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 Rivals) still has Tech on top. The bad news? He’s not going to commit any time soon. In fact, Tuitt spent this past Saturday up at Clemson and he raved to TigerIllustrated.com about his visit there. Meanwhile, Tuitt definitely wants to take some official visits this fall, with a trip to South Bend, Ind., foremost on his list. “He wants to go to Notre Dame on an official visit,” Monroe Area coach Matt Fligg said. “I’m going to send him up there early, probably for the Michigan game (Sept. 11).” Nevertheless, Fligg feels like Tech is still in good shape. “I think deep down he really wants to commit,” he said. “I think he’s tired of it. He’s not going to drag this thing out too long.”
3. Tuitt’s top five, in order, remain Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Notre Dame and Miami. Whatever happened to Georgia? Fligg wonders, too. “He never crossed out Georgia,” Fligg said. “Monroe is Georgia territory. He hears about it every day around here. But he hasn’t heard from them all summer.” Translation: The Bulldogs have read the writing on the wall and have moved on.
4. Speaking of Tech, wide receiver target Kasen Williams (6-2, 192), a five-star prospect from Sammamish, Wash., is set to announce his college choice on Friday. However, most reports from out west say he’ll choose from among Washington, California, Florida, LSU and Notre Dame. Williams was the main target of highly-touted quarterback prospect Jake Heaps, who is now a freshman at BYU. Williams caught 74 passes for 1,209 yards and 20 TDs.
5. Speaking of top-notch recruits, Carver-Columbus running back Isaiah Crowell — arguably the top prospect in the state — had an impressive 2010 debit in the Tigers’ scrimmage against Central of Phenix City, Ala., this past weekend. The 6-foot, 210-pound athlete had 123 yards on nine carries in the 17-15 loss. Carver opens the regular season against Spencer on Friday.
6. Speaking of impressive performances, Colquitt County coach Rush Propst was plenty impressed with the play of Cook linebacker Shannon Brown and said he was basically the difference in the Packers’ 15-9 upset loss. Brown, who is committed to Alabama, dominated on both sides of the ball, scoring a touchdown as a running back and making tackles from sideline-to-sideline. “How many tackles do you think he had?,” Propst told the Moultrie Observer. “He must have had 25. If he’s not on the field we score six, seven touchdowns.”
7. Georgia State, which opens its inaugural football season against Shorter on Sept. 2, landed a nice addition to its 2011 class with a commitment Monday from DE Roderick Thompson of Mays High. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete plays on the end opposite the Tech commitment Caldwell, giving the Raiders’ one of the more formidable defensive fronts in Atlanta. “He’s my right-hand man,” Thompson said of Caldwell. “We’ve been hanging out since we were kids. We’re trying to be the best in the state.” Thompson chose the Panthers over a number of FCS offers, plus Grambling, Army and William & Mary. “[Georgia State is] just starting off and I feel like I can help them get better,” Thompson said. “Plus, they’re right here at home.”
8. Speaking of Georgia State, there’s a good story in the Charlotte Observer about how UNC-Charlotte is closely monitoring Georgia State’s foray into college football under coach Bill Curry. The 49ers are set to start a football program in 2013.
9. Storm Johnson, a 2009 AJC Super 11 running back out of Atlanta, is making a name for himself down at Miami. In a recent scrimmage the Loganville High graduate recovered a blocked punt, returned a kickoff 41 yards and delivered a down-field block on Alonzo Highsmith’s 23-yard touchdown run, according to the Miami Herald. “He’s getting better, a lot better than he was in January,” coach Randy Shannon said Sunday. “He’s working on kickoff returns and all phases of special teams. But the running back position is very competitive right now.” It will be a major accomplishment for Johnson to get on the field as a tailback. The Hurricanes are loaded at the position. In addition to Highsmith and Johnson, they have Graig Cooper, Damien Berry, Mike James, Lamar Miller, Lee Chambers, Darion Hall and Eduardo Clements.
10. This & That: DT Jeffrey Whitaker (Warner Robins), WR Antonio Goodwin (Atlanta) and DB Jonathan Mincy (Atlanta) are all expected to earn playing time as true freshmen at Auburn, according to this report in the Decatur Daily News. . . . One of the best senior basketball players in the state is off the board. Malcolm Brogdon, a 6-foot-5 wing player from Greater Atlanta Christian, committed to Virginia after taking a visit there this past weekend. Brogdon chose the Cavaliers over Georgia, Clemson and Vanderbilt, according to the AJC’s Michael Carvell. . . . RB Brandon Wilds (6-1, 220) of Blythewood, S.C., committed to South Carolina late last week. . . . Zach West (6-5, 305), a four-star offensive lineman from Lexington, Ky., will choose between Kentucky, Penn State and Tennessee.