Archive for October, 2009

Tech coaches hand-deliver offer to Pope’s O’Reilly

Pope offensive lineman Thomas O’Reilly received an official scholarship offer from Georgia Tech on Friday. And the Yellow Jackets made quite a splash in doing so.

Tech didn’t simply mail O’Reilly an offer letter. It was hand-delivered by assistant coaches Brian Bohannon and Todd Spencer.

“They came in and gave me a letter which I then gave to Thomas O’Reilly offering him a scholarship,” Pope coach Matt Kemper said. “They hand-delivered it but they followed all the channels and did the right things.”

It was just the first of what promises to be dozens of offers for this 2011 prospect. The 6-foot-3, 313-pound O’Reilly also is being recruited by Georgia, Alabama and Vanderbilt, among others.

“Thomas is a heck of a player and a good kid and he’s going to have decisions to make,” Kemper said. “I’m sure this is the first of a lot of offers. Everybody in the country will probably end up offering this kid.”

You’d have to say the Yellow Jackets have the inside track.

“He’s been going …

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Two more Stephenson players heading to the SEC

Two more Stephenson players are heading to Kentucky.

Linebacker Jabari Johnson and tight end Ronnie Shields each committed to the Wildcats on Friday. They join teammate Raymond Sanders, a running back who has been pledged to Kentucky since this summer.

Johnson and Shields are the fourth and fifth seniors to lock down major college scholarship offers this fall. Linebacker Tyrone Cornileus is committed to Miami and defensive back Kenneth Ladler is committed to Vanderbilt. Senior Mike Thornton is considered the top uncommitted defensive lineman in the state. He’s considering Georgia, Auburn and Penn State.

Johnson and Shields may not be the last Jaguars heading to Kentucky. Cornerback Chris Sharpe has long help a scholarship offer from Louisville but is also drawing interest from the Wildcats. Joker Phillips, Kentucky’s designated head-coach-in-waiting, is recruiting the area for the school.

Shields, a 6-foot-5, 215-pounder who also lines up outside at wide receiver, is probably …

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UGA 5-star commit Da’Rick Rogers not swayed by UT

About the time Da’Rick Rogers got a coveted fifth star added to his recruiting ranking, the Calhoun wide receiver and University of Georgia commitment also got an impromptu visit from Tennessee.

Ed Orgeron, Lane Kiffin’s right-hand man in recruiting, dropped in at Calhoun High to try to get a foot in the door of Rogers’ recruitment.

“Yeah, Coach O came by a couple of weeks ago,” Calhoun coach Hal Lamb said. “He kind of  ‘bumped into’ Da’Rick like they all do. But that was the extent of it.”

Rogers was not particularly impressed.

“He’s a Georgia Bulldog,” Lamb said. “He’s solid.”

Rogers, a 6-foot-3, 207-pound senior, has been committed to Georgia since early June. And it’s going to be hard to pry Rogers away from the Bulldogs.

Lamb’s father, Ray Lamb, has been Georgia’s coordinator of high school relations since 1993. Not surprisingly, Rogers has been a regular at the Bulldogs’ football camps ever since he came under the tutelage of Hal Lamb at Calhoun.

It has been a …

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Georgia gets first basketball commitment for 2010

First-year Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox received his first verbal commitment for the 2009-10 recruiting class on Thursday.

Cady Lalanne, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Orlando, gave the Bulldogs the news Thursday morning.

“I’d been thinking about it for a while so I was ready to do it,” said Lalanne, who visited the UGA campus Sept. 12-13. “I met Coach Fox this summer and he called me on the first day [of the contact period]. I looked at Coach Fox’s background and saw he had a good history of  developing big guys like me. It’s a great school and it’s close to home so I didn’t see any reason to wait.”

Lalanne is considered a three-star recruit and is ranked No. 142 on the Rivals150. He said he chose the Bulldogs over Ole Miss, VCU and UMass. He will sign a scholarship with the Bulldogs on the first day of the early signing period, which is Nov. 11.

Derek Heard, Lalanne’s coach at Oak Ridge High and for the Florida Rams AAU team, said Lalanne is a classic late …

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Georgia-Florida rivalry intensifies on recruiting trail

Georgia coach Mark Richt and Florida coach Urban Meyer have been asked a lot about the impact of this week’s game on recruiting. I, for one, am not sure the outcome has much of a bearing on that.

How else can you explain Georgia’s recent success in the Sunshine State? The Bulldogs have infamously lost 16 of the last 19 in the series with Florida, including 49-10 last year. Yet they were able to pluck a pair of five-star recruits (according to Scout.com) in quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles and a four-star recruit in wide receiver Rantavious Wooten, right out from under the Gators’ noses.  Florida offered each of them, so it’s not like they were simply unwanted by the defending national champions.

Same thing this year. Georgia currently has commitments from seven players out of Florida:  OT Brent Benedict, Jacksonville; LB Demetre Baker, Orange Park; DE B.J. Butler, Kissimmee; DB Marc Deas, Kissimmee; DB Derek Owens, Jacksonville; DB Nickell Robey, …

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Lady Dogs rolling with addition of Douglass’ Miller

Lost in the all of college football recruiting talk of the past week is the fact that coach Andy Landers’ Lady Dogs’ basketball program at Georgia is having a big year on the recruiting trail.

This past week Landers got a major commitment from shooting guard Khaalidah Miller of Douglass High School. This wasimportant for a couple of reasons. Number one, Miller is a superb basketball player, the 10th-best at her position in America and 33rd-ranked player overall. Secondly, it’s somewhat historic from the standpoint of the Lady Bulldogs haven’t traditionally recruited well in and around downtown Atlanta.

Miller will be a four-year starter for the Astros this fall. As a junior last season she averaged 21.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 3.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. She was named Class AAAA first-team All-State.

At least one outlet is very impressed with what Georgia is doing. AllStarGirlsReport.net ranked the Lady Bulldogs’ class No. 8 in the nation so far.

You have to …

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No Herschel Walkers on the horizon in recruiting

They just don't make 'em like Herschel Walker anymore. (AJC photo)

They just don't make 'em like Herschel Walker anymore. (AJC photo)

Much has been made this week about the fact that the next touchdown scored by Florida’s Tim Tebow will break Herschel Walker’s SEC career record for rushing touchdowns (49). Well, officially anyway.

But this is not another who’s-the-greatest-college-player-Tebow-or-Walker debate. There will be enough scribes weighing in on that this week as it is. And they’re both once-in-a-lifetime players, in my opinion.

What it got me thinking about is the type of tailback that Walker was. He was big — 6-foot-2, 222 pounds — and fast — with a 10.23-second, 100-meter dash still sitting fifth in the UGA track record book. He could run through you, jump over you or run by you. An athletic freak really.

There have been others of Herschel’s ilk, of course. Auburn’s Bo Jackson (6-1, 225) is the first who comes to everyone’s mind, though his college numbers pale in comparison. And of course Earl Campbell of Texas was big and strong …

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UCF lands South Georgia TE, and other news and links

Justin Tukes, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end and defensive end at Worth County High School, has committed to UCF.

Tukes had offers from UAB and Georgia State. Coach Scotty Ward thinks BCS schools’ missed on him.

“He’s kind of under the radar, I’d guess you’d say,” Ward said. “I mean, we had a lot of big schools through here in the spring and he went to some camps, so they know about him. I just think Central Florida got one heck of a player.”

Ward also thinks some major schools have overlooked offensive and defensive lineman Sherrod Loud. Loud committed to Georgia State earlier this year.

“Sherrod is the best defensive lineman I’ve ever coached,” he said of the 6-foot-1, 285-pound senior. Ward said more schools are “getting in the mix” with Loud, including Western Michigan and UAB.

Now, for your reading pressure, some of our weekly links:

  • Here’s some good recruiting news for Georgia, which has seemed to have gotten only bad news lately: Remember five-star wide receiver …

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FSU, Georgia now coming after Sandy Creek’s Neal

Rajion Neal has rushed for 1,055 yards and scored 22 TDs for Sandy Creek. (AJC photo)

Rajion Neal has rushed for 1,055 yards and scored 22 TDs for Sandy Creek. (AJC photo)

Mississippi State felt strong enough about Rajion Neal to offer him a scholarship this past summer. Now he’s starting to draw the attention of Florida State and Georgia and the Maroon Dogs may have to fight to keep him.

Neal committed to coach Dan Mullen back in mid-August. But as the 5-foot-11, 200-pound tailback has continued to pile up numbers this season, more interest has come his way. The latest and most intense wave has come from the Seminoles.

“They sure have,” Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker said when asked if FSU had come after Neal hard. “They came last Friday and got some tape and talked to Rajion a little bit. On Sunday they offered him a scholarship. He was pretty grateful for the offer. That’s a prestigious program. Of course, they’ve got some young backs down there and there’s the coaching situation. So he’s just going to sit back and weigh his options and take his time.”

Walker …

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UGA 5-star commitment Garrison Smith talks Bama visit

The text messages started hitting Garrison Smith’s phone while he was still in Tuscaloosa on the Alabama campus.

“Are you really at Alabama?” he was asked. “Are you there on a visit?”

The answers were “yes” and “yes.” But the five-star defensive tackle from Douglass High, one of the prize commitments in Georgia’s 2010 class, assured one and all that the Bulldogs have nothing to worry about.

Smith went on to explain that while he did attend the Alabama-Tennessee game as a guest of the Crimson Tide, he was there mainly to support former Douglass teammate Jonathan Atchison, a freshman linebacker at Alabama.

I’ll let Smith explain:

“I was free this weekend,” he said. “I didn’t have a game on Saturday. So I had been talking to John and he’d been telling me to come down. He told me his family was coming down to see the game and spend a weekend with him and I should come. I told him it wasn’t problem, it was cool. So they told me I could ride with them and get away for the weekend. I …

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