THE TEN AT 10:
1. We’re barely into March but Kell defensive back Brian Randolph has already pared down his list of
choices to a final three. The 6-foot, 180-pound safety, who has double-digit offers, told me this week he hopes to decide between Florida, Georgia Tech and Tennessee “sometime before the season starts.” Randolph has always been assumed a heavy Tech lean because his brother, Justin Randolph, is a redshirt freshman A-back for the Jackets. But he insists he is evaluating each option independently on its own merits. He said he likes Tech because “it’s close to home and I have a lot of friends there,” Tennessee for its “nice environment” and Florida because “it’s an elite program.”
2. It was over before it really even started. Lawrence Thomas, generally considered the No. 1 linebacker in the country for 2011, committed to Michigan State over the weekend. Just last week Thomas got an offer from Georgia. That’s a very early commitment from such an elite prospect. “Nobody influenced me at all. Coach [Mark] Dantonio even told me to wait if I wanted to,” Thomas told Rivals.com. “But I knew Michigan State is where I wanted to be. I felt like I’d be wasting other people’s time when deep down I knew I wanted to go to Michigan State.”
3. Quarterback Connor Shaw, who graduated from Flowery Branch in December in order to enroll at South Carolina early, had a bit of rough outing in his spring debut for Gamecocks last week, according to The State. But coach Steve Spurrier was still complimentary of Shaw and said the adjustment to SEC speed always takes time. South Carolina needs Shaw to come through. After Reid McCollum left the program in January, the Gamecocks are without a notable backup for starter Stephen Garcia.
4. Georgia commitment Corey Moore of Griffin earned MVP honors for defensive backs at the National Underclassman Combine in Tri-Cities this past weekend. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound safety is known as a big hitter but reportedly was impressive in one-on-one pass coverage. Also standing out in the event were Booker T. Washington’s Zach Witchett, who was named wide receiver MVP, and Hillgrove’s Jabari Hunt-Days, who was tabbed linebacker MVP. Hunt-Days also stood out with the No. 2 “SPARQ rating” at a Nike combine in Orlando the previous weekend. The overall MVP at the NUC was actually a sophomore. Jordan Jenkins, a 6-3, 230-pound linebacker from Harris County, wowed both scouts and participants with a 4.67 40-yard dash and incredible leaping ability.
5. I was checking out the number of commitments for each SEC school this week and noticed an interesting trend. LSU leads the league with nine commitments so far followed by Georgia and Alabama with four each. The one similarity is all the commitments for each school were from in-state prospects except for Bama’s Shannon Brown. Surprising to see Florida, the school with the best in-state recruiting, lagging with just two pledges. They are both Floridians, however. . . . For what it’s worth, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt were the only teams with zero commitments thus far.
6. DL Jonathan Battle of Americus received his first scholarship offer from Louisville this past weekend, according to Scout.com. The 6-1, 273-pounder, who missed his junior season with a torn ACL, is still hoping to hear from UGA and Tech. He also lists Alabama and Auburn on his wishlist.
7. RB Demetrius Hart of Orlando-Dr. Phillips says it is down to Auburn and Florida for him and he will make a commitment to one or the other very soon. The 5-8, 190-pound speedster visited Auburn last weekend. Any pledge from one of the many blue-chip backs in the South could create a domino effect of commitments. Mike Bellamy, Quan Bray, Isaiah Crowell and others of that ilk are eyeing many of the same schools.
8. Athlete T.J. Thorpe of Durham, N.C., committed to North Carolina over the weekend. He was a Georgia Tech target with an early offer from the Yellow Jackets.
9. Offers galore: Union Grove defensive back Avery Walls is now up to 20 offers after getting tenders last week from Michigan, North Carolina, Louisville, Tulsa, Tennessee, Duke, and has graciously offered. Walls also received a invitation to UGA’s junior day and plans to attend. . . . North Paulding wide receiver Christian Conley received an offer from Maryland on Monday. That brings him up to 11 overall. . . . Thomasville DE Ray Drew, who has more than 20 offers, tells me he plans to visit Florida on March 27.
10. Tennessee should be thankful today that Jose Jose backed out of his commitment when coach Lane Kiffin left for Southern Cal in January. The 6-foot-3, 340-pound offensive lineman was charged with aggravated assualt and carrying a concealed weapon this past Friday in Dade County, Fla. The Miami Central star is a UCF signee.
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