Ten@10: Stacy Searels’ recruits say they’re going to stick with Georgia

Dalton's Watts Dantzler said he expects all of Georgia's offensive line recruits to remain committed to the Bulldogs despite Stacy Searels departure to Texas. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

Dalton's Watts Dantzler said he expects all of Georgia's offensive line recruits to remain committed to the Bulldogs despite Stacy Searels departure to Texas. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. The departure of Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels for the same job at Texas is disappointing to players he has recruited to become Bulldogs. But apparently it is not a deal-breaker.

Dalton offensive lineman Watts Dantzler, one of the first recruits to give Searels the nod early last summer, said he remains “100 percent” committed to UGA, as are most of his fellow offensive line commitments, all with whom he has been in contact.

“You know, I think [Searels] had to make a decision that was best for him and I understand,” he said Wednesday night. “But I committed to the school, not to him, and I’m still committed. I’m looking forward to seeing who they’re going to hire.”

Dantzler is one of five O-line commitments the Bulldogs have for 2011. He said he has been in constant communication with all of them. He said he, Wesleyan center David Andrews and Memphis guard Hunter Long all remain 100 percent committed. He said tackle Zach DeBell of Tarpon Springs, Fla., and center/long snapper Nathan Theus of Jacksonville, Fla., “have some questions, but I think they’ll be fine in the end.”

Neither DeBell nor Theus returned messages seeking comment. However, Theus was quoted by Scout.com’s Chad Simmons saying, “I’m committed to UGA. I’m a Dawg for life.”

Dantzler said UGA head coach Mark Richt, who had been to Dalton with Searels to visit him only Monday, called him and the other recruits Wednesday afternoon.

“He said his phone has been blowing up with people wanting the job,” Dantzler said. “I trust Coach Richt completely and I know he’ll make a great hire.”

2. Tamara Bartlett, the mother of five-star defensive end Stephon Tuitt Monroe Area, asks college football fans to please keep in mind that the recruits they so love to follow are still teenagers and are making the biggest decisions of their lives.

“The recruting process is nervewracking, very nervewracking,” she said after her son switched from Notre Dame to Georgia Tech and back to Notre Dame in a 36-hour period from Tuesday to Wednesday. “They have to remember that these kids are only 17 years old and are very impressionable. When the coaches get these kids alone without they’re parents, naturally they’re going to lean their way. As parents, it’s our job to look at the big picture and that’s why we’re involved. But these fans, I know they love their school, but they need to realize these kids hear what they say and read what they write and they need to be mindful of that.”

Players have to have the signature of their parents or a legal guardian on a national letter-of-intent for it to be valid. And Ms. Bartlett said the bottom line is she believes Notre Dame best situation for her son.

“Stephon does like Tech, but I’m looking at this long term,” she said. “Notre Dame is a known entity that’s going to influence his entire life. That’s a big difference. It’s apples to oranges.”

3. Tucker’s James Vaughters has re-affirmed his commitment to Stanford, his father, Jonathan Vaughters, told me this morning. The No. 4-ranked player in the AJC Fab 50 met with coaches from Florida and Ohio State this week and discussed the possibility of making official visits before national signing day. But decided to decline.

“He really likes everything he head from Coach [Will] Muschamp and his staff and he loves Coach [Jim] Tressel and his staff and appreciated the continued interest for UGA and Georgia Tech,” Mr. Vaughters said. “But his heart is with Stanford.”

Vaughters (6-2, 230) committed to the Cardinal last June but considered re-opening his recruitment after head coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Vic Fangio left for the NFL two weeks ago.

4. Quintavious Harrow, Georgia’s latest commitment, said the Bulldogs have been recruiting him for “a long time” but only offered him last week after he achieved a qualifying test score on the ACT.

“I got the offer from them the same week I got the score,” he said.

The Carver-Columbus linebacker and defensive back received his official offer on Friday and committed Wednesday afternoon. Before that he had made a visit to Georgia Military College in Milledgeville in case he was unable to meet academic requirements. But he said it didn’t take long to decide to commit to the Bulldogs because that is the school he grew up wanting to attend.

“They’re where my heart led me to,” said Harrow, who said he picked up the phone and called coach Mark Richt about 2 p.m. Wednesday. “I prayed to God about it and I feel like it’s the right choice for me.”

Harrow said when Georgia coaches visited him at Carver-Columbus this week, they were emphatic in telling him that his scholarship offer stood regardless of what running back Isaiah Crowell decided to do in recruiting. Crowell, Harrow’s teammate and best buddy since kindergarten, is the state’s No. 1-ranked prospect and the Bulldogs’ No. 1 target.

“They told me they didn’t offer me because of Isaiah; they offered me because of me,” said Harrow, who will play safety at UGA. “I felt good about that.”

That said, Harrow said he is going to work tirelessly to get Crowell to come with him to Georgia. They’ll be taking official visits there together this weekend.

“Oh, yeah, I hope he comes with me,” Harrow said. “I’m going to talk to him every day about it.”

I almost forgot the most important information on Harrow: He said it’s OK for people to call him by his nickname “Cootie.” He said it’s what he’s been called his whole life. His parents came up with it because his father goes by the name “Coot.”

5. Georgia will get big recruiting news regarding its “Dream Team” concept this afternoon. I’m heading down to Valdosta to cover the separate news conferences of AJC Fab 50 members Malcolm Mitchell and Jay Rome.

Rome, a five-star tight end from Valdosta, will unveil his choice during a televised announcement that is scheduled to air on ESPNU at 5:30 p.m. He’ll actually be revealing his decision between Georgia and Alabama at a television station in Tallahassee, Fla. It will be tape-delayed.

Rome hopes to then make the 80-mile drive back to Valdosta in order to catch the announcement of Mitchell, his friend and teammate. The state’s top-ranked wide receiver, Mitchell will deliver the news around 7 p.m. before family and friends gathered at the Hibachi Grill and Buffet in Valdosta. His decision will be carried live on local radio stations 92.1-FM, 96.1-FM and 1150-AM.

6. Georgia fans didn’t have to wait for tonight’s announcements in Valdosta to get some hard news on recruiting. Four-star Deion Barnes (6-5, 230) of Philadelphia held a press conference at 8 a.m. Thursday morning to announce his decision between Penn State and the Bulldogs. Barnes, who took an official visit to UGA just last weekend, chose Penn State, according to this report in the Pittsburgh Gazzette.

7. Five-star defensive Ray Drew of Thomas County Central told me earlier this week he’s planning to make his college announcement on Jan. 28 down in Thomasville. He told Dawgs247.com on Wednesday that he’s down two schools, not counting the final official visit he’s taking to Clemson this weekend. Drew named Georgia as one of the two schools and basically implied Auburn based on his comments in the story by Rusty Mansell. Mansell also reported that coach Richt was making an in-home visit with Drew on Wednesday night.

8. With the commitments of McEachern High teammates Rory Anderson and Marcquis Roberts on Wednesday, South Carolina has now reached double digits on Georgians in its 2011 recruiting class. Eleven of its 28 pledges are from the Peach State. A new NCAA rule limits to 28 the number of players that can sign with any school on national signing day, so Anderson and Roberts jumped those last two spots with the Gamecocks.

“You know how recruiting works. It can get pretty tight with the numbers toward the end and kids get nervous,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman told the AJC’s Michael Carvell. “They both wanted to play at South Carolina and decided to go ahead and commit so they wouldn’t risk losing that opportunity.”

Anderson (6-5, 200), a tight end, picked South Carolina over Tennessee and 20 other offers. Roberts (6-1, 200), a linebacker, chose the Gamecocks over West Virginia, Virginia and Cincinnati.

9. Tuitt wasn’t Tech’s only miss this week. Alvin Dupree, a 6-5, 220-pound tight end/defensive from Wilkinson County, committed to Kentucky on Wednesday, according to CatsPause.com. Dupree made an official visit with the Yellow Jackets Friday and Saturday, then took a trip to Lexington on Monday-Tuesday with the intention of deciding between the two schools.

10. THIS & THAT: Kentucky and previously committed defensive back Riyadh Jones of Carver-Columbus have parted ways. The cornerback told Scout.com’s Simmons the decision was mutual. He visited UMass last weekend, is going to Georgia Southern this weekend and is still getting consideration from Mississippi state and UCF. . . . Carver-Columbus LB Mike Davis (6-1, 235) committed to Memphis. . . . Sandy Creek athlete Mike Hilton got his first offer this week from Cincinnati. He’s a junior. . . .

Ft. Lauderdale’s Marcus Roberson has an interesting view of recruiting. The four-star defensive back supposedly committed to Texas Tech this week, but when asked by the Avalanche Journal newspaper to confirm that commitment, he said, “yes, but I’m still open.” He went on to say it was “50-50″ whether or not he’d actually sign with the Red Raiders on national signing day. Roberson, who is ranked the No. 2 cornerback in the nation by Rivals, has been on official visits to Georgia, Auburn, Texas Tech and Southern Cal and has a fifth one scheduled this weekend to Florida.

257 comments Add your comment

Big Daddy

January 20th, 2011
10:16 am

First. Im on a roll.

sandman053

January 20th, 2011
10:21 am

Gonna be a long day today, but hopefully good news is coming. Go Dawgs!

Lagdawg

January 20th, 2011
10:23 am

CMR doesn’t need to take forever to hire a new and competent line coach. There are plenty capable people that can do the job, if he let’s the coaches do what they are paid to do. Time is over for procrastanating and it’s time to get this program back on the right track. This line has under performed for the last 3 to 4 years and we need someone that can get the job done.

Good golly

January 20th, 2011
10:24 am

Anybody hear any rumblings on our chances with Mitchell? I know he’s seemed to be a Bama lean for a long time, but you’ve gotta think that Rome is going to be all up in his ear.

Also, is anyone else hearing things about D Hart playing cornerback/slot reciever at Bama? That would be bad news for Crowell

Concrete Pete

January 20th, 2011
10:25 am

How on earth does Carver have all those tremendous talents and can’t win the AA title? That fact alone shows the depth and quality of Georgia HS football

Concrete Pete

January 20th, 2011
10:26 am

Any word on how much Richt had to pay Mack Brown to take Searels?

Vinny Ocean

January 20th, 2011
10:28 am

as long as we get jenkins, drew, and crowell we’re looking nice next season

hogmtndawg

January 20th, 2011
10:28 am

“Stephon does like Tech, but I’m looking at this long term,” she said. “Notre Dame is a known entity that’s going to influence his entire life. That’s a big difference. It’s apples to oranges.”

Ouchie!!

devildawg

January 20th, 2011
10:29 am

Today won’t be longer than any other day. Go Dawgs!

seabass

January 20th, 2011
10:30 am

Searels didn’t leave due to Mark Richts enstubility with the program. He left due to the pressure on himself. Our offensive line was one of our biggest dissappointments of the year.

RxDawg

January 20th, 2011
10:32 am

1. Can’t say I’m too disapointed to see Searles go. Our O-line has underperformed during his tenure. It’s great to hear the recruits aren’t swayed by it… guess they know he’s a bust of a coach too lol. Enjoy him Longhorns.

2. Notre Name is overrated. That wishy washy stuff still wasn’t cool. But w/e

3. Best of luck to him. I think Vaughters is going to be a fantastic student athelete. Wish we could of picked him up, UGA needs more men of his caliber.

4. Sounds like a diamond in the rough. He should make a fine safety and he will appreciate the opportunity that he EARNED. Unlike some other players…

5. I can hear the fans now “COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTIE”

6. Crossing my fingers guys! Sure hope they both choose the home state flagship.

7. Well, if he lives in Philly I can’t blame him for chosing PSU. It’s a fine program (though they really do need to replace their very honorable head coach). I hope Rome and Malcome and every other Georgian take note of the homegrown choice.

8. I hope the rumors are true Drew. Well… the rumors in favor of UGA that is. Guess there are plenty of rumors around, which I’m guessing is what Drew wanted.

9. Good for them. I recently hung out with a USC redshirt freshman the day after their bowl game with FSU. It was really cool to ask him questions about the team and Spurrier and stuff. I think these young men will enjoy their time up there. And for what it’s worth, he said Clowney was going to USC.
(does that make me an official insider? ;) )

10. Lot of info… no comment.

dirty727

January 20th, 2011
10:33 am

I.Crowell,Q.Harrow 2011,Deion Bonner,Artimus Samuel 2012,Marqui Hawkins 2013 all future Dawgs.The Carver-Columbus pipeline has opened and there’s more come.

JM

January 20th, 2011
10:34 am

If Tuitt really is not happy with his mother’s decision, it’ll be hard for him to succeed.

big root

January 20th, 2011
10:36 am

SEARELS GONE HOPE HE TAKE BOBO WITH HIM

Saban

January 20th, 2011
10:38 am

Tuitt will return to Tech before this is over.

I will get all the Georgia recruits and sell them to Auburn.

Is it football season yet?

January 20th, 2011
10:39 am

Anyone else think Drew isn’t coming to Georgia? Seems like he would mention his two finalists by name unless he wanted to surprise people with his choice. Mentioning UGA by name sure would keep the mystery he seems to be aiming for.

RomeDawg

January 20th, 2011
10:40 am

Hopefully TODAY is the day that starts the “dream team” headed to Athens. Saban and Spurrier have been in Rome at Pepperell the last two days. Dakota Ball is a BEAST!!

Respect for what she is saying....

January 20th, 2011
10:43 am

However, at the end of the day you need to let your kid make the decision that he is most comfortable with. Your parents aren’t around to help you make decisions forever. Part of the process of becoming a man is telling your parents thanks for the advise, but Mom/Dad this is my decision.

mmgtfan

January 20th, 2011
10:43 am

Wait a minute. I thought this was STEPHON’S choice! Whatever

Nate

January 20th, 2011
10:44 am

I know this isn’t recruiting news, but I have to vent somewhere.

I just saw that Vance Cuff got an invite to the NFL combine and Kris Durham did not. What is wrong with these people. Kris Durham will be an overachieving stud at the next level with whoever takes a chance on him. (Probably the Patriots or Colts, b/c they seem to know offensive talent when others don’t)

Nate

January 20th, 2011
10:45 am

Richt, Bobo and Saban all spent the night in Valdosta last night. Hopefully Saban will go home today empty handed.

RxDawg

January 20th, 2011
10:48 am

I agree Nate. I’m shocked the NFL isn’t interested in Kris Durham. A class act and a fine football player.

@Saban
January 20th, 2011
10:38 am

Who ever said Saban lies?

rduck

January 20th, 2011
10:50 am

Stephon, this is you life, your career and education and your decision. If your heart is with GT, then go with GT. If it is with ND, then go to ND. This is all about what is in your best interest. I do not hold a grudge with your mom or yourself. At the end of the day, you have to make yourself happy. It’s all about what your heart is telling you. We at Tech would love to have you come aboard. You are the type of player and young man we would like to build our defense around. You are going to hear all kinds of stuff from all around you until you sign at a school. Just trust your heart that you know where you want to spend the next 3-4 years of your life. Good luck to you young man. Take your time and be sure of your decision when you make it. Hope to see you dominating on the Flats this fall. If not, then good luck to you wherever you land…

GTBob

January 20th, 2011
10:50 am

It’s pretty obvious from her comments that Tuitt’s mom really doesn’t like Tech for whatever reason. It’s a shame that her son won’t be allowed to play where he wants to play. Hopefully he makes the best of it and is happy and a great player at Notre Dame. This whole experience must have been pretty hard for him.

RiffRaff

January 20th, 2011
10:53 am

Glad to hear the five O-line commitments haven’t gotten cold feet. I liked what Dalton offensive lineman Watts Dantzler had to say:

“You know, I think [Searels] had to make a decision that was best for him and I understand,” he said Wednesday night. “But I committed to the school, not to him, and I’m still committed. I’m looking forward to seeing who they’re going to hire.”

Stephon's heart

January 20th, 2011
10:57 am

You left me here. In Atlanta. Broken.

JRW7

January 20th, 2011
10:58 am

Does it really matter how many 4 and 5 star players commit to UGA? CMR and CMB can’t seem to win football games with them!!

GT45

January 20th, 2011
10:59 am

Good luck, my man. Best do what your folks say.

kingdawg

January 20th, 2011
11:01 am

Why do these kids commit when they are not committed. I don’t get it

Dawggie

January 20th, 2011
11:02 am

Ouch! Yeah we Bulldogs have been down before but to have the “apples to oranges” comparison?? For petes sake, give GT some credit lady! GT played in a BCS game last year. ND hasn’t done or accomplished squat in roughly 20 years! Lou Holtz era…

Talk about a backhanded comment. Makes me actually feel bad for you guys…

Woo-Hoo!!! Searels won’t be missed here. We were at the point that even if he wasn’t the complete problem, it is worth changing just for the sake of changing to try and get some better results in the trenches.

GT forever

January 20th, 2011
11:03 am

All I can say to Stephon’s mom is if ND is where his heart is, then he has made the right decision. Otherwise, no good can come from him going to a school where he’s not happy. A lot of examples over the years to prove this. Good luck to the young man . Would love to have seen him playing on the Flats!

gomdawg

January 20th, 2011
11:03 am

Good Luck Searels if you leave . I think CMR has someone waiting to take his job and wait till you hear who it is Dawgs are going to be happy happy happy. Go Dawgs 2011 Dreamer Team s coming

RRTDawgs

January 20th, 2011
11:03 am

Deion Barnes no surprise him being from Phillie but it will be good afternoon when Jay Rome commits this is closest group we ever had and just reading Jamie Newberg blog says UGA is close to getting Crowell

dawgs85

January 20th, 2011
11:08 am

Ray Drew:
I would go to Jay Rome and Tampa’s announcement but Im not because i fear they will pick the wrong hat……..if there was no red and black i might have gone

Nate

January 20th, 2011
11:08 am

JRW7,

If you don’t think recruiting matters, then why spend your time on this recruiting blog. Take your “recruiting doesn’t matter for UGA” opinions elsewhere please.

Dawggie

January 20th, 2011
11:10 am

Rduck.

Really? Your going to address a blog to a kid? Didn’t you read the part where his mother is the one running the house (not a bad thing) . Makes you look bad.

Honest question here, anyone else wonder how things would be if more parents stepped up and made more of these choices for their kids? Sure some morons would place their kids based on the wrong reasons but who would argue that at 17-18, our parents tend to know much more and make better choices?

Lilburn Dawg

January 20th, 2011
11:15 am

So has it been confirmed that it’s official that Searels has been offered and has taken the Texas job? The other articles on AJC are careful to say that it’s not been confirmed, but this article makes it sound like it is.

Ron O

January 20th, 2011
11:17 am

As I said before, Mitchell to Bama (I am no bama fan) but he told my son this 3 weeks ago in Orlando

juvenal

January 20th, 2011
11:18 am

knew a man joined the USMC when he was 17 & fought on Iwo Jima….different these days….

collegeballfan

January 20th, 2011
11:18 am

Good for Vaughters. If I had been given the opportunity to attend Stanford I would have done so with pure glee. Not many schools in the country offer that caliber of education.

Contractor

January 20th, 2011
11:19 am

I’m a Georgia fan, but Tuitt’s momma’s response was pretty idiotic. You can not sit there and say Tech is not a household name around this country. Notre Dame is more known in football circles, but Georgia Tech packs just as much punch in the academic and working world as Notre Dame. She is looking at long term? What exactly does that mean? Tech has a good number of NFL talent out there, and probably more academic successes out there than Notre Dame. To each his own, but please attempt to make sense with a comment, not say something as stupid as she put it. And to her “these are teenagers” comment… Yes, she is right, but these kids have made a circus out of the recruiting process the last 10 years, and they know exactly what they are doing. They have numerous people advising them on the rigors of recruiting, so they are well aware of the situation. I have no pity for these kids who switch, and get a mouthful from fans about it. They are in the lime light and relishing the moment, so they have to deal with the outcries from fans.

Hoping for two HUGE commitments tonight from the Valdosta area tonight, and then another from Thomasville the 28th. Could turn the class back into an amazing catch tonight.

tim

January 20th, 2011
11:19 am

there will be some big time surprizes on signing day……..Gators will move into the top 5 book it

RRTDawgs

January 20th, 2011
11:20 am

UGA is in good shape with Ray Drew and it looking good with Jenkins .

The Plan

January 20th, 2011
11:21 am

Apples and Oranges, wow!

Joe Mayo

January 20th, 2011
11:21 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HBFXBPeTbY

Nick Marshall and Wilcox County playing Hawkinsville. That windmill is sweet!!!

LOL

January 20th, 2011
11:21 am

Oh its a good thing the weirdo’s like rduck are here to tell Mr. Tuitt what he needs to be doing. Even if dude reads this blog for some strang reason, your lame little speach isn’t going to be what changes his mind.

Contractor

January 20th, 2011
11:23 am

After I think about it more, I’m starting to think Tuitt’s momma watched Rudy, and then made her decision. They did beat Tech in the game where Rudy got to finally play, and sacked the quarterack on the last play.

Turnt_UP!

January 20th, 2011
11:23 am

I wonder if Tuitt goes to ND to satisfy his mom (different last name?) and then transfers to GT. Although a guy of his caliber would have to really hate it there to sit out a year.
“Apples to Oranges” – as in Orange Bowl in 2009, vs no BCS bowl even with direct path since…
Or as in education? I respect ND’s degree in law, medicine if thats what he is getting. Maybe she needs to get schooled on GT’s degrees – allways one of the tops in the country.
Or maybe she simply wanted to get paid, wouldn’t be the first parent to do so.
Good luck to Stephon in any case, sounds like the student-athlete we wan at GT!

tim

January 20th, 2011
11:25 am

i’ve been reading about this “dream team” BS for months now and I chuckle every time…..I don’t care who UGA gets this year they will be mis-used and not coached up correctly…look at all the 4 and 5 star recruits you puppies have had in the past decade what has it got you? Nothing…..UF will still kick your ass on a regular basis, and you’ll start 2011 at least 0 and 2….

7576DAWG

January 20th, 2011
11:26 am

Sound’s like Tuitt’s mother is too smart for her own good. If Tuitt is smart enough to pass at GT or ND he is smart enough to decide where he should go to school. The way you are reporting it Chip, Tuitt’s mother decide for him and just laid down the law and said that she will not sign for him to go to Tech.
Either way the kid will have a great future in pro ball or as a graduate from a great and well respected college.
A friend of mine turned down Harvard for GT . After going to GT for two years with a 4.0 average he went to Harvard for one semester, took 5 courses , made 5 A’s and transfered back to GT because Harvard wasn’t challenging enough. If Tuitt’s mother think’s a degree from ND is more prestigious than GT, I disagree . GO DAWG’S