Archive for September, 2010

DE Stephon Tuitt has ‘high interest’ in Notre Dame after official visit

Stephon Tuitt took his first official visit of the year and, in two words, he was blown away.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end from Monroe Area traveled with his mother to South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame-Michigan game and they both were wowed by what they saw there.

“I didn’t expect the visit to go so well,” said Tuitt, who has the Fighting Irish among a top five that includes Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami. “It went really well. I saw things I never thought I’d see. Just looking at the campus and seeing all the history was great.”

Tuitt got the full treatment from Notre Dame. He and his mom actually left for South Bend by car on Thursday and did not get home until Sunday night.

In between he spent a bunch of time with his official host, redshirt freshman linebacker Kendall Moore, who showed him around the campus and introduced him to players. He also spent time with coaches, fellow recruits, took an academic tour and, of course, took in his first game at …

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Marietta, McEachern move on after tragedies

I’m heading over to Marietta tonight to watch the Blue Devils (1-1) take on McEachern (1-1) in an old Cobb County rivalry. It’s the Channel 2 Sportszone Game of the Week and you can catch it live at 7:30 p.m. on RTV (Charter Ch. 127 and Comcast 248) or see the replay at 1 a.m. on WSB-TV.

No matter the outcome of tonight’s contest, both of these storied programs will come out triumphant. Each has endured horrible tragedies since the end of last season.

Most people know about the tragic death of McEachern star running back Rajaan Bennett last February in Powder Springs. Bennett, a Vanderbilt signee and 1,800-yard rusher for the Indians, was gunned down by his mother’s ex-boyfriend in a domestic dispute.

Last week, McEachern retired Bennett’s No. 5 jersey in an emotional ceremony before the Lowndes game. More than 10,000 people attended and the Indians responded by upsetting Lowndes 23-22.

Lesser known to the general populous is the grief with which Marietta has been dealing. …

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Mailbag: Bama invades Georgia, Facebook omens and Tuitt’s trips

THE MAILBAG

mailbag(1)We’ve been a couple of weeks without a Mailbag, so I decided to reach in and grab a few questions and see what we had. There were some old questions in there and a lot of repeats. So we need to get current. Be sure to drop a line to AJCrecruiting@yahoo.com and we’ll see if we can keep this feature rolling for a few weeks in a row.

Now on to your mail. . . .

Don4654 asks: Do you think Bama will get any Georgia players to commit besides (Cook linebacker) Shannon Brown?

Chip: Yes, I suspect Bama will get a couple or few more Georgians, including the two Xzaviers, DE Xzavier Dickson of Griffin and OT Xzavier Ward of Colquitt County. The Crimson Tide is also battling for RB Isaiah Crowell, RB Quan Bray, CB Damian Swann and DT Gabe Wright, among others.

Rhall55 asks: Is not Kris Frost from the same high school that UGA recruit Christian LeMay attended? If so, why was he not heavily recruited by UGA? This seems to be a trend of UGA to back off on potential recruits, i.e. …

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Ten@10: Finding the next A.J. Green difficult for Georgia

THE TEN AT 10:

Finding the next A.J. Green has been difficult for Georgia. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Finding 6-foot-5 receivers with the speed and hands of A.J. Green has been a challenge for the Bulldogs. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

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 …

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N. Paulding WR Joey Eliezer a mirror image of Chris Conley

Teams getting ready to play North Paulding know right off the bat they have to focus on stopping No. 32, AJC Super 11 wide receiver Chris Conley. But once they line up against the Wolfpack and see No. 30 lining up opposite Conley, they might think they’re seeing double.

They’re not. No. 30 is senior wide receiver Joey Eliezer, and his similarities to Conley go beyond their 6-foot-3, 185-pound frames.

Just ask Paulding County, which saw the duo combine for 241 receiving yards and four touchdowns in the season opener.

“If teams double-cover Chris that keeps me in single coverage and gives me a chance to make plays,” said Eliezer, who hit the Patriots for 129 yards and two touchdowns on four catches. “It’s kind of like pick your poison.”

Just the threat of these athletic receivers has proven effective for North Paulding. The Wolfpack (2-0) barely threw the ball in their second game of the season, a 51-3 win over Alexander this past Friday. They’ve outscored their first two …

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Ten@10: Isaiah Crowell shows Mark Richt love after TD

THE TEN AT 10:

Isaiah Crowell (1) ran for 188 yards and a 90-yard touchdown in Carver-Columbus' 14-0 win over Buford this past Friday. (Photo by Robin Trimarch/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)

Isaiah Crowell (1) ran for 188 yards and a 90-yard touchdown in Carver-Columbus' 14-0 win over Buford this past Friday. (Photo by Robin Trimarch/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)

1. A lot of people saw and/or heard about Isaiah Crowell’s 90-yard touchdown run in Carver-Columbus’ 14-0 win over Buford this past weekend. What they probably didn’t see was what happened at the end of Crowell’s scoring jaunt. As he celebrated his way back down the sideline, he stopped and spontaneously hugged Georgia coach Mark Richt, according to several eyewitness accounts. Richt was attending the game along with UGA running backs coach Bryan McClendon (and coaches from Auburn, Tennessee and several other schools). Even though Crowell initiated the “contact,” it’s unclear if the hug constituted some sort of NCAA secondary violation. The general rule is only a handshake is permitted. But given the sometimes illogical reasoning in the NCAA manual, you never know.

2. Crowell, who ended up …

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Rewind: Tennessee needs Da’Rick Rogers to step up

Da'Rick Rogers is congratulated by Tennessee coaches after making a nine-yard catch for a first down in the opener against Tennessee-Martin. (Photo by Adam Brimer/Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Da'Rick Rogers is congratulated by Tennessee coaches after making a nine-yard catch for a first down in the opener against Tennessee-Martin. (Photo by Adam Brimer/Knoxville News-Sentinel)

MONDAY MORNING REWIND

Welcome to the “Monday Morning Rewind.” Every week for the rest of the football season we’ll revisit players, plays and games that caught our attention over the weekend. These are just things I saw and heard, so please feel free to offer your insights and observations.

Let’s get to it.

Da’Rick Rogers needs to step up for Vols

We didn’t get to see much from five-star wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers in the Tennessee opener but that’s likely to change in the coming weeks. The Vols saw their top two receivers go down with injuries in the 50-0 win over Tennessee-Martin. Gerald Jones, who is also the Vols punt returner, suffered a broken hand and will be out at least two weeks. Denarius Moore, who led the Vols with four catches for 66 yards and a 58-yard TD run on Saturday, …

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Peachtree Ridge quartet learning how to live up to NFL namesakes

DiAndre Atwater, son of Denver Broncos' legend Steve Atwater, is a starting running back for Peachtree Ridge High School.

DiAndre Atwater, son of Denver Broncos' legend Steve Atwater, is a starting running back for Peachtree Ridge High School. (Special photo)

I’m heading over to Suwanee to call tonight’s game between Roswell and Peachtree Ridge and, like me, you may recognize a few of the names on the Peachtree Ridge roster.

Among the Lions’ players are junior running back DiAndre Atwater, junior cornerback Ray Buchanan Jr., sophomore wide receiver Joe Horn Jr. and sophomore tight end/linebacker Tony “J.R.” Jones Jr.

If their names ring a bell, that’s because all of their fathers played — and starred — in the NFL.

This is nothing new for the relatively young football program at Peachtree Ridge. The school is located not far from the exclusive gated community of Sugarloaf Country Club, where numerous current and former professional athletes reside. So it would follow that some of their children would attend the local public school.

The Lions had Drew Butler, the son of former Chicago Bears’ kicker …

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Quarterbacking sons keeps Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw on the run

Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw (R) hopes to see son Connor play quarterback for South Carolina tonight against Southern Miss. (AJC photo)

Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw (R) hopes to see son Connor play quarterback for South Carolina tonight against Southern Miss. (AJC photo)

You’ll have to forgive Lee Shaw if he seems a little droopy-eyed on Sunday. By then he will have done a lot of driving, watched a lot of football and done very little sleeping.

It’s just that he has a little football trifecta he needs to attend to over the next three days and there won’t be much time for siestas.

Tonight he’ll be in Columbia, S.C., to watch his youngest son Connor Shaw suit up and play for the South Carolina Gamecocks. On Friday, he’ll be in Flowery Branch to coach his high school team in its home opener against Winder-Barrow. Early Saturday morning he’ll be heading south to Statesboro to see his other son Jaybo Shaw making his debut for Georgia Southern against Savannah State.

He has his regular coaches’ meeting planned for early Sunday afternoon, provided he can wake up for it.

“I’ll find sleep when I can,” said the …

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Ten@10: Dad beams as Tai-ler ‘TJ’ Jones gets starting nod at Notre Dame

THE TEN AT 10:

Former Gainesville star Tailer "TJ" Jones is slated to start at the X receiver position for Notre Dame. (Special photo)

Former Gainesville star Tailer "TJ" Jones is slated to start at the X receiver position for Notre Dame. (Special photo)

1. Wide receiver Tai-ler “TJ” Jones of Gainesville, a 2009 AJC Super 11 player, will become the first true freshman since Milt Jackson in 1982 to start a season-opening game for Notre Dame. This is a matter of more than a little pride for his father, Andre Jones, who played for the Fighting Irish 1987-91.

“I am at a lost for words,” Andre Jones told me in an e-mail exchange this week. “It’s nostalgic and very surreal all at the same time. I think most dads can confess the joy of seeing their sons play Division-1 football. But to play at your alma mater is another caveat I never imagined.”

Andre points out that his son, who is going by TJ instead of his given name Tai-ler in South Bend, is also the first “legacy child” from Notre Dame’s 1988 national championship team to start for the Irish. Jones’ godfather is none other than Raghib …

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