THE TEN AT 10:
1. A lot of times recruits of the ilk of James Vaughters will talk about how grueling the recruiting process has been and how happy they are to get it over with. Vaughters, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker from Tucker, is the most highly recruited college football prospect in Metro Atlanta with more than 35 scholarship offers. He will put to rest months of speculation today when he announces his college choice from a list of five finalists that includes Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Stanford. But Jonathan Vaughters, James father who has walked hand-in-hand with his son throughout the recruiting process these last two years, says it hasn’t been that bad for them. “Actually,” he said, “we’ve kind of enjoyed it, to tell you the truth.” Vaughters will make the announcement at 11 a.m. this morning at a news conference at Rock Hard Fitness in Tucker, a gym where he has trained since he was 13-years-old. I’ll be there to bring you the news as soon as it’s available.
2. Even though it’s early June, there has been quite a run on commitments lately. In the last week there has been Nick Marshall’s commitment to Georgia, commitments to Georgia Tech from LB Jabari Hunt-Days and OG Shaq Mason, LB Jarvis Jones’ transfer to Georgia from USC, Charone Peake’s commitment to Clemson, and now Vaughters’ decision. Still to come, elite OT Watts Dantzler (6-7, 330) will announce between Auburn and Georgia on Sunday in Dalton. It’s yet another reflection of the sea of change in recruiting, which annually seems to develop earlier and earlier.
3. Scout.com’s Chad Simmons posed a good question to Carver-Columbus’ Isaiah Crowell and Gabe Wright this week: Will Jones’ choice of Georgia influence the fellow Carver products in their final choice of school this year? Depends on which one you ask. Says Wright, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle who has Georgia fourth on his list behind Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee: “He may have seen something I have not seen there lately, so I want to talk to him about everything, find out what he liked about Georgia and see if that helps me too. I would love to play with Jarvis again. . . . It would be great to play three years with him at Georgia.” Said Crowell (6-0, 208), the state’s top running back: “Jarvis’ decision will have nothing to do with mine. Yes, it is cool that he is at Georgia and it would be cool to play with him again, but Dequan Menzie is at Alabama, so I would have someone there too. I can say this: I will probably be going to one of those two schools, so it is nice to know that I have someone I know at each place.”
4. According to reports in the Orlando Sentinel and at GatorBait.net, elite defensive end prospect Jeoffrey Pagan of Asheville, N.C., has downgraded his pledge to the Florida Gators to a “soft commitment.” “I’m a soft verbal,” Pagan told GatorBait. “I’ll have my final decision in August before my senior year so I can focus on our season and my academics.” Georgia, which he recently visited, is among the schools he is also considering, along with Clemson, Ohio State and Southern Cal.
5. Georgia baseball coach David Perno welcomed a trio of junior college transfers who recently signed letters-of-intent with the Bulldogs: Catcher/first baseman Joey Delmonico and infielder Curt Powell of Volunteer State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn., and pitcher Bryan Benzor of Atlanta’s Georgia Perimeter College. Delmonico, who hit .403 last season, is the son of former Tennessee baseball coach Rod Delmonico. “Joey, Curt and Bryan are all talented players and have a chance to compete for playing time right away,” Perno said. “Joey and Curt are a couple of excellent hitters who have experienced success in junior college. They are looking forward to playing in the Southeastern Conference. Bryan came on strong as a freshman at Georgia Perimeter and will help our pitching staff.”
6. Mega-prospect James Wilder II of Tampa’s Plant High told the Web site GatorCountry.com he doesn’t see his recruitment going on much longer. “I’m going to make a decision by the end of the summer and focus on the season,” said the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Wilder, who wants to play running back in college. “It’s a lot of pressure and I don’t want to keep having to think about [recruiting].” GatorCountry reported that Wilder, who has upward of 80 offers, is down to Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee and USC. He plans to visit both Georgia and Georgia Tech later this summer.
7. Camilla-Mitchell County wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley downplayed a PalmettoSports.com he may visit Clemson, South Carolina and Wake Forest later this summer. “I may try to get down to Florida, too, and check out some of the other schools that are close to this area,” Scott told the Web site. As for his commitment to UGA, Scott-Wesley told the AJC Thursday morning, “I’m solid. I told the guy [from PalmettoSports] if I had a chance I would visit. But I’m running summer track so I have meets almost every weekend. I will have no time for any visits.” Scott-Wesley, who recently won the 100 meters at the prestigious Golden West Invitation in California, competes in the U.S. track and field state meet today at Westlake High.
8. Nice story on Sandy Creek High graduate Rajion Neal at GoVolsXtra.com, the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s Web site. Neal, who signed with Tennessee and enrolled there this week for summer session, is expected to compete for playing time with the Vols this fall. He switched to UT after being a longtime Mississippi State commitment. “It was just the love that coach [Derek] Dooley showed and the man that he was when he sat down and talked with my family,” Neal told Dave Hooker. “I felt like it was a place I could be comfortable at.” With tailback Bryce Brown’s availability still uncertain, the Vols may have to count on Neal for carries.
9. Speaking of Tennessee, the Vols earlier this week offered Stephenson safety Kadetrix Marcus (6-1, 190) after he participated in their summer camp. Marcus is now up to about two dozen scholarship offers.
10. Speaking of Stephenson, running back Willie Davis this past weekend committed to South Florida. I’ll have more on Davis later. For now, I’m off to Tucker to hear the Vaughters’ announcement.