Archive for October, 2009

UK commit Sanders turning it on for Stephenson

Last week I wrote about how Union Grove’s talent had been overshadowed by region rivals Stephenson and M.L. King, and the Wolverines do indeed have some talented football players. But they weren’t just overshadowed this past Saturday night, they were overwhelmed in a 27-7 loss to the Jaguars.

Raymond Sanders, a Kentucky commitment who wowed an ESPN national-television audience last week against MLK, had his most dominating performance to date. Stephenson’s senior running back piled up 232 yards rushing on just 17 carries, scored three touchdowns and added a 23-yard reception.

Other standouts for the Jaguars included DB Kenneth Ladler with eight tackles, a pass breakup and a blocked field goal; LB Jabari Johnson with eight tackles; OLB Tyrone Cornelius (Miami) with six tackles and a pass breakup; and DT Mike Thornton with four tackles and another dominating night blowing up the middle of the line.

Some other standout performances from the area’s top prospects this past …

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Robey told Martinez not leaving, reaffirms UGA commitment

Georgia appears to have eased the concerns of cornerback Nickell Robey.

Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and running backs coach Bryan McClendon hustled down to Frostproof, Fla., this past Friday after word spread last week that Robey was having second thoughts about his commitment to the Bulldogs. Last week, Robey said rumors that Martinez’s job might be in jeopardy were of great concern and had him considering offers from Tennessee and South Florida.

“They met with Nickell and Nickell’s family for quite a while, for about an hour and a half, and had a good visit,” Frostproof coach Brad Metheny said. “I think all went well. Nickell still feels pretty good about Georgia and thinks that’s where he wants to play college football. All and all I think it was a good visit and good timing for the coaches to come down and talk to him. It went well. Eased his mind a little bit.”

Metheny said the four-star cornerback reaffirmed his commitment to the Bulldogs. “That’s where he …

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Union Grove’s talent overshadowed by MLK, Stephenson

Tonight’s contest between classic Atlanta powers Southwest DeKalb and Marist will be a game chocked full of college prospects, but the most star-studded contest of  the weekend might be tomorrow night’s matchup between Stephenson and Union Grove.

The Jaguars have gotten publicity aplenty for their  roster of a dozen-plus prospects and they did not disappoint in last week’s nationally-televised game against talent-laden M.L. King, with defensive tackle Mike Thornton and running back Raymond Sanders (Kentucky commit) assuming starring roles.

Less publicized is the powerhouse program coach Steven Collins has been quietly building down in McDonough. The Wolverines feature three players with major-conference college offers and several others holding mid-level offers and major schools still looking at them.

  • Senior defensive end Anthony Williams already has verbally committed to Georgia Tech.
  • Multitalented skill player Jordan Akins, who plays wide receiver, quarterback and safety …

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Akins’ Tech offer wraps up this week’s recruiting news

Jordan Akins, early on one of the best kept recruiting secrets in Atlanta, received a scholarship offer this week from Georgia Tech, according to Union Grove coach Steven Collins.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Akins is a multi-skilled, two-sport athlete who plays wide receiver, quarterback, defensive back and kick returner for Union Grove. Also a pro baseball prospect, he remained under recruiting radar at Strong Rock Christian before transferring to the Henry County public school for his senior season. He also has offers from Connecticut and UCF and is being considered as a two-sport player by LSU.

Grayson now has 3 D-1 defenders

Terry Williams became the third member of Grayson’s defense to land a Division I scholarship this week and there will likely be a fourth before the year is over.

Williams, a 6-foot-260-pound middle linebacker, accepted an offer from East Carolina on Thursday. He now joins defensive tackle Shawn Green (Georgia Tech) and safety Kori Gaines (BYU) in the …

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Williams is third Grayson player to accept D-1 offer

UPDATED 4:25 P.M. . . .

Grayson linebacker Terry Williams has been arguably the most dominant force on one of the most dominant defenses in Class AAAAA. Yet when it came to recruiting, he waited and waited for a major scholarship offer to come.

Alas, an ACC or SEC team never came calling. But East Carolina did on Thursday and Williams happily pounced on the opportunity. Now the jumbo linebacker is eager to prove that all the others missed out on him.

“It was my first really big D-1 scholarship offer and it feels good to take it,” Williams said. “All I do is take all that stuff that people say and use it as motivation. I’m just going to continue to work hard and prove everybody wrong.”

The knock on Williams is his size. At 6-feet, 260-pounds, college recruiters were skeptical about him being able to play a stand-up position on the next level. East Carolina believes he can. The Pirates have a linebacker position they call the “Jack” they believe Williams is a perfect fit …

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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 …

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Gainesville coach: Relationship good with Georgia

Wide receiver Tai-ler Jones recently committed to Notre Dame. He said he grew up a Georgia Bulldogs’ fan. So says linebacker A.J. Johnson, who committed to Tennessee last week. Safety Daunte Carr lists “Georgia” as a school of interest on his recruiting profile but committed to Stanford this summer. Quarterback Blake Sims, a longtime Alabama commitment, says he grew up dreaming of playing for the Bulldogs.

What do all these prospects have in common?

They all live an hour’s drive west of Athens and play football for Gainesville High School. That’s the home of the Red Elephants, the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAA.

So if all these Gainesville players are so crazy about Georgia, how come none of them are headed that way?

I called Red Elephants’ coach Bruce Miller Tuesday to find out if he thought there was some kind relationship problem with UGA. Not at all, he said adamantly.

“Here’s what I think happens: I think Coach Richt is a man of such character that he doesn’t want to make …

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UGA, Richt make major push for Bama commit Sims

Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims grew up dreaming of becoming a Georgia Bulldog but has been committed to Alabama since April. (AJC photo)

Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims grew up dreaming of becoming a Georgia Bulldog but has been committed to Alabama since April. (AJC photo)

Georgia is making a major push to recruit Gainesville quarterback Blake Sims. And it has created a bit of a moral dilemma for the player and his family.

Sims, an AJC Super 11 selection and one of the early favorites for all-classification player of the year honors, has been committed to Alabama since April. But Bulldogs’ head coach Mark Richt, who has had a relationship with Sims and his family for four years, has taken a personal interest in changing Sims’ mind and convincing him to come to UGA instead.

“That was pretty cool,” Blake’s father, Sonny Sims, said of getting a phone call from Richt on Monday. “Coach Richt has been part of Blake’s life for a long time.  We’ve got pictures of Blake with Coach Richt as a 9th grader. That’s why we couldn’t understand why Georgia didn’t snag him early because he’d been groomed all his life for …

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Tech’s McCoy says ‘no thanks’ to helicoptering Vols

Tennessee’s high-flying recruiting tactics didn’t wow everybody.

Georgia Tech commitment Denzel McCoy of Northview High was not impressed by Tennessee's high-flying act and declined thei Vols' attempts to reopen his recruitment. (AJC photo)

Georgia Tech commitment Denzel McCoy of Northview High was not impressed by Tennessee's high-flying act and declined thei Vols' attempts to reopen his recruitment. (AJC photo)

Northview defensive lineman Denzel McCoy, who has been committed to Georgia Tech since April, has long been a target of the Volunteers. He said Tennessee assistant coach Ed Orgeron called him Friday and said head coach Lane Kiffin were going to be at his game against North Gwinnett last Friday in Suwanee.

“I didn’t know they were going to come in a helicopter,” McCoy said with a laugh.

The Vols’ coaches flew there in a rented helicopter after watching the first half of the M.L King-Stephenson game in Clarkston.

“I thought it was  interesting,” McCoy said, “but it didn’t really affect me. That’s why I committed to Tech when I did, so I would have recruiting behind me and be able to concentrate on my senior season. I’m solid with Tech. I told …

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UGA’s Fox shows hacks how it’s done in ‘Media Madness’

Just came from the Stegeman Coliseum Practice Facility at UGA. New Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox was holding what he calls “Media Madness” in which us media types are put through the (modified) paces of one of the Bulldogs’ practices.

I considered it an overwhelming personal success, mainly because I’m not dead. So does the University of Georgia, which just in case made me sign a waiver and had a defibrillator within sight of the court.

I don’t have anything Earth-shattering to report here other than I thought it was a pretty cool way for Fox to introduce himself and his staff and players to the media. And it was a great turnout, with about three dozen men and a half dozen women suiting up to participate.

We stretched and shot around at first, then split into four groups and rotated through five stations working on rebounding, defense, free-throw shooting, ball-handling and basic offensive principals. Then we had a shooting contest followed by an eight-minute, half-court …

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