Ten@10: 4-star DB Avery Walls chooses Cal over Michigan, Oregon

THE TEN AT 10:

ELCA defensive back Avery Walls is taking his football and his smarts out to Berkley, Calif., to play for the Cal Bears. (Photo by Chip Towers)

ELCA defensive back Avery Walls is taking his football and his smarts out to Berkley, Calif., to play for the Cal Bears. (Photo by Chip Towers)

1. Four-star defensive back Avery Walls of Eagles Landing Christian Academy had an incredible 33 scholarship offers. In the end, he chose one of the schools that was farthest away from his McDonough home.

Walls on Tuesday committed to California over co-finalists Michigan and Oregon. Oddly enough, neither Georgia nor Georgia Tech ever offered.

“It’s a long way from home, but the coaches and teammates I’ve met there are going to be my family,” said Walls, after announcing his decision to a gathering of coaches, teammates, faculty and students Tuesday morning at ELCA. “In the end, it came down to academics. I wanted a degree that was going to last a lifetime. That was the case with all my finalists.”

It was a monumental day for Walls, a 5-11, 185-pound safety. He took his last exam at ELCA and graduated on the same day. He’ll next play in the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio on Jan. 8, then reports to Cal as an early enrollee on Jan. 12. He’ll also play in the USA Against the World all-star game Feb. 2 in Austin, Texas.

“It’s really back to work now,” Walls said. “I know where I’m going now and now I have to prepare for it. They play great football in the Pac-10. It’s a great league for DBs and I’m looking forward to the competition.”

Walls will play strong safety for Bears. In one season at ELCA — he played at Union Grove the previous two seasons — he finished with 55 tackles and two interceptions and also had 450 yards and nine touchdowns as a part-time running back. He also was a kick returner.

2. Conversely, Jay Rome is expected to stay much closer to home. The AJC Super 11 tight end, a five-star prospect from Valdosta, was one of 18 official visitors to Georgia this weekend and the Bulldogs made a major impression on him and his family. So much so that the UGA fan sites basically proclaimed him on the verge of committing any day now.

To be sure, the Dogs are clearly the team to beat in the Rome Sweepstakes. But don’t pencil him onto the roster just yet. Stan Rome, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound tight end’s famous father, said his son still plans to take visits to Alabama and Clemson, which are both scheduled for January.

“Georgia is probably at the head of the list,” the elder Rome said. “We could definitely see him going to Georgia and we’d be comfortable with that. But does that mean everybody else is out of the picture? No. Georgia has definitely stood out but I wouldn’t say they’ve closed the deal.”

3. Georgia did close the deal on at least one prospect, however. Longtime commitment Justin Scott-Wesley, a wide receiver from Mitchell County, wavered to the point of calling himself “50 percent” committed to the Bulldogs after a visit to Louisville last month. But he upgraded that percentage to “100 percent” after taking his official visit this past weekend.

The key for Scott-Wesley — the fastest football player in the state with a state record 10.35-second 100-meter time — was a Sunday morning meeting between his family and coach Mark Richt.

“He assured us he was going to be there and told us about all the things we could accomplish together,” Scott-Wesley said.

Georgia fans will be glad to hear that Scott-Wesley thought the many elite recruits in town for the weekend “really jelled together” and that the Dream Team concept could happen.

4. Likewise, Georgia Tech apparently made an enormous impression on four-star prospect Darian Cooper of Hyattsville, Md. The 6-3, 275-pound defensive lineman from DeMatha Catholic High was one of more than a dozen prospects who made their official visit to The Flats this past weekend. He used words like “fantastic” and “amazing” to describe his trip to JacketsOnline.com.

“It was amazing,” he said. “I had a great time. It was just the people, the atmosphere and the fact it’s a real metropolitan city, right in the middle of Atlanta. You have all the big lights, all around, but at the same time it’s kind of tucked away. I like you can make the campus as big or small as you want.”

Cooper is also considering Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State as finalists. He was one of several major prospects in town to get a closer look at the Jackets, DB Blake Countess of Owings Mill, Md., and DE Roderick Byers of Rock Hill, S.C.

5. I had a long conversation Monday with Debbie Crowell, Isaiah Crowell’s mom and the most important single entity in his recruitment. She said she’s “about to go nuts” with the craziness that is the contact period but that that she is trying to manage through it. I’ll be writing something from her perspective later but here’s the pertinent news she shared for the time being:

(a) Isaiah hasn’t committed anywhere yet and is not about to. They will visit Alabama Jan. 14, Georgia Jan. 21 and Auburn — that’s right, Auburn — Jan. 28. “We’ll shut down after that and go into deep meditation,” she said.

(b) Kirby Smart was at the Crowells Monday recruiting for Alabama (along with running backs coach Burton Burns). She said Smart didn’t mention anything about going to Florida but did say “his buddy” was just named the head coach there.

(c) Richt is the speaker at the Tri-Cities all-star banquet they’re attending Tuesday night and they’re looking forward to seeing him again.

6. I’m working on a story about junior college recruiting and interviewed Butler County (Kan.) Community College head coach Troy Morell for it. One of his star players, DE Cornelius “Tank” Carradine, took an official visit to Georgia last week and is supposed to make an announcement either Wednesday or Friday of this week, depending on which Internet fan site one trusts. His finalists are UGA, FSU, Ohio State and Alabama. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Morrell said of the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder, who led the NJCAA in sacks with 16. “He’s at home now [in Cincinnati]  and I doubt he’ll talk to anybody. To be honest, he’s somewhat overwhelmed by the whole thing.”

7. Speaking of impact junior college players, it appears Georgia is also closing in on 6-4, 340-pound nose guard John Jenkins of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Reached by phone in Perkison, Miss., on Monday, Jenkins said UGA coaches would be meeting him and his family in his hometown of Meriden, Conn., this weekend. Jenkins is an Oklahoma State commitment but said he’s getting a lot to think about from Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas and some others. He said the Bulldogs are “recruiting me the hardest” but he wants to take visits before making up his mind. So far the only official he has made was to Houston.

8. The little back with the big name — Ralph David Abernathy IV –  has found a home. Better known in these parts as “RDA4,” the 5-foot-7, 165-pound running back committed to Cincinnati over the weekend. Abernathy also had offers from Ole Miss and Air Force, as well as a number of smaller schools.

“I really liked the family enviroment there,” said Abernathy, who visited this past weekend. “And talking to the players and the commitments and the coaches, everybody was talking about winning a national championship and I really liked that.”

After rushing for nearly 2,000 yards as a junior, Abernathy was limited to about 700 his senior season while missing several games with a high-ankle sprain. He said the Bearcats believe he can come in and help them immediately as a kick returner while trying to earn playing time as a running back and slot receiver.

9. Florida commitment Clay Burton told the Orlando Sentinel initially he didn’t know who Will Muschamp was but, now that he does, he likes the hire. The  3-star linebacker recruit from Venice, Fla., was at one time was seriously considering Georgia Tech.

10. THIS & THAT: Muschamp contacted 5-star DE Ray Drew of Thomasville by phone while he was making his media rounds with U.S. Army All-Americans Monday in New York City . . .Florida commitment Ryan Shazier, a linebacker from Plantation, Fla., took an official visit to LSU last weekend and will take one to Ohio State this week, according to GatorSports.com. . . . Gators commitment Nick Waisome of Groveland, Fla., took an official to FSU this past weekend, according to the Orlando Sentinel. . . . WR Kelvin Benjamin of Belle Glade, Fla., will announce Thursday between Florida, FSU and Miami, per GatorSports. . . . Offensive lineman Taylor Gadbois of East Paulding made an official visit to Kentucky this past weekend. He’s also planning officials to Georgia Tech, Michigan State and N.C. State. . . .

Word was former Georgia signee Toby Jackson was thinking of going smaller time this time around. Sure enough, according to Scout’s Chad Simmons the final 2 for the big defensive lineman from Griffin by way of Navarro (Texas) Junior College are Baylor and UCF. . . . The Under Armour All-America game recently released its final roster for the 2011 game (to be played Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla.) and it includes 10 Georgians: Crowell, Rome, Scott-Wesley, Valdosta’s Malcolm Mitchell, A.J. Johnson of Gainesville, Xzavier Dickson of Griffin, Pope’s Thomas O’Reilly, Gabe Wright of Carver-Columbus, Quan Bray of Troup and James Vaughters of Tucker.

171 comments Add your comment

Sanford Drive

December 14th, 2010
10:01 am

FIRST…..

to remind the Techies of (((((42-34))))) hahahahahahahaha!!!!!

GT Sambo

December 14th, 2010
10:02 am

Hope we can close the deal with Byers, Countess, and Cooper. That would make for a pretty decent class for GT.

Twilb Dawg

December 14th, 2010
10:04 am

Come on Dream Team!

RRTDawgs

December 14th, 2010
10:10 am

UGA is going to have a awesome recruiting class i think we get most of the dream team go dawgs .

True DAWG 93

December 14th, 2010
10:10 am

WOW we need those two JUCO big men-Grantham better seal the deal!

Swami Sez

December 14th, 2010
10:15 am

Dream Team is a bust….

1eyedJack

December 14th, 2010
10:16 am

I’ll definitely be watching that Under Armour All-America game and hoping for a lot of good news.

Dasher

December 14th, 2010
10:20 am

“the fact it’s a real metropolitan city, right in the middle of Atlanta”

You are ABSOLUTELY correct Darian Cooper!! Which is a major contributing factor to the facts that;

The surrounding neighborhood directly bordering Tech’s “campus” is considered the 4th most dangerous neighborhood in America. If you live there for a year, you have a 1 in 9 chance of being victim to a violent crime.

There was a recent article on the AJC about a dead body being found in the middle of “campus”.

Every other week, there is a story on the AJC of a Tech student being robbed at gunpoint, usually in their home while stripped and bound.

There was a story this weekend about a man attacking a frat house with a hatchet.

So you are right on the money, Darian Cooper. You are in the middle of a REAL metropolitan city. And all the things that come along with being in a REAL metroploitan city can be found right in the middle of “campus”. COMMIT AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!

RRTDawgs

December 14th, 2010
10:21 am

Hey naganole i think FSU and UGA wins big with Florida not having a full staff i think Kelvin Benjamin is nole and Ray Drew will be a dawg .

Sharpsburg Dawg

December 14th, 2010
10:22 am

RDA4,

Cincinnati will never win a NC.

Lowndes25 Where are you ???? We miss all of your info!

Great job on today’s 10@10 Chip!

I think I would agree with a few other folks who commented over the last several days that we(UGA) really need to lock up all of those talented guys on the defensive side of the ball.

@GT Sambo,
I think you guys have a lot of really good players coming in…it will be very interesting to see what you guys will do next year. I really hope y’all can make a big push and bring back Stephen Tuitt….

Glory Glory

December 14th, 2010
10:27 am

You all made fun of this “Dream Team” tactic…. but it looks like it just may work afterall.

Chip, didn’t you tweet last night that Justin Scott-Wesley said “the local recruits really jelled” at their official visit to Athens this past weekend, and “the ream Team theme could happen”

So many young people these days are ALL ABOUT their locational pride. So kudos to the UGA Recruiting Coordinators for coming up with a theme they may actually believe in.

HATE ON HATERS!!!!!! HATERS HATE ON!!!!

schmeckdawg

December 14th, 2010
10:34 am

True DAWG 93, you are right on. There are several defensive players out there that Grantham had better get. Same with Lactose Intolerant and all of the other coaches as well!

RRTDawgs

December 14th, 2010
10:36 am

I saw on 247 sports were bloger Rusty Mansell said if he was put on the spot and said were Crowell would end up it be UGA i think was interesting i am not saying its a done deal but very interesting go dawgs .

dirty727

December 14th, 2010
10:40 am

@RRTDawgs I’ll say it then its a done deal.Crowell’s all dawg

BjohnDawg

December 14th, 2010
10:46 am

Crowell could step in at UGA immediately and start. He would be a significant upgrade in talent for us. If he goes to Alabama or Auburn or Florida he is 3 stringing it or playing just special teams.

Drew…need him and the JRCO NT desperately. They both would start immediately, and star as Freshman on that undersized line.

Rome….UGA has been TE U. Look at all the tigth ends from Georgia in the NFL. Think about that a while.

We needs some RBs and lineman .both sides of the ball….and if that is your position, well you can play NOW in 2011 at Georgia.

Go Dawgs!

Cdub

December 14th, 2010
10:46 am

One of several major prospects in atlanta this weekend, and we get a quote from 1. Great reporting!!

Axlrodes

December 14th, 2010
10:48 am

Rusty, any insight to the Toby Jackson deal. He has committed to UGA twice in the past while working to become eligible, and was dominate in JC at DE. This is a guy who bleeds red and black and could be an immediate impact player. Why are we not signing this guy up?

i don’t think UGA weighs the heart of these kids nearly enough. I’d take an 3-star kid who would do anything to wear the silver britches before i’d take some prima donna 4-star

with Toby, we would get both. I just don’t get it. Also, where the heck are the LB recruits. We swap to a 3-4, and we pursue linebackers less???? someone explain that to me

Concrete Pete

December 14th, 2010
10:57 am

Crowell was smart to schedule Auburn last. He knows Trooper and Lowder will be there with checkbook open. It’s been UGA and Bama for months, but Auburn is gonna buy him. Enjoy the NCAA “death penalty” when the facts about Scam Newton are known. Remember Isaiah… cash is untraceable, and don’t sign anything.

Animal Control Officer

December 14th, 2010
10:59 am

hey dasher, that body was found not on the middle of campus, but on the very edge, in an area no student even goes too. I never saw anything else about it, but I thought it was just a dead homeless guy. The guy chopping the tree was just a drunk guy from another house, not some violent criminal running around. Campus and the athletic housing are not the same as home park, these are some of the safest places in the country.

VA DAWG

December 14th, 2010
11:04 am

Axlrodes…more to the story with Toby and a lot of hard feelings now. Leave it at that. Go DAWGS!

BufordKing

December 14th, 2010
11:08 am

Axlrodes – appreciate your comments about Toby Jackson
– but the reality is the kid was a big time prima donna during his initial recruitment.
- He led many schools on during his recruitment – loved the attention (nothing wrong with that) – was very cocky.
– Promised to be academically eligible – then did not take care of business.
– Went to Georgia Military Academy – to take care of academics – and underachieved. UGA kept his scholarship open for him if he met academic benchmarks.

– As a result – T. Jackson enrolled in a Jr college to gain eligibility to an NCAA D1 school.

Personally – I hope this kid has a good career and wish him the best. He had some maturing to do – in the classroom and probably in his personal life.

Jackson will be potentially be a better person, maybe become an adult – - due to the path that HE created. Give him credit – he has stuck to it.

However, UGA offered him twice- and twice got burned because he did ot take care of his responsibility.
This is a character issue – and with the issues several of our players have had these last few years – do we need another immature prima donna on campus that needed to do some growing up???

This was a wasted scholarship – and UGA stuck with this kid – and the kid did not repsond. There are many athletes out there as good or better. At some point – you move on. None of this is on UGA – it is all on T. Jackson. Again, I wish him the best!

PMC

December 14th, 2010
11:10 am

Really nice pick for Avery Walls, following in the footsteps of our own Thomas Decoud.

Proud-Dawg

December 14th, 2010
11:12 am

I’m 99% sure Crowell, Drew and Rome are coming to UGA…We need to sign to sign John Jenkins and Tank Carradine to sure up our DL dilemma.

Chip,

any news on Jeffrey Pagan? I keep hearing he is down to UGA and Clemson, what have you heard. The guy is ranked the #19 overall player according to ESPN.

CPO Dawg

December 14th, 2010
11:12 am

That NT Jenkins would be a huge get for the defense. I don`t fault these guys for wanting to take their visits before deciding, I`m just wary of what these prospects will do until they actually sign the letter of intent, I would like to think that most of GA`s in state kids stay in state but.. you never can tell, hopefully the dawgs will land the majority or who they are recruiting.

Todd "Gutless" Grantham

December 14th, 2010
11:20 am

I’m the UGA role model for how to apologize. “I’m sorry for the situation”. I’m sorry my team hired a DC that gives up record number of rushing yards with 4 & 5 star recruits, and gave him Will Muschamp and Kirby Smart money, to stink. I’m sorry hiring you may cost CMR his job!

Worm

December 14th, 2010
11:20 am

good stuff Chip!

Big G

December 14th, 2010
11:22 am

To all you uga “fans”, let me remind you that you consistently have top recruiting classes and look where it’s gotten you the last three years. It starts at the top boys. Yeah, I know you own GT, blah, blah, blah, but Florida owns you too. My point is, while uga gets the recruits, they don’t develop them into champions. Your program began to decline when Van Gorder left. He had passion unlike Richt.

RRTDawgs

December 14th, 2010
11:23 am

I like the name Tank if UGA gets him he will destroy everyone who gets in his path .

Bo

December 14th, 2010
11:28 am

Roaddawg80

December 14th, 2010
11:32 am

Chip

Is it me or is it a little disappointing we didn’t get a big commitment from this weekend?(maybe we got a silent one). It just seems like everyone loves the ‘Dream Team’ theory but nobody will step out on the limb. I think if or once a big time recruit does like Crowell, Rome, or Drew it will cause a domino effect and they will commit like crazy.

Whay do you think?

Rocky Mountain Bulldog

December 14th, 2010
11:32 am

I am glad the kid signed with Cal. I worked on my Master there and if he isn’t going to UGA. I am happy he picked Cal!

[...] Abernathy also had offers from Ole Miss and Air Force, as well as a number of smaller schools. back to school deals – Bing News The free-agent pitcher passed up an extra $ 50 million from the New York Yankees and reached a [...]

Buster

December 14th, 2010
11:37 am

Grantham will be just fine once the D jells and those who come to UGA know what they are in for…inheriting a crap D like we had under Martinez isnt easily changed overnight.

schmeckdawg

December 14th, 2010
11:39 am

From what I am seeing and reading. Toby Jackson is going small time. Baylor or Central Florida.

Buster

December 14th, 2010
11:39 am

Big G…play the annual Cocktail Bowl in the state of Georgia every other year may give us the home field advantage too…who cares about UF, what comes around goes around and they’ll be soon enough owned like GT

1eyedJack

December 14th, 2010
11:42 am

Roaddawg80, I bet we see the commitments at the Under Armor game. Live and on national TV.

1eyedJack

December 14th, 2010
11:43 am

Toby couldn’t qualify for UGA, so what’s the odds he qualifies for Baylor?

AltamahaDawg

December 14th, 2010
11:48 am

Glory it’s not “May work”. It’s already worked. It was an idea to draw attention to UGA from recruits (check) and serve as a focal point for the staff in an effort to give additional attention to recruits within the state (check).

UGA Rules!

December 14th, 2010
11:49 am

This will be Richt’s last season in Athens if he fails to win the East. Once again we will have the easiest schedule in the SEC since we will not play Bama, LSU or Arkansas. Hard to believe we had the easiest SEC schedule and still finished 6-6.

UGA Indsider

December 14th, 2010
11:51 am

UGA is going to sign a big class because we are so paper-thin at every position and kids want the chance to play immediately. Also, from what I hear the off-season lifting has been intense. Hopefully we will be getting stronger by next year.

GT75

December 14th, 2010
11:51 am

I, for one would like to compare the crime rate on the GT campus versus the crime rate on the UGA football team. I would rather have my kid avoid bad neighborhoods to avoid criminals than to have him shower with criminals daily and share a dorm room with them.

dawgster

December 14th, 2010
11:56 am

Interesting take on Crowell as it had been reported previously that he would be at Clemson on Jan 28th…I know alot of you think he will be a dawg, but i’m very, very cautious…Seems to me if he knew he would be a dawg, then he would commit, and as his mother stated, the whole experience is just crazy…so in my opinion that tells me that they have not made up their mind, and thats ok, they should be sure, but anyone saying its a done deal for the Dawgs or Bama, needs to take a closer look at everything…I understand the point of having fun with the recruiting, but when you are being exhausted in the process, that tells me you are still in the decision making process and have yet to decide..I hope the dawgs have some other RB’s ready to commit, if this young man decides to go to Bama or Au….We need two for this class and i still think we need to be staying on board with M. Caffey…Bray also would be a great pick-up…but to me we shouldn’t let Caffey get away…go dawgs….

AltamahaDawg

December 14th, 2010
11:57 am

Big G, knowing that you are concerned about us, as I am sure you are, UGA has NOT had top classes lately and that IS the problem. UF has been getting the top classes lately along with Bama. (Just combined to lose 8 games this past year, neither in the CG, with those classes, but that’s not the point is it).

GoldenBearGirl

December 14th, 2010
11:57 am

As a Cal alum, you made a GREAT choice Avery! You’ll love California!

UGA owns you tasty bees..

December 14th, 2010
12:02 pm

Well then, GT75, for your “argument’s sake”, we will compare. One has robberies, murders, home-invasions, and MANY other violent crimes, and the OTHER, has driving on sus. license, emerging from an alley on a SCOOTER, hit-and-run on a PARKED CAR in a PARKING GARAGE, and multiple DUI’s, which EVERY school HAS, just few gets CAUGHT. So you’re basically saying you would have your child “roll the dice” and accept possibly being the victim of a VIOLENT CRIME, as opposed to possibly being guilty of immaturity, not understanding strange road laws, such as the scooter incident, or even the “nefarious act” of not telling an officer your middle name, because you don’t associate yourself with the person of which that name was taken from, AFTER a .. wait for it.. FIREWORKS incident. C’mon, put the crack pipe down and come back to reality. 9 out of 10 still hurting? UGA OWNS THIS STATE, OWNS gt, and OWNS THE 10 @ 10!!!

GaFan

December 14th, 2010
12:03 pm

It’s going to cost us 150,000 to get Crowell. What a deal.

al.com

December 14th, 2010
12:04 pm

Bray is a Auburn lock!

UGA owns you tasty bees..

December 14th, 2010
12:06 pm

If Paul Johnson got breast reduction in the woods, and no one was around, would it make a sound?

Dream Chaser

December 14th, 2010
12:16 pm

Russ is in the dogpound, dreaming of the magic doghouse that he was so rudely evicted from, and the rest of the pups are dreaming themselves right into another 6-6 season and a trip to Birmingham.

Roaddawg80

December 14th, 2010
12:16 pm

Chip and Lowndes25 have been silent lately.

What in the world is going on?