T.J. Stripling knew what the question was even before it was delivered. So he was laughing when he answered.
“Nah, I’m still Georgia,” said the 6-foot-6, 215-pound defensive end from Southwest DeKalb.
Rumor had run rampant over the last few days that Stripling not only was wavering on his commitment to the Bulldogs but that he was leaning toward flipping to Georgia Tech, which had just come forth with an official offer.
Stripling said neither was true. But he thinks he knows how the rumor started.
“Georgia Tech coaches came to the school last Friday and offered me [a scholarship],” Stripling said Tuesday night. “They said they wanted me to come down there [to The Flats] Saturday and I told them I’d try to but that I was committed to go to Tennessee Tech game up at Georgia and that’s what I did. I guess it just got blown up from there.”
Message boards on Tech and Georgia fan sites lit up over the possibility of a Georgia-to-Tech flip from the No. 2 prospect in the state (according to Rivals.com). Stripling said he doesn’t frequent the recruiting chatrooms but that he’d heard from his father and several friends about the “all the fuss” it created.
While Stripling does not plan on taking up Georgia Tech on its offer, he told me “may take one or two” visits between now and national signing day. He said he is considering trips to Florida, Ohio State, Tennessee or Miami.
Even so, Stripling insisted he is not considering backing off his commitment to the Bulldogs.
“Oh, no, there’s no way,” he said. “I’m still solid.”
So there you go.
By the way, Stripling is having a great year for the Panthers (9-1), who are ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA and open the playoffs Friday against Northwest Whitfield at Panthersville Stadium. Stripling currently has 20 quarterback sacks on the season and is eyeing the record of 27 set by former Stephenson star Jermaine Cunningham, who’s now at Florida.