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.
1. Hallelujah! I finally caught up with Damian Swann. His lack of accessibility is understandable, though, I must admit. Never mind that his phone fried (that’s now been fixed). Swann has been spending most of this summer playing baseball with his travel team, the Atlanta All-Stars. And when he hasn’t been playing baseball, he’s been competing in 7-on-7 football with his Grady High teammates (they’ve won championships in three of five tournaments, including one at UGA). Then there’s this whole football recruiting thing, which has had to go on the back burner for this elite cornerback prospect. And now it’s more that just a Bama-Georgia battle. Florida’s now a major player. And Swann hopes to narrow a lis of 20-plus offers to eight or 10 choices in the next week or so. “There’s more to it than people think,” Swann said Wednesday. “I’m looking at the big picture, me getting on the field, the academics, and I haven’t really decided on college baseball.”
2. Ah, there’s that baseball thing again. It’s not a sport this 6-foot, 175-pound athlete takes lightly. He has been playing and his father has been coaching him in baseball since he was 3. “Baseball is my first love,” said Swann, who plays catcher and center field on his travel squad. “If I was getting the attention in baseball that I’m getting in football, then baseball would be my No. 1 sport.” But it’s not. Football is. And Swann is the object of a recruiting battle that, in terms of maximum intensity, now includes Florida and Tennessee as well as Georgia and Alabama. “Everybody’s telling me the same thing,” Swann said. “Sometimes I think it’s time to make my decision then somebody comes along and now I’m not sure anymore. Everything just sounds so good.”
3. Speaking of Grady, another Grey Knight who has been turning heads during this summertime 7-on-7 craze has been running back Marcus Caffey. Caffey (6-0, 180) suddenly finds himself with pretty crowded offer sheet himself and is finding the recruiting process somewhat confusing. “I thought I had narrowed my list but I changed my mind,” he told PalmettoSports.com. “I think I want to visit some schools before I do that. If I am blown away on a visit, I could commit but I think I am going to wait before I decide.” Caffey recently added Illinois to an ever-growing offer list that includes has Arkansas, Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Purdue and West Virginia.
4. Speaking of 7-on-7 tournaments, while the rest of us are celebrating the 4th of July weekend, some of the nation’s best football players will be toiling in Tuscaloosa in the Badger Sport Elite 7-on-7 National Championships. An all-star team of Atlanta-area players known as Team Georgia will be among the 24 teams from all over the U.S. competing on the University of Alabama campus. Team Georgia qualified by finishing third in the regional tournament in Tuscaloosa earlier this year. “This really gives our kids a chance to show their skills,” coach Ed Printz said. “We’ve got some good kids and they’ve really gelled playing together this summer. We’ve had some great practices this week.” Pool play begins with eight games on Saturday, teams will be seeded, then play single-elimination on Sunday. Team Georgia players are Rory Anderson, Regis Ball, Carnell Boyd, Jared Boyd, Niles Clark, Chris Davis, Willie Davis, Xzavier Dickson, Ronnie Harris, Charlie Hegedus, Amarlo Herrera, Jabari Hunt-Days, Malachi Jones, Tyren Jones, Kadetrix Marcus, Jordan Mincy, Corey Moore, Eddie Printz Jr., David Stevenson and Isaiah Willis.
5. In case you missed my update late yesterday afternoon, Colquitt County offensive lineman Xzavier Ward received offer No. 21 from Notre Dame this week. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound athlete was pretty pleased about it and placed the Fighting Irish among his top schools, which include Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Georgia. Some commenters on yesterday’s blog wondered why mention a Notre Dame offer? The Irish have been irrelevant for years. My reply is this: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and both Ward and UGA target Zach DeBell called me very excited about their Irish offers.
6. Speaking of left tackles on the Bulldogs’ wish list, Antonio Richardson (6-6, 290) of Nashville, Tenn., doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready to make the call any time soon. Richardson told Scout.com’s Chad Simmons he plans to cut to a top 10 sometime this fall. Tennessee, it sounds, might be his unspoken favorite. “Tennessee will likely make my top 10,” he told Simmons. “I went over there to their camp this summer because they are close and I worked at offensive and defensive line. Their coaches are torn because some of them want me as an offensive tackle and some want me as a defensive tackle. I like Tennessee and the coaches they have.” Simmons predicts Richardson’s top 10 could also include Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and USC.
7. Some Georgia players were among the best performers at the Auburn MVP Camp, attended by more than 200 prospects this past weekend. Alex Barr (6-7, 282) of Fayetteville’s Starr’s Mill High, took home the top offensive lineman award. Stephon Brown (5-8, 172) of Henry County won the award for top wide receiver/tight end, which he also did in the Atlanta event last month. And Cameron Berry (5-7, 167) of South Paulding was named best defensive back The overall MVP of the Auburn MVP Camp was DE Chris Hughes (6-1, 248) of McComb, Miss. . . . . Georgians were also some of the fastest players at the Auburn Camp. Nine of the top 12 40 times came from Peach State residents, including 2012 RB Maricio Askew of Bowdon, who clocked a camp best 4.38 seconds. He was followed by 2011 WR Jevon Watson (4.40) of Lovejoy and 2011 RB Josh Clemons (4.44) of Whitewater.
8. Valdosta’s Geraldo Orta reportedly de-committed from Clemson this week. The 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back from Lowdnes High committed to the Tigers on June 5th. He he told PalmettoSports.com he decided to back out so he can check out South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland and Louisville with a clean conscience. He likely won’t make up his mind this time until he has take official visits this fall.
9. Recent Georgia Tech commitment Shaq Mason shot down in an interview with JacketsOnline.com a rumor that he had switched his pledge to Tennessee. Mason, a 6-foot-2, 307-pound guard, attended a Vols’ camp last week and apparently was as impressive in Knoxville as he was in Atlanta when he earned the Yellow Jackets’ offer on June 12th. . . . Quinlan also reports that the Yellow Jackets are going to get an official visit from 5-star defensive back Doran Grant of Akron, Ohio.
10. THIS & THAT: Matt Darr of Bakersfield, Calif., the top-rated punter prospect in the country, inked financial aid papers with Tennessee on Wednesday. This will allow him to be eligible for the 2010 season. Darr, who was a USC commitment before Pete Carroll left for the NFL, was released from Fresno State after his position coach there did not have his contract renewed. The Vols also inked the top-rated place-kicker — Michael Palardy of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — in their 2010 class. . . .
Based on this Los Angeles Times article, it sounds as though Southern Cal upperclassmen are mostly staying put despite the NCAA’s offer of immediate eligibility elsewhere. . . . Fitzgerald QB Kaleb Nobles, a rising junior, is receiving recruiting interest from Clemson.