THE TEN AT 10:
1. For months Dalton offensive tackle Watts Dantzler (6-foot-7, 330 pounds) has planned a Nov. 16 announcement for his college decision. That is his birthday and, coming at the end of fall, it just seemed like the right time to do it. But the state’s top-rated offensive tackle changed his mind this week and decided to move up his decision date to this Sunday. The reason? “I just felt Fathers Day was a better day,” Dantzler told me yesterday. His father, Danny Dantzler, passed away 16 months ago after a long battle with ALS and Watts decided this would be a way to honor him. Besides, Dantzler has made up his mind now between a final two of Auburn and Georgia. Danny Dantzler, by the way, was an offensive lineman and football letterman at UGA (1971-73). Watts’ announcement is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday in the Dalton High School commons.
2. Another decision coming earlier than expected this week is from Tucker linebacker James Vaughters. He will reveal his choice from an offer list that reached 35 schools at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Rock Hard Fitness in Tucker, where he has trained since he was 13 years old. This 6-foot-2, 235-pound athlete just last month cut his list down to a final five of Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Stanford. At the time, Vaughters said he hoped to have a decision “by the end of summer” but added the caveat “if not sooner.” Meanwhile, Vaughters hasn’t rested on his laurels. He and fellow linebacker prospect Terrance Smith of Southwest DeKalb, an FSU commitment, roomed together and were standouts at the inaugural 360 Football Academy last week on the Georgia Tech campus. There they worked with professional athletes (they got to meet NFL star linebacker Ray Lewis), academic tutors and financial advisers in preparation for their impending football careers.
3. Any doubt whether Georgia is a serious contender for linebacker Jarvis Jones was removed as the Columbus native and Southern Cal transfer visited UGA all day Monday and Tuesday. Carver coach Dell McGee confirmed that Jones met with the Bulldogs’ coaches, toured the school and football facilities and, perhaps most importantly, met with team doctors and medical staff to discuss the neck injury he suffered while starring for the Trojans as a freshman last season. Jones, a former AJC Super 11 selection, is seeking a transfer from USC, which would not give him medical clearance after the injury sidelined him for the last five games of last season. McGee claims Jones has received second and third medical opinions saying he can continue to play football. However, Jones has to be cleared by doctors at any school for which he hopes to play. The good news is that the 6-foot-3, 236-pound athlete should be immediately eligible wherever he goes. Meanwhile, McGee indicated it might not be just a two-team race between Georgia and Florida State as many have reported. Jones also intends to visit Clemson, North Carolina and possibly Alabama, too, before deciding where to transfer. “I think those two (UGA and FSU) are the front-runners, but he’s exploring all possible avenues and trying to see what is going to be a better fit for him,” McGee said.
4. Speaking of USC transfers, there is expected to be a lot after the NCAA infractions committee last week slapped the Trojans with a two-year bowl ban and major scholarship reductions. Upperclassmen and signees have been granted a free out without being subjected to NCAA transfer rules and the required one-year sit-out. However, two USC signees with Georgia connections appear to be staying put. Markeith Ambles, and AJC Super 11 wide receiver from Henry County, indicated he intends to stand pat with the Trojans.”It really doesn’t matter because USC is a great school for academics and a great place for football to learn to be a great player one day,” Ambles told ESPN.com’s Jamie Newberg, who wrote a good story on the effect of the NCAA sanctions on USC’s recruiting. “That is why I chose the school in the first place. Plus, [not going to a bowl is] only going to affect me for two years. I love the school and that’s why I will stick with my decision to stay with USC.” Meanwhile, USC cornerback signee Nickell Robey, who was committed to the Georgia Bulldogs until two days before national signing day, also plans to stick with the Trojans. “That’s what he tells me,” said Brad Metheny, Robey’s coach at Frostproof (Fla.) High.
5. For the longest time Georgia Tech led for elite defensive end Stephon Tuitt. Then last week Tuitt sent out a list of his seven favorite teams in order of preference. He had Miami on top. “All my family is down there and I’ve always been a big-time fan of the school,” said Tuitt, who lived in Miami until he was 13. As of last week, the Yellow Jackets were number two. But after attending Tech’s junior-senior camp this past Saturday, Tuitt has the Jackets back on top. “It was wonderful down there, a beautiful day,” Tuitt told me on Sunday. “I like the school and everything really. It has gotten to the point where I had to start thinking about the degree and what it would mean to have it and it’s hard to beat a degree from Tech.” So now Miami is back to number two, followed by Notre Dame, Georgia, Clemson, Auburn and Tennessee. But there is still a long way to go on Tuitt. He said he won’t make a decision until after taking official visits this fall. I’ll have more on Tuitt later.
6. UGA football commitment Justin Scott-Wesley continues to prove he has world-class speed as he took first place in the 100 meters with a time of 10.41 seconds in the prestigious adidas Golden West Invitational track meet in Folsom, Calif., this past weekend. He also finished second in the 200 meters (21.36). The Golden West invites the fastest youth runners in the country to compete against other. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Scott-Wesley, who will play wide receiver for the Bulldogs in 2011, said he was the biggest competitor by far at the meet. He had recorded the fifth-fastest time in the nation with a 10.35 at the state high school track championships in Jefferson last month, at which time he committed to the Bulldogs. Next Scott-Wesley will compete in the USA Track and Field Georgia championships this Thursday in Atlanta. A good performance there will advance him to regionals, then nationals and finally the world championships in Canada later this summer. “My goal is to become the fastest in the United States and then win the Worlds,” Scott-Wesley told me shortly after returning to Camilla on Monday. Oh, that’s all.
7. Georgia Tech had offers going out left and right after its junior-senior elite camp last weekend. The Yellow Jackets extended tenders to Hillgrove running back Kenyan Drake (6-0, 184), North Cobb saftey Darren Waller (6-5, 204), linebacker David Helton (6-4, 224) of Chattanooga, and cornerback Geno Smith (5-11, 165) of St. Pius. In case you missed it, the Jackets also landed two commitments for 2011: linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days (6-3, 226) of Hillgrove High — read the news account HERE — and offensive lineman Shaq Mason (6-2, 305) of Columbia, Tenn. I spoke to Mason late last night and will have an update on him later.
8. Likewise, at least three prospects came away with offers while attending Georgia’s one-day elite prospect camp in Athens this past weekend: Linebacker Ramik Wilson (6-3, 228), a 2011 recruit from Tampa’s Jefferson High School; offensive lineman John Theus (6-6, 275), a 2012 prospect from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla.; and Theus’ brother, Nathan Theus (6-3, 255), an offensive lineman and long-snapping specialist who will sign in 2011.
9. Linebacker Mason Harris of Ridgeland High in Rossville committed to South Carolina while attending a Gamecocks camp this past week. “I toured the campus and talked with coach [Brad] Lawing,” Harris told the Spartanburg Herald. “He wants to use me like [Eric] Norwood, rushing in and dropping back [in coverage]. He wants me to put on about another 40 pounds.” Harris, whose other offers are from Middle Tennessee State and Chattanooga, had 65 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior last season.
10. THIS & THAT: A day after camping at UGA this past Saturday, OT prospect Zach DeBell of Tarpon Springs, Fla., attended a camp at Tennessee. . . . Elite offensive tackle prospect Brandon Shell of Goose Creek, S.C., had an unofficial visit at Georgia last Friday. . . . Alabama offered 2012 kicker/punter Adam Griffith of Calhoun High, according to Rusty Mansell of SuperPrep.com. Griffith is generally considered the state’s top kicker for 2011. . . . Defensive tackle Chris Mayes (6-4, 290) and quarterback Casey Moody (5-10, 170) of Griffin’s Spalding High camped at Oklahoma State this past weekend.
In case you missed it, other recruiting news from this week: