Archive for January, 2010

Marist kicker Justin Moore commits to Georgia Tech

It has become increasingly rare to see place-kickers land full-scholarship offers right out high school. Marist’s Justin Moore ended up with two — and he accepted the one he got from Georgia Tech this weekend.

“Yeah, I’m a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket,” said Moore, who had been committed to Miami of Ohio since mid-June. “It all happened pretty fast.”

Tech has known about Moore for a long time — he attended their kicking camp the last two years — but was unable to offer him a scholarship when they were maxed out at 12 scholarships most of the fall. But that was before Morgan Burnett, Jonathan Dwyer, Derrick Morgan and Demaryius Thomas declared themselves available for the NFL draft.

That the Jackets were willing to offer up one of the four precious grants-in-aid is a testimony to how coach Paul Johnson and his staff feel about Moore as well as their concerns about the state of their current kicking game.

“I’m pretty sure I was always high on their rankings but they didn’t think …

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Gainesville’s Blake Sims re-commits to Alabama (updated)

The on-again, off-again relationship of Blake Sims and Alabama is on again.

The Gainesville quarterback and AJC Super 11 selection re-committed to the Crimson Tide while on an official visit in Tuscaloosa this weekend, Sims confirmed on Sunday.

“I did it today just before I left,” Sims said shortly after returning home Sunday night. “It’s a big load off of me. I’m really happy to make my final decision.”

Sims’ recruitment has been a difficult emotional journey. After first committing last spring, Sims decommitted to Bama on Jan. 8, the day after it had won the BCS national title. At the time he expressed concerns over how he may — or may not — be utilized by the Tide on the offensive side of the ball. Coach Nick Saban was able to allay those concerns over the weekend.

“I was able to spend a lot of time with Coach Saban and that was what helped me make up my mind more than anything else,” Sims said. “He didn’t make any promises. He just said come in ready to play.”

Sims said he …

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Tech, Georgia D-coordinator hires will impact recruiting

Georgia and Georgia Tech both hired defensive coordinators in the last 24 hours. The timing is not a coincidence.

The Yellow Jackets are expected to name former Virginia head coach Al Groh as defensive coordinator later today. The Bulldogs tabbed Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham head of their defense earlier Friday.

Why now? The NCAA calendar on Friday flipped out of the red of a dead period into the yellow of a quiet period. On Monday, it switches to the full-out green of a contact period that will continue for two weeks. Both schools are hosting official visits this weekend.

Tech and Georgia needed to have these situations resolved so they could introduce their defensive recruits to the men they’d be playing for if not just be able to say with certainty who it would be.

Ten of the Yellow Jackets’ 13 commitments so far are with either slated to play defense or have extensive experience on that side of the ball. Twelve of the Bulldogs’ 19 commitments are …

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Former Vanderbilt commitment Bradley Roby chooses Ohio State

NEWS AND NOTES . . .

With all the Tennessee debris blowing around and coaching searches ongoing at Georgia and Georgia Tech, there has been a lot of other recruiting nuggets getting shoved to the side. So let’s play a little catch-up this morning.

Peachtree Ridge playmaker backed out of his commitment to Vanderbilt to accept an offer from Ohio State. (AJC photo by Josh D. Weiss)

Peachtree Ridge playmaker Bradley Roby backed out of his commitment to Vanderbilt to accept an offer from Ohio State. (AJC photo by Josh D. Weiss)

Ohio State has come into the Peach State and plucked away once of her best prospects. Bradley Roby, the No. 12 player in the AJC Top 50, committed to the Buckeyes over Vanderbilt and Auburn on Wednesday. The wide receiver/defensive back had nearly a dozen offers, including Boston College and South Carolina.

“I will be a Buckeye next year, no doubt about it,” Roby told the AJC’s Michael Carvell. “I visited Ohio State last weekend and it was a no-brainer. I knew it was the place for me.”

Roby had been committed to Vanderbilt since this middle of this past summer until he recently decided to …

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Bulldogs not likely to benefit from Tennessee’s plight

The question I’ve been asked most in the wake of Tennessee’s ongoing drama is how, if at all, will the situation affect Georgia’s recruiting” So I figured I’d go ahead and address that right away.

In three words, not a lot.

There’s no question that Lane Kiffin’s decision to bolt three weeks before national signing day helps the Bulldogs, as it does everybody else in the SEC’s Eastern Division and any other team that competes with the Vols in recruiting. But I don’t see the Bulldogs becoming a direct beneficiary of any of Tennessee’s recruits at this point.

Here’s a few tidbits I’ve been able to track down today regarding some of the Tennessee commitments with ties to Georgia:

  • OT JaWuan James: The interpretation of NCAA rules we’re getting out of Knoxville today is that the North Gwinnett lineman, who chose the Vols over the Bulldogs, was officially an enrolled student-athlete at Tennessee as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning. That’s contrary to what outgoing recruiting …

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Michael Taylor decommits to Vols, JaWuan James on hold (updated)

UPDATES WITH QUOTES FROM JAWUAN JAMES AND STATEMENT FROM TENNESSEE AD MIKE HAMILTON REGARDING TRANSFER STATUS OF MIDYEAR SIGNEES (2:15 P.M.) . . .

I finally got JaWuan James on the phone. He’s still in Knoxville as of Wednesday afternoon and still isn’t sure what he’s going to do. He may not have much of a choice.

JaWuan James

JaWuan James

“We’re not saying anything right now,” James said. “My mama’s on her way up here. Well, not today, but she’s coming. And I’ve got to talk to her about everything first.”

James’ mother just dropped him off in Knoxville on Sunday. James would not say if he had attended classes as scheduled Wednesday morning, which reportedly the could affect his eligibility in the case of a transfer.

“The AD [Mike Hamilton] has asked us not to say anything to anybody,” James said. “I want to respect that. Once everything is settled I’ll talk.”

I have requested interpretations from the NCAA and UT’s compliance department of the transfer rules regarding early enrollees such …

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Vols’ recruits from Georgia stunned by Kiffin news (updated)

Henry County wide receiver Markeith Ambles, here posing for his AJC Super 11 photo, said he would consider following Lane Kiffin to Southern Cal. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Henry County wide receiver Markeith Ambles, here posing for his AJC Super 11 photo, said he would consider following Lane Kiffin to Southern Cal. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

A.J. Johnson says he’s no longer committed to Tennessee. Markeith Ambles says he may follow its coaches to Southern Cal. And JaWuan James, well, he’s in limbo.

Those are three of the Atlanta area-prospects that bought Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin’s sales pitch and committed to the Vols over the past few months. But with Tuesday night’s stunning news that Kiffin is now leaving Rocky Top to return to Southern Cal, none of them are sure what they’re going to do.

“I just started getting texts from random people so I called Coach Brown [Tennessee receivers coach Kippy Brown to find out what was going on,” Ambles said. “I asked him if it was true. He said yes but everybody was about to go into a meeting and they’d call me. I don’t even know what to think. I just want to talk to Coach Kiffin.”

Reports citing …

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Hutson Mason promotes UGA, ‘The Ride’ while at U.S. Army Game

When Cole Marcoux fired a 50-yard strike to Ivan McCartney for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, nobody was happier about it than Marietta’s Hutson Mason.

Georgia commitment Hutson Mason (front left) and Cole Marcoux (back left) were two of the big winners coming out of the television documentary "The Ride." (special photo)

Georgia commitment Hutson Mason (front left) and Cole Marcoux (back left) were two of the big winners coming out of the television documentary "The Ride." (special photo)

Mason was in San Antonio this past week with Marcoux and the six other quarterbacks that competed in the made-for-TV documentary “The Ride.” As the winner of that competition, Marcoux was able to suit up for the East team and play in the U.S. Army game, the oldest and most prestigious of the national all-star contests. Mason and the other “cast members” from the television series were also there Wednesday through Sunday to shoot a reunion show, which will air next Tuesday, Jan. 19, on Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS).

Marcoux, a senior from The Bronx, N.Y., made the most of his opportunity. He completed 5-of-8 passes for 99 …

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Georgia’s commitments anxiously await hire (updated)

Five-star defensive tackle Garrison Smith of Douglass is hanging in there for the Georgia Bulldogs, but for how much longer. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Five-star defensive tackle Garrison Smith of Douglass is hanging in there for the Georgia Bulldogs, but for how much longer? (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia’s defensive commitments are hanging with the Bulldogs in their protracted search for a defensive coordinator but they may not be able to hold on much longer.

Twelve of the Bulldogs’ 19 verbal commitments thus far are slated to play on the defensive side of the ball. The great majority of those made their pledges to Georgia back before the season started, when Willie Martinez was still defensive coordinator and John Jancek and Jon Fabris his assistants. In many cases they were personally recruited by one or all of those men.

Now Georgia is in its sixth week without a coordinator, secondary, defensive end or linebackers coach. And it’s unclear how much longer it might be before their replacements are hired as Alabama’s Kirby Smart turned down the Bulldogs’ latest overture on Monday. He’s at least the third coach to …

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NFL defections open up recruiting for Georgia Tech

With four more scholarships to offer, how long do you think it took Georgia Tech coaches to give Southwest DeKalb defensive end and UGA commit T.J. Stripling a call? (Chip Towers)

With four more scholarships to offer, how long do you think it took Georgia Tech coaches to give Southwest DeKalb defensive end and UGA commit T.J. Stripling a call? (Chip Towers)

With three more Georgia Tech juniors now making the jump to the NFL, look for the Yellow Jackets’ 2010 recruiting efforts to jump into hyperdrive.

Morgan Burnett, Jonathan Dwyer and Derrick Morgan all announced their intentions Tuesday to enter the NFL draft as underclassmen. They follow wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who already made that decision this past weekend. And while that certainly hurts Tech in the short term, it definitely helps with this year’s recruiting class.

Due to low attrition and a fluke of circumstances, the Jackets had an unusually small number of scholarships to offer for 2010. They were maxed out at 12 commitments for almost the entire fall and only added a 13th — linebacker Quayshawn Nealy of Lakeland — after a scholarship became available during the season.

Now they can go …

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