THE TEN AT 10:
1. Without a doubt, Stephon Tuitt was the top defensive recruit remaining on Georgia Tech’s board for the Class of 2011. The Monroe Area defensive end’s decision to choose Notre Dame on Wednesday after calling the Yellow Jackets his leader for most of the calendar year had to feel like a kick in the gut to Tech’s coaches and fans. But here are some reasons to feel better: (A) The Jackets have had a solid recruiting year already, with 13 commitments, including four from much-needed offensive linemen; (B) they have a pledge from a four-star linebacker already (Hillgrove’s Jabari Hunt-Days) and a quarterback (Vad Lee of Durham, N.C.) that probably ought to have four stars; (C) they are closing in on four-star CB Blake Countess of Owings Mill, N.C., and continue to make headway with RB Romar Morris, whose UNC commitment is wavering; and, finally, (E) it’s not over with Tuitt. Recruiting has been an emotional proposition for this 6-foot-5, 260-pound athlete. Even as he announced his Notre Dame decision he stated how strongly he felt about Tech and bad he felt about saying no to its coaches. You can be sure the Jackets aren’t picking up stakes and heading home. They’ll stay after him.
2. In the meantime, Tuitt’s commitment to Notre Dame is being lauded as a major success for first-year coach Brian Kelly that could have a pied piper effect for the Irish. Here are the news stories from the South Bend Tribune and the Chicago Tribune.
3. Speaking of Hunt-Days, the 6-foot-3, 226-pound combine conqueror has been getting it done on the field for Hillgrove this season. He has had back-to-back 20-tackle games for the Hawks, including 15 solos and 8 assists in a win over North Forsyth this past weekend. In the meantime, he’s still waiting for a crack on offense, where he stood out as a fullback and running back last season. His serviced haven’t been required with the addition of Ike Onyeagba. But he thinks he’ll get a chance to tote the rock before the season is over. “I believe [the coaches] are waiting until critical region play or the playoffs,”Hunt-Days said.
Of course, like any four-star prospect, Hunt-Days said he is still receiving recruiting overtures from a number of schools, including Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt. “However, Georgia Tech is my commitment,” he said.
4. In the meantime, Georgia Tech made an announcement Wednesday that should help recruiting. The school has received a $3.5 million dollar commitment from Mary R. and John F. Brock to fund a new $7 million indoor practice facility. The 80,000-square-foot building will be erected on the current site of Rose Bowl Field. Construction is scheduled to begin early next year.
“Having a new facility will give us many more options,” coach Paul Johnson said in a release. “Throughout the year, we have thunderstorms that make it unsafe to practice outdoors, andsummers are well known for their incredible heat. This new facility will prevent any disruption of our practice routine. It will also significantly help with recruiting.”
Brock is chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Enterprises. He and his wife are both Tech graduates.
5. Tech’s decision to , Georgia is scheduled move into a new practice and training facility sometime in November. The Bulldogs spent $40 million to expand Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall by 53,000 square feet, which includes an open area that could be utilized for indoor, walk-through practices. But the crown jewel of the new facility is expected to be a mammoth weight room and training facility. The football team has been working out in the relatively tiny weight room at Stegeman Coliseum since construction began.
6. Georgia coach Mark Richt himself called Saturday’s game against Arkansas “as big as they get” and the Bulldogs don’t play at home for another three weeks. So it’s no wonder they will be packing in the blue-chip recruits for the game. Among the dozens of unofficial visitors planning to be in attendance are three AJC Super 11 prospects: Carver-Columbus RB Isaiah Crowell, Griffin DE Xzavier Dickson and Grady ATH Damian Swann. The Bulldogs also will be bringing in two elite out-of-staters for official visits: WR Ty Montgomery of Dallas, Texas (a Stanford commit) and CB Marcus Robertson of St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Other notable unofficial visitors, include five-star OT John Theus of Jacksonville, Fla.; OL Spencer Region, Cullman, Ala.; QB Greyson Lambert, Jesup; DE Junior Gnonkonde, Lakeland; WR Nile Daniel, Griffin; DB Deion Bonner, Carver-Columbus; DB Riyahd Jones, Carver-Columbus; Jacob Southerland, Mableton; OL/DL Tre Jackson, Wayne County; DT Jordan Watkins, College Park; and DE Carlos Wray, Shelby, N.C. The majority of the visitors are Class of 2012 targets. That does NOT include already-committed prospects, of which there is expected to be at least 10.
7. Tigerbait.com is reporting that LSU has offered a scholarship to former Georgia QB Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger, redshirt freshman from Watkinsville, has been lighting it up as the starting quarterback at Butler County Community College in Kansas. Just this past weekend the 6-foot-5, 240-pound signal caller completed 14-of-20 passes for 301 yards and four touchdowns in a 56-7 win over Highland. For the year, he’s 40-of-63 for 728 yards with 10 TDs and 1 interception for Butler, which is ranked No. 2 among junior colleges. Mettenberger was the nation’s 11th-ranked pro-style quaterback when he signed with Georgia in 2009. He was dismissed from Georgia in May after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery following an incident last spring in Valdosta.
8. Remember B.J. Butler, the linebacker/defensive end from Kissimmee Fla., who was committed to Georgia until they parted ways in January and he eventually signed with Louisville? Well, he started for the Cardinals at defensive this past week. Played pretty good, too, according to this account in the Louisville Courier-Journal.
9. AJC Super 11 linebacker A.J. Johnson of Gainesville told me he plans to take official visits to Clemson, Florida, Miami, Southern Cal and Tennessee this fall. He’ll be heading up to Knoxville for the UT-Florida game this weekend on an unofficial visit.
10. THIS AND THAT: Georgia State landed a basketball commitment for its class of 2011 on Wednesday in Jervon Pressley of Charlotte. The 6-foot-8, 200-pound center/power forward is described as a “great athlete” by Scout’s Dave Telep. He’s ranked No. 23 at his position by ESPN. . . . Georgia Miltary DE Leroy Vick (6-6, 275) committed to East Carolina this week.