Archive for July, 2010

Mailbag: Dogs’ must-haves, Tech’s pied piper and what ESPYs did right

THE MAILBAG:

mailbag(1)Welcome to the third edition of “The Mailbag.”

I should probably say the “ill-fated” Mailbag. The other two times I’ve put this feature together it got trumped by big news.

The first week it ran, it got overshadowed by the late-night exploits of a now former Georgia AD. Last week, it was up only a couple of hours or so before news broke of a bar brawl in Knoxville, Tenn., that resulted in the arrest of a certain five-star prospect from just up the road.

So, be aware, odds are some major news will break within hours of this posting, possibly while you’re attempting to read it. With that in mind, read and respond quickly. And I’d suggest opening multiple tabs to be sure you don’t miss the real news when it breaks.

Now for the fake news, into the bag we dive . . .

TampaGator asks: Who would you consider the top 16 recruits by need and priority for Georgia? The Gainesville (Fla.)  paper does this every year concerning the Gators and they do an end-of-the year …

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James Wilder Jr. checking out the scene at UGA, Tech

Tampa's James Wilder Jr. will get a close-up look at Georgia and Georgia Tech this week. (Photo by Chris Hays/Orlando Sentinel)

Tampa's James Wilder Jr. will get a close-up look at Georgia and Georgia Tech this week. (Photo by Chris Hays/Orlando Sentinel)

Of blue-chip recruits, college coaches often say, “if you can just get them on campus, anything can happen.”

Well, Georgia and Georgia Tech will have that chance with the top recruiting prospect in America, who’s coming to town this week. Running back James Wilder Jr. of Tampa is in Athens today and Friday to check out UGA and will visit Georgia Tech on Saturday, his coach at Plant High confirmed.

Wilder made the drive up to Athens with teammate Tate Rogers, a fullback, and Rogers’ mother, Plant coach Robert Weiner said. Wilder intends to attend Georgia’s annual “Dawg Night” elite prospect camp on Friday but will not necessarily participate in drills.

“Yep, James is at Georgia today and tomorrow and he’s going to Georgia Tech on Saturday,” said Weiner, who was about to board a plane with Plant’s Phillip Ely to fly to California for the Elite 11 …

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‘Fake James Wilder Jr.’ commits to Florida, real one coming to Georgia

Sorry, but no time for a Ten at 10 this morning. I am nursing an injured knee. I won’t go into detail other than to say guys my age probably shouldn’t jump on trampolines, despite the pleas of my 3-year-old and the other neighborhood kids. But here’s a few nuggets to feast on while I head off to see the doctor. Meanwhile, if you don’t mind, pray for “sprain” and not “tear.”

  • James Wilder Jr. still has not committed to anybody. But “Fake James Wilder” has committed to Florida. That was the news that broke on Twitter last night. Around 8 p.m. Wednesday veteran recruiting reporter JC Shurburtt of the new recruiting upstart 247Sports.com tweeted, “Got an email from James Wilder saying he had committed to Florida.” To Shurburtt’s credit, he came back shortly thereafter with a cautionary tweet: “I will caution you I am trying to confirm the James Wilder email. This very well could be a hoax.” Next came this: “Reliable sources say the email is false.” So there you have it. Turns out …

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Tech target Vad Lee plans to ‘name a leader’ Christian LeMay style

Vad Lee, here at a recent 7-on-7 camp, has N.C. State and Georgia Tech atop his list. (Photo provided by Vad Lee)

Vad Lee, here at a recent 7-on-7 camp, has N.C. State and Georgia Tech atop his list. (Photo provided by Vad Lee)

Vad Lee, Georgia Tech’s top quarterback target, plans to “name a leader” a la Christian LeMay within the next three weeks.

The 6-foot-2, 193-pound athlete from Durham, N.C., is good friends with LeMay, a University of Georgia pledge, and is strongly considering handling his recruitment the same way as that five-star prospect. That is, to name a leader rather than to full-out commit.

“I think I’m going to do the Christian LeMay thing,” Lee said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “Me and Christian have been talking a little bit and I really like what he did when he named a leader and all that. So I may take that approach and name a leader. That way there won’t be too much pressure on me but I can still take my five visits. I want to do that.”

LeMay, who had upward of 30 scholarship offers, named a final five at a press conference in late April and tabbed the …

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Gold medal doesn’t slow down globetrotting Tony Parker

Atlanta's Tony Parker (far right) and his USA U17 teammates celebrate their gold-medal-winning victory over Poland this past weekend in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by FIBA.com)

Atlanta's Tony Parker (far right) and his USA U17 teammates celebrate their gold-medal-winning victory over Poland this past weekend in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by FIBA.com)

Say this for Tony Parker: The man doesn’t mind traveling for his hoops.

In the last three weeks, the 6-foot-9 rising junior at Miller Grove High has played basketball in Texas, Lithuania and Germany. When he finally stepped off a plane in Atlanta at 3 a.m. Tuesday — fresh off the USA U17 team’s gold-medal run in Europe — he went straight to North Augusta, S.C., where he played two games yesterday afternoon at the Peach Jam with his AAU team, the Georgia Stars.

Understandably, he was a little jet-lagged.

“Yeah, I was, but I did pretty well,” Parker said. “I had a double-double.”

Parker will continue to hoop it up for three more days at the recruiting showcase tournament in North Augusta before finally heading home and sleeping in his own bed on Saturday.

It’s a moment he’s been looking forward to.

“I miss …

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Ten@10: Tech’s lead for Stephon Tuitt widens, UGA fades

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Stephon Tuitt has not yet eliminated the Georgia Bulldogs from consideration, but they’re definitely fading fast. At least that’s my conclusion after a bit of confusion over the weekend. Tuitt made yet another visit to Georgia Tech, which remains atop the wish list for this highly-touted defensive end from Monroe. The Tech fan sites from both Rivals and Scout interviewed Tuitt afterward and, as usual, asked him to reel off his favorites. He didn’t mention the Bulldogs this time, whereas he had them fourth among his top seven in my last update less than a month ago. Reading this, I took it to mean Tuitt had eliminated Georgia, so I called him Monday to verify. “That’s not accurate,” Tuitt told me. “I have seven schools that stand out for me now and they’re one of them.” But since he mentioned only Tech, Miami, Notre Dame, Clemson, Auburn and Tennessee and not UGA, we have to assume the Bulldogs are now at No. 7. Meanwhile, the 6-foot-5, 252-pound athlete is …

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Tech-bound Jabari Hunt-Days finishes No. 2 in Nike SPARQ championship

Jabari Hunt-Days puts everything he has into a power ball toss last week in Oregon. (Photo by Nike Football)

Jabari Hunt-Days puts everything he has into a power ball toss during the Nike SPARQ national championships last week in Oregon. (Photo by Nike Football)

I’ve often said that Hillgrove linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days may end up being a four-star prospect before it’s all said and done. And if you factored in the ability to compete in combines, he probably ought to get five stars.

The Georgia Tech commitment returned to Atlanta this past weekend after finishing second in the nation at the Nike National Combine in Beaverton, Ore.

Hunt-Days (6-3, 226) earned that invitation by recording one of the top SPARQ scores this year in two Nike preliminary events in Atlanta and Orlando. SPARQ stands for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness and is a system for rating athleticism. Athletes compete in the 40-yard dash, power ball toss, agility shuttle, yo-yo intermittent recovery test and vertical jump.

Hunt-Days was impressive. He recorded a gaudy 131.64 rating. A score 100 is …

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Stan & Jay Rome: Like father, not necessarily like son

It’s generally assumed since Stan Rome was a two-sport letterman at Clemson that his son, Jay Rome, is most likely to end up there.

Jay Rome wears the same number 11 at Valdosta that his father Stan Rome (above) wore amost 40 years ago. (Special photo)

Jay Rome wears the same number 11 at Valdosta that his father Stan Rome (above) wore amost 40 years ago. (Special photo)

Not so, says the man that should know best, Stan Rome.

“Oh, absolutely not,” said Stan Rome, who was busy cooking hamburgers for his son and Valdosta High buddy Malcolm Mitchell while doing a telephone interview recently. “I don’t want him to go to Clemson just because I went to Clemson. I want him to go wherever he feels like he’s comfortable with the staff and where the fit works for him. The last thing I want is for him to go to Clemson and he gets there and then it’s not ideal for him. I never would forgive myself for something like that.”

Still, nobody would be surprised if Jay Rome ended up following in his dad’s footsteps. After all, the father and son are quite similar.

About 40 years ago, Stanford Rome was the toast of …

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Da’Rick Rogers’ status with Tennessee remains undetermined

Georgia natives Darren Myles (L) and Da'Rick Rogers (R) shield their faces while leaving a correctional facility in Knoxville. (AP Photo)

Georgia natives Darren Myles (L) and Da'Rick Rogers (R) shield their faces while leaving a correctional facility in Knoxville. (AP Photo)

Conspicuously absent from Tennessee’s news release on disciplinary action taken against players involved in Thursday’s night bar brawl in Knoxville was any mention of Da’Rick Rogers.

Rogers, a freshman wide receiver from Calhoun, was one of two Vols arrested after that 1:50 a.m. incident at Bar Knoxville on the Cumberland Avenue entertainment strip near the UT campus. The other, sophomore safety Darren Myles, was dismissed the team.

Myles, a Carver graduate from Atlanta, was charged by Knoxville police with assault, evading arrest and resisting arrest. It was his second arrest in three months, hence his dismissal. Two other players were suspended indefinitely.

Rogers was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. But there was no mention of the five-star wide receiver in the statement released by coach Derek Dooley Friday …

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UT arrests: Darren Myles dismissed, no action on Da’Rick Rogers

Were the Tennessee football and basketball players that frequented Bar Knoxville receiving extra benefits from the food-and-drink establishment? The NCAA is probably going to want to know.

Darren Myles of Columbus

S Darren Myles of Atlanta

Sandy Morton, who co-owns the popular nightclub on “The Strip” in downtown Knoxville with her husband, admits in an on-camera interview that she “gives VIP status to the football players” and “always tries to cater to the UT guys.” Morton said “VIP status” means they pay no cover at the door.

The NCAA defines an extra benefit as any special gift or arrangement provided to an enrolled student-athlete or a student-athlete’s relative or friend which is not available to the general student body of that institution.

That special treatment came back to bite Bar Knoxville as an early-Friday-morning melee shut down her business, left two police officers hospitalized and resulted in at least two Tennessee football players being arrested.

“It bothers me that they think …

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