Archive for January, 2010

Tech adds two more commitments in Hill, Attaochu

Deon Hill rushed for 1,587 yards and 18 touchdowns for Central High School in Phenix City, Ala. (Photo by Richard Day provided by Deon Hill)

Deon Hill rushed for 1,587 yards and 18 touchdowns for Central High School in Phenix City, Ala. (Photo by Richard Day provided by Deon Hill)

As quick as it found itself with some unexpected room, the Georgia Tech recruiting class is filling up again.

The Yellow Jackets got two more commitments from prospects on official visits this weekend. Deon Hill, a 6-foot, 195-pound running back from Phenix City, Ala., and Jeremiah Attaochu, a 6-foot-3, 223-pound linebacker from Washington, D.C., became commitment numbers 15 and 16 for Tech.

While Tech fans may not have heard much about Hill before now, the Yellow Jackets have actually been recruiting Central (Ala.) High School’s star back for quite some time.

“I’ve had a long relationship with [Tech assistant coach] Charles Kelly,” said Hill, who came to several games last season and attended one of the Jackets’ junior camps last year. “He was my recruiter and he’s been recruiting me for a while. But I had no idea whether I was going to …

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‘GTI’ is right, Mike Thornton is on visit to Kentucky

“GA Tech Insider” was right and I was wrong. Mike Thornton did in fact go to Kentucky for an official visit this weekend.

A qualifier first.

I was right for a while at least. In fact, I was right twice. I was right when I wrote early in the week “don’t be surprised if Thornton ends up taking a visit to Kentucky this weekend;” and I was right last night when I wrote that Thornton didn’t plan to go anywhere this weekend. That was after I talked to the big defensive tackle from Stephenson after supper about the Southern Cal trip he plans to take Jan. 29.  He told me straight out then he didn’t plan on going anywhere this weekend.

But like they say about recruiting, things can change fast.

Thornton accompanied four Stephenson teammates on a flight to Lexington Friday. Three Jaguars are already committed to the Wildcats — linebacker Jabari Johnson, running back Raymond Sanders and tight end Ronnie Shields. A fourth will likely join them if coach Joker Phillips comes forth with an …

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The Ten at 10: CB Robey one of last wavering commits for UGA

THE TEN AT 10:

1. It appears the last possible defector for Georgia as a result of the defensive coaching changes could be cornerback Nickell Robey. The 5-foot-7, 165-pound speedster from Frostproof, Fla., is scheduled to take an official visit this weekend to West Virginia. He’s being recruited by former Georgia tight ends coach Dave Johnson. Robey will also take an official to Southern Cal next week. Remember, the Kiffins, Lane and Monte, had made some headway with Robey while they were at Tennessee. Robey, who is now listed as a “soft verbal” to Georgia on recruiting sites, is still considering the Vols.

2. Speaking of the Bulldogs, head coach Mark Richt, new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and new secondary coach Scott Lakatos were in Newnan on Thursday to visit with commitments Alec and Xander Ogletree. In an interview on 680 The Fan Thursday morning Grantham said he would be in the homes of only a few strategic recruits this week. Expect Grantham to spend a lot of …

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Mike Thornton says Kiffin, Orgeron make USC a serious contender

Mike Thornton says don't count out Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans, with whom he has set up an official visit on Jan. 29. (Chip Towers)

Mike Thornton says don't count out Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans, with whom he has set up an official visit on Jan. 29. (Chip Towers)

Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron might strike one more time in Georgia before they get settled out there in Southern California.

The dynamic duo, who declared recruiting war on Georgia while at Tennessee, are now doing their thing for the Trojans of USC. But they still have their connections back here in the Peach State. And despite all that has happened and what all has gone on, they have managed to convince Mike Thornton, the state’s top uncommitted prospect, that his last official visit needs to be out in Los Angeles with them on Jan. 29.

And he’s likely going to take them up on it.

“I’d say I probably would [take the visit],” said Thornton, a big defensive tackle from Stephenson and the No. 3 player in the AJC’s Top 50 state player rankings. “It’s not like you can just drive out there for an unofficial visit. We’ll see. We’re just going with …

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Recruiting news galore: The daily ‘Ten at 10′ is unveiled

We’re heading down the home stretch of recruiting — 13 days and counting — and obviously there are a lot of things happening everywhere every day all over the place. So today we’ll debut what will be a daily feature through National Signing Day.

The daily ‘Ten at 10.’

Each weekday from now until Feb. 3, I’ll provide a list of 10 news items that will hopefully provide a fair representation of what’s going on locally and beyond. The idea is to offer you a light, quick read that will update you on all the pertinent news of the last 24 hours. We’ll continue to provide daily features and analysis as usual and news as it happens and we have some big packages planned as well.

So here’s the first installment:

THE TEN AT 10

  1. Eric Mack, a top 10-rated offensive guard from St. Matthews, S.C., and a longtime South Carolina commitment, announced Wednesday that he’ll sign instead with Auburn. Mack had been committed to the Gamecocks since the middle of this past summer but said he just …

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Florida consensus No. 1, UGA 7, Tech 44.5 in rankings compilation

Recruiting rankings. Take them for what they’re worth. But the most recognized of the national recruiting services have been updating their team rankings a lot recently as we move into the final two weeks before national signing day (Feb. 3).

I’m in a bunch of planning and logistics meetings this afternoon (we’ve got a bunch of great things planned for you guys heading down the stretch). But while we work out the gory details, I figured I’d do a quick compilation of some of the schools of local interest and where they stand in the latest national rankings.

Probably the biggest change you’ll note is Tennessee’s lead-ball drop. The Vols, whose class was ranked 6th and headed toward a Top 5 avaerage ranking, has been dropped as low as No.  26 by Scout.com.

Georgia Tech’s class isn’t getting much national respect. But it never does and last I checked it’s still the defending ACC champion. With an average ranking of 44.5, the Yellow Jackets are rated even lower than usual. But …

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Calhoun’s Da’Rick Rogers, Nash Nance to visit Tennessee

Georgia fans who thought the storm had blown over for Da’Rick Rogers when Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron blew out of Knoxville are going to have to think again.

Calhoun quarterback Nash Nance and best buddy Da'Rick Rogers will be traveling to Knoxville, Tenn., together this weekend. (Photo by Tom Hauck for ESPN)

Calhoun quarterback Nash Nance and best buddy Da'Rick Rogers will be traveling to Knoxville, Tenn., together this weekend. (Photo by Tom Hauck for ESPN)

The Vols, under the direction of new coach Derek Dooley, were back in Calhoun Monday night recruiting both Rogers, a longtime Georgia commitment and the No. 1 player in the AJC’s Top 50, and his quarterback/best friend Nash Nance. Once again, the record-setting duo has agreed to take an official visit to Tennessee.

The date was arranged after UT offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, one of the lone holdovers from Kiffin’s staff, visited with the two players in the Nance home Monday night.

“Coach Chaney from Tennessee came by [Monday] night,” said Nance, who is actually a longtime Vanderbilt commitment but has been heavily recruited by a number of schools of late. …

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UGA commit Deon Rogers feels better after coaches visit

Deon Rogers had a Georgia entourage come to his house on Monday and he’s feeling a lot better about things as a result.

Head coach Mark Richt, tight ends coach John Lilly and running backs coach Bryan McClendon paid Rogers a visit Monday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He also spoke to new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham via telephone. Rogers said he was still committed to the Bulldogs before their meeting but he was even more committed afterward

“It went real well,” said Rogers, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound linebacker from Treasure Coast High School. “It took a lot of stress off my shoulders. Now I’m ready.”

So what’d they talk about?

“We talked about the new defensive coordinator,” Rogers said. “They told me that he’s a good man, the he has a lot of experience and is a really good coach. They told me about the 3-4 [defense] and what that would mean for me. They told me I’d be an outside linebacker.”

A short time later Rogers was on the phone with Grantham. “He was a nice guy. Said he’d …

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JaWuan James returns to Tennessee as Vols assess damage

Big JaWuan James of North Gwinnett is back on Rocky Top after nearly a week of indecision. (Chip Towers)

Big JaWuan James of North Gwinnett is back on Rocky Top after nearly a week of indecision. (Chip Towers)

It will take a few years to assess the damage Lane Kiffin caused the Tennessee football program with this selfish antics. But the initial blast to recruiting seems to be over and certainly wasn’t as devastating as it could have been.

Heading into last week the Vols had 22 commitments and a No. 6 national ranking. As of Monday evening they had lost five commitments. And gone are some really good ones.

Ahmad Dixon of Waco, Texas, was a five-star safety, according to Scout.com. DE Delvin Jones, DT Calvin Smith, Atlanta LB Michael Taylor and DE Brandon Willis all drew four-star ratings. Those guys have either committed or enrolled somewhere else or plan to.

But thanks to the quick hiring of new coach Derek Dooley, UT has managed to talk some high-profile prospects off the ledge and gotten them to stick . . . for now at least.

Several major prospects have elected to stay on, …

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After Tennessee debacle, Michael Taylor ‘blessed’ to be a Gator

When Michael Taylor revealed that he had decommitted from Tennessee this past Wednesday, it was naturally assumed it was because coach Lane Kiffin pulled an about-face and jettisoned Rocky Top for Southern California.

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor

But the truth is the fast-rising linebacker from Atlanta’s Westlake High School had already backed out before the Kiffins bolted. Taylor had silently committed to the Florida Gators a week ago Sunday before leaving his official visit to Gainesville. He went public with the news this past Sunday.

“I wanted to let the Tennessee coaches know and then all that happened with Coach Kiffin and everything and that delayed things,” the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Under Armour All-American told me yesterday. “I finally talked to coach [Lance] Thompson. He was the one who recruited me all along so he was who I really wanted to talk to. He was OK with it. He said he understood.”

No one player has seen his stock rise more than Taylor. Considered at the outset of …

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