Archive for June, 2010

Colquitt County OT Xzavier Ward receives offer from Notre Dame

Colquitt County offensive lineman Xzavier Ward confirmed Wednesday that he recently received an offer from Notre Dame. And it was a pretty big deal for the big tackle from Moultrie.

The offer immediately catapulted the Fighting Irish toward the top for Ward. He listed a top six for me in a phone call this afternoon, including Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Georgia.

“I think it’s great,” he said of the Notre Dame offer. “It’s good to have an up-North team that’s interested in me. It’s something to think about.”

Ward (6-foot-7, 260 pounds) said he has about 21 offers to date, but this is the first from above the Mason-Dixon line. He also got a new offer from East Carolina two weeks ago.

Ward said he first learned the Irish were interested in him when they came through to watch him during spring football practice. But he was still surprised when the official offer arrived this past Friday.

Notre Dame, under first-year coach Brian Kelly, is recruiting the South hard for …

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‘AJC Recruiting Mailbag’ is open for business (UPDATED)

We’re barreling headlong into the start of football season. Teams are already heavy into their summer workouts and, before you know it, players will be reporting for preseason camps.

Time now to introduce a new feature for the AJC Recruiting Blog. Starting this Friday, I give you the “AJC Recruiting Mailbag!”

OK, so there’s no cutting-edge new concept here. Numerous sports writers and bloggers I know and follow utilize mailbags. Besides, my good friend, whom I shall refer to only as The Neighbor, absolutely insists I need to “do a mailbag.” So I’m going to do one.

But I do feel it can be particularly useful in recruiting, especially as we get further into the fury that is the football season (does it ever really end in the South?).

Regulars here know I post blogs three or more times a day during the season. Thanks to your continued interest, there are often hundreds of comments for each blog. Among those comments are often questions posed directly to me. But as I continually …

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Ten at 10: Valdosta’s Jay Rome, Malcolm Mitchell tackle recruiting together

THE TEN AT 10:

The Ten at 10 appears on the AJC College Recruiting Blog every Tuesday and Thursday. It is an “aggregation blog,” 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. . . . Sorry it is posting so late today. I’ll sum up the delay in one word — toddler.

1. Valdosta’s Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome make almost all of their recruiting visits together. In fact, just this past week they went together to Alabama and Florida. But that doesn’t mean they’re offering themselves as a package deal. Teaming up for trips, they say, is just a matter of convenience. “We’ve been a lot of places together, but schools aren’t recruiting us together as far as get one to get both,” said Mitchell, a defensive back with about 16 offers. “It’s just that we’re both good players from the same place.” Mitchell (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) said it’s down to Alabama, Florida and …

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WR DaVaris Daniels still hopes for offer from Dad’s Dogs

ATH DaVaris Daniels, here returning an interception, played multiple positions for Vernon Hills High last season.

DaVaris Daniels, here returning an interception, played multiple positions for Vernon Hills High in Illinois last season (Photo by Sun-Times Media)

Should Georgia make legacy prospects a recruiting priority?

Phillip Daniels thinks so. And that’s the core question surrounding the curious case that is the recruitment of his son, wide receiver prospect DaVaris Daniels of Vernon Hills, Ill.

Phillip Daniels is a Georgia letterman (1992-1995) and a defensive end about to enter his 15th season in the NFL (with the Washington Redskins). His son, by all accounts, is a pretty decent football prospect himself.

DaVaris Daniels, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound play-maker, gets a four-star rating from both Rivals and Scout, is the No. 90 prospect overall and the No. 15 receiver in the ESPNU 150 rankings, and has a pretty impressive offer sheet of about a dozen schools (only two below the Mason-Dixon line, for what that’s worth).

Last week I wrote about DaVaris Daniels abruptly canceling a press …

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Notre Dame latest to offer LT Zach DeBell; UGA among faves

zachDeBellGeorgia Tech and UGA target Zach DeBell, once a relative unknown commodity in recruiting, is anything but these days.

The 6-foot-7, 265-pound offensive tackle from Tarpon Springs, Fla., just roped in offer number 24 this past weekend. This one came from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

DeBell adds that tender to a list that includes most of the Southeast, excluding the big three in his home state, Florida, Florida State and Miami. And they are all acutely aware of DeBell, so it’s probably just a matter of time before one or all pulls the trigger.

But the outspoken and gregarious DeBell is not worried right now about who hasn’t offered. He was just excited to know that Notre Dame could be an option, especially considering he has never visited or camped there.

“I guess they’ve just heard about me through the grapevine during recruiting,” said DeBell, who attended a South Florida camp this past weekend. “My basketball coach, Coach [Jerry] Woodka, went there. And they’ve been …

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Lithonia’s Tony Parker representing ‘country, family, school, community’ for Team USA

Tony Parker, international basketball star.

Tony Parker, international basketball star.

Tony Parker has absolutely no fear of flying. And it’s a good thing. Friday morning he was boarding a flight to Lithuania.

That’s nothing for him. This time last year he was bound for Argentina. It comes with the territory when one plays basketball on an international level.

Parker, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound rising junior at Lithonia’s Miller Grove High School, made the USA U17 Men’s World Championship team after a tryout in San Antonio, Texas, last weekend. Friday, he and his 11 teammates from all over America — click HERE TO SEE ROSTER — headed to Europe for two weeks of practices, exhibition games and world championship tournament play.

Team USA will practice on Saturday, play Russia’s U18 in an exhibition game on Sunday, practice Monday, play Lithuania’s U17 team in an exhibition on Tuesday, then head to Hamburg, Germany, for more practices before the tournament commences.

It’s a whirlwind tour. But Parker’s not complaining.

“It’s …

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Ten at 10: Georgia Tech getting serious about linebackers

THE TEN AT 10:

NOTE: The Ten at 10 appears on the AJC College Recruiting Blog every Tuesday and Thursday. It is an “aggregation blog,” 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.

Richmond, Va.'s, Curtis Grant, one of the top linebackers in the country, really likes the Jackets.

Richmond, Va.'s, Curtis Grant, one of the top linebackers in the country, really likes the Yellow Jackets.

1. You have to be impressed with the linebacker talent that has been parading through The Flats of late. Last week,  St. Augustine’s Tony Steward — the No. 1-rated outside linebacker in the nation per Rivals.com –  came to Georgia Tech for a brief visit. That was followed this Wednesday by a visit from Curtis Grant of Richmond, Va., — the No. 1-rated inside linebacker in the country, according to Rivals. Both prospects came away from their tours very impressed with the Yellow Jackets and say the locals are seriously in the mix for their services. “It was a really nice …

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OL Hunter Long becomes Georgia’s 13th commitment (UPDATED)

Hunter Long (R) was wearing Georgia colors back in 2009 when his brother Austin Long first signed with the Bulldogs. (Photo by Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Hunter Long (R) was wearing Georgia colors back in 2009 when his brother Austin Long first signed with the Bulldogs. (Photo by Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Hunter Long has become the Georgia Bulldogs’ 13th commitment.

The 6-foot-3, 293-pound interior offensive lineman from Memphis officially committed to the Bulldogs late Wednesday. He said he initially committed to UGA line coach Stacy Searels when he offered the scholarship on Sunday. But Searels encouraged him “to wait a few days and pray about it and be sure.”

The truth is,  Long has long known Georgia is where he wanted to be. His brother, Austin Long, is a redshirt freshman offensive tackle for the Bulldogs.

“It’s home for me,” Long said. “I go there all the time and I know everybody there. I’ve been going there since Austin first started getting recruited by Georgia.

In fact, Long is scheduled to be in Athens all next week. Not for a camp or a visit. “Just to hang out,” he said.

But Long had to earn his offer. He …

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Report: Deliberation to continue over Christian LeMay’s fate

It looks like the deliberation over Christian LeMay’s fate may carry on a while longer.

A decision might not come for another seven to 10 days, according to a report by Rivals.com senior high schools analyst Dallas Jackson, who did not cite sources.

That was the original time frame given after LeMay went before a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools disciplinary committee on June 14 for an alleged violation of the school system’s code of conduct.

I contacted LeMay’s father this week for an update on his son’s case. “I would encourage you to be patient,” The Rev. Stacy LeMay said via text message. “We are not interested in this being a multiple-article drama.”

The nature of LeMay’s offense has not been made public. He reportedly faces an out-of-school suspension of as many as 30 days.

LeMay, the No. 2-rated quarterback in the nation, according to Scout.com, announced on April 30 he intends to play football at Georgia and plans to enroll there in January.

LeMay led Butler High to an …

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Commitment Shaq Mason fits Georgia Tech to a ‘T’

Shaq Mason (54) plows a path for a Columbia Central running back during the state championship game last year. (Photo by Robert Fleming/Columbia Daily Herald)

Shaq Mason (54) plows a path for a Columbia Central running back during the state championship game last year. (Photo by Robert Fleming/Columbia Daily Herald)

Columbia (Tenn.) Central High coach Vance Bellew has had more than a few players recruited by major college programs. He said this week he wishes they all went about their business the way Georgia Tech did with Shaquille Mason.

Mason — better known as “Shaq” — is a wide-bodied, fleet-footed offensive lineman who helped lead the Lions to a runner-up finish in the state 5A playoffs in Tennessee this past season. The 6-foot-2, 307-pounder committed to Georgia Tech on June 12th during its Junior-Senior Camp.

“I give Georgia Tech and Coach [Andy] McCollum (Tech’s recruiting coordinator) a lot of credit,” Belew said. “They heard about him, they called about him, they came to the school and watched his film. They said they wanted him to come to their camp, he came, they liked him and they offered.

“They didn’t worry about who …

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