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.
1. Ray Drew had a pretty good laugh when informed of the latest rumor circulating through recruiting circles over the weekend. No, he said, he’s not committed to Georgia, silently or otherwise. In fact, he said he’s not close to committing to anybody anywhere anytime soon. “I’m going to be a late commit,” said the big defensive end from Thomas County Central. “It may be signing day or even after for me.” As for being secretly betrothed to the Bulldogs, Drew said, “That’s not the first time. I’ve been committed to Georgia. Earlier I had committed to Florida State. They’ve had me committed to Alabama.” Drew said he has too much else going on in life right now to be concerned with recruiting. Having just finished spring practice and completed the school year, he’s back on the preaching circuit. An ordained minister, he spoke to a youth group in Valdosta this past Saturday night, was preaching in Moultrie at Live Oak Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday and will preach at Barnett’s Creek Baptist Church in Thomasville on Wednesday. Of course, he’s a regular at his home church, Paradise Missionary Baptist. The title of his latest sermon, “I Am.” As for recruiting, add “not committed.”
2. James Wilder Jr., the Super Man of a prospect from Plant High in Tampa, was named Linebacker MVP of this past weekend’s star-studded Nike Camp in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Afterward he was planning to remain on the Alabama campus for an unofficial visit. He told several recruiting websites he was planning a late-summer announcement but claimed no favorites at this point. However, he often mentioned Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Miami.
3. Several local players had very good showings in the Tuscaloosa event last weekend. Westlake’s Ronnie Harris was named Defensive Back MVP. Stephenson cornerback Jared Boyd was 11th among the “top 12 performers” listed by Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barton Simmons. And fellow Stephenson defensive back David Stevenson was cited for his excellent technique. Also, Lassiter’s Eddie Printz was singled out as one of the best prospects at his position for 2013.
4. There apparently were some doubts regarding M.L. King’s Mack Brown meeting freshman eligibility requirements at Florida, according to an “academic update” at GatorBait.net (the Rivals site that covers the Gators). But Brown told me Monday there’s nothing to it. “I graduated this past Saturday and, yes, I’m qualified for UF,” Brown said via text message. The state’s top running back prospect in 2009 reports to the Gainesville, Fla., campus on June 21. He also said that the lingering hamstring injury that dogged him last season is “pretty good” now.
4. Quarterback Carson Barnett, a 6-foot-2, 187-pound rising senior at Landmark Christian, was recently selected to compete on the show “The Ride,” the reality/documentary show that ran on CSS last fall and first introduced eventual UGA signee Hutson Mason to the nation as an “under-the-radar” prospect. But Bennett declined the invitation. “I felt it was best that I didn’t participate,” Barnett told me. “I already had a lot of college camps and team commitments during the days of ‘The Ride.’ I’m honored to have had the opportunity and wish it would have worked out.” Barnett passed for 1,328 yards with 12 TDs and 2 INTs in a balanced, I-based offense last season. He currently does not have any scholarship offers but claims recruiting interest from 30 schools, including Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee and Notre Dame. You can bet UGA coach Mark Richt is at least aware of him. Barnett lists Brad Johnson — Richt’s brother-in-law — as a “personal quarterback coach.”
5. Barnett is among the Top 10 quarterbacks in the state this year, according to a list compiled earlier this year by UGASports.com’s Kipp Adams. In order Adams rates a top four of Nick Marshall, Wilcox County; C.J. Uzomah, North Gwinnett; Akil Dan-Fodio, Redan; and Martay Mattox, Clarke Central. Then he includes Barnett in a group of “others to watch,” along with Flowery Branch’s Austin Brown, Sandy Creek’s Ronnie Bell, South Paulding’s Tony Daniel, South Gwinnett’s Kent Rollins and Buford’s Alex Ross.
6. Georgia Tech is in the final two for Clay Burton, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end from Venice, Fla., according to a report in the Charleston’s postandcourier.com. Yellow Jackets’ defensive coordinator Al Groh was just in to see Burton, according to JacketsOnline.com. Burton, who has numerous offers, also lists Notre Dame as a school of interest and plans to visit there this summer. He also picked up an offer this week from Florida State.
7. South Carolina has been hitting the city of Atlanta hard of late. The Gamecocks recently dished out offers to two local players, according to PalmettoSports.com: DE Lorenzo Mauldin (6-4, 245) of Maynard Jackson High and DE Darrius Caldwell (6-5, 210) of Mays. Mauldin doesn’t currently have any other offers. Caldwell also holds offers from Ole Miss, West Virginia and Memphis.
8. Tucker LB James Vaughters is the top college football prospect in Atlanta for 2011, according to a weekend poll conducted on the AJC Recruiting Blog. Vaughters took 37 percent of the vote to finish ahead of North Paulding WR Chris Conley (28) and Griffin DE Xzavier Dickson (11).
9. Georgia offered 2012 Pompano Beach, Fla., WR/CB Avery Johnson (6-2, 185) on Monday, according to Scout.com’s Chad Simmons. For what it’s worth, Johnson says Alabama, LSU and Miami lead at this point.
10. Class of 2012 ATH Tev’n Hamilton of The Darlington School in Rome received his first major offer Friday from Air Force, according to Rusty Mansell of SuperPrep.com. . . . Mansell also reported three offers for Hillgrove’s Ira McCune (6-3, 240), Illinois and N.C. State as a defensive end and Air Force as a tight end.