THE TEN AT 10:
1. If you base it on player rankings, neither Georgia nor Georgia Tech are exactly tearing up in-state basketball recruiting. There are seven players from Georgia on the Rivals 150 list of the nation’s top recruits. Between them the two in-state majors have signed a grand total of — ZERO. And that won’t change if one or the other wins the battle for Marcus Thornton because he’s not among the 150. Who is? By ranking they are: Wheeler’s Jelan Kendrick (No. 8, Memphis); Walton’s Ryan Harrow (24, N.C. State); Liberty County’s Jordan McRae (42, Tennessee); McEachern’s Trae Golden (55, Tennessee); Liberty County’s Rion Brown (61, Miami); Norcross’ Jeremy Lamb (68, Connecticut); and Columbia’s Jershon Cobb (90, Northwestern).
2. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re flailing around in recruiting. Tech’s one signee so far, guard Jason Morris, is a Georgia native attending the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut and is ranked No. 84 by Rivals. And one of Georgia’s three signees, 6-9 forward Cady Lalanne of Orlando, is rated 142. Another (Sharrard Brantley of Dublin) is a one-year JUCO transfer so he’s not ranked. Donte Williams, a 6-9 forward from Miller Grove, didn’t crack the 150. . . . Both schools’ coaches are trying to do better in 2011. As pointed out on the Prep Zone Blog this morning by our unofficial basketball recruiting reporter, Michael Carvell, Georgia’s Mark Fox and Tech’s Paul Hewitt were both at Milton High School on Wednesday, the last day of the spring contact period (at separate times of course). Each wanted some face time with a trio of elite prospects: 6-foot-9 power forward Julian Royal, 6-3 shooting guard Dai-Jon Parker and 6-1 point guard Shannon Scott (an Ohio State commitment).
3. Remember when I wrote a while back that Dalton’s Watts Dantzler had decided to go out for his school’s tennis team this season? Well, the 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive lineman did and the season was recently completed. “I went 4-1 on JV, ha ha,” Dantzler told me in a recent e-mail exchange. Dantzler went on to say his whirlwind recruitment has slowed down a little lately — partly because he had his tonsils taken out last Tuesday — and he has no imminent plans to visit anywhere else right now. Dantzler is now up to 20 official scholarship offers after “discovering” one from Memphis recently. I’ll let him explain: “A good friend of mine, Brady Willocks, helped me go through a stack of about 500 letters I hadn’t opened and we found an offer from Memphis in there! So that was the 20th offer, which is awesome. I never knew I’d get that many. I’m truly blessed!” A while back Dantzler named a top five of Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. His parents are UGA alums.
4. I’ve been trying to track down quarterback Airyn Willis for the last couple of days but haven’t yet reached him. But by all accounts, he could be the next player to commit to Georgia Tech. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound from Southwest Guilford High in Highpoint, N.C., has told recruiting websites that cover the Yellow Jackets that they are his No. 1 team and that he may be “close to” committing to them. He plans to be on hand Saturday for Tech’s spring game so it could happen then if not before or after. Stay tuned.
5. Jamie Newberg, one of Rivals.com’s national recruiting analysts, addresses in his regular “Ask Jamie” feature the notion that Georgia has slipped in its in-state recruiting. There is no room here to get into his lengthy reply so I have provided THE LINK HERE if you want to read it in its entirety. But the “nut graph” of what he wrote is: “People are blowing this way out of proportion, believing the Bulldogs have lost their stranglehold on in-state recruiting. Have they? No.” He goes on to say that the Bulldogs had some bad whiffs this past year losing out on Da’Rick Rogers, JaWuan James and Jeff Whitaker. But he adds that they have made significant strides with their reach out of state and reels off the names of Georgia’s many successes outside its borders.
6. Speaking of Newberg, another interesting item he has this week is a glowing review of 2012 prospect Matt Jones. He’s calls the 6-foot-3, 217-pound running back from Seffner, Fla., “a throwback” and “a pure north-south runner with good speed.” He wrote that the rising junior eventually will have “offers from just about every team in the college game. This kid is that good.” Newberg also wrote of Jones: “Right now he says Georgia is his top dog.”
7. Auburn beat out Alabama this week to land a commitment from offensive lineman Reese Dismukes of Spanish Fort, Ala. As pointed out by ESPN.com’s Chris Low, Dismukes, who is considered one of the top center prospects in the South, is the third ESPNU 150 interior offensive lineman to commit to the Tigers for 2011. The others are Thomas O’Reilly of Marietta’s Pope High and Spencer Region of Cullman, Ala. Coach Gene Chizik’s Tigers finished with a Top 5 class last year and have been going toe-to-toe with the Tide for bluechip prospects. In fact, Stacy LeMay, the father of Scout.com’s No. 2-ranked quarterback Christian LeMay, told me earlier this week that they were “blown away” by the assemblage of talent they found on The Plains while on a recent visit there.
8. Gainesville linebacker A.J. Johnson can add LSU to his growing list of offers. The Tigers made their tender official on Wednesday. That gives the 6-foot-3, 226-pounder 15 offers in all. Johnson attended Alabama’s A-Day game this past Saturday. He was also at Georgia Tech twice during his recent spring break. Bama, Clemson and Florida are leading at this point, according to his coaches.
9. Another player I wasn’t able to track down until late this week was Georgia’s most recent commitment, Devin Bowman. I finally ran down the dynamic two-way athlete from Rossville’s Ridgeland High on Thursday. I asked him about a myriad of things, including how bad he might have wanted to play with his brother Michael Bowman at Alabama. “At the beginning, I really wanted to go to Alabama with my brother,” Bowman said. “But since I’ve been going over to Georgia they’ve made me happy and they really made my mom happy, which was a big plus.” Check back here early Friday morning to read the complete interview.
10. Griffin’s Xzavier Dickson was the latest Georgian to become an Under Armour All-American. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound defensive end accepted an invitation last week to play in the annual all-star game down in Florida. Also accepting invites last week were quarterback Brett Hundley of Chandler, Ariz., and LeMay. You can check out the whole roster on ESPN.com’s recruiting site.
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