Ten at 10: ACC rule complicates Tech’s pursuit of Marcus Thornton

THE TEN AT 10:

NOTE: Following is an “aggregation blog.” It’s a roundup of news and information from a variety of sources that is believed to be of interest to AJC readers. Material from sources other than the AJC is attributed.

Westlake's Marcus Thornton loved his visit to The Flats last Thursday. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Westlake's Marcus Thornton loved his visit to The Flats last Thursday. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

1. Marcus Thornton told the AJC he was extremely impressed with Georgia Tech after his visit this past week. But the Westlake basketball star might have to be willing to sit out a year if he wants to go there. Shane Lyons, associate commissioner for compliance for the Atlantic Coast Conference, confirmed to the AJC Monday afternoon that the league’s stringent intraconference transfer policy would apply in a case such as Thornton’s. That is, he would have to sit out his first season and have only three years of eligibility remaining if he opted to sign with Tech or another ACC school. That’s “even if you are released from the letter-of intent,” as Thornton was from Clemson. Thornton, a 6-foot-7 power forward, signed with the Tigers last November but was released by the school after coach Oliver Purnell left for DePaul. “There are waiver opportunities,” said Lyons, who would speak only in generalities. But, he said there is “no precedent” where the league ruled in favor of the transferring player. In fact, he said, a player that was released from Virginia Tech after the 2007 on-campus shootings was denied his first year of eligibility at Maryland even after two appeals. “It’s written pretty tightly,” Lyons said of the rule.

2. Thornton could not be reached for comment for about the ACC’s policy. But he has told AJC reporter Michael Carvell he is aware of the ACC’s transfer rules and has been assured by coaches recruiting him he “has a chance of winning” a hardship appeal. Thornton has said he intends to make his decision between Tech, Georgia, Alabama and Texas sometime on or before Friday, when he is scheduled to graduate from Westlake. The NCAA’s spring signing period actually ends at midnight on Wednesday. After that Thornton would be unable to sign an LOI but can sign a non-binding financial aid agreement. Lyons said the ACC transfer rule would apply in either case.

3. Thornton is not the last hope for the Yellow Jackets, who are desperately seeking big men to replace the front-court trio of Derrick Favors, Gani Lawal and Zachery Peacock (34 points, 21 rebounds). One possibility is Justin Knox. The 6-9 forward is graduating from Alabama with a year of eligibility remaining and plans to transfer. He is considering Tech as well as North Carolina, Southern Mill and UTEP, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. Knox averaged 6.6 points and 3.7 rebounds for the Tide last season.

4. Another Division I prospect from Athens will be leaving the state to play football for a school that will face the hometown Georgia Bulldogs yearly. Martay Mattox, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound quarterback at Clarke Central High School, committed to South Carolina on Monday. He chose the Gamecocks over Maryland and South Florida. Two weeks ago, his teammate, OT Alan Posey, committed to fellow SEC Eastern Division member Tennessee. Neither player was offered by the Bulldogs. Mattox was recruited by the Gamecocks as an “athlete” but told TheBigSpur.com he will be given a shot at quarterback first. “[Recruiting coordinator Shane] Beamer said that they wanted me as a quarterback and believe in me as a quarterback,” he said. Mattox had 1,879 yards passing, 780 yards rushing and 31 total touchdowns while leading Clarke Central to a runner-up finish in Class AAAA as a junior last season.

5. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are likely still beaming after a successful weekend for football recruiting. Georgia landed two commitments — East Hall OLB Sterling Bailey on Friday and Mitchell County WR Justin Scott-Wesley on Saturday — to up their total to nine for the Class of 2011. At least partial credit for them picking the Bulldogs has to go to future teammate Christian LeMay. Both players said they’d been in touch often with the blue-chip quarterback prospect from Matthews, N.C., since he chose Georgia on April 30 and credited his influence for helping them make up their minds.

6. Speaking of early commitments, longtime recruiting analyst Allen Wallace blames them for the sharp rise in “decommitments” in recent years and is among the growing number crying out for a system change. Wallace, who has covered recruiting for as long as just about anybody for SuperPrep Magazine and Scout.com, reports that there were 144 “decommitments” in 2009, up from 56 in 2000 and 93 in 2005. “The worthlessness of the so-called commitment is most certainly a growing trend,” Wallace writes. “. . . Maybe it’s finally time for a complete makeover.” Wallace is not among those — such as me — who recommend an early signing period for football. “Just let the kids sign whenever they want after October 1 of their senior year,” Wallace writes. “No muss, no fuss; just signatures authorized by parents and actual binding commitments.”

7. Of course, recruiting continues for Georgia and for Tech, and several offers have been gone out the past few days. The Bulldogs recently offered defensive tackle Chris Mayes of Spalding High School, according to Scout.coms Chad Simmons. Mississippi State, Louisville and Oklahoma State have also offered the 6-foot-5, 297-pound athlete from Griffin. Offensive lineman Errin Joe (6-4, 285) of Lake Gibson, Fla., received a written offer from the Yellow Jackets on Monday, according to JacketsOnline.com.

8. One of the main targets for both Tech and Georgia is Tucker linebacker James Vaughters, who is expected to slice his list down to a final three (or five, just depends) this week. He started with more than 35 offers but has been down to a final eight for several weeks now, including Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, Southern Cal and Stanford. I’m scheduled to meet with Vaughters this week. I’m writing a weekend print story on the mind-bending recruiting experience Vaughters has endured. I’ll let you know as soon as I know who his finalists are.

9. Here’s one you don’t see every day: DaMario Williams is transferring from Middle Tennessee State, where he plays basketball, to Tennessee, where he intends to play football. That’s according to the Murfreesboro Daily Journal by way of the Columbia Herald. Williams (6-4, 190) was an all-star wide receiver at Columbia (Tenn.) High coming out of high school but chose a basketball scholarship with the Blue Raiders. After two unproductive years on the hardwood, Williams told the Herald he wants to give the gridiron a shot. “I just missed football, so I decided to make the switch,” said Willliams, who averaged 1.8 points in basketball last season.

10. THIS & THAT: Bradley Sylve, a 5-11, 175-pound wide receiver from Port Sulphur, La., committed to Alabama this past week. He chose the Tide over LSU, Auburn, Cal, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Stanford, Tennessee and USC. . . . South Paulding quarterback Tony Daniel recently received his first official scholarship offer. It came from  Buffalo, which is recruiting Atlanta hard these days. . . . Linebacker Perry Williams (6-1, 207) of Lawrenceville’s Central Gwinnett High was offered by Southern Miss this past weekend.

  • Please follow me on Twitter
  • Check out the AJC College Sports Recruiting page on Facebook.com and be sure to click “Like.” I have posted some video from the Sterling Bailey announcement there.

104 comments Add your comment

DAWGS WIN SEC IN 2010

May 18th, 2010
10:02 am

First once again!!!! Good stuff Chip

toph

May 18th, 2010
10:09 am

Thanks for the updates Chip!!

Berry29

May 18th, 2010
10:11 am

UT will have lots of BIG/FAST wide receivers next season.
Watch out for 6-5 Matt Milton, 6-4 Justin Hunter….
to also go along with the WR who I shall not name
from Calhoun.

Smokey sux

May 18th, 2010
10:21 am

So who is going to throw it to all of these big fast wide receivers, certainly not that midget from Georgia? Do any of this group of big tall talented wide receivers own a gun or a drug habit? Do any of them go to class? How is that Lane Kiffin working out?

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 18th, 2010
10:24 am

No more basketball, make stomach gets upset since GT has the worst HC in the History of organized sports.

Phewitt would have coached the Dream Team to a Silver medal.

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 18th, 2010
10:26 am

whoops, my stomach gets upset…

Berry29

May 18th, 2010
10:32 am

aww..here come the haters. We’ll be fine with our California QBs
while Nash gets to learn.
If Coach Chaney can turn Jonathan Crompton into an NFL draft pick…just think what he can do for our
other QBs! GO VOLS

DirtyDog

May 18th, 2010
10:35 am

Smokey sux: Yeah, because UGA sure has their quarterback situation ironed out, worry about your own mediocre team. Que the defending of CMR’s record in 3…2…1!!! On a side note, Marcus Thornton should be able to play in the ACC even if he originally signed a L.O.I. w/ Clemson. The NCAA really needs to right the ship when it comes to kids committing to coaches that in turn leave a program. As always, great stuff Chip!!!

nickz

May 18th, 2010
10:36 am

Thornton’s gonna be a dawg…especially now that Tech might be out due to the loss of a year of eligibility. It seems to me that there’s little chance an appeal to work, so I hope they don’t try to convince him otherwise.

Come to UGA Marcus and play right away!!!

TuckDAWG

May 18th, 2010
10:41 am

hey dirtydog and berry29 don’t pretend like everything on rockyflop is ok! I happen to live in TN and know for a fact all of the orange clad drones are sweating this year dont even act like you would’nt love to have our QB situation with the way yours is shaping up. Is Da’Prick even gonna be eligible? See you Oct 9th NOTHING SUX LIKE A BIG ORANGE!!!!! GATA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chris

May 18th, 2010
10:48 am

Why didnt Tech offer Mattox? He seemed to be the perfect fit…

PKS

May 18th, 2010
10:49 am

Congrats to Mattox and Posey. Great kids that get to go to great schools and football programs. But I do hope the lose to UGA every year

Buzzzed

May 18th, 2010
10:49 am

Agreed with DirtyDog. Thorton never stepped foot in Clemson and somehow they have control over his destiny? Now I can see why recruits are announcing “leaders” instead of committing. NCAA needs to step in and slap these conferences around a little.

On a related topic, what about that guy who moved into his dorm at TN but never went to class just as Kiffen quit. Was he able to transfer?

DP

May 18th, 2010
10:52 am

Here’s a good story on recent Alabama commitment Bradley Sylve from about a year ago in the New York Times. He is a track star despite not having a track to practice on within 40 miles of his school because of the damage from Katrina. A year ago he looked like a lock for LSU.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/sports/othersports/28sprinter.html

JB

May 18th, 2010
10:54 am

The State of Georgia has a lot of players leave the state every year just because of pure numbers ( avg 150 D 1 prospects every year). Dawgs are signing 10 or so of the TOP 25. Richt needs to up that to 15 or so of the top 25. Over a four year period, that would put 20 players in Athens STARTING for other SEC/ACC teams. Good ones. That’s what it’s going to take to catch up.

DirtyDog

May 18th, 2010
11:01 am

TuckDAWG: And how exactly is UGA’s QB situation that much better off than UT’s??? So, you now have a high school Sr. (Mason) who has automatically been moved up the depth chart without even taking a snap because of Mett being dismissed & Gray being “reassigned”. Sounds peachy to me, & no VOL fans aren’t expecting anything spectacular this upcoming season. It appears you are still butt hurt over Da’Rick, so if you’ll kindly send me your address I’ll gladly mail you a jersey!!!

Berry29

May 18th, 2010
11:07 am

tuckdawag, we’ll be ready to defend our 45-19 winning score and hope
we make it 4 out of 5 vs UGA. Yeah, we really “sux”, LOL!

Berry29

May 18th, 2010
11:11 am

that would be 4 out of last 5 vs Da’Richt!

Vick=Dog killing thug

May 18th, 2010
11:13 am

Speaking of Da’Rick, does anyone have any credible information on his grades and graduation status?

Ron Mexico

May 18th, 2010
11:14 am

Uh, hey Berry, Crompton was highly ranked coming out of high school buddy. And who drafted him, didn’t even know he had got drafted.

Berry29

May 18th, 2010
11:19 am

Crompton drafted by San Diego after 3 years of “not much”.
Has was just bad in much of 2008.
Alot of the credit goes to Coach Chaney (OC). I don’t care how
highly he was rated in HS. The light took quite a while to
come on. I am happy for him!

Captain

May 18th, 2010
11:19 am

Marcus Thornton better be very careful about what those GT recruiters are telling him. The ACC has never ruled in favor of anyone challenging the transfer rule. It’s a shame GT can’t be honest, but then again, this is a school which was on probation because they “misunderstood the eligibility requirements of the NCAA” and thus played INELIGIBLE athletes. How does a school which calls itself an academic beacon not understand eligibility guidelines? They understand them at Troy, S Miss, UAB, Iowa St, W Va none of which claim to be the academic giants that GT claims to be. How did that happen? Now this same school ‘assures’ Marcus Thornton he can “win” an appeal of a previously never overturned ACC transfer rule. Yeah, ok, whatever, and George O’Leary does have a Masters degree.

Chip Towers

May 18th, 2010
11:22 am

Vick=Dog: Da’Rick Rogers is on track to graduate per Mike Nance, Nash Nance’s father.

Ron Mexico

May 18th, 2010
11:25 am

Yeah he was supposed to be the ish in college, never got going too well though, but he still beat us a couple of times. Did he get drafted in the first seven rounds or after?

Bulldog59

May 18th, 2010
11:47 am

TuckDAWG, you are 100% accurate. My UT booster buddies expect a losing season for UT. I’ve never heard them so down and quiet.

We understand all the UT fans staying positive and supporting your team and new coach. The bottom line here is, you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s**t. Tough year ahead for the Vols.

It will be interesting to see if DD makes it past year 3.

Clarity

May 18th, 2010
11:50 am

Berry, Tennessee’s coaching staff had little to NOTHING to do with Crompton going pro. Actually, Crompton can take little credit. Willie Martinez though, can take ALL the credit for giving him that monster game that propped his stats for the entire year. You would never think that an actual college coach could go through an entire game and never adjust to something as simple as a rollout.

Berry, if Tennessee didn’t win 3 of 6 or 3 of 5 versus Martinez, then Tennessee should disband their football program. Actually, with such a joke of a defensive coordinator at UGA for so long, Tennessee should have won ALL those games. If you have to boast about exploiting a Willie Martinez defense, you know you’ve lowered your standards.

With your entire offensive line and backfield gone not to mention the disappearance of your vaunted secondary, I would talk a lot less trash if I were you. Then again, you’ll probably turn into another Saint Simons after Georgia whips you in 2010. You’ll leave the blog for a few months and when you come back, you’ll brag about the series record and about how Tennessee so thoroughly spanked Georgia in water polo.

Barack Dawg

May 18th, 2010
11:51 am

Berry29 – a better question than the QB throwing the ball – who the hell is going to be blocking for him. Your OL left, graduated, quit, or got drafted. Regardless, zero game experience. UGA’s QB situation is better becasue everyone else that played offense last year came back with the one exception of the QB. So redshirt freshman that was Elite 11 QB and whoever is behind him freshman or not is better than your situation.

How is your running game – Hardesty graduated and Brown quit…UGA in a better situation.

Tack on a coach that has yet to coach in the SEC (regardless of who is daddy is) and yeah our situation is better.

Tack on that you lost one of the best defensive minds in the game and picked up a guy from the WAC and has no SEC experience, and that UGA dumped one of the dumbest minds on defense and yeah UGA is in a better situation. Don’t count on the same play working over and over with the new defense.

Tack on that we picked up one of the best linebacker coaches in college football and one of the best secondary coaches in college football and yeah UGA is in a better situation.

I would take the UGA situation over UTs without any question.

Bulldog59

May 18th, 2010
11:55 am

Berry29, you were just ambushed by a Barack Attack!

David

May 18th, 2010
12:01 pm

God Captain you’re an idiot. Marcus is coming to Georgia Tech and he doesn’t want to go a horrible basketball program like UGA and finish last in the SEC every year. He won’t have to sit out year either…..

DAWGLOVER

May 18th, 2010
12:02 pm

Interesting what Tech coaches told Thornton, that he has a “chance of winning”, key word “chance”!

The Truth

May 18th, 2010
12:11 pm

ACC has done a 180. Now saying he will be eligible due to coaching change. VT case was basically just a player deciding he would rather be at Maryland. ACC does not want to dilute its conference. No other conferences have this rule. It is not mandated by the NCAA.

GTLOVER

May 18th, 2010
12:11 pm

UGA coaches didn’t even bring up winning because they know they suck every year.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

May 18th, 2010
12:12 pm

Check out the Tick Hound’s commit list so far. They have 2 commits with a 2 star rating (and that’s all) and have stolen a Middle Tennessee basketball player ( averaging 1.1 points a game) to play football for them. This does not sound good for the Hounds… and that is good for the DAWGS! Duh’Rick will start for the Hounds but with a weak o-line, their top RB quitting the team, and no experience at QB – Duh’Rick will be Dud’Rick. As for Thornton – he has the talent to start so I don’t see why he would go to Tech to sit on the bench for a year and only have three years of eligibility. When a head coach leaves while a recruit is still in high school the recruit should be given a chance to go elsewhere without penalty. UGA would be perfect for him. He could play there from day one and be on a top 20 rated team that will go to the NCAA playoffs this coming season.

EW

May 18th, 2010
12:12 pm

6-1 185 lb quarterback…congrats Gamecocks lmao

EW

May 18th, 2010
12:13 pm

why would thornton, who will be one and done, go somewhere he sits out a year? that makes no sense…who cares where he goes, I think coach fox wants guys that can stay a couple years and build a program…there’s a reason Duke doesn’t take the one and done guys..

David

May 18th, 2010
12:23 pm

Marcus is not a one and done.

Ron Mexico

May 18th, 2010
12:27 pm

Hey GT lover, we beat you guys in basketball if I recall correctly.

come on chip

May 18th, 2010
12:30 pm

Chip – Vick asked for a credible source and you went to Mike Nance. Wow

dap01

May 18th, 2010
12:43 pm

There’s is a greater chance for Thornton’s family to get mugged on Tech’s campus than him having success challenging that rule.

Does Thornton know about Coach Hewitt? Does he know what a master technicial Hewitt is?

Joe Fan

May 18th, 2010
12:44 pm

Likely Thorton is in a program for at least 3 seasons. So it begs the question, does he want to play in the ACC or SEC?

cdog

May 18th, 2010
12:45 pm

there’s no telling how much cash tech offered marcus thornton.tech has always did illegal recruiting even during bobby cremins era.all of your big wheels are tech grads so no one has the guts to turn them in

Berry29

May 18th, 2010
12:49 pm

so uga is the only school to bring in talented new coaches?? Think not.
Our OL coach comes from the Chicago Bears and our WR coach
has a long list of NFL WR success stories if you care to check.
And you all know all about Chuck Smith and the Boise St. D/C who
is one of the best young minds in CFB. And to blame all of your losses
on Coach Willie M. is prety funny.

Lots to be excited about in Knoxville. We’re loaded at DE, LB, and bring back Jackson who could be just as good as EB29 down the road.
We’re loaded at WR and have the best TE in the SEC. If Poole and Oku
step up as expected at RB- we’ll be fine if the OL does a nice enough job.

Again, we’ll play the game in Athens (if that’s OK?)and see what happens. I hope your team is as overconfident as they were last season.

UGA - glorified hick home school

May 18th, 2010
12:58 pm

UGA’s SALES PITCH TO NEW RECRUITS: Come to UGA so you can achieve average results. You will never win anything of note while you are here, but there will be plenty of opportunities to savor wins against schools in the lower tier of our conference. Plus you will gain valuable experience in how to survive prison life, should you later join several of your predecessors in going the jailbird route. And even though Athens is a sh*thole, the degree you receive from UGA will put you in strong contention for several janitorial, landscaping and other highly sought after hourly jobs. And our girls are particularly striking – several years of southern inbreeding has given them features, ticks and characteristics that you will not find anywhere else on the planet!!

Bobbi Dud

May 18th, 2010
1:14 pm

Go to Tech and get that DQ degree and enjoy the boys dressed as cheerleaders!

Paddy

May 18th, 2010
1:18 pm

Berry29…just my observation but if your OL is avg or below avg this season, thats bad mojo. You could have Jim Brown at rb and Art Monk at wr and still not be able to score enough points to stay in games by the 4th qt. Your qb is going to have to be a combonation of Tim Tebow and Bobby Waterfield to not end up on the IR.

gt baseball is the king of chokes

May 18th, 2010
1:24 pm

where is Southern Mill?

Dean Wormer

May 18th, 2010
1:26 pm

Basketball, Football, it doesn’t matter. This is another example of the plantation mentality of the NCAA, ACC, and college administrators. Coaches can break promises, void contracts and leave for greener pastures, but the kids – the true revenue producers – have to raise their hands and ask permission before transferring, or seeking “a better opportunity” of their own. Don’t you love when coaches (Lame Kiffin) says; “…ultimately, I have to do what is best for me and my family…”? Sure $ 4 million is “best” for most families, but the kids he abandoned at Tennessee have a different set of rules.

AceDawg

May 18th, 2010
1:28 pm

UGA will have a tremendous recruiting class if they are successful on the field this year, especially on defense if Grantham shows instant success. This is the chance for a Richt Renaissance. Could go the other route and be the end of the end as well, but I’m looking for a new fury on defense that will revive the whole program into contention with the Bama and Florida folks. After all, even those programs have been beatable in recent years – just not when UGA stepped on the field.

animal

May 18th, 2010
1:33 pm

This blogsite has, as usual, gone totally stupid. You morons start writing anything you like….do you really think anyone takes any of this crap seriously. Y’all suck. Oh, yeah, well y’all really suck. Yeah, well y’all really, really suck……….

Berry29

May 18th, 2010
1:34 pm

true paddy. But not all of our OL will be Fr. We have Shaw (sr)
Pope (jr) and Thomas (so) who have experience and Shaw started
4 games last year. Schofield redshirted and at least James
went thru the spring and did very well. We’ll have 5 pretty good ones
just need depth beyond those 5.