THE TEN AT 10:
1. Georgia’s A.J. Green will miss the first third of this season due to an NCAA suspension then, in all likelihood, leave for NFL riches at the end of the year. So one would think elite receivers would be beating down the door to succeed Green in Athens. But, to date, that hasn’t been the case. The Bulldogs currently have three wideouts committed in the Class of 2011, but none of the ilk of Green, who was the top receiver prospect in the South when he left Summerville, S.C. Green’s absence brings to the forefront the relative dearth of wide receiver talent lining up to succeed him.
Georgia thought it addressed Green’s successor last year with the recruitment of Da’Rick Rogers, a five-star wide receiver from Calhoun and the state’s top overall prospect. But after being committed to the Bulldogs for eight months, Rogers pulled an 11th-hour reversal and signed with Tennessee. That put Georgia in a bind. It came up short on five-star targets Christian Green of Tampa and Chris Dunkley of Pahokee and signed only two wideouts in the class: three-star prospect Michael Bennett of Alpharetta and two-star prospect Lonnie Outlaw, who had to start in junior college.
This season, Georgia has landed a commitment from North Paulding’s Chris Conley (6-3, 185), an AJC Super 11 selection and the top player in the state at the position. He’s joined by three-star prospects Justin Scott-Wesley (6-1, 210) of Mitchell County and Zach Witchett (6-0, 185) of Booker T. Washington. But so far, the Dogs haven’t been able to convince any blue-chippers to come their way. Five-star recruit Charone Peake of Spartanburg, S.C., committed to Clemson this summer, they’ve fallen far behind Miami and Clemson for five-star target Sammy Watkins of Fort Myers, and four-star target Rashad Greene of Ft. Lauderdale committed to FSU.
It would appear the Dogs remain in the market for at least two more wideouts in this class. A couple they have their sights on are Tobias Singleton (6-2, 200) of Madison, Miss., and Ty Montgomery (6-1, 202), a Stanford commitment from Dallas, Texas, who plans to visit UGA sometime this season. The top uncommitted wideouts in the state include Cedar Grove’s Vincent Dallas (5-11, 185) and Johnson County’s Zack Walker (6-1, 185). Georgia could also try to sway away Sandy Creek’s Alex Chisum (6-2, 185) from his Cincinnati commitment. They might also consider Valdosta defensive back prospect Malcolm Mitchell for offense. Mitchell has stood out for the Wildcats as a receiver.
2. Meanwhile, the cupboard is not completely bare of wide receiver talent in Athens. Marlon Brown, a five-star recruit out of Memphis, has been coming on in his sophomore season, according to coach Mark Richt. And Kris Durham, Tavarres King, Rantavious Wooten and Israel Troupe offer the Bulldogs viable alternatives. But considering Durham (24-334) is the second-most productive receiver behind Green (109-1,772), it’s evident the position needs to be addressed in both quality and quantity through recruiting.
3. A couple of major talents are expected to be in Columbia, S.C., for the Georgia-South Carolina game. Five-star offensive line prospect Brandon Shell (6-7, 310) of Goose Creek, S.C., plans to be in attendance but has to take the ACT Saturday morning, according to PalmettoSports. Shell, the nephew of former NFL head coach Art Shell, is trying to decide between Georgia and the Gamecocks. Meanwhile, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney – considered the No. 1 overall prospect in America by Rivals.com — will also be at the game. Clowney (6-6, 240) once considered Georgia but now is thought to be leaning toward South Carolina and Alabama.
4. Norcross DT Ben Bradley (6-2, 270) committed to West Virginia on Wednesday, according to 247Sports.com. Bradley, who gets two stars from Scout but is not rated by Rivals, is the Mountaineers’ 13th commitment. He chose them over N.C. State and UCF.
5. Geno Smith of St. Pius, considered one of the top junior defensive backs in the state, told me Wednesday he received a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt. That’s No. 6 for Smith (5-11, 170), who also has offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Louisville and Virginia Tech.
6. I’ve been studying up for Friday night’s Channel 2 Sports Zone Game of the Week between McEachern and Marietta and I was taken aback by the number of legitimate college prospects the Indians have. Tight end Rory Anderson (6-5, 212) is probably the best known prospect for McEachern, but there are several others, including LB Jefferson Ashiru (6-2, 215), WR Chris Davis (5-10, 170), WR Amba Etta-Tawo (6-2, 173), OT Xavier Hemingway (6-4, 258), RB Chris Nwagbara (5-10, 177), DE Chris Okpala (6-1, 225), QB/ATH Dondre Purnell (5-10, 178), LB Marquis Roberts (6-0, 205) and RB Zarold Wilder (5-7, 188). It’s no wonder they’re ranked No. 5 in Class AAAAA.
7. In the end, Florida did not end up playing 16 true freshmen in its opener against Miami-Ohio last weekend as was predicted. One of the newbies expected to get playing time was Lithonia running back Mack Brown. But Brown, an AJC Super 11 selection from M.L. King High, ended up staying on the bench as the Gators’ offense struggled like it hasn’t in years against a team that went 1-11 a year ago. True freshmen that were impressive included S Matt Elam, DT Sharrif Floyd,and DE Ronald Powell, according to this update at GatorSports.com.
8. Speaking of the Gators, early video highlights of Florida commitment Jeff Driskel, a quarterback from Oviedo, Fla., have UF fans already drawing comparisons to Tim Tebow, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Driskel (6-4, 225) is also a big quarterback and doesn’t mind lowering his head for yardage. Pretty good arm, too, from what I can tell. See for yourself.
9. There’s a really good story out of Knoxville on how new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley requires assistants to put down in writing their thoughts and observations on a recruit before deciding to offer them a scholarship. He said he believes they need accountability when they miss on their evaluations and try to figure out where they went wrong.
10. THIS & THAT: The obscene gesture and helmet toss by Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., tight end Nick O’Leary — Jack Nicklaus’ grandson — resulted in a two-game suspension from Dwyer High School. . . . Three freshmen stood out for Georgia Tech in its opener against South Carolina State last Saturday: RB B.J. Bostic (5 carries, 30 yards), S Isaiah Johnson (4 tackles, 1 for loss) and LB Jeremian Attaochu (one tackle). . . . OL Trenton Brown (6-7, 310) of Albany-Westover added a scholarship offer from Western Kentucky to one he already had from East Carolina, according to Scout.com’s Chad Simmons. . . . ESPN’s Jamie Newberg reports that North Carolina commitments are beginning to get anxious about the Tar Heels’ dealings with the NCAA.