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 visit and I feel like Georgia Tech is one of the schools that is going to be in the mix for me,” Grant told JacketsOnline.com. Grant happens to be the cousin of recent Tech commitment Darren Waller, who accompanied him on the visit. “I met with Coach [Al] Groh for around an hour and he showed me where I fit into the defense at inside linebacker,” Grant said. “I liked what he had to say and I was really interested in how he plans to use me in different spots on certain downs. I really like what Tech has to offer.” Grant planned to visit Alabama and Georgia before returning to Richmond this weekend.

2. Based on its commitments so far, Tech’s 2011 class would appear to be par with its recruiting of previous years. So far all the Jackets’ commitments are all three-star-rated recruits or less. But all that could change very quickly if the Jackets land some of the targets they’re in on. In addition to five-stars Steward and Grant, Tech already knows it will get a visit this summer from 5-star running back James Wilder Jr. of Tampa. Five-star cornerback Doran Grant of Akron, Ohio, list the Yellow jackets among his favorite. They also lead for four-star DE Stephon Tuitt of Monroe and are in on several other highly-touted prospects. Before it’s over this could be a very non-traditional class for the defending ACC champs.

3. Speaking of Wilder, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound mega-athlete is now up to more than 90 scholarship offers, according to an update this week in the Orlando Sentinel. That may or may not be some kind of record. But both Tech and Georgia are on his list of nine finalists, along with Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Carolina, Southern Cal and Tennessee. Most recently, Wilder attended an FSU camp this past weekend. That came a week after checking out Florida, which reportedly leads the pack.

4. With Hunter Long’s commitment this week — No. 13 for Georgia’s Class of 2011 –  the Bulldogs are more than likely done recruiting interior offensive linemen. Georgia now has pledges from three offensive linemen and two of those (Long and Wesleyan C David Andrews) will play inside. Dalton’s Watts Dantzler (6-7, 330), who committed on Sunday, is the only tackle so far. But the Bulldogs will likely look to sign two more outside guys. They currently have offers out to Zach DeBell of Tarpon Springs, Fla.; Antonio Richardson of Nashville, Tenn.; Brandon Shell of Goose Creek, S.C. and Xzavier Ward of Colquitt County.

5. More than a few times I’ve written about Avery Walls, the Union Grove defensive back with more than 30 offers. But I have yet to do anything as extensive as the story done by Sam Webb this week for the Detroit News. Webb gets in depth with Walls about his Midwest roots (he was born in Columbus, Ohio) and the likelihood he’ll attend a school far away from his McDonough home.

6. Still no word on Christian LeMay. The UGA quarterback pledge was supposed to get a ruling from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on his undisclosed code-of-conduct violation within seven to 10 days of the June 14th hearing. Indications are that deliberation period has been extended.

7. Thomas County Central DE Ray Drew — the No. 1 prospect in Georgia according to the ESPNU 150 rankings — confirmed that he took unofficial visits to Florida State and Florida last weekend. He still has not decided when he’ll next check out Tech or UGA, who are among the 27 colleges that have offered scholarships. He said he is not planning any trips this weekend.

8. Valdosta TE Jay Rome is attending a camp at Alabama this week and plans to visit UGA next week. Ranked the No. 1 tight end in the nation by Scout.com, the Clemson legacy (dad Stan Rome played football and basketball for the Tigers) spoke glowingly of the Bulldogs in a recent interview with Scout’s Allen Wallace.

9. Two more Stephenson High players have secured scholarships for 2011. Linebacker Regis Ball (5-10, 205) committed to Memphis on Wednesday and cornerback David Stevenson (5-9, 160) committed to UConn. That’s four commitments so far for the Jaguars, who traditionally send dozens of football players to colleges annually. C Tarik Cook committed to UCF last week and RB Willie Davis has pledged South Florida.

10. Georgia is still in the market for wide receivers and there is one in South Carolina who would like to hear from them. Shamier Jeffrey (6-2, 190) plays quarterback at Calhoun County High in St. Matthews, S.C., but is projected by most as a wideout on the next level. He already has offers from Georgia Tech, Auburn, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky, but told PalmettoSports.com he’d like to get a look from UGA. “I went to a junior day with [Eric] Mack and it was real nice there,” he told the website. “I like the stadium, the facilities, everything. I want them to contact me.”

252 comments Add your comment

Lowndes25

June 24th, 2010
10:15 am

GeoffDawg

June 24th, 2010
10:23 am

Aren’t most projecting Dantzler as a guard in college? Seems like the OT positions in this class are still completely open.

Chip Towers

June 24th, 2010
10:27 am

GeoffDawg: No, Watts Dantzler projects as a right tackle.

ECB

June 24th, 2010
10:28 am

Shamier Jeffrey ….has offers from 5 schools that we play against very year. He is telling UGA to contact me. Either we are late as usual, or he is not all that?

Chris

June 24th, 2010
10:29 am

Great work Chip. Thanks! Any update on Damian Swann’s recruitment and what position he might plat at the next level? Seems like WR could be a good fit…

Jacketman

June 24th, 2010
10:29 am

It will be interesting to see how Al Groh’s presence will affect recruiting on D. Time will tell. Naysayers will probably come on here and say he’s old, he’s ugly, etc, but all that remains to be seen. He has a great resume of NFL and college experience. Hope it draws come great talent.

Chip Towers

June 24th, 2010
10:30 am

Chris: I haven’t talked to Damian Swann lately but I’ll put him on my to-do list. He’s an excellent wide receiver and a pretty good quarterback, for that matter, but he’s expected to play corner in college.

Terry Funk

June 24th, 2010
10:33 am

Don’t see too many 6′7″ at guard in college. Every report written says he is a prototypical Right Tackle. The Dawgs will be going after a more athletic tall guy to play LT in the future once Boling and Trinton are gone. The trend now is to get the 6′5″ – 6′7″ 250-260 lb high school kid and let him grow into his body and play LT at about 300. Dantzler already looks like an NFL RT.

GTax

June 24th, 2010
10:40 am

Al Groh certainly is getting the bigger linebackers to come through GT. I knew him being on campus would help tremendously. If LB’s are serious about the NFL and like the 3-4, look no further than one of the 3-4’s pioneers in Al Groh.

Me

June 24th, 2010
10:48 am

Wilder and Steward to Florida.

11-0-1 1990 National Champs

June 24th, 2010
10:49 am

Al Groh will be able to close the deal on these linebackers. He has a good history of creating NFL defensive talent. Come to GT and get the best education in the state, while a successful coaching staff gets you ready for the NFL.

Glory Glory

June 24th, 2010
10:51 am

Al Groh will help Tech……

The same way he helped, and was FIRED from….. Virginia????

Haha. Keep dreami g Nerds. These are visits, not commits. Every stud recruit takes multiple visits just to get the star treatment they crave.

With that Mickey Mouse offense….. you won’t land jack-****

BigTimeTECHFan

June 24th, 2010
10:51 am

Keep in mind most project James Wilder Jr as LB also but I think he wants to play RB, After seeing him play he would be nice B-Back which is why Tech is in to running because they are recuiting him as RB, most are asking him to be LB.

GTax

June 24th, 2010
10:53 am

Me,

Wilder still has to visit GT. He has already said he wants to run the ball and that’s where his passion is. Florida is recruiting him as a DB like a majority of other schools. The position he plays now in high school is almost exactly the same he would play as a b-back at GT.

He’s already said he would feel comfortable at GT. Wait and see.

GTax

June 24th, 2010
10:53 am

I mean LB, not DB for Wilder.

theTruth

June 24th, 2010
10:57 am

CHIP, good update as usual. Like above, I would also like an update on Swann, he has kept everything quiet lately. Rumors and most bama fans I talk to see him going to UGA but you never know. I would love to have this kid.

I would take DeBell/Shell/Ward, would take any of the three, especially Ward. Any chance we have made up more ground on X Dickson?

theTruth

June 24th, 2010
11:00 am

GTax, Wilder has also been projected as a DE as well as LB but would be a perfect fit for 3-4 defense as OLB. He is a freak of an athlete but he wants to play RB. FLA has offered him as RB after he cooled on them a little saying they wanted him as LB. They have changed their tune and offered as RB, he is FLA’s to lose, IMO but don’t count out BAMA which would be great news for UGA, than would almost solidify Crowell to UGA.

GTax

June 24th, 2010
11:02 am

Glory, Glory,

This same Mickey Mouse offense that beat UGA’s best chance for a national championship team in 2008 IN ATHENS? In their first running the offense? Surely you haven’t forgotten that 415 yards of rushing in your own house. The most since 1994. By a bunch of freshman and sophomores and UGA’s 2 first round draft picks on their “offense”.

Furthermore, Al Groh was a head coach, not a DC at UVA. HC has a lot more responsiblity. And don’t even get me started on Todd Grantham. You have NO room to talk. Al Groh is proven. Super bowl ring, multiple years in the NFL, learned from Belichik and Parcells. Todd Grantham…let’s see he was a defensive line coach for many years, he was a DC at Cleveland for 2 years before being FIRED and demoted back down to a D-line coach in Dallas, hasn’t been in college football in 10+ years, never had to recruit like he will now…please, you cannot COMPARE Todd Grantham to Al Groh.

BTW, these guys are for defense, not offense. And as I seem to recall, GT led the nation of major BCS programs in rushing last year, top 10 for a good part of the year, champions, but your right that mickey mouse offense was nothing compared to UGA’s middle of the road, unranked team last year.

GTax

June 24th, 2010
11:04 am

The truth,

Thanks for the update. I didn’t know UF had told him he could play as a RB as well. Do I buy it? No. They’ll tell him that just to get him to Florida and slowly put him on defense. Didn’t UF already get their RB for the year?

RxDawg

June 24th, 2010
11:27 am

Good for Tech to be in the running with so many LB’s. I wish I could say the same for my Dawgs. We currently have 1 LB commited (well two counting Jones the USC transfer). We have swung for the fences and missed on many LB’s the past few years. I’d like to see us land some good ol’ state of Georgia LBs.

On another note, in regards to the James Wilder kid. I know he wants to play RB. But from his size and what I hear, he could be all american at LB. I know schools will tell this guy whatever he wants to hear just because he’s so good, but it will be interesting to see if once commited and enrolled if his school tries to persuade him to play LB.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

June 24th, 2010
11:33 am

Good Stuff Chip- almost sounds like Rome is a lock for UGA. I hope Murray & Charles will have influence over Wilder and persuade him to come to Athens. Let Grantham move to him LB.

GTax

June 24th, 2010
11:38 am

RxDawg,

That’s the issue right now with Wilder. He could be a beast at linebacker. All American type like you said. But his passion is at RB. Time will tell. IMO, that is the crux of his recruitment. Once he makes up his mind which one he wants to do, I think we’ll know pretty soon after where he will be going.

jarvis

June 24th, 2010
11:38 am

Come to GT and get the best education in the state?
You guys have a transient progarm with Emory that I’m not familiar with?

KeithB

June 24th, 2010
11:38 am

Could you imagine Wilder Jr. at B-back? Oh my word! Could make you forget about Dwyer real quick.

jarvis is a person that annoys me

June 24th, 2010
11:49 am

does uga have an educational program whatsoever?

MaconKnight

June 24th, 2010
11:49 am

Chip, Do you have any updates on any of kids out of Carver Columbus? and Are there any other LB prospects UGA is recruiting?

RxDawg

June 24th, 2010
11:51 am

“Are there any other LB prospects UGA is recruiting?”

I wouldn’t mind seeing a story on that as well.

Chip Towers

June 24th, 2010
12:08 pm

MaconKnight: Nothing new on the Carver-Columbus kids. . . . As for UGA’s linebacker prospects, it hasn’t gone very well for the Dogs at that position. They went hard after elite targets such as Lawrence Thomas (Mich. St.) and Jonathan Vaughters (Stanford), who have committed elsewhere. They’re reportedly still in it for Cook’s Shannon Brown, an Alabama commitment. And they have an offer out for a four-star kid named Denzel Perryman from Coral Gables. Not sure who else they’re after but it’s a good thing for them Jarvis Jones decided to transfer in from SoCal.

Moops

June 24th, 2010
12:09 pm

Wilder is a stud, but I feel like most anywhere he ends up, he’ll be at LB. I’m afraid a lot of schools will tell him what he wants to hear (play RB), but soon after move to defense. I think he can be awesome at either, I just think LB is he’d make him mark at.

Unless UF changes their offensive style, which they might with Brantley now, RB isn’t a traditional position in their offense. That’s why they traditionally have a tough time landing top-flight RB’s

BigTimeTECHFan

June 24th, 2010
12:21 pm

Moobs – But Florida just got a big commitment from one of the best FB’s in the country which is out of the norm, shows they are looking to shake up their offense a little to more two back offense.

I think they were fine with Percy Harvin type back lined up all over the place even with pro stye QB, but who knows what they are doing.

ATL XMAN

June 24th, 2010
12:38 pm

no way tech gets any of these LB’s when they can go to a better football team like UGA and others on their list.tech might land the tuitt guy but thats about it.

techs high school offense will keep the better players away, that and coach PJ who favors the div 1aa players.

Sven Ottke

June 24th, 2010
12:38 pm

Yeah Glory, Glory. And tell us about Todd Grantham. Your 4th choice that you dramatically over paid for who was fired by the Cleveland Browns. “Gather round men….let me tell you about my Defense in Cleveland……” Axed. And don’t throw back that Dallas Cowboys thing. You could have coached the talent assembled there. Yes even you.

ATL XMAN

June 24th, 2010
12:40 pm

clevelands defense was pretty good that year coach granthem was there. look it up. he left when they fired the head coach which happen to your defense coord al grough.

Gerald

June 24th, 2010
12:41 pm

So, this strange recruiting strategy by Georgia Tech continues. Targeting 4 and 5 star kids, mostly from out of state to attend a small (by FBS football school standards) 80% male university that only offers engineering, science and business degrees, plays in a 3/4 empty 50,000 seat stadium, and has only played in one major bowl game in 50 years, which it lost badly (and to IOWA, not Florida, Ohio State, Texas, Oklahoma or USC but IOWA).

Granted, Groh landed a bunch of 4 and 5 star players at UVa. But UVa is the #1 school in its state and is a comprehensive university with a broad range of majors, plus he did his best work with players from the Virginia/Maryland/DC/PA area, guys who were a 4 hour car drive or less away. But trying to land blue chippers from Florida and Ohio? That makes as much sense as Oregon State, Texas Tech or Pitt trying to come to Georgia to get 4 and 5 star recruits.

Georgia Tech needs a good, realistic recruiting strategy, which is to get as many 3 star athletes as possible – guys who may turn into the next Morgan Burnett or Demaryius Thomas – and then add an occasional 4 or 5 star guy. If you are going to recruit outside Georgia Tech’s general area (i.e. Georgia plus places that get a lot of ACC games on TV like the Carolinas) then stick to the 3 star guys in those places. Telling an out of state kid that Georgia Tech is a better deal than USF, Pitt or Michigan State is a lot more realistic than telling them that it is a better deal than Florida, Texas or Ohio State.

I am telling you, if CPJ is unable to get Georgia Tech to the next level, it will be because of recruiting. It really does seem like no one knows how to recruit at Georgia Tech the way that Bobby Ross did.

GT

June 24th, 2010
12:42 pm

When can we get past the whole how many stars a kid has. For instance look at UGAG and Notre Dame. They are both loaded year after year with 5 stars and yet all they have to show for is a lot of kids with stars by their names! They never seem to really be able to put it all together. Do you want a team member or a Stud with a lot of stars?

Best of luck to all of these kids, but I only want kids that want to play for Tech. Go ahead with your Nerds comments, but we will always get the last laugh. UGAG has 1 Nat. Title, a cute Dawg and a lot of hype every year! Period…

As far as Old Man Groh..I’m excited about him and his knowledge that he is bringing to the program. You might want to hold those Tech comments at bay until after Nov. because deep down you never know until the games begin. The Virginia comments are crazy. How hard do you think it is to tell a kid our Academics are even tougher than Techs. Unlike UGAGS as long as you haven’t killed someone we’ll let you in. Comments like that come from people that don’t even know what a college entrance exam, ACT or SAT is…

Bottom line I’m excited about our defense and all of these recruits looking at us. I just hope they are TEAM first players or you can have them.

GTax

June 24th, 2010
12:44 pm

ATL XMAN,

If I recall correctly, GT got 4 star WR Stephen Hill over UGA. Hm, funny, I thought WR didn’t want to play in PJ’s offense. Wierd.

Furthermore, what you UGA knuckleheads are still apprently failing to realize is that the guys in this article are DEFENSIVE players NOT OFFENSIVE. They won’t play in PJ’s offense, but rather Al Groh’s DEFENSE.

And I suppose players would loathe winning the ACC and going to BCS bowls and being in the top 10. Makes sense. Why do that when you could go to UGA and be unranked, get your a$$ kicked by UF every year and play Texas A&M in Shreveport? Makes no sense at all.

ATL XMAN

June 24th, 2010
12:44 pm

ga tech will always be the school that will have a bunch of table scraps for players now that PJ is there. he lands the top div 1aa players in the south though..=)

ATL XMAN

June 24th, 2010
12:48 pm

gtax..hills dad played tech right? and i bet now he wished his dad would have attended UGA.

when was the last 5 star tech landed that played either offense or defense. plus if you had a choice to play defense on a winning team would you pass it up?

JB

June 24th, 2010
12:50 pm

The linebacker spoke with Coach Groh a few minutes and ask him some questions and coach Groh said…………………..” huh”………….and then seemingly turned up the volume on what was thought to be a pace maker, but turns out it’s an industrial hearing aid being tested by Tech….

Gerald

June 24th, 2010
12:51 pm

ATL XMAN:

Keep prattling on and on about how UGA recruits big time. When will UGA start WINNING big time? When was the last time that UGA beat a team that finished ranked in the top 5 under Mark Richt? Here’s a clue … they haven’t. When was the last time that UGA beat a team that finished ranked in the top 10 under Mark Richt? That would have been 2005, the LSU game that UGA won only because JaMarcus Russell got injured on the first drive.

UGA gets top 5 and top 10 classes every year and uses it to beat up on far less talented teams. You don’t beat Florida, LSU, Alabama or Tennessee when those teams are really good, and you play pedestrian Big 10 teams like Michigan State and Purdue in bowl games. Even in your BCS bowl games, your wins were over Hawai’i and 9-5 FSU. The one time you played a real team in a BCS bowl game, 12-1 West Virginia, you lost.

And all that talent that you recruit … how many first round draft picks does UGA produce? UGA had 2 (Stafford and Moreno) in 2009 and 2 (Pollack and Davis) in 2005 but that’s it, especially since the last bunch of Jim Donnan recruits left in 2005. So out of all those 4 and 5 star recruits that UGA reels in every year under Richt, virtually none go in the NFL, especially higher than the 3rd round and particularly on offense, which is SUPPOSED to be Richt’s specialty.

http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?abbr=G&collegeName=Georgia&abbrFlag=0&type=school

smallville

June 24th, 2010
12:51 pm

Note the following – - –
UGA in good shape for Ward.
Grant and Tuitt are Jackets.
Walls, Debell, Richardson will be Vols.
Rome to Clemson.
Drew will come down to UGA/UT.
Wilder will make a surprise pick for the Jackets.

I have seen the future!

GTax

June 24th, 2010
12:52 pm

Gerald, I don’t know what bowl game you watched last year, but GT was one TD from winning that game. Better than going to Shreveport and puffing our chests out for beating lowly Texas A&M from the weak Big 12. Furthermore, I don’t know what you mean by IOWA, but I am pretty sure the IOWA team GT played was top 10 pretty much all year and undefeated until they played OSU. They also had one of the best defenses around. Every now any then, every program puts together a great team and Iowa is a great team. They would have handled UGA easily. But that’s an opinion and a “what if” so it doesn’t hold much.

Secondly, UVA is not the top school in the state for football, that would be Virginia Tech.

And like I said in my above post, I am quite sure that recruits do not want to play for a championship team, top 10, and a BCS bowl. Why would any recruit want to do that?

Further, why would defensive recruit wish to learn from one of the best 3-4 defensive minds in the game with a TON of NFL connections? Makes no sense to me either. (sarcasm off)

michael

June 24th, 2010
12:52 pm

those 4 and 5 stars will never go to my team (tech), but good coaching can built character. Let’s face it, aren’t we all B players in life when we try with the right tools?? and how many five stars have you forgotten about????????

JB

June 24th, 2010
12:52 pm

Gatx………………..You’re right….nothing screams college football like a game at Grant field. Geez.

ATL XMAN

June 24th, 2010
12:52 pm

even if hills dad didnt play at tech it wasnt a big loss. UGA is set at receiver and hill would be 3 string at best right now. he wanted early playing time and wanted to stay close to home. so the 2nd choice was tech

jarvis

June 24th, 2010
12:53 pm

JB

June 24th, 2010
12:54 pm

GTax……………….did you just say Tech was competitive in the Bowl game against Iowa ?Really.
mum, interesting take…..look like a beat down on my TV.

ATL XMAN

June 24th, 2010
12:55 pm

i dont really care about stars i just know if a players goes to tech most of the time they are not that good compared to other players in college football. even more so now that PJ is recruiting div 1aa players.

81Dog

June 24th, 2010
12:55 pm

it cracks me up to see all the Tech fans on here ragging UGA, when we’ve pretty much owned you since the Johnson Administration. True, we haven’t won EVERY game against you in the last 45 years, but over 70% isn’t too bad as winning percentages go. I’m sure your testy little coach will be just as successful in “dominating” UGA as every other winner you’ve trotted on the field since Bobby Dodd gacked up his last couple of games against us. About all the smack you can talk to us is our record against Florida; what, is Urban Meyer your big brother now? Even so, just remember: UGA is still your daddy, nerds.

GTax

June 24th, 2010
12:56 pm

ATL XMAN,

Of course I’d play for a winning team, which I said GT. They won 11 games last year, how many did UGA win?

And what does it matter that last time GT got a 5 star recruit. I can’t think of one. Sure didn’t make much of a difference last year when GT got 11 wins, and sure didn’t matter in 2008 when those 2 and 3 star freshman and sophomores put 415 yards rushing over in Athens, did it?