 10 recruits that command a five-star ranking from Scout.com.

They are:

  • RB Marcus Lattimore, Duncan, S.C.
  • DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Plano, Texas
  • LB Jeff Luc, Port St. Lucie, Fla.
  • DE Ronald Powell, Moreno Valley, Calif.
  • LB Jordan Hicks, West Chester, Ohio
  • CB Lamarcus Joyner, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
  • WR Christian Green, Tampa, Fla.
  • DE Corey Lemonier, Hialeah, Fla.
  • WR Chris Dunkley, Pahokee, Fla.
  • DE Wayne Dorsey, Perkinson, Miss. (JUCO).

It’s conceivable that Georgia could get none of these …

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Visits: Stephenson’s Thornton gets look at Auburn, Georgia

Sometimes in our zest for all things recruiting we forget about the fact that not all these prospects have grown up following one college football program or another.

Stephenson’s Mike Thornton is just such a recruit. Arguably the best uncommitted prospect in the state and certainly in Atlanta, this 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle attended his first college football game EVER the weekend before last when he made an unofficial visit to Athens. This past weekend he attended his second one when he went to Auburn for the West Virginia game.

As you might imagine, Thornton is walking away wide-eyed and excited about the experience.

“It was great,” he said of his first trip to Athens. “It was something I never expected. I didn’t expect to be as big or as crowded or as loud as it was.”

Of Auburn, he said, “It was great, too. Of course there was a weather delay and a lot of rain. I think as far as playing and everything Auburn looks like they’re pretty set. They looked good. As …

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Big numbers not bringing big offers for Lassiter’s Hutson Mason

UPDATED WITH NEW INFORMATION 1:26 P.M. . . .Despite passing for 1,235 yards and 12 TD in four games -- including a record 449 yards this past Friday, Lassiter quarterback Hutson Mason still does not have a BCS scholarship offer. (AJC photo By Jason Getz)

Despite passing for 1,235 yards and 12 TD in four games — including a record 449 yards this past Friday — Lassiter quarterback Hutson Mason still does not have a BCS scholarship offer. (AJC photo By Jason Getz)

To date Hutson Mason’s recruitment has been mostly an under-the-radar proposition. But if he keeps putting up numbers  like he did this past weekend, he’s not going to be able to fly low much longer.

Mason, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound quarterback at Marietta’s Lassiter High School, set a Georgia Class AAAAA record this past Friday when he piled up 486 yards on 30-of-39 passing with four touchdowns in a 42-10 win over Campbell. He completed passes to nine different receivers,  had TD passes of 75 and 35 yards called back due to penalties and had two other potential TDs dropped in the end zone.

For the year Mason has completed 73 percent of his passes for 1,235 yards with 12 TDs and 3 INTs. Lassiter is 4-0 for the first time in 27 …

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Top performances from state’s blue-chip prospects

There’s a very good chance the state player of the year could come from Gainesville this season. Just which player is another question.

The Red Elephants, ranked No. 1 in Class AAA, feature a pair of AJC Super 11 selections in quarterback Blake Sims and wide receiver Tai-ler Jones. Both had them have lived up to those distinctions. Then there’s the matter of their lesser-known teammate Tyson Smith. As far as big plays per opportunity, his ratio is out of this world.

All their talents were on display this past Friday as Gainesville rolled to a 55-12 victory over North Hall.

>The quarterback Sims — an Alabama commitment — completed 14-of-21 passes for 275  yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another.

>The wide receiver Jones — a Stanford commitment — caught 10 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns and added a fourth TD on a 47-yard fumble return. A 58-yard punt return TD was called back for a penalty.

>Then there’s Smith, a running back that coach Bruce Miller likes …

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Prospects on Parade: Norcross-N. Gwinnett a talent showcase

It’s Friday afternoon and that means it’s almost time for “Friday Night Lights.”

There are a lot of good games are on tap tonight as far as getting a look at the best prospects in the city and state, none better than the North Gwinnett-Norcross game.

There will be a lot of attention on North Gwinnett’s JaWuan James since the big offensive tackle backed off his commitment to Alabama and reopened his recruitment last weekend. But the Bulldogs’ opponent has a few D-1 prospects of its own.

The Blue Devils’ high-powered offense is anchored by 6-foot-4, 265-pound tackle Max Garcia. Garcia has more than a dozen D-1 offers but appears to be garnering the most interest from and showing the most interest in Maryland, Clemson and Vanderbilt, according to coach Keith Maloof.

Another intriguing prospect for Norcross is tailback Delino DeShields Jr. DeShields, rushed for 803 yards on 83 carries for Woodward Academy last year before transferring to Norcross, has been somewhat held in …

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BYU commit Kori Gaines mans the back line for Grayson

Grayson’s Kori Gaines could not believe it when the ball came his way yet again.

He had already snatched away two interceptions from Dacula last Friday night and now here came yet another pass. This one was traveling the trajectory of a miniature rainbow. To Gaines that ball looked like a pot of gold.

“It was just this little blooper,” Gaines said. “All I had to do was step under it and catch it.”

He did, and Gaines’ third interception put the finishing touches on another dominating night for the Grayson defense. They cruised on to a 44-0 victory.

And so it has gone for Gaines this season. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound BYU commitment patrols the back line of a stifling defensive unit. He lives off the occasional scraps the Rams’ fierce front seven happens to let through and picks off the occasional errant aerial.

“I definitely credit our D-line and the linebackers [for the big night],” Gaines said. “It’s great to play behind them. They put massive amounts of pressure on quarterbacks …

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Georgia scouring the South for game-breaking tailbacks

With 18 commitments already on the books and as few as 21 scholarships possibly available, Georgia would appear to be fairly well set for the Class of 2010. But there’s at least one glaring omission on the Bulldogs’ shopping list so far.

A game-breaking tailback.

Georgia has just one commitment from a running back so far and that’s from Southwest DeKalb’s bruising Kendrun Malcome. The 6-foot, 215-pound Malcome is good back in his own right — he rates four stars from Scout.com, three from Rivals.com — and no doubt will make a good college player. But he’s more of a “downhill runner” than a “home-run hitter,” to use recruiting jargon, and he might even end up being a fullback when it’s all said and done.

There are three consensus 5-star tailbacks uncommitted at this point. While Georgia has an outside shot at one of them, Auburn appears to be trying to corner the market all of them.

The consensus top three backs in America: Lache Seastrunk of Temple, Texas, Marcus Lattimore of …

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Tennessee lands McEachern point guard Trae Golden

Tennessee just beat Georgia in basketball again.

This time it wasn’t on the court. This time it was in the living room of Class of 2010 recruit Trae Golden.

McEachern’s 6-foot-1, 170-pound point guard committed to Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl in person Wednesday night. He said he chose the Vols over the Bulldogs.

“It was between those two,” said Golden, who also considered Virginia. ” I just thought Tennessee would be the best fit for me. Bruce Pearl, my family loves him and I love him. There’s just a genuineness about him that I like.”

Golden said Pearl’s reaction to his commitment Wednesday was a chest bump.

“He almost knocked me down,” Golden said with a laugh.

Golden is the second Georgian Pearl has plucked from under the Bulldogs’ noses. He joins Atlanta Celtics teammate Jordan McRae, a 6-foot-5 wing that committed to the Vols last spring. McRae also was reportedly considering Georgia.

Scout.com ranks Golden a four-star recruit, the No. 19 guard in the country and the No. …

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Tech or Georgia: Who’s getting most impact from new players?

We’re not even a third of the way into the 2009 college football season but it is fairly apparent what new players are going to make the major contributions at Georgia and Georgia Tech. But who would you say will make the most significant impact of the first-year players at the local D-1 universities when it’s all said and done?

I’ll nominate a few players and let you guys tell me what you think. Feel free to add whomever you want.

GEORGIA TECH

  • RB Anthony Allen: The 6-foot, 231-pound junior transfer from Louisville has proven to be a big-play maker for the Yellow Jackets. Through two games he is averaging 18.5 yards per carry rushing, 25 yards per reception. He went 82 yards for a touchdown on his first carry against Clemson last Thursday. At 19.8  yards per touch, Tech might want to think about getting him more touches.
  • LB Julian Burnett: Tech’s version of Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran in that Burnett is not very tall (5-foot-10) but he’s compact (220 pounds) and quick. …

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Jack Nicklaus’ grandson is a major prospect with UGA ties

Jack Nicklaus, considered the greatest golfer in history, has 21 grandchildren. One of them, as it turns out, is a major college prospect in football. And Georgia may have an inside track in his recruitment.

Nick O’Leary is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound junior tight end at Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. His parents are both UGA alums and athletes. O’Leary’s mother, the former Nan Nicklaus, played volleyball at Georgia in the early 1980s, lettering in 1983. His father, Bill O’Leary, lettered in football at Georgia in 1984-85.

Nick  was the subject of a recent story written by Rivals.com (subscription required) high school writer Adam Gorney.

Bill O’Leary’s college career never really lifted off at Georgia, according to longtime UGA sports communications director Claude Felton. He remembers him as a nice young man, red-headed, somewhat  injury-prone and, of course, that “he dated Jack Nickaus’ daughter.”

Georgia records show that the elder O’Leary was a star running …

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