Stephenson’s Sanders sticking with Kentucky commitment

I waited at the Stephenson buses for Raymond Sanders to exit the field of play at Hallford Stadium this past Friday night and it was a good long while before he finally emerged.

The postgame, as it turns out, was nearly as eventful as the in-game for the Jaguars’ star running back. All the attention in the pregame was on M.L King’s Mack Brown and Sanders’ Stephenson teammate Mike Thornton. But afterward it was all on Sanders after his spotlight-stealing, 135-yard rushing, two-touchdown performance on national television.

So I waited until Sanders completed interviews with ESPN’s Tom Luginbill, recruiting experts from all over and local scribes.

When he finally got to the bus, Sanders had a heavy, thick chain wrapped around his shoulders. His teammates had presented it to him after the game, a weekly ritual for the Jaguars handled by the players for the players. One half of the chain is painted blue, the other black with a huge silver link in the middle.

“The blue part represents offense, the black part defense and the middle means unity,” Sanders told me proudly. “It reminds us to stay together and have faith in each other no matter what.”

The chain also goes to the player teammates deem most worthy after a game. And this was the third time Sanders was leaving a field with it around his neck.

“I had to go out there and make a statement that I’m the best back in the state,” said Sanders, a longtime Kentucky commitment. “Coach was telling me all week, ‘you’re the best back in the state; go out there and show it on national TV. So I went out there and gave it my all. My offensive line did a great job, as well as the other backs. The defense played very well to get the ball back to us. It was an overall great game.”

The exposure for Sanders has excited the Big Blue Nation and rival recruiters as well. He talked to Tennessee recruiters in town last week and others since. But Sanders assured me he intends to stick to his Kentucky decision.

“Kentucky was on me early,” said Sanders, who leads DeKalb County with 14 touchdowns and is second to Southwest DeKalb’s ken Malcome in rushing with 116 yards per game. “I committed before the season started. I felt it was the right fit for me as far as academics, athletics, facilites, coaching staff. I just thought it was a perfcect fit. So I’m committed to Kentucky and I’m going to stay a Wildcat.”

Now for a few late-morning links:

  • Dacula’s Cameron Kenney, who chose Oklahoma over Georgia last January when he came out of Garden City (Kan.) Community College, is catching as much grief as he is footballs for the Sooners. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior wideout is having problems with drops, as are all of the Oklahoma receivers. They totalled double figures in last week’s loss to Texas.
  • Clemson commitment Corey Crawford, a defensive end from Carver-Columbus who once was in the mix with Georgia, sounds like he may be considering flipping to Florida State.  “I don’t know yet if I am going to de-commit,” Crawford, who attended the FSU-Georgia Tech game, told NoleDigest.com. ” I have a lot of thinking to do. I plan on visiting schools but I am not sure when or where I am going to visit yet.”
  • In case you missed it, Marcus Lattimore canceled plans recently to visit Florida State.
  • Speaking of FSU, here’s a story on how the uncertainty of coach Bobby Bowden’s future is having an effect on the Seminoles’ recruiting efforts.

28 comments Add your comment

Frogger

October 22nd, 2009
12:03 pm

Frogger

October 22nd, 2009
12:04 pm

Hope Lattimore gives the dogs a look.

YoungDawg

October 22nd, 2009
12:33 pm

Chip, the Lattimore link doesn’t work

Flo-Ri-Duh!

October 22nd, 2009
12:36 pm

The officials should not get off with a suspension for costing UGA a win over LSU and Arkansas a win over Florida. They should be fired. By the way there was more than one obvious bad call in Arks game against the Lizards in the Swamp. A little home cooking? Ark outplayed Florida the entire game and Florida got a BIG assist with two penalties produced out of thin air. It is funny about all the scandals going on at ESPN … degenrates – and they are owned by Disney. Walt would not be happy.

Bama Bill

October 22nd, 2009
12:41 pm

Nice to see a young man (Sanders) – thoughtfully consider his options and honor his word !

Vol in Suwanee

October 22nd, 2009
1:03 pm

Flo-Ri-Duh! The guys in stripes are human and do make mistakes. Cost anybody a game? Come on it is one or two plays in 100? Then I realized you are a UGA fan and this perspective has never changed. Can ANY UGA fan admit they got beat on the field and not come up with excuses?

Vol in Suwanee

October 22nd, 2009
1:04 pm

And how does your comment belong on an article about a kid fulfilling his commitment to KY?

Wil Walton

October 22nd, 2009
1:11 pm

Vol, yes some can. And no, not relevant. Usually just the fringe fans that have the loudest voices for ALL schools.

Lars Tate

October 22nd, 2009
1:12 pm

Ken Malcome is already better than Lattimore. Richt told the Gainesville Bulldog club, they pefer Malcome and are no longer interested in Lattimore, he’s had a dissapointing season, and lacks breakaway speed many thought he had.

Wil Walton

October 22nd, 2009
1:14 pm

Lars, I’ve seen several hyped Byrnes players that have not achieved as most thought.

YoungDawg

October 22nd, 2009
1:18 pm

YoungDawg

October 22nd, 2009
1:20 pm

Willie Korn comes to mind

Yeah

October 22nd, 2009
1:35 pm

Raymond Sanders The Best Back in the State. GO JAGUARS!!!!!

Who Cares

October 22nd, 2009
1:37 pm

Lars, give me a break. Who would trust Richt and his buddies when it comes to evaluating talent? These clowns not only have no clue on developing a game plan on Offense or defense, but they have no clue when it comes to evaluating talent both in high school or when these kids arrive on campus. Keep in mind, these are the same idiot coaches that put Brandon Miller at L.B. for 3 years, when it was obvious to everyone else the kid was an all american d.e., and forget the fact he looked like a fish out of water when he was in open space trying to tackle someone. Then they redshirted the second best running back to play for UGA, Moreno, and they had him playing 3rd string behind 2 seniors. Thus they only got 2 full years of playing time for Moreno. Then the worst nightmare of all for these clowns is that they continue to allow Richard Samuel to carry the football and run into the backs of his o.l. This guy falls over the chalk line more than any back i have ever seen, yet there he was starting in the backfield for the second half against Vandy, and btw he had the worst average per carry of the five backs that played against vandy. Yet Richt tells everyone on his show that he is still going to be counted on to play a major role for UGA down the road. Are these coaches so damn arrogant, or are they just ignorant when it comes to judging talent. Unfortunately for uga fans its the latter, and it shows every saturday as well as on fridays when they are watching high school kids play. Lattimore is twice the back Malcome is, just watch him on tape. What a joke Richt and his buddies are.

OH

October 22nd, 2009
1:48 pm

Lattimore is the Truth!- Malcome will be great help to the running back.

DaddyDawg

October 22nd, 2009
2:18 pm

Lars Tate:

Richt wouldn’t be telling a group anything about specific recruits, such as Malcome or Lattimore, because it would be an NCAA violation to talk about recruits who have not signed with a school, and in Malcome’s case, it could possibly prevent him from signing with GA in February of ‘10. Why would you talk about something that clearly didn’t happen because it can be disproved so easily??!

Portland Dawg

October 22nd, 2009
2:20 pm

Who Cares……What do you expect Richt to say? Would you rather him throw Samuel under the bus? Any changes he makes with Samuel’s position isnt going to be done during a press conference. The changes will be made in the off season. I agree that Samuel looks ot be better suited for LB, but, he’s worked for a year as a RB, they arent going to switch him mid-stream.

Aaron Murray

October 22nd, 2009
2:47 pm

Is it just me, or does every picture of Joe Cox in action resemble a deer looking into headlights? Come on coach, let’s build for the future…

HeHateMe

October 22nd, 2009
3:19 pm

Hey Who Cares…..We don’t care what you think…you sound like an old woman going through menopause…if you’ve got all the answers why don’t you go over to Athens and offer them your help. I’ll bet you’ve never played a team sport in your life and never even got near a football field. You’re an arm chair QB with all the answers…you don’t get it do you …nobody cares what you think…because your a pu$$y.

dawgster

October 22nd, 2009
3:20 pm

Thanks DaddyDawg, i’m glad you corrected so called Lars Tate, you are right it would be an NCAA violation to comment on a recruit, and while we are on it i think this will be one of Kiffin’s undoing…My reason for saying this is that Kiffin tends to walk a fine line in the way he recruits and yes he probably will get some very talented players that buy into is way, but i have to think this will catch up with him down the road…

Chip Towers

October 22nd, 2009
4:12 pm

YoungDawg: Sorry about the bad link. It should work now.

YoungDawg

October 22nd, 2009
4:43 pm

Chip, NP, Thanks for getting it fixed.

Keith Conley

October 22nd, 2009
8:42 pm

Look UGA fans, stop saying this unsportsmanlike conduct call cost us this football game. I love the dawgs and I am unhappy about some of the things that seem to be trends with our football team. I believe in our players and I believe one day we’ll see the culmination of our staff’s efforts to make UGA the best program in the country. Good fans should know that we lost that football game because of shoddy tackling, poor kick coverage, and the inability of our offense to capitalize on good field position in the first half when we layed an egg on offense. The penalty should not have been called and it certainly helped LSU. However, give us the 15 yards back and LSU still makes it to chip shot field goal range because of the poor tackling. I love Marcus Dowtin and Rennie Curran as players, but the bottom line is Charles Scott ran through 2 linebackers to the end zone to win the game. We simply have got to make that tackle. The facts are our staff and players simply need to focus on getting better and I believe they will. Good Luck Dawgs, I believe in you no matter what. Just don’t make excuses, because anyone who ever played knows that you can always control that situation by putting teams away when you have the opportunity.

collegeballfan

October 23rd, 2009
9:07 am

Sorry Tech missed out on Sanders – he looks to be the perfect A back in Johnson’s system.

just so you know..

October 23rd, 2009
11:50 am

to all of the young folks looking at Tennessee, Monte Kiffin will NOT be there in 2 years!! he is in extremely bad health.. truth be told, next year may be difficult for him.. and this is coming from someone who knows first hand…

Mark Richt

October 23rd, 2009
3:19 pm

I think UGA should have all loses turned to wins for the last 3 years due to the BAD AJ Green/LSU call

ok… ok.. Just kidding…. How about a new pair of Raybans and a free year of Tanning?

Newton Co. Dawg

October 23rd, 2009
5:29 pm

I have a question. Has anyone ever run a fake punt on Ga. and not gotten a first down? That has cost us two games I can think of.

Big Dawg

October 25th, 2009
8:57 pm

Keith Conley

I agree that the horrible call on Green didn’t cost the Dawgs the LSU game and if they had played better and took advantage of their opportunities then it wouldn’t have mattered because they would have won handily. But the example of Scott’s run is not a good or accurate example of Georgia’s poor tackling as you should look at the film again and also at the photo posted on the blog after the game you would notice that Curran, Dowtin, Weston and another one of the Dawg’s defensive players were tackled on the play.

I will say it was past time for the SEC to take some kind of action against the officials for all the obvious blatantly bad calls over the last couple of years. Did you see the Alabama/Tennessee and FL/Miss St games Saturday, there were still some bad calls which always seem to benefit AL and/or Florida. Anyway I hope the Dawgs stick it to the Gators this coming Saturday.

Go Dawgs