THE TEN AT 10:
1. Isaiah Crowell’s mother said she’s thrilled about their family friend Quintavious Harrow receiving a scholarship offer from Georgia, but not if it comes with any attachments to her son.
“Well, for Quintavious it’s wonderful,” Deborah Crowell told me Monday. “But I don’t want them to do it to get Isaiah there. I’m not selling my son’s soul to the devil. This is his decision. If they want to give Quintavious a scholarship, that’s fine. But that can’t have anything to do with Isaiah. He has too much pressure on him as it is and I’m going to lay that on the line with them. We’ll discuss that while we’re up there.”
Crowell, No. 1 on the AJC Fab 50 list, will be taking his official visit to Georgia this weekend along with his mother and the rest of his family. So will Harrow, better known as “Cootie” to family and friends. The 5-11, 190-pound linebacker/safety from Carver-Columbus — who is Crowell’s best friend — received a scholarship offer from the Bulldogs last week, his first from any school.
The Harrows and the Crowells, who have known each other since their kids were in kindergarten, just got back from a trip to Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama this past weekend. They left very impressed with coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
“It was wonderful,” said Mrs. Crowell, who will also accompany her son and his final visit to Auburn on Jan. 28. “They kept us busy, but we had fun. They had everything planned out and stuck by it all weekend. My husband and I had a wonderful time and Isaiah did, too.”
2. It appears that Valdosta’s Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome are definitely going to have their college announcements separately this Thursday. Both players are scheduled to unveil their decisions between Alabama and Georgia that day. But Rome has decided to make his announcement live on ESPNU at 5:30 p.m. (location currently undetermined). Mitchell told me he’s going to stick with his plan to announce at 7 p.m. at the Hibachi Grill and Buffet in Valdosta. It will be carried live by some local radio stations (92.1 FM, 1150 AM and 96.1 FM).
ESPNU tried to convince Mitchell, a fellow Under Armour All-American, to join Rome on the telecast. “Yeah, but I don’t think I’m going to do that,” Mitchell told me. “He wants to do his on TV. I’m just not that big on the TV thing. I’m just sticking with what I have planned. I just wanted to do it where everybody who watched me this season could be there.”
Mitchell said nothing should be read into the fact that they are holding separate announcements. “Nah,” he said. “It doesn’t mean anything.”
Head coach Rance Gillespie is not thrilled with either plan. He said he’d prefer if his two stars would do it together at the high school.
On a sad side note, James Eunice, a Valdosta High classmate and teammate of Mitchell and Rome, has been missing since a boat mishap occurred during a duck hunt on Ocean Pond in Valdosta this past weekend. Thoughts and prayers for that family.
3. AJC Super 11 linebacker James Vaughters of Tucker told me he had a “good trip” to Stanford this past weekend and that he and his family were very impressed with new coach David Shaw. “He has NFL experience and I trust he’ll hire an experienced defensive coordinator and another good linebackers coach. I really enjoyed it out there.”
Vaughters and his family made the long trek to California for his official visit Thursday and stayed through Sunday. One of Vaughters’ chief concerns was the departure of Stanford defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Vic Fangio, who followed head coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL.
As for whether or not he’ll stick with his commitment to the Cardinal, Vaughters, the AJC’s the No. 4 prospect, said, “I haven’t completely decided yet but I’m pretty sure.” He said he may still visit Florida and Ohio State.
4. AJC Super 11 defensive end Ray Drew of Thomas County Central is taking his fifth and final official visit to Clemson this weekend. The 6-5, 250-pound athlete has not been there since an unofficial visit during the season. Since then the Tigers lost his position coach, Chris Rumph, to Alabama. “I just want to get in there and see Clemson again because a lot has changed since last time I was there,” Drew said. “I need to spend some time up there and get reacquainted with everybody.”
Drew said Alabama tried to get him to take an official visit there. and he wanted to. He was unable to fit it into his schedule but said he is still giving the Crimson Tide some consideration. Somewhat surprisingly, Drew took official visit No. 4 to Miami this past weekend. He had not previously mentioned the Hurricanes as a finalists.
5. For what it’s worth John Jenkins said Georgia is the only school besides Oklahoma State that bothered to visit his family twice in Meriden, Conn. Jenkins, a 6-4, 340-pound noseguard from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, is taking his official visit to UGA this weekend. He visited Miami along with Drew this past weekend. Jenkins said he would choose between the Bulldogs, Auburn, Florida and Miami on or after national signing day.
6. Stephon Tuitt has gone underground. The four-star defensive end from Monroe Area hasn’t been heard from since his official visit to Georgia Tech this past weekend. Tuitt (6-5, 260) is committed to Notre Dame but decided to take one last trip to The Flats to make certain of his choice. Apparently it has only confused him.
The normally accessible Tuitt did not return my phone calls (or anybody elses) Sunday or Monday. However, IrishEyes.com did reach his mother Monday night. “He is still committed to Notre Dame,” she told the Scout site. “He would like to take a couple days to think about think about everything. He just needs some time before he’s ready to talk.”
So we’ll give him more time.
7. Meanwhile, three other players committed to the Jackets during the mega-recruiting weekend, including Tuitt’s teammate, Demontevious Smith. Troy, Ala., athlete Corey Dennis and Lakeland, Fla., offensive lineman Errin Joe were the others.
I didn’t realize this until Monday but Dennis is the son of former UGA football player and current athletic director at Troy University, Steve Dennis. Coach Dennis was also a longtime assistant at Auburn. Here’s a story that will tell you more about Corey Dennis and his recruitment to Tech.
8. Georgia Tech, which is now up to 21 commitments, is apparently also making a late push for four-star offensive lineman Xzavier Ward. Tech coaches made an in-home visit with the 6-foot-7, 260-pound offensive tackle from Colquitt County on Monday, according to JacketsOnline.com. Dan Mullen and other Mississippi State coaches were also in to see Ward.
He might be a long shot for both teams. Speculation is that Ward may commit to Auburn while on an official visit on The Plains this weekend. But Ward’s recruitment has been somewhat of a mystery all along. He was supposed to take official visits to Florida and Alabama, respectively, the last two weekends but had the trips canceled by the schools because they had no more room for tackles, according to AuburnSports.com.
The No. 9-ranked Ward is one of only six players on the AJC Fab 50 list currently uncommitted.
9. Georgia State recently received a commitment from defensive tackle Fatu Ullale, a 6-2, 275-pound defensive lineman from Cerritos (Calif.) Community College. Ulale said he will sign with the Panthers on national signing day and join the team in June after he graduates from junior college. “I just fell in love with the coaching staff, basically,” Ulale said of choosing to come all the way across the U.S. to play football. “I had a connection with some of the other players there, too, and I feel like I may be able to come in and have an impact.”
Another player targeted by Georgia State ended up committing to Samford last Friday. Jerry Mathis (6-4, 285) was a two-way starter for Rockdale County but is expected to play defensive line for Samford.
“I felt that it was a good move for me and it was the best opportunity for me as far as football and education,” Mathis said. “I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season to face the reigning champions the Auburn Tigers. I was looking into Georgia State but their defensive line filled. The coaches there really wanted me but I guess their timing was a little off. But I feel I made the right decision.”
10. THIS & THAT: Center Manrey Saint-Amour from North Gwinnett committed to Georgia Southern, coach Bob Sphire said. Manrey was co-lineman of the year in Gwinnett County. . . . Grady DB Damian Swann said he’ll be wearing the number 5 at Georgia next season. . . . Alabama commitments Dee Hart and Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix of Orlando have canceled their official visits to Southern Cal scheduled for this weekend, according to the Orlando Sentinel. . . . DE Mason Harris of Rossville had an in-home visit from South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, according to PalmettoSports.com. Harris is a Gamecocks’ commitment. . . . McEachern tight end Rory Anderson visited Tennessee over the weekend.