Archive for August, 2010

Georgia freshmen: To play or not to play QB Hutson Mason

Georgia may have no choice but to play true freshman Hutson Mason this season. (Ledger-Enquirer photo)

Georgia may have no choice but to play true freshman Hutson Mason this season. (Ledger-Enquirer photo)

Georgia will tee it up between the hedges against Louisiana-LaFayette this Saturday. And it will do so without a lot of youth on the field.

The Bulldogs look like a relative old folks home compared to SEC East brethren such as Tennessee and Florida. Seventeen true freshmen are included on the Gators’ two-deep depth chart for Miami-Ohio while the Vols are expected to play 17 freshmen and redshirt freshmen in their opener against UT-Martin.

Nothing of the sort for Georgia. Much attention will be placed on redshirt freshman Aaron Murray, who will make his debut as the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs. But the only true freshman on the two-deep is quarterback Hutson Mason. Junior college transfer Jakar Hamilton will get the starting nod at one of the safety positions. Otherwise, it’s a relatively seasoned squad that will take the field for Georgia in the season opener.

Ten@10: WR Da’Rick Rogers doesn’t crack two-deep for Tennessee

THE TEN AT 10:

Calhoun's Da'Rick Rogers hasn't lived up to his five-star billing -- yet.

Calhoun's Da'Rick Rogers hasn't lived up to his five-star billing — yet.

1. Tennessee released its first depth chart of the 2010 season this week and guess who wasn’t on it? Da’Rick Rogers. The five-star wide receiver from Calhoun didn’t make the two-deep . Gerald Jones and Zach Rogers were listed at one wideout and Denarius Moore and fellow true freshman Justin Hunter were listed at the other. Oddly enough, Hunter isn’t even practicing at the moment. His freshman eligibility is still hung up at the NCAA Clearinghouse. But obviously the Vols believe the young speedster will be cleared before Saturday’s opener against UT-Martin.

As for Rogers, his omission set off some anxiety-riddled exchanges on message boards such as VolNation.com. “Was he overrated?” some asked. “Has he not been putting forth enough effort in practice?” others wondered. I tend to side with the group that thinks Rogers is simply being sent a message by coach Derek Dooley and his staff. Lest …

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Isaiah Johnson poised to make sudden impact for Georgia Tech

Few predicted on signing day that Sandy Creek's Isaiah Johnson would have the biggest impact of Georgia Tech's 2010 signees. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Few predicted on signing day that Sandy Creek's Isaiah Johnson would have the biggest impact of Georgia Tech's 2010 signees. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

First in a series. Poll added. . .

As we embark on the college football season this week, it’s time now to take a look back at the 2010 recruiting classes and try to gauge how they worked out.

We’ll get it started today with Georgia Tech, which signed the No. 32 recruiting class in America, according to Scout.com, and No. 43, according to Rivals.

At this point there’s no question which of the new players is making the biggest impact for the Yellow Jackets. Isaiah Johnson took over the No. 1 jersey left behind by all-ACC safety Morgan Burnett and, as it turns out, it looks like he will be taking over that position as well. The big news out of The Flats this week was that Johnson earned a starting nod at safety.

“I’m not surprised, but I don’t want to diminish the accomplishment,” said Chip Walker, Johnson’s coach at Sandy …

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Avery Walls’ big hit getting clicks on YouTube

Most people who read this blog know that Avery Walls transferred from Union Grove to Eagles Landing Christian Academy late this summer.

Walls, the No. 9 defensive back in the country according to Rivals.com, got his first action with the Chargers’ this past weekend as they traveled down to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on North Florida Christian. They won 27-0. And you could say Walls had an impact on the game.

Check out this big hit, which is rapidly gaining attention on YouTube.com:

It was a good debut for Walls with his new team. He finished with six tackles, four forced fumbles and had two carries for 24 yards on offense. And he had few other big hits. You can check out all his highlights by CLICKING HERE.

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Channel 2 WSB-TV game Stephenson at Parkview features prospects galore

Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell is overseeing a powerhouse football program. (AJC photo)

Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell is overseeing a powerhouse football program. (AJC photo)

It’s time to stop talking about who may or may not have football talent and go out and see for ourselves. Or, better yet, just sit back on your couch and flip on the TV and find out.

High school football begins full tilt tonight! I’ll be in Lilburn tonight watch Stephenson face Parkview in the Big Orange Jungle. Can’t wait. You can see it, too.

As you may or may not have heard, somebody conned Channel 2 WSB-TV into letting me be part of their “Channel 2 Sports Zone Friday Live Game of the Week.” The game, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m., will be broadcast live on RTV (”Retro Television”/Charter Ch. 127, Comcast 248) and will be replayed at 1 a.m. on Channel 2 WSB-TV. I’ll be the “analyst” while Channel 2 sports director Zach Klein hunkers down and does all the real work. Gonna be a blast.

And Zach and I are both really excited about tonight’s matchup, which pits two Class AAAAA traditional …

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Ten@10: Oversigning still an issue at LSU, Alabama

THE TEN AT 10

1. Oversigning to continues to be an issue in the SEC despite rules being instituted in the last year to curtail the practice. LSU is the latest culprit. After all 27 of the school’s 2010 signees qualified for admission this fall, the Tigers were left with two more than NCAA rules allow them to admit. So coach Les Miles asked two of the incoming freshmen to “grayshirt,” meaning they would delay enrollment until January, when they would count toward the next season’s scholarship total. Elliott Porter, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive tackle from Waggaman, La., declined. Porter, an honors student, has since enrolled at Kentucky. Cameron Fordham, a tight end signee from Duluth whose father played for the Tigers, also declined the request but opted instead to pay his own way as a walkon this fall. He’ll be placed on scholarship in January.

Alabama, which has engaged in the practice of oversigning under coach Nick Saban, was bailed out recently when Alfy Hill, a …

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Georgia Tech no longer clear-cut No. 1 for Stephon Tuitt

Monroe Area's Stephon Tuitt (in white) plans to take a few trips before making his college decision. (Special photo)

Monroe Area's Stephon Tuitt (in white) plans to take a few trips before making his college decision. (Special photo)

Those who want to go ahead and write in Stephon Tuitt as a done deal for Georgia Tech would be well-advised to do so in pencil at this point.

The four-star defensive end from Monroe still likes the Yellow Jackets just as he always has. But he no longer identifies them as his clear-cut favorite as he once did.

Of his top five of Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Notre Dame and Miami, Tuitt said Tuesday night, “there’s really no order. They’re all even right now.”

And they may not be a solid five. Tuitt said he’s starting to think he may visit Florida instead of Miami. And he hasn’t completely shut the door on Georgia.

“I still have an eye cast toward Athens; I haven’t given up on them,” said Tuitt, who Rivals.com ranks the 22nd-ranked prospect in the country. “Georgia’s not off my mind.”

About the only thing that is certain with regard to Tuitt’s recruitment at this point …

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Ten@10: Could Stephon Tuitt be next for white-hot Georgia Tech?

Monroe Area DE Stephon Tuitt likes Tech but plans to take some trips this fall. (Special photo)

Monroe Area DE Stephon Tuitt likes Tech but plans to take some trips this fall. (Special photo)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Georgia Tech has been on an absolute roll lately. In a relative snap of the fingers, the Yellow Jackets have shot up to 13 commitments for 2011, landing four players in five days from Thursday to Monday. And all four are high-quality prospects at their respective positions: QB Vad Lee of Durham, N.C.; OLB Darius Caldwell of Atlanta’s Mays High; LB Tremayne McNair of Jacksonville, N.C.; and DB Dominique Noble of Mount Ulla, N.C. Credit first-year recruiting coordinator Andy McCollum for the Tobacco Road Raid. All three of the new North Carolinians said they knew “Coach Mac” since last year when he was recruiting them for N.C. State.

2. The main question everybody has been asking while the Jackets have been on this run is if they are going to land their top prospect — Monroe Area defensive end Stephon Tuitt. The good news? The country’s No. 22-ranked player (per …

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Tobacco Road raid continues as Georgia Tech lands DB Dominique Noble (UPDATED)

Dominique Noble, the latest Tech commitment, has the size (6-2, 187) to play cornerback or safety. (Photo by recruitingplanet.com)

Dominique Noble, the latest Tech commitment, has the size (6-2, 187) to play cornerback or safety. (Photo by recruitingplanet.com)

Georgia Tech’s raid of Tobacco Road continued Monday as the Yellow Jackets landed their 13th commitment and third in a row from the state of North Carolina on Monday.

Tech received the pledge of defensive back Dominique Noble of Mount Ulla, N.C. the 6-foot-2, 187-pound cornerback had about a dozen offers but, in the end, chose the Yellow Jackets over Penn State.

“Yes, sir, I committed about 2 o’clock today,” said Noble as he prepared for practice at West Rowan High School Monday afternoon. “I’ve felt like Georgia Tech is where I wanted to go for a while but I just kept waiting and waiting. I decided I wanted to get it out of the way.”

Noble’s commitment came on the heels of one from linebacker Tremayne McNair (Jacksonville, N.C.) on Sunday and quarterback Vad Lee (Durham, N.C.) on Thursday. (in between the Jackets also landed OLB Darius Caldwell of …

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Georgia gets 16th commitment from Spalding DT Chris Mayes

At 6-5, 295, Spalding's Chris Mayes is a load for opposing offensive line's to handle. (Special photo)

At 6-5, 295, Spalding's Chris Mayes is a load for opposing offensive line's to handle. (Special photo)

If Chris Mayes had been playing football as a freshman and sophomore and traveling around to compete in combines and camps all the while, he might have earned elite-prospect status and four or five stars like his cross-town buddies Xzavier Dickson and Corey Moore.

As it is, Mayes did not start playing football until last season. But it turns out that was enough time get noticed. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound athlete entered his senior season with around a dozen offers. And this weekend, he finally accepted one.

Mays committed to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday night. Word eked out Sunday afternoon.

“I was at home Saturday night and I just sat down and talked with my Mom about the opportunities I had and we just decided Georgia was the best place for me,” said Mayes, who said Miami and Oklahoma State were next on his list. “It’s the in-state school; it’s not far from home so it …

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