THE TEN AT 10:
1. Dogged by double hamstring injuries all last season, M.L. King’s Mack Brown did not have the senior year everybody expected. Opening as the state’s top-rated tailback, he barely managed 1,000 yards for the Lions. But that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of Florida coach Urban Meyer, who labeled Brown one of the most important acquisitions in the Gators’ No. 1-ranked recruiting class of 2010. “I love Mack Brown and when I say I love Mack Brown I love everything about his family,” Meyer told GatorBait.net. “I love his family, his mother is a great lady and his sister and his father is the guy I got closest with. He might be the highest-rated back we’ve gotten since we’ve been here. He’s got to get healthy and when you watch him on tape it reaffirms, I did that about three weeks ago, I watched him on tape and he’s tremendous. We need to have him ready to go right now. He has the size to become a 210-pound back which we need.”
2. Meyer was pretty pumped about another Atlanta product the Gators landed. He spoke glowingly of Westlake linebacker Michael Taylor, a one-time Tennessee commitment who ended up as Rivals.com’s No. 3-rated prospect at his position. “That’s a great high school, Westlake High School in Atlanta is one of the top high schools in America, that was our error not to be in the middle of that one,” Meyer told GatorBait. “Came down, terrific kid, was the MVP of the Under Armour game, and even before there was transition with (Tennessee’s) staff he made the decision he wanted to come to Florida. We’re very proud to have him. Good kid, good student, good family, the whole deal.”
3. Do you get the feeling there is a different set of NCAA rules in the state of Alabama than there is in Georgia? Over the last four years, Alabama has signed 11o football players to letters-of-intent. Auburn has signed 119. Over the same period, Georgia has signed 86 and Georgia Tech 79. The difference therein is equal to more than an entire year’s recruiting class. NCAA rules stipulate that you can never bring in more than 25 players on scholarship in a single year and you can never have more than 85 players on scholarship at one time. This is something I’m just beginning to look into but there are only a few ways to get away with this. One, some signees you never expect to enroll; two, some end up on medical hardship; and, three, you run off those that can’t compete. This is why the SEC instituted the 28-max rule. The NCAA adopted the rule for the entire FBS for 2011.
4. Ran across this quote from B.J. Butler on a Louisville fan site recently that seems to validate assertions that Georgia actually withdrew its offer for the Kissimmee, Fla., linebacker. Asked how he wound up with the Cardinals, Butler said: “I visited around Jan. 8, and Georgia wanted an answer on where I was going before I left for Louisville,” Butler said. “When I told them I wanted to wait until I got back, they suggested that we go our separate ways.” So there you go.
5. The general perception is thatmost recruiting takes place in the fall. Not so. The reality is it’s a year-round proposition and it could be argued that right now, in the dead of winter, is the most critical time. Georgia and Georgia Tech have already held their first junior camps. The University of Texas has its first of two this weekend. Junior camps are invitation-only affairs in which the best prospects pay their own way to campus, are treated to campus tours and sporting events and the weekend is usually capped off with scholarship offers. The Longhorns had 21 commitments before April 1 of last year, according to The Sporting News Today. The Bulldogs had 17 by August of last year.
6. Don’t look now but Tennessee is already working hard on defensive tackle Gabriel Wright and running back Isaiah Crowell, a pair of rising seniors at Carver-Columbus and two of the state’s best prospects. The Vols had already made headway under former coach Lane Kiffin but have reestablish a relationship through Lance Thompson. “I like Coach Kiffin and his attitude and he’s a cool guy, funny guy,” Wright told Volquest.com. “But, I love Coach Thompson too. He’s just wanting to get us to Tennessee.” But Wright said he’s not anywhere close to picking favorites. He talked about the criteria he’ll use to narrow it down. “First, I look for good communication. I want to be able to talk with my coaches and some of the players,” he said. “Definitely who will be coaching me. A good FCA program would be nice. I know they take care of the kids and keep kids active. The people. The fans. The excitement. I know that’s pretty much a given with any school I’m looking at. That’s why Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, they’re all some on the top of my list. The game atmosphere I’ll be playing in and all the joy and excitement that goes into that.”
7. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter have become an increasingly powerful element in the recruiting game. But it is not a medium Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner is ready to embrace. “I know you’ve got to embrace some of these things, but my job is already encompassing enough,” Garner told reporters recently. “I’m not going down certain roads right now until I have to.”
8. Speaking of Twitter, Tennessee signee Da’Rick Rogers claimed in a Tweet to already be qualified for freshman eligibility with the Vols. In a response to @brandonring, Rogers wrote, “yes i am … been qualified since october… qualified for uga a while back ago[sic] … put in my application last week qualified 4 the Vols.” For what it’s worth, this does not corroborate with information I was getting from sources when Rogers was committed to Georgia.
9. ESPN.com’s SEC blogger Chris Low lists Auburn junior college transfer Cameron Newton as the top newcomer to the league in 2010. Neverminding that the former Florida quarterback is not actually an SEC newcomer, Low writes that the 6-6, 245-pound Newton “has everything Gus Malzahn is looking for to run his spread offense.” Since Newton is already enrolled in school and will go through spring practice, Low sees him as the runaway favorite to win the Tigers’ starting quarterback job.
10. Low’s other four newcomers to watch: Florida redshirt freshman receiver Andre Debose, Alabama cornerback DeMarcus Milliner, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore and Ole Miss junior college transfer defensive end Wayne Dorsey.