OK, I finally got T.J. Stripling cornered long enough to talk to him about all this chatter going on about him.
T.J.’s a busy man these days. I caught him toward the end of football practice Tuesday with other DeKalb County all-stars who will play in an all-star game Saturday at Hallford Stadium. He is also playing basketball for the Panthers and, as we can all surely attest this week, he is still actively being recruited by several schools.
Which brings us back to the point me needing to track down Stripling. Rumors have run rampant for weeks now that this longtime Georgia commitment has been considering a switch to Georgia Tech, which is the ultimate about-face in these parts. The latest rumor surfaced Monday in the form of a report on JacketsOnline.com saying that Stripling — and Stephenson defensive tackle Mike Thornton – were going to be on The Flats for an official visit this weekend.
Not true, Stripling told me. However, he did not rule out completely that he may visit Tech eventually.
“The problem is it keeps coming out over there that I’m coming to visit and I’m not,” he said.” It started about a month ago when they offered me late. They said two players were not going to play next year so they had a scholarship for me. From there people have just been saying all kinds of stuff like I’m a silent commitment and I’m definitely coming for a visit. I haven’t said nothing yet.”
Stripling admitted that he has talked to Tech coaches about possibly making a visit eventually.
“But it definitely won’t be this weekend,” he said, reiterating that he’s playing in an all-star game. “It’s a possibility but I can’t really say yes right now. I have to talk to my parents about it and find out how Georgia is with it.”
Same goes with Tennessee.
“I might go to Tennessee,” said Stripling, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound defensive end. “I don’t have a date but I might go there in January.”
Nevertheless, Stripling said he is still committed to Georgia and isn’t necessarily looking to change his mind.
“I’m with Georgia right now,” he said. “I like everything about Georgia. I’m just making sure that I’m making the right decision. This is a decision that will affect me the rest of my life. It’s more like, ‘give me a reason not to go to Georgia because I like everything I’ve seen there.’”
Stripling said he has kept Rodney Garner, his recruiter at Georgia, in the loop about the possibility of taking official visits.
“He’s cool with it,” Stripling said. “I’m sure in the back of his mind it might concern him. But he doesn’t have anything to worry about. I’m still committed to Georgia.”
So there you go. Looks like there was a little truth to all of it. . . .
NOTE: Forgot to mention earlier that Lassiter quarterback Hutson Mason will announce his college decision on Monday at 7:30 p.m. He’s making his announcement at the Fox Sports Grille at Philips Arena.