Vols get Sandy Creek’s Rajion Neal away from MSU

Rajion Neal piled up more than 2,500 all-purpose yards and 35 TDs for Sandy Creek as a senior this past season. (AJC photo)

Rajion Neal piled up more than 2,500 all-purpose yards and 35 TDs for Sandy Creek as a senior this past season. (AJC photo)

College football fans who thought the threat of Tennessee raiding Georgia for talent left when Lane Kiffin and his traveling circus pulled up stakes for California are finding out differently.

New coach Derek Dooley struck again on Thursday as Rajion Neal, a tremendously productive running back from Sandy Creek High School, committed to the Vols. That came a day after Neal had decommitted to Mississippi State, to which he had been committed all last season. He made an official visit to Rocky Top last weekend.

Neal confirmed his Tennessee commitment via text message but declined further comment. But Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker was happy to talk on Neal’s behalf.

“I think Rajion is going to be a great back in the SEC. I really do,” Walker said. “The offense they’re going to run is very similar to what we do. He had a good feel for Coach Dooley and just felt very comfortable and wanted up there.”

The Vols also got Calhoun quarterback Nash Nance to flip from Vanderbilt on Thursday and retained offensive tackle JaWuan James (North Gwinnett) and defensive back Marques Dixon (Southwest DeKalb) through the coaching transition.

Neal puts up a good statistical argument for being considered the best back in Greater Atlanta. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound runner led the Fighting Patriots with 1,812 yards rushing and 35 touchdowns, 33 of them rushing. He had more 2,500 all-purpose yards and averaged 42 yards on kickoff returns.

“To me, I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s the best back in Georgia,” Walker said.

The toughest part for Neal, Walker said, was having to call Mississippi State to tell them he’d had a change of heart.

“That’s not anything you ever want to do,” Walker said. “Mississippi State did a great job with him. Those guys are building a great program out there. Rajion just thought Tennessee was a better fit.”

103 comments Add your comment

Dont jerk my chain Dawg

January 28th, 2010
11:55 pm

CMR is a softie when it comes to recruiting……

AlabamaRamblinwreck

January 28th, 2010
11:57 pm

Hey, Chip. Is Chris Boyd still visiting Tech this weekend?

TJ VOL

January 29th, 2010
12:11 am

45-19….ga YOU ARE SO DONE…….

Uncle Joe

January 29th, 2010
12:21 am

I’m sick and tired of my wife’s bunion.

mmgtfan

January 29th, 2010
12:22 am

You know the saying bad things come in 3’s? Well I think the same applies for good things and maybe Da’Rick is that third thing for the Vols. I doubt it though.

Red Dog 77

January 29th, 2010
12:38 am

Looks like Coach Dooley is picking up some pretty good prospects, and working hard to secure a good class. That being said, that surely doesnt mean UGA is ‘ So Done’ . My hats off to coach Dooley, UT got a fine coach, and a solid man………But I can assure you we will get ours, we always do…..Two or three….four or five or even six or seven pick ups is good. But in reality, it takes a boat load of players to make a team. Better watch out for this childish UGA is ‘ So Done’ attitude, we might just come up behind you and Bite That Big Butt and shake you like a rag doll.

HardTruth Soldier

January 29th, 2010
2:21 am

Dooley, An old teammate of mine, at (CLARKE CENTRAL H.S.), didn’t have to look far. This kid looked good in the state championship, but UT got the #1 back in the country last year so his wait may be two years. While I,m here though, lets set the record straight, yes BULLDAWG NATION would love to have the Rogers kid, but make no mistake that we’re not loaded at the WR position, and with 3 WR’s looking at us still, before signing day we’ll be o.k. Now that Coach Bobo understands what he has in Aaron White at TE, and Arthur Lynch as our #1 blocking tight end, he can utilize Charles in the slot, or H-Back spot. Green at 6′4, Brown at 6′5, Charles at 6′4, Durham(forgot him didn’t you) at 6′4, and Wooten, and T.King will make some noise. My advice to the Rogers kid is this, If you think your the best, come play with the best receiver in the country, you can only get better!.

HardTruth Soldier

January 29th, 2010
2:31 am

Ya’ll keep calling CMR a softie, but year after year he pulls the best recevers out of every state around him.Got Tenn’s last year, 2 0f Fla’s top 10. The year before that S.C.’s, and quiet as it’s kept the #1 T.E. in Mass last year, so remember all snakes don’t rattle before they bite!

Red Dog 77

January 29th, 2010
4:58 am

Hard Truth……Great posts ! Now I enjoy comming on here and reading intelligent thoughtful posts like that………..Now if we could ever figure a way to keep the trash mouths off……and they will be here before you know it, this would be so much more civilized. I am a bleed RED and BLACK BULLDOG, but I really dont care who is pulling for whom, in my opinion this site is more entertaining with differences, Take a clue from ‘Hard Truth’ Then mabe we could all enjoy college football the way it should be enjoyed……..Watch out ! Dont let the snakes bitecha !

CuriousSam

January 29th, 2010
5:04 am

I have no dog in any of these hunts , but I am getting sick of hearing these kids that bail on their school choice say “it’s just a better fit for me” What they mean is a prettier girl just asked me to the dance and I am in it for me.

benadawg

January 29th, 2010
5:46 am

Da’rick Rogers will probably go to Tennessee with his money man Nance, i wonder if he has been adopted by that family so he can be funneled dollars without worry, it would not surprise me and frankly in this economy who wouldn’t want someone who can make sure he rides in the best and wears the best……as the nances have already paid for a turf field for Calhoun High,and if the NFL is in his future he can repay them, i hope he stays with UGA but i will not be surprised if he goes….

BEARMAN

January 29th, 2010
5:57 am

GOOD NEWS! KEEP THEM COMING!

GO VOLS!

poopdawg

January 29th, 2010
6:48 am

Did Sandy Creek run from a spread formation , i thought they did. So is Dooley going to run the spread at UT next year? UT has Bryce Brown and David Oku 2 highly rated backs from last years signing class. But the Neal kid will be hard to keep off the field , he looks really good. Congratulations Mr Neal, i know that call was hard to make to MSU but it shows character to call yourself rather than someone else doing it for you.

Big Orange

January 29th, 2010
6:53 am

Great addition for Coach Dooley. I am really excited about how good of a job he is doing with recruiting. I hope all of this will translate into Ws on the field sooner than later. I agree with the above posts that it is rather enjoyable to have a civil conversation without the bashing and name-calling that will surely follow shortly. I also hear from a close friend in the Athletic Department at UT that they are still very much in the mix with Rajaan Bennett out of McEachern. Any news on him Chip?

Big Orange

January 29th, 2010
7:02 am

Poopdawg- I just checked out some highlights of Neal on youtube and most of the plays on there were run out of the I or single-back sets with the qb under center.

Ron Mexico

January 29th, 2010
7:05 am

John Mellencamp tried to tell us this yesterday, but we were so childish that we just decided to make fun of him. Man am I stupid or what?

Moonlight Graham

January 29th, 2010
7:15 am

Whitaker to UGA?

Paddy

January 29th, 2010
7:17 am

Rogers says he is committed to UGA. Why not trust his word on this? If he was undecided his parents and/or coaches would not let him say otherwise.

mg67

January 29th, 2010
7:24 am

Nance will end up a Bulldog with DaRick I talked with my son today who is a red shirt soph in a SEC school he told me that a friend of his who will play ball at VANDY told him he was on a trip up to VANDY a few weeks ago with other kids and Nance getting yelled at by his dad also didnt talk much with other kids

lagadawg

January 29th, 2010
7:32 am

Hey Chip, with only 2 BCS schools in Ga.UGA and TECH can’t get all the D-1 recruits even if they want them.How about taking it easy on the home teams,they have to go to UT or somewhere else,you make it sound like Ga. and Tech are letting them get away.

Holy cow

January 29th, 2010
7:33 am

mg67- That might just be the dumbest thing I have ever read on here, and that’s really saying something considering Ron Mexico is around somewhere.

Holy cow

January 29th, 2010
7:44 am

Paddy- Now that’s funny.

Paddy

January 29th, 2010
7:45 am

Nance is going to Wichata St. He will redshirt because the school dropped football yeas ago. I know this is accurate. My daughter got this info from her friend who works for “Meals on Wheels”. She overheard Nance’s great-grandmother say as much over jello and veggie bouillon. ” She really opens up when she gets her bouillon”,the friend said.

South GA Dawg

January 29th, 2010
7:51 am

UGA DONE?????? YOUR A MORON. LOOK AT WHAT WE BRING IN TOO BEFORE YOU POP OFF.

Your vs. You're

January 29th, 2010
7:56 am

So who is the moron?

Gen Neyland

January 29th, 2010
8:03 am

Paddy : No way. I talked to my son that lives in upstate New York. His roommate works with a Canadian at a part-time weekend job that read something in a Quebec underground newspaper which quoted an inmate from an Arizona prison that said we’ll all have to wait until NSD or beyond to get the full gist of what these recruits are doing. The source sounds credible…

Ron Mexico

January 29th, 2010
8:13 am

I’m not a smart man…

Guy with low IQ

January 29th, 2010
8:17 am

I love it how these UT folks act like it’s a huge coup to steal a recruit from Mississippi State. Or Vanderbilt! I guess standards are dropping since Kiffin and the upcoming NCAA investigation, but really…this is an Atlanta paper and should we care that much about a running back who was not recruited by Georgia? Or Georgia Tech, for that matter??? lol

UT folks

January 29th, 2010
8:20 am

Maybe it isn’t a huge coup, but kicking your beloved dogs in the teeth sure was fun. 45-19!

Ron Mexico

January 29th, 2010
8:21 am

I’m serious. I’m stoopid.

Philabuster

January 29th, 2010
8:23 am

Da’Rick you next? If we land him, it will be the best WR recruit unit this year! Hunter, Meline, Milton, and hopefully Rogers. Talk about a group of WRs.

NCAA investigator

January 29th, 2010
8:36 am

Settle down Vols, we still have a while before we can uncover exactly what has been going on and how much your admin. has been involved in covering up everything Kiffen has been involved with. It won’t be pretty.

Amazing

January 29th, 2010
8:38 am

Well Mr. NCAA investigator…Maybe in all your hard work you will figure out how to spell that moron’s name. It’s Kiffin. Certainly it will be prettier than your grasp of English.

Ron Mexico

January 29th, 2010
8:41 am

I am dumb as a bag of hammers.

NCAA investigator

January 29th, 2010
8:45 am

Oops…shouldn’t you be in class right now?

Amazing

January 29th, 2010
8:46 am

Seems to me you are the one in need of some education.

suwaneedawg

January 29th, 2010
8:46 am

University of Trailer or UT fans, WTF are you talking trash going into this year? Yeah you kicked our butts last year but, if any program in the SEC is in turmoil it is yours. You may get a couple of solid recruits but, you have a coach that is not sec battle tested and a whole lot of questions with no answers. And is you get Da’Rick because of Nance, you wasted a scholorship on Nance and you got a receiver that is no where close to AJ Green. By the way, who the hell is going to throw the ball to him? Nance?

VolsRule

January 29th, 2010
8:47 am

Wow – another excellent pickup for Tennessee from the State of Georgia!

Looks like Tennessee is simply plucking who we want from The STATE of Georgia. Can’t wait for the BIG Da’Rick announcement!!!!!

Notice Alabama has pretty much plucked who they have targeted as well.

I guess that this say’s something that UGA has to raid Florida for GAtor and FSU leftovers to fill their roster. The State of Georgia home-growns are just not interested – or use UGA as a backup!

These recruits can sense who is building and who has plateaued – and who is sliding……WOW! Tennessee RUNS this STATE!!!!

Lane Kiffin

January 29th, 2010
8:49 am

I was 100% correct about one thing…I NEVER lost to the lowly puppies!

Big Orange

January 29th, 2010
8:51 am

Suwaneedawg- I’m not one to get into trading barbs and insults, so allow me to ask a civil question. You say UT has no experience at quarterback, but just who is going to throw the ball to Green and company? A redshirt freshman? UT has a quarterback on the roster with several starts in SEC play. Nick Stephens. I’m certainly not sold on him, but he is a senior with game experience.

GA Insider

January 29th, 2010
8:52 am

Word out of Athens says that Aaron Murray is thinking about transferring.

GA Insider

January 29th, 2010
8:56 am

Just kidding. We will once again have a top 5 recruiting class and have preseason hype in the polls, but we will once again end up with only 8 wins. It would be nice to have a coach who could actually do something with all the talent that we have.

Reggie Ball

January 29th, 2010
8:56 am

I told my boss today that the assistant manager grease trap operator was a better fit for me at Waffle house. I will miss wearing all that orange though.

Ron Mexico

January 29th, 2010
8:57 am

If stupidity was painful…I would be in the hospital!

VolsRule

January 29th, 2010
9:02 am

Tennesse OWNS this STATE!!! – Da’Rick – come on up!!!

Ogeechee Dawg

January 29th, 2010
9:05 am

VolsRule – Dooley is doing well – know doubt about that. But he should – he is recruiting for Tennessee. Heck – even Lane Kiffin recruited well for Tennessee last year – and that guys is a frgging IDIOT!!!!

CEPH

January 29th, 2010
9:07 am

The thing that really puzzles me is Richt thought Ogletree was looking around so he gives his brother a scholarship, so why didn’t he do the same with Nance to insure Rogers coming to Ga.? I personally think Nance has a better chance of playing than Alec’s brother! He obviously is no slouch or Tenn. wouldn’t have offered. I just don’t understand why you would do one and not the other. Plus it isn’t like they don’t have any scholarships to offer as a matter of fact I will be surprised if they use all their scholarships. I just don’t understand their reasoning!

German Shepherd Dawg

January 29th, 2010
9:13 am

VolsRule,

It’s a little early in the morning to be drinking so heavily, don’t you think? Stop spiking your OJ with vodka….

DAWG_poop

January 29th, 2010
9:15 am

We run this state! Smokey is twice the dog that UGA could ever be. UGA quit trying and laid down to die.

We’ll sign Da’Rick. We also signed or will sign Juwuan Howard, J.C. Copeland, Marcques Dixon, Nash Nance, and Rajion Neal.

Welcome to Tennessee, gentlemen. GBO!

German Shepherd Dawg

January 29th, 2010
9:17 am

BTW – Word from a Calhoun buddy says grades are a problem and Rogers may have to JUCO if he wants to go to Athens.

However, getting into UT may be another story.