Archive for March, 2010

Tech gets first commitment from East Hall’s Chaz Cheeks

UPDATED THROUGHOUT . . .

Chaz Cheeks became Georgia Tech’s first verbal commitment for the 2011 class on Tuesday.

“I feel happy, excited, filled with joy,” said Cheeks, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive end from East Hall High School in Gainesville.

Recruiting momentum was just really picking up for Cheeks, who also had offers from Ole Miss and N.C. State. But he didn’t see any reason to prolong the process.

“I just sat down with the family, my coaches and friends whose opinion I value and just really started thinking about Georgia Tech,” he said. “Number one school in the ACC; you graduate from Tech you’re going to have a good job. I didn’t see anything better so I was like, ‘Let’s go for it!’”

Cheeks is expected to play outside linebacker for the Yellow Jackets. At East Hall he has played his entire career with his hand on the ground.

“I did, but actually this year the coaches are going to work me a little bit at outside linebacker. So I’ll have a year under my belt before I …

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Ten at 10: Tech moves in on Stephenson C Tarik Cook

THE TEN AT 10:

1. It looks like Georgia Tech may have identified a possible replacement for center Sean Bedford. Stephenson center Tarik Cook visited The Flats along with teammate Jared Boyd this past week and, while he did not land one, he feels like a scholarship offer is imminent. “I got to spend a lot of time with Coach [Todd] Spencer and Coach [Mike] Sewak and they were pretty cool,” Cook said of the Jackets’ co-offensive line coaches. “We sat down and talked about my highlight film and we talked about their situation at center. Their starter is about to graduate [after 2010 season], so I think I would have an opportunity to play early. [Head coach Paul] Johnson was out of town and he’s the only one that can offer but they said I had a good shot.” Cook (6-foot-2, 294 pounds) currently has offers from Ole Miss and Central Florida and plans to visit both schools. He said he has been to junior days at Alabama, Auburn and Georgia and hopes to get offers from them as well. …

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Have Bulldogs lost their footing in South Georgia?

Has Georgia lost its footing in South Georgia?

There are indications that could be the case, in Valdosta in particular. Tyler Hunter became the latest major-college prospect to go south rather than north out of Lowndes County. The defensive back from Lowndes High — and son of former Bulldog receiver Brice Hunter — recently committed to Florida State.

Should Hunter’s commitment hold up — he says he’ll still take visits — it will continue a rich southward flow of talent from Valdosta to Tallahassee. The Seminoles beat Georgia head-to-head for Greg Reid in 2009 and Telvin Smith in 2010. FSU also signed Gerald Demps out of Lowndes in 2009.

Conversely, Georgia currently has just one player on its roster from Valdosta — sophomore linebacker Mike Gilliard — and none from Lowndes High. The Bulldogs currently have just 10 players on their roster from South Georgia. There was a time it seemed the Bulldogs got most any player they wanted out of that area.

“They’ve lost their stronghold,” …

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UGA commitment Corey Moore tabbed U.S. Army All-American

In the back of his mind, Corey Moore hoped he might get an invitation to one of the national all-star games and the resident distinction of becoming a prep All-American that comes with it. But when it actually happened it kind of took him aback.

Moore, a 6-1, 185-pound safety from Griffin, was invited on Thursday to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Jan. 8 in San Antonio.

“I wanted to play in it but I wasn’t expecting to play in it,” said Moore, who has been a Georgia commitment since Jan. 30. “But they picked me and I’m glad they did.”

Moore wasn’t sure if he might also receive an invitation to any of the other all-star games, including the Under Armour in Orlando or the Offense-Defense in Myrtle Beach, S.C. But he’s treating it kind of like he did his recruitment to Georgia. The Army Game was the first to offer, so he accepted.

“I was in weight training and my Coach [Steve DeVoursney] told me I was invited. I was like, ‘wow,’” Moore said. “He asked me if I wanted to …

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Watts Dantzler’s late father still a major influence his recruitment

Earlier this week I wrote about elite offensive line prospect Watts Dantzler of Dalton and how much he’s enjoying the recruiting process. What I didn’t get into very much in that report was Dantzler’s relationship with his father, Danny Dantzler, who fought a valiant three-year battle with ALS (better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) before succumbing in February of 2009.

While Danny Dantzler is gone, he still has a strong influence on his son’s recruitment. A one-time recruit himself — he played offensive line at Georgia from 1971-73 — Danny Dantzler lived long enough to know his son was going to be a big-time prospect.

“He definitely does play a big role in [the recruiting process],” Watts told me. “He knew my freshman year, when I first started to get some interest, that I’d be a pretty big prospect. So we talked about it. He said he wanted me to do what was best for me.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be a slam dunk for the Bulldogs.

“He really liked Auburn,” said …

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Ten at 10: 5-star prospect from Florida plans to visit Georgia

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Five-star prospect James Wilder Jr. of Tampa apparently intends to take a serious look at Georgia, according to a Rivals.com report. The running back/linebacker from perennial power Plant High has the Bulldogs in his top five and plans to visit Athens the weekend of the G-Day Game. Said Wilder: “We have a very good connection, I love that school. I have been talking to [current Bulldogs and Plant grads] Orson Charles and Aaron Murray. . . . They talk to me not just to go there, but [say] it is an awesome place. Me and Coach are going to go to the spring game. I like them a lot and the coaches down there. They like me at running back and that is where I want to play at the next level. We are going to get up there and do more talking and they are going to show me around the facilities and how the campus life is.” Wilder listed his other four favorites as Alabama, Florida, Florida State and Miami. He’s also looking at Notre Dame and Southern Cal. He has been …

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‘Boo’ Malcome ready to rock number 24 at Georgia

Boo Malcome, then playing under the name Kendrun, plows over a Marist defender last season. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Boo Malcome, then playing under the name Kendrun, plows over a Marist defender last season. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Forget Ken Malcome. That’s so 2009.

Say hello to Boo Malcome. Now that sounds more like an SEC tailback!

Actually, they’re one in the same. “Boo” is a nickname that Ken Malcome has been going by for years among family and friends. The Southwest DeKalb running back plans to break it out as a full-time moniker when he reports the University of Georgia to begin his college football career in June.

“I just like that name,” said Malcome, who also said he’ll be wearing the number 24 for the Bulldogs next season. “My family calls me that and people at school and in my neighborhood call me that. I feel like it gives me some swag and kind of motivates me to do better. It’s got a ring to it, kind of like Juice Williams, Bo Jackson, Champ Bailey.”

Malcome informed me of the name change during an interview on Wednesday. The way it came up was I asked him whether he …

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Recruiting starting to take off for RB Quan Bray

Quan Bray is very excited about this recruiting stuff. He really is. He just hasn’t had a chance to really get into it yet.

A four-star running back prospect from Callaway High School in Hogansville, Bray has received upward of 25 scholarship offers so far. But up until now it hasn’t meant much more than a bunch of stacks of mail. Bray has been too busy competing in one sport or another to really break down and study why he might like School A more than School B.

“That’s what I’m trying to do now,” said Bray, who was sorting through his offers with coach Pete Wiggins on Tuesday afternoon. “I plan on visiting a couple of schools; I’m just trying to figure out which ones. I just got done playing basketball so I really haven’t had time to do it yet. Now I’m running track, but I don’t think track is going to interfere with me going places over the weekend. So I’m going to try to set up some trips.”

Bray (5-11, 180) said Alabama and Clemson were two places he intends to get to in …

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Ten at 10: Kell’s Brian Randolph down to 3, including Tech

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. …

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Thomasville’s Ray Drew has a calling other than football

AJC Top 10 prospect Ray Drew hasn’t exactly been burning up the junior days circuit. But he gets a pass. He’s been busy saving souls.

In addition to daily workouts in the Thomas County Central weight room and track practice — he’s a state-ranked thrower — the 6-foot-5, 240-pound, bluechip football prospect is a licensed minister. He works out of Paradise Missionary Baptist Church in Thomasville and spreading the Lord’s word is his life’s passion.

In fact, what little spare time Drew has had of late has been spent preparing for a three-day revival this week in Ochlocknee.

“I’ve done five or six of these,” said Drew, who has been licensed since 2006. “There’s usually a good number of people on hand. I have a group that follows me wherever I go, my parents, my grandparents and some people from our church. And then there’s the people who come out.”

Talking comes easy for the personable Drew, so it would follow that preaching would also. He has given numerous sermons in his young …

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