Archive for November, 2009

Richt, Bulldogs brace for massive recruiting weekend

A staggering number of prospects will converge on Athens and Sanford Stadium this weekend as Georgia plays host to Auburn.

Bulldogs coach Mark Richt couldn’t say exactly what will be the number, which includes recruits and their family and guests. But in general such weekends can range from 250 to 400.

“We’ve got a lot. It’s big. It’s very big,” Richt said this week. “It’s about what you’d expect for Georgia-Auburn. I couldn’t even tell you the number that it is. But I know as we cover the names that are coming in, not only is it a long list but it’s a list of outstanding players.”

There is a little bit of it all in this group. There will be at least five 5-star prospects on campus. There will be three players that rank No. 1 at their respective positions by at least one recruiting service — linebacker Jeff Luc (pronounced Luck) of Port St. Lucie, Fla., cornerback  LaMarcus Joyner of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and safety Matt Elam of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

There will be …

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Nation’s top back Marcus Lattimore to visit Georgia

Georgia got the fifth and final official visit from Marcus Lattimore, the No. 1 running back prospect in the country, according to Scout.com.

Lattimore told Scout’s Chad Simmons that he definitely intends to make an official visit to Athens on Jan. 29 (subscription required), the last weekend before national signing day on Feb. 3. He made an unofficial visit to UGA on Sept. 12.

“Georgia mainly got the last visit because I like the coaches down there,” Lattimore told Simmons on Thursday. “I especially like Coach [Mark] Richt and how he treats his players down there. I never really got a chance to hang out with any of the players when I visited there before, so I am going to do that and just check out the campus this time.”

A number of schools had been battling to get the final official visit from Lattimore, who has already had paid trips to Auburn (Oct. 31) and Penn State (Nov. 7). He currently has official visits scheduled for Oregon on Jan. 15 and North Carolina on Jan. 22. …

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Thornton: No plans to be in Athens for Georgia-Auburn

By all accounts, Stephenson defensive tackle Mike Thornton will choose between Georgia and Auburn sometime between now and Christmas. So surely he plans to be at their game this Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

Guess again.

“I don’t know if I’m going up there or not,” the 6-foot-2, 280-pound senior said. “Probably not. I definitely won’t be there for an official. Got some things to take care of.”

When it comes to his recruitment, Thornton — the top uncommitted defensive lineman in the state — is laid back to the point of being supine. While college coaches and fans pull out their hair wondering where and when Thornton might commit, the Jaguars’ hulking noseguard remains cool as the November breeze.

“I’m just taking my time, trying to enjoy the process,” he said.

I had a short telephone call with Thornton earlier this week. Here is an abridged Q&A of that conversation:

Q: How was your visit to Penn State this past weekend?

A: “It was good. Everything went like it was supposed to. I …

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Georgia gets one, loses one on first day of early signings

As you may or may not know, today (Wednesday, Nov. 11) is the first day of the early signing period in college athletics. Of course, the most notable of the sports to participate in this process is basketball.

So far there hasn’t been much in the way of surprises. Those who had committed before the week-long window in which you can actually sign a scholarship have done so, for the most part.

For instance, Georgia got a letter-of-intent from the one commitment it had gotten for the Class of 2010 — 6-foot-8 power forward Cady Lalanne of Orlando-Oak Ridge High. Lalanne signed early this morning. The Bulldogs did receive some bad news, however. Center Shawn Kemp Jr., who’s at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia but hails from Canton, signed with Auburn earlier today. He was actually an Alabama signee out of high school but did not qualify.

Georgia State has received the paperwork from two of the three commitments it got this fall: point guard DaVonta White of Roswell-Centenniel …

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Stripling says nothing to Tech rumor, ’still solid’ with UGA

T.J. Stripling knew what the question was even before it was delivered. So he was laughing when he answered.

Georgia Tech came hard after Southwest DeKalb defensive end T.J. Stripling recently but the longtime Georgia commitment said he intends to stick with the Bulldogs. (Photo by me)

Georgia Tech came hard after Southwest DeKalb defensive end T.J. Stripling recently but the longtime Georgia commitment said he intends to stick with the Bulldogs. (Photo by me)

“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 …

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JaWuan James picks Tennessee over Georgia, UCLA

Whatever it is Lane Kiffin is selling, JaWuan James is buying it.

James, a senior tackle at North Gwinnett and the top uncommitted offensive lineman in the state, committed to Tennessee Tuesday night. A one-time Alabama commitment, he chose the Vols over Georgia and UCLA.

“It’s a blessing to be recruited like I was,” James said Tuesday night. “I really appreciated everything everybody did and I have a lot of respect for Georgia and all the other teams that recruited me. They did a good job. But I just felt like I fit better at Tennessee. The coaches, the players, I like that new environment. I think Coach Kiffin is going to do big things and I want to be a big part of it.”

James

James

James, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound left tackle, took an official visit to Tennessee the weekend of Oct. 12 when the Vols dismantled the Bulldogs 45-19 and Kiffin gave his infamous “We’ll never lose to Georgia as long as I’m the coach” speech. James took two unofficial visits to Georgia before that and an …

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Acupuncture helps MLK’s Mack Brown run pain free

Mack Brown ran for most of his 160 yards against Union Grove this past weekend in the second half. But he credits his performance to something that happened earlier in the week.

Plagued by hamstring problems in both of his legs this season, Brown underwent an accupunture procedure three days before M.L. King’s regular-season finale against the Wolverines.

Brown didn’t do much in the first half. But after deciding to take off his hamstring sleeves at halftime he ran like the Mack Brown of old in the 20-0 victory.

“I took them off and went to work,” said Brown, a five-star prospect who is committed to Florida. “I didn’t feel any pain when I ran. It was a blessing to be able to run without pain.”

That said, Brown said he probably won’t try it again before this week’s playoff game against Jenkins.

Here are some of the other top performances by area prospects of this past weekend:

  • QB Blake Sims, Gainesville: The AJC Super 11 selection and Alabama commitment had 145 yards passing, …

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Jackets get commitment from 4-star shooting guard

On the eve of the early signing period, Georgia Tech got its first basketball commitment for the Class of 2010 from Lakeville, Conn., guard Jason Morris.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting guard is rated the No. 84 player in the country by Rivals.com and the No. 18 player at his position by Scout.com. He chose Tech over Clemson. He will sign with the Yellow Jackets during the early signing period, which begins Wednesday.

Morris is an Augusta native who has attended The Hotchkiss School, a prestigious boarding school in rural Connecticut, for the last four years. He averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds as a junior last season.

Morris is looking forward to living closer to his family and that had a lot to do with his decision to sign with the Yellow Jackets.

“I couldn’t go wrong with either school as far as the basketball,” he said of choosing between Tech and Clemson. “What I was missing was that gut feeling. I got that when I was there [at Tech on an official visit] this weekend. …

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Norcross ‘late bloomer’ Hubbard covered up with offers

The college football coach that ends up with Adrian Hubbard on his team come national signing day in February will need to send a thank you note to senior class at Norcross High School.

Why? Because, ultimately, they were the ones that allowed Hubbard to return to the football field after a year’s hiatus. And now, the 6-foot-7, 227-pound defensive end/tight end is one of the unexpected grand prizes in Atlanta’s recruiting class of 2010.

Hubbard is a rarity in the modern age of college football recruiting. That is, he came into his senior year a virtual unknown. Hubbard played football as a sophomore at Peachtree Ridge but he transferred to Norcross as a junior in order to play basketball for the Blue Devils. He did not play football.

This past summer, Hubbard came to coach Keith Maloof and told him that he missed the game and wished to come out for the team. You could only imagine Maloof’s delight as he stared up at the at the towering athletic figure. But he did not accept …

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Rogers, Luc among all-star prospects visiting UGA

Georgia commitment Deon Rogers will be among an all-star cast of prospects making official visits with the Bulldogs this coming weekend and he confirmed that his five-star teammate is coming with him.

Jeff Luc, a 6-foot-1, 240-pound linebacker at Treasure Coast High in Port St. Lucie, Fla., will be traveling to Athens with Rogers. Luc (pronouced Luck) is rated as a five-star prospect and the No. 1 middle linebacker in America by Scout.com. He is being pursued by virtually every premier program in the country, including the three major programs in his home state. Long considered a lock for the Florida Gators, he has visited Tennessee and Southern Cal and plans to take an official trip to LSU before  making a final decision. He will be an early enrollee in college.

Rogers is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound, three-star linebacker who committed to Georgia back in June. He is doing what he can to get Luc to follow him.

“Of course I want him to go to college with me,” Rogers said Sunday …

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