THE TEN AT 10:
1. The first stop on the “Marcus Thornton Whirlwind Recruiting Tour” will be in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama today. The Atlanta-Westlake star and reigning Mr. Georgia Basketball will visit with coach Anthony Grant before heading to Austin, Texas, this weekend to get a close-up look at the Texas Longhorns, according to TideSports.com. Citing Westlake coach Darron Rogers, the reports says Thornton also plans trips to Kentucky and Michigan but is still debating whether to visit Georgia and/or Georgia Tech. The 6-foot-7 power forward is also still considering Clemson. Thornton signed with the Tigers last fall but was released from his letter-of-intent after coach Oliver Purnell left for DePaul this year.
2. Speaking of LOIs, there’s a really interesting story in The Sporting News about how the national letter-of-intent, or LOI, is starting to get some resistance from top basketball recruits. Elite players are starting to see it for what it is, a binding one-way contract that favors the schools. In fact, Brandon Knight, one of the top basketball prospects in the country, refused to sign an LOI with Kentucky and opted instead to sign something called a “financial aid offer.” Knight’s mother told the Lexington Ledger-Enquirer it was “just as a precautionary measure” should coach John Calipari decide to leave for another job.
3. Pope all-state offensive lineman Thomas O’Reilly has accepted his invitation to play in the Under Armour All-America Game. O’Reilly was also a nominee for the U.S. Army Game but picked the Orlando-St. Petersburg event mainly because two of his future Auburn linemates — Reese Dismukes of Spanish Fort, Ala., and Spencer Region of Cullman, Ala. — have also agreed to participate.
4. Here is somewhat of a local take on Christian LeMay’s impending announcement Friday from Langston Wertz Jr. of the Charlotte Observer. LeMay, the No. 2 quarterback in America according to Scout.com, will annouce his college choice from a final five of Georgia, Clemson, Auburn, Texas A&M and Notre Dame on Friday in Pineville, N.C. I’ll be there to chronicle.
5. Speaking of local takes on North Carolina quarterbacks, Georgia Tech’s latest commitment, Airyn Willis of High Point, N.C., is profiled here in the Greensboro News-Record.
6. In case you missed it yesterday, Brookwood athlete Andre Sims has committed to Michigan State. Sims (5-9, 170) made his mark as a wide receiver last season (school record 915 yards on 56 catches and 9 TDs) but he is expected to play in the defensive backfield for the Spartans. Sims does not currently have any other major college offers but was invited to camps at LSU and Virginia Tech.
7. Here’s a good breakdown of Georgia high school graduates in the recent NFL draft from our colleague Todd Holcomb for MaxPreps.com. I didn’t realize the three first rounders — Eric Berry (Fairburn-Creekside), Demaryius Thomas (Dublin-West Laurens) and Kareem Jackson (Macon-Westside) — were the second-most of all time. Georgia had four first-rounders in 2007. There all kinds of juicy tidbits there.
8. There’s a good piece this morning from Tony Barnhart, a.k.a “Mr. College Football,” on coach Bill Curry and why at his age he would want to take on the enormous challenge that is starting a football program at Georgia State.
9. Trip Thurman, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman from Dover, Del., found himself in an embarrassing situation at Tennessee’s Orange and White spring game the other weekend. He was turned away at the prospects’ gate after being told his name wasn’t on the list. “Coach [Harry] Hiestand said it was just a mix-up, that it didn’t get relayed to him or any of the other coaches,” Thurman told GoVolsXtra.com. “Coach Hiestand said they’re really behind on this year’s class because of how late they had to recruit for the 2010 class. He said they’re very interested in me and they want to get to know me more. He just apologized that he didn’t get a chance to see me and I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of the coaches.” Thurman, who has offers from Florida, Clemson, South Carolina and West Virginia, among others, said he accepted the apology and is still considering the Vols.
10. Interesting to note in hindsight that Florida, which had a national-best nine players selected in the NFL draft, could have had at least two more taken in the first round if not for character issues. Tight end Aaron Hernandez earned first-round ratings but dropped to fourth after admitting to using marijuana and failing at least one drug test while playing for the Gators, according to a story in the Gainesville Sun. And defensive end Carlos Dunlap almost certainly would have been a first-rounder if not for his DUI arrest the week of the SEC Championship Game. As it was, the Dunlap went in the second round to Cincinnati with the 54th pick.
Please follow me on Twitter.