Archive for December, 2009

T.J. Stripling says not visiting Tech, but maybe Tennessee

Georgia commitment T.J. Stripling refuted a report by JacketsOnline.com that he’s visiting Georgia Tech this weekend.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound defensive end from Southwest DeKalb confirmed that in a text to me a little while ago. But he’s in school today and couldn’t talk. However, he spoke with UGASports.com’s Kipp Adams at some point today. Ironically, UGASports and JacketsOnline are sister sites, so it’s unusual to see one refute the other.

Said Stripling to ugasports: “That is not true. They said the same about Mike Thornton, too. I’m playing in the DeKalb County All-Star game this weekend.”

More interesting to me was Stripling’s comment that he’s thinking about possibly making an official visit to Tennessee. But, he said, he’s 95 percent committed to the Bulldogs. Better than 94 percent, I guess.

Anyway, T.J. is supposed to call me back later so I’ll get into all that with him.

Continue reading T.J. Stripling says not visiting Tech, but maybe Tennessee »

Grayson’s Pemberton commits to I-AA’s Austin Peay

Grayson running back Ean Pemberton agreed to accept a scholarship offer from Austin Peay this morning, coach Mickey Conn said.

Grayson's Ean Pemberton, here battling against Roswell in the playoffs, heads to Austin Peay as the Rams' all-time leading rusher. (AJC photo by Josh D. Weiss)

Grayson's Ean Pemberton, here battling against Roswell in the playoffs, heads to Austin Peay as the Rams' all-time leading rusher. (AJC photo by Josh D. Weiss)

Pemberton chose the Governors, a Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) program, over West Georgia, Lenoir-Rhyne and several other lower-division schools, Conn said.

“He had a few offers, a few Division IIs,” Conn said. “He and his mom went up there [to Clarksville, Tenn.] on a visit last weekend and they liked it. It was one of the bigger schools that offered him. But he really liked the coaches and liked the town and it wasn’t too far away from home. And the fact that they don’t mind playing little running backs.”

The 5-foot-4, 155-pound Pemberton rushed for more than 1,800 yards this season for Grayson, which was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAA before falling to Newnan …

Continue reading Grayson’s Pemberton commits to I-AA’s Austin Peay »

Update: Stripling refutes report that he’s visiting GT

UPDATED (YET AGAIN) . . .

RECRUITING ROUNDUP

Georgia commitment T.J. Stripling refuted a report by JacketsOnline.com that he’s visiting Georgia Tech this weekend.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound defensive end from Southwest DeKalb confirmed that in a text to me a little while ago. But he’s in school today and couldn’t talk. However, he spoke with UGASports.com’s Kipp Adams at some point today. Ironically, UGASports and JacketsOnline are sister sites, so it’s unusual to see one refute the other.

Said Stripling to ugasports: “That is not true. They said the same about Mike Thornton, too. I’m playing in the DeKalb County All-Star game this weekend.”

More interesting to me was Stripling’s comment that he’s thinking about possibly making an official visit to Tennessee. But, he said, he’s 95 percent committed to the Bulldogs. Better than 94 percent, I guess.

Anyway, T.J. is supposed to call me back later so I’ll get into all that with him.

Some links:

  • JacketsOnline.com also that Thornton, …

Continue reading Update: Stripling refutes report that he’s visiting GT »

Pic shows UT hostesses with recruits; heat rises on Vols

Well, this Tennessee story just keeps better and better, doesn’t it?

I’m not sure how many of you caught the latest updates over the weekend. If not, I’ll catch you up this morning.

When last we left the story, the players and coaches at Byrnes High in Duncan, S.C., were telling everybody how, yes, they did see the infamous Tennessee hostesses holding up signs in the crowd at their game back in September. But, they insisted, they made sure they didn’t talk to them or interact with them in any way.

That prompted my old friend Andy Staples, recruiting analyst for SI.com (I first knew him as an AJC intern, then the Gators’ beat guy from Tampa) to go back and look at his camera. Andy recalled being at the game in question to get some advance material for Byrnes’ monumental, nationally-televised matchup against St. Thomas Aquinas down in Fort Lauderdale the following week. He vaguely recalled seeing some oddly over-dressed girls on the field after the game. And sure enough, there …

Continue reading Pic shows UT hostesses with recruits; heat rises on Vols »

Roundup: Two blue-chip CBs now off the market

RECRUITING ROUNDUP

LaMarcus Joyner, generally considered the top cornerback prospect in the country, chose Florida State this week over Florida and Ohio State. His commitment was followed a day later by St. Thomas Aquinas teammate Cody Riggs, who picked Florida over Tennessee on Thursday. Both cornerbacks considered Georgia at one point, Riggs more seriously than Joyner.

Joyner, 5-foot-8, 165-pound cornerback, is a five-star rated recruit that also returned kicks and played wideout for Ft. Lauderdale powerhouse program . He made his commitment rather suddenly after an in-home visit from new Seminoles’ head coach Jimbo Fisher Wednesday night.

“It was in my heart the whole time,” Joyner told Warchant.com. “Just talking to Coach Fisher and looking at the principles of everything and what I want and what I need and what I want to achieve, Coach Fisher has all the tools and mechanics to get me there.”

FSU recruiting is on a roll of late. Joyner is its second five-star commitment of …

Continue reading Roundup: Two blue-chip CBs now off the market »

Clemson commit Robinson may flip if Tech offers

If Georgia Tech had a scholarship to offer, Darius Robinson might flip on Clemson and commit to the Yellow Jackets today.

That wasn’t his words exactly but it certainly was the inference of this dynamic defensive back from Atlanta’s Westlake High.

“It’s really interesting because Georgia Tech is one of my favorite schools and has been a long time,” said Robinson, who committed to the Tigers on July 30. “I have a lot of friends there and my family has always liked Tech and would probably like the idea of me staying close to home for college. I’m committed to Clemson but I’d probably have to open things up if Tech offered.”

The Jackets are clearly thinking about it. Robinson said he has remained in communication with Tech cornerbacks coach Charles Kelly and wide receivers coach Buzz Preston and that Kelly recently called to ask him if he was still interested.

Robinson responded with a resounding “yes.”

Robinson said the Jackets told him this summer they did not have a …

Continue reading Clemson commit Robinson may flip if Tech offers »

Telvin Smith won’t be visiting UGA this weekend

First things first. Telvin Smith will not be visiting Georgia this weekend as has been widely reported by various recruiting services. But he said Bulldogs’ fans shouldn’t read anything into that.

“Nah,” said Smith, a three-star linebacker from Valdosta’s Lowndes County High School. “I’m playing basketball so I’m not going to be able to make it this weekend. I’m going to have to make it another weekend. [But Georgia coaches] were understanding. They’d been saying they wanted to do it at a later date so I think this is what they wanted.”

What the Bulldogs really want is a commitment from Smith, and they’ve been coming hard after him lately. The problem is the 6-foot-4, 200-pound outside linebacker, who also plays center on the Vikings’ basketball team, is already committed to Florida State. But that’s gone from being what’s called a “solid verbal” to a “soft commit.” And in Smith’s case, it sounds cottony soft.

“I’m am committed to Florida State and everything,” he told me, …

Continue reading Telvin Smith won’t be visiting UGA this weekend »

N.Georgia teams bringing more ‘blue-chips’ to Dome

You may have noticed of the 10 schools in the Georgia High School Association state championship games this weekend at the Georgia Dome, half are from schools south of Macon and half are from north of that. However, the majority of “blue-chip recruiting prospects” participating in the state finals are from the five North Georgia schools: Buford, Calhoun, Clarke Central, Gainesville and Sandy Creek.

My buddy Todd Holcomb over at Georgia High School Football Daily pointed this out to me in a recent e-mail exchange about which areas of the state are producing the most top-shelf  football players. We both found it odd, and certainly not in keeping with Georgia tradition, that there aren’t really any major prospects among the five South Georgia teams.

Other than Northside-Warner Robins defensive back Brison Williams, a South Carolina commitment, I can’t find much in the way of “major prospects” among the South Georgia teams. Camden County has running back Ean Days, a fine player …

Continue reading N.Georgia teams bringing more ‘blue-chips’ to Dome »

NCAA coming to N. Gwinnett to talk to Vols’ commitment

North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire confirmed that NCAA investigators will be at his school on Thursday to interview senior offensive lineman JaWuan James and his parents about possible recruiting violations committed by Tennessee and hinted that the inquiry may be focusing on the Vols’ use of social media in recruiting.

James, one of the top tackles in Georgia, committed to the Vols last month.

“[The NCAA has] requested a conference room,” Sphire said Wednesday morning. “They’ll be here tomorrow.”

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the NCAA has launched a “wide-ranging” investigation into the Vols’ recruiting practices. Much of the investigation, Pete Thamel reports, focuses on the use of recruiting hostesses who may have traveled off campus to help lure top recruits back to Knoxville.

“I never saw that,” Sphire said of UT using hostesses. “The first time I heard about that was in the Times story. My understanding is it’s about social media and stuff like that. I …

Continue reading NCAA coming to N. Gwinnett to talk to Vols’ commitment »

LB Quayshawn Nealy becomes lucky No. 13 for Jackets

UPDATED 9 P.M. . . .

It wasn’t necessarily the clinching point for Quayshawn Nealy, but it surely didn’t hurt that he was in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in person to witness the Yellow Jackets’ historic win over Clemson in the ACC Championship Game this past weekend.

On Tuesday, the 6-foot, 215-pound linebacker committed to the Yellow Jackets.

“It was a great game,” Nealy said. “I really enjoyed that.”

Nealy, a three-star prospect according to both Rivals.com and Scout.com, said he chose Tech over Ole Miss and USF (South Florida). He also had scholarship offers from Georgia, Michigan, Kansas, Louisville, Purdue and Tulane.

“Well, [Georgia Tech] came into the ballgame late but, at first, they weren’t recruiting linebackers that hard,” Nealy said. “But when they did jump on the bandwagon they immediately jumped to the top of my list. I didn’t really know that much about them other than I had a cousin that graduated from there. I have relatives in Georgia, so they interested …

Continue reading LB Quayshawn Nealy becomes lucky No. 13 for Jackets »