THE TEN AT 10:
1. AJC Super 11 tight end Jay Rome of Valdosta plans to announce his college decision next Thursday. That just happens to be the same day that teammate Malcolm Mitchell is also making his decision.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be announcing together and certainly is no assurance they’ll end up in the same place.
Mitchell, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound wide receiver who is No. 6 in the recent AJC Fab 50 rankings, confirmed to the AJC that he will make his announcement at 7 p.m. next Thursday at the Hibachi Grill and Buffet in Valdosta. Rome (6-6, 240), who is No. 3 in the AJC rankings, is unsure of the time and place for his announcement. He’s agreed to have it televised by ESPNU and the details haven’t yet been worked out. ESPNU has also reached out to Mitchell about joining Rome for an on-air announcement. But Mitchell tells me he doesn’t want to change his current plans.
In the meantime, both players are scheduled to make official visits to Alabama this weekend. But they’re also not doing that together. Mitchell will be there Friday through Sunday while Rome is going Saturday through Monday.
Both players told me nothing should be read into the fact they are making the same final visit or the announcing on the same day.
“Nah,” Rome said. “It doesn’t mean anything.”
Rome, who is also considering Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee, told me in Orlando last week that UGA was his leader. Alabama and Georgia are both in play for Mitchell.
2. It’s less than three weeks until signing day but the accusations of oversigning are already starting to be directed at Alabama again. According to the website Oversigning.com, the Crimson Tide are already over their scholarship limit by 12 based on commitments to this point. They have 23 players currently committed — including two “greyshirts” from last year’s signing class — but only 11 current openings on the roster, according to the website. Of course, there can never be more than 85 players on grants-in-aid at any school at any time. So that means Alabama will have to find some creative ways to open up scholarships for the new players coming in. That’s something the Crimson Tide has been criticized for in articles by the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets.
3. One of those greyshirts that enrolled at Alabama just this week is Macon-Westside wide receiver Ronald Carswell. That means he did not attend college anywhere after signing with the Crimson Tide last February and delayed his enrollment until now. Carswell (6-0, 185) had 714 yards receiving and 7 TDs as a senior in 2009. He is one of eight new players to enroll at Alabama this month.
4. In case you missed it, East Paulding offensive lineman Taylor Gadbois committed to Miami last weekend. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound tackle pledged the Hurricanes while on his official visit to Coral Gables.
“I knew I was going to do it while I was down there,” Gadbois said. “Me and my parents had talked and we decided I was going to go ahead and commit. So when I got a chance to meet with Coach [Al] Golden, I told him I wanted to be a Hurricane. I’ve always been a really big fan of Miami.”
Gadbois was a late bloomer in terms of recruiting interest after sitting out his junior season. Georgia Tech was one of the first teams to step up when it offered him last October. Since then Gadbois entertained close to 10 offers, including the Hurricanes, who finally came forth with a scholarship on Dec. 22.
“I was really excited about it when UM called,” Gadbois said. “I love Coach Golden. He’s a great guy. He’s intense 24-7.”
As we dig out from one of the biggest winter storms in years, it should come as no surprise that the weather was one of factors favoring Miami. “It was just beautiful down there,” he said. “Seventy-five degrees, a nice breeze, just gorgeous.”
5. Don’t be surprised to see Demontevious Smith commit to Georgia Tech over the weekend. The 6-1, 185-pound quarterback, who is taking an official visit to Tech this weekend, told JacketsOnline.com he’s down to Virginia Tech and the Yellow Jackets for his final. Georgia Tech hasn’t offered yet but they are No. 1 on his wish list. Meanwhile, while the Hokies are interested in Smith as a cornerback, Tech likes his as a quarterback. Only Tevin Washington and Synjyn Days return at quarterback next season and Vad Lee is the only commitment expected to play the position next fall. Commitment Airyn Willis played quarterback in high school, however.
6. Ricky Parks stars at quarterback for Callaway but doesn’t seem that interested in playing the position in college. “UGA, Clemson and South Carolina are recruiting me as a tight end, but Florida likes me at quarterback,” the 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior told the AJC’s S. Thomas Coleman. “I prefer tight end. But I like the things [Florida] did with Trey Burton. He lined up in a lot of positions. I could see myself doing that.”
Parks was one of the standout players in the inaugural AT&T/Rising Seniors Dot-com Georgia Junior Bowl played last weekend at Hallford Memorial Stadium in Clarkston. Coleman, who covered the game, says to also keep an eye on Parks’ little brother. Ricktez Parks is a ninth grader who backed up Ricky this past season at Callaway. When Ricky went to TE, Ricktez stepped in at quarterback.
7. A few other highlights reported by Coleman from the Junior Bowl: Westlake RB Charles Purnell (5-10, 180) had a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He has offers from Virginia Tech, Kentucky and Western Kentucky. . . . TE Zach Gordon (6-4, 235) of Carrollton played H-back in the offense implemented by West coach Randy McPherson of Lowndes and “loved it.” He says now he may ask Carrollton coach Rayvan Teague if he can at B-back in Carrollton’s wing-T offense next season. . . . Peachtree Ridge RB DiAndre Atwater caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from M.L. King QB Jonquel Dawson. . . . Stephenson RB Mike Davis had an eight-yard TD run.
8. Georgia Tech is showing a lot of interest in 2012 CB Chris Bivins of Gainesville, Fla., one of several highly-regarded juniors who attended the Under Armour All-America combine in Orlando last week. “Georgia Tech is definitely sending me the most information so far,” Bivins told ESPN’s Corey Long. “They haven’t offered yet but they are very interested.” FSU, Ole Miss, USF, Arkansas, LSU, Miami are also showing interest.
9. ESPN recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg tells the Palm Beach Post that Central Florida is having its best recruiting class ever, thanks in part to its win over Georgia in the Liberty Bowl, which capped an 11-3 season and Conference USA championship.
10. THIS & THAT: AJC Super 11 DE Ray Drew of Thomasville is visiting Miami this weekend, Scout reports. . . . Chad Simmons reports that Deion Barnes (6-5, 220) a four-star defensive end/outside linebacker from Philadelphia, is taking an official visit to UGA this weekend and is down to Penn State and the Bulldogs. . . . Georgia remained No. 8 in the latest ESPN national recruiting rankings, released this week. . . . Four-star defensive end Lonnie Gosha of Lake Butler, Fla., committed to Arkansas over FSU and Miami, according to ESPN. He was once committed to the Seminoles. . . . Alabama commitments Demetrius Hart and Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, both of Dr. Phillips High in Orlando, are taking official visits to Southern Cal this weekend, according to ESPN. . . . No. 1 prospect Jadeveon Clowney will be taking his official at Alabama this weekend, according to numerous Internet reports. He’s still scheduled to visit FSU on Jan. 28 but that trip appears tenuous at best.