THE TEN AT 10:
1. With Tuesday’s decision to suspend tailback Caleb King, there is a good chance the Georgia Bulldogs will have to pull the redshirt off true reshman Kendrun Malcome so he can play this Saturday against Vanderbilt.
King, who has started two games at tailback this season, was arrested earlier this week for not paying a speeding ticket in Walton County. Head coach Mark Richt announced Tuesday King would be suspended for the next two games. Sophomore Washaun Ealey, who started games two through four, will get the nod this week. But backup Carlton Thomas, who has one start under his belt, was sidelined for the Tennessee game with a hamstring injury and remains questionable this week.
“We’ve been getting Ken ready for probably the last month or so,” Richt said Tuesday. “. . . We were watching him in drill work and we feel like he has great potential. Sometimes a kid isn’t ready out of camp. Sometimes it becomes a little overwhelming all the things you have to learn. Then when you break camp and the focus maybe is off of you for just a minute it gives you a chance to catch your breath and just kind of be free to make plays. We saw him making some plays, doing a good job of running behind his pads and knocking people back on contact in some of our inside drills. We were very encouraged by what we saw, so we said let’s get him up here and just keep spoon-feeding him and get him to a position to where if we need him he’ll be ready to go. That’s where he’s at right now.”
Malcome, known as “Boo” to his family and friends, might have played earlier this season but was sidelined with a concussion suffered in practice early in the season. The 6-foot 220-pounder is a hard-nosed inside runner who averaged 129 yards per game rushing and scored 16 touchdowns as a senior at Southwest DeKalb last season.
2. If Malcome is indeed activated this week, he will become the seventh true freshman of Georgia’s 2010 class — and eighth overall — to see action this season. Just last week the Bulldogs started Kenarious Gates at right guard against Tennessee. The week before defensive tackle Garrison Smith saw his first action. Safety Alec Ogletree, fullback Zander Ogletree, cornerback Derek Owens and outside linebacker T.J. Stripling (injured vs. Colorado, out for year) played in every game. Quarterback Hutson Mason played in the opener against Louisiana-LaFayette but not since.
3. It is somewhat unusual to be activating true freshmen this late in the season. But the Bulldogs were searching for answers after a 1-4 start. And it worked last year. The redshirt for Ealey was not ripped off until the fifth game of the season against LSU. He ended up as the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 717 yards.
4. One of Georgia’s major recruiting target for the Class of 2011 will not be making it to Athens this weekend as originally planned. Five-star defensive end Ray Drew of Thomas County Central decided to cancel his unofficial visit with the Bulldogs because “it would put too much on my parents,” Drew told me Monday evening. Drew (6-5, 250) has a game at Northside-Warner Robins on Friday night and, a licensed minister, is scheduled to preach on Sunday morning in Brooks County. Drew, who took an official visit to LSU 10 days ago, said he hopes to get to UGA later this year. He wasn’t sure if he’d make it to Idaho State or Georgia Tech, the Bulldogs’ two remaining games. He will be at the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville on Oct. 30, but neither team can host recruits at that venue. I’ll have more on Drew later.
5. Meanwhile, running back Isaiah Crowell of Columbus said he is “not yet” decided whether he’ll be at the Vanderbilt game on Saturday. Georgia’s No. 1 overall target is facing the same logistical challenges as Drew. The Tigers have a game at Callaway on Friday night and Georgia kicks off against Vanderbilt shortly after noon on Saturday, meaning Crowell and his family would have to leave home by 6 a.m. in order to participate in recruiting activities. Last week, recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner talked about how the Bulldogs’ early starts this season have complicated the recruiting process.
6. Georgia Tech is moving in on one of the top defensive line prospects in Atlanta for 2012. Jordan Watkins is a 6-foot-4, 236-pound junior at Woodward Academy who grew up a fan of the Yellow Jackets. But he tells Eric Thompson of JacketsOnline.com he’s not sure whether that will enter into his college decision. “I live in Atlanta and I grew up a Georgia Tech fan, but I don’t know how much of an effect that will have on my college choice,” Watkins said. “I have offers right now from Arkansas, South Carolina, Duke, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and N.C. State. Oregon, LSU and Alabama have been sending me the most mail lately. Florida seems interested in getting me down there for a game as well.”
7. When Georgia Tech plays host to Middle Tennessee State on Saturday, it will mean a homecoming for 26 Blue Raiders. MTSU coach Rick Stockstill tells the AJC’s Pierce Huff that the state of Georgia is a fertile recruiting ground for his program. Stockstill says they won’t go head-to-head with Tech or Georgia over a recruit but try to identify under-the-radar prospects such as Dwight Dasher. Dasher led Charlton County to three straight Class AA championships but, as a 5-foot-10 quarterback, was not considered major-college material. Now a senior at MTSU, Dasher has accumulated more than 6,000 yards in total offense and is on watchlist for the Davey O’Brien award.
8. The much-anticipated announcement of Milton basketball star Julian Royal is scheduled to take play after school on Thursday in Alpahretta. The AJC’s Michael Carvell will be on hand to chronicle the decision of the 6-foot-9 power forward, who will choose between his finalists, Georgia and Georgia Tech. Get the latest on Royal’s recruitment from Carvell RIGHT HERE.
9. Two former UGA targets dropped considerably in the latest ESPNU Top 150 rankings, released late last week. Tight end Nick O’Leary of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., dropped to No. 16 overall and lost his five-star status as a result. Also, Tampa-Plant RB James Wilder dropped from 19 to 29. Meanwhile, RB Aaron Green of San Antonio jumped to No. 10 on the list and was elevated to five-star status. Here’s A LINK to a story and the complete list.
10. THIS & THAT: Georgia QB commitment Christian LeMay of Matthews, N.C., will be at the Vanderbilt game on Saturday. . . . Among the many visitors at South Carolina last weekend who witnessed the Gamecocks’ historic win over No. 1-ranked Alabama was Carver-Columbus DT Gabe Wright. Wright has not mentioned the Gamecocks prominently but is considering them along with Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee. . . . . Also in Columbia was Stephenson defensive back Kadetrix Marcus and he now the Gamecocks atop his list. Marcus (6-1, 190) is also considering Auburn, Miami and Tennessee, among several others. . . . Here’s the latest video footage of Zach DeBell. The left tackle from Tarpon Springs, Fla., is a UGA commitment. . . .
Colquitt County OT Xzavier Ward visited Florida last weekend after visiting Alabama the week before. He told Scout.com’s Chad Simmons those two schools are in his top five along with Auburn, Clemson and Georgia. . . . Carver-Columbus DB Riyadh Jones says he’s through taking visits and is sticking with his commitment to Kentucky. . . . Southwest DeKalb OLB Terrance Smith, an FSU commitment, was among the visitors to UGA last weekend.