Archive for January, 2011

Ten@10: Ray Drew still being coy about Friday’s decision (updated)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Ray Drew may be a licensed minister, but he’s having a devil of a good time keeping people guessing about his impending college decision. The 5-star defensive end is going to unveil his choice on Friday morning in the gym at Thomas County Central High School. Which team he will choose, well, everybody thinks they know but nobody really does.

Publicly Drew likes to throw out hints that he’s headed to Auburn, such as the text he sent me Sunday night that read “WDE” (that’s “War Damn Eagle,” as in the Auburn battle cry, for the un-indoctrinated). But Georgia fans insist Drew is so overly outspoken about the Tigers that it has to mean it’s a smokescreen for his real intention, which is to become part of the Bulldogs’ Dream Team. But then Drew will throw up a Facebook status that confuses the issue even more, such as the one he posted late Monday evening.

“There will be a huge surprise on Friday . . . no Auburn, no Georgia, no LSU . . . time to shock the world …

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Miami OLB Nick Menocal felt wanted at Georgia Tech

Linebacker Nick Menocal decommitted from Miami in order to commit to Georgia Tech over the weekend. (Photo by The Miami Herald.)

Linebacker Nick Menocal decommitted from Miami in order to commit to Georgia Tech over the weekend. (Photo by The Miami Herald.)

Georgia Tech’s latest commitment is a Miami guy. Nick Menocal grew up in the South Florida city, starred in football at nearby Belen Jesuit Prep and was a lifelong fan of  the Miami Hurricanes.  So, naturally, when he developed into a top-notch college football prospect and UM offered a scholarship, he accepted to great fanfare in his hometown.

That was way back in June. Since then, Miami had a dreadful season, head coach Randy Shannon got fired and new coach Al Golden got hired. And suddently Menocal wasn’t so sure about the Hurricanes anymore.

And neither were they about him, all the sudden.

“Two weeks ago I got a call from [a Miami coach] and he told me they had reviewed my film and they felt I wouldn’t be a good fit for them,” said Menocal, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound outside linebacker. “He said they would honor my commitment but I’d probably have to …

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State’s top-ranked OT Xzavier Ward becomes commitment No. 22 for Georgia (updated)

Colquitt County coach Rush Propst believes Xzavier Ward has NFL potential. (Photo provided with permission from MickiKphotography.com)

Colquitt County coach Rush Propst believes Xzavier Ward has NFL potential. (Photo provided with permission from MickiKphotography.com)

Xzavier Ward almost waited too long the first time around. So when the University of Georgia came back with a scholarship offer on Monday, Colquitt County’s star offensive lineman pounced on it.

Ward. a 6-foot-7, 260-pound offensive tackle, committed to the Bulldogs on Monday. He’s No. 22 for the Class of 2011.

“I feel great about it,” Ward said. “I feel like it’s a great opportunity.”

Ward was originally offered by the Bulldogs as part of their mythical “Dream Team.” But he resisted and elected to play out the recruiting process to the end. It almost cost him.

Georgia, Alabama and Auburn, three of the main teams in on Ward early, all filled up their slots on the offensive line and had to withdraw their offers. But with rising senior Tanner Strickland’s recent decision to give up football coupled with two commitments gaining early …

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John Jenkins: UGA ‘awesome’ but no decision until after Florida visit

Q&A WITH JOHN JENKINS

I caught up with John Jenkins sometime after he got back to his school in Mississippi about 5 p.m. Sunday. He had just gotten home from his official visit to Georgia and had fallen asleep watching the NFL playoffs. I woke him up. He was tired. Real tired.

John Jenkins (Photo by Georgia247Sports.com)

John Jenkins (Photo by Georgia247Sports.com)

But the big nose guard went on to explain that he was happily exhausted. He described his trip to UGA as “awesome.” Nevertheless, it was not awesome enough to elicit an on-the-spot commitment.

“No, I didn’t commit,” said the 6-foot-4, 340-pound nose guard from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. “But I had a great time.”

So with the real news out of the way, I proceeded to ask Jenkins about the nuances of his visit and his plans going forward. Here’s a quick review:

Q: What was the most enjoyable part of the visit for you?

A: “I really liked going to the basketball game. Those boys are good. They’re underrated. And I enjoyed going to Coach Richt’s …

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Michigan shows late interest in Chattahoochee QB Tim Byerly

Michigan expressed interest on Monday in Chattahoochee quarterback Tim Byerly.

Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder recently sent film of his state championship quarterback to Michigan and a few other schools, hoping it would garner some attention.

When Crowder followed up with a call to Michigan on Monday, he got some surprising news. “They really liked him on film. Michigan said they had another quarterback visiting this week who felt like would commit to them. But if that did not happen, then they are going to really look at Timmy.”

The 6-foot, 210-pound Byerly is one of the state’s most overlooked college football prospects. He helped lead Chattahoochee to this past season’s Class AAAA championship, completing 170 of 249 passes for 2,664 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,506 yards.

“Timmy was the best quarterback I saw this year,” Crowder said. “I just don’t understand why more of the big boys aren’t looking at him because he can really help someone out at …

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Bobby Petrino’s ‘discovery’ leads to Arkansas commitment Kane Whitehurst

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino “discovered” Kane Whitehurst when he was visiting Chattahoochee High earlier this month to look at another recruit.

Whitehurst, who plays wide receiver and returns kickoffs and punts, has committed to Arkansas.  He was also considering offers from Tulane and Troy, among others.

About two weeks ago, Petrino stopped by Chattahoochee to talk about defensive end Barron Dixon, who ended up pledging to Mississippi State. Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder asked Petrino for a few extra minutes of his time.

“I told Coach Petrino ‘I’m not letting you leave here until you look at Kane,’” Crowder recalled with a laugh. “I showed him some film, and he just kind of fell in love with the kid.”

The 5-foot-11, 172-pound Whitehurst will be the second Chattahoochee recruit to sign with Arkansas under Crowder, who graduated from the SEC West school. Safety Elton Ford picked the Razorbacks in 2008.

“I’m tickled pink for Kane,” Crowder said. “No. 1 for selfish reasons, …

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Georgia Tech adds 3 commitments, loses 1, misses out on another

It was a busy recruiting weekend for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets landed three commitments and lost one, according to various Internet reports.

  • Outside linebacker Nick Menocal (6-3, 225 pounds) of Miami, a longtime University of Miami commitment, confirmed via text message that he flipped on the Hurricanes in order to commit to Tech. The three-star prospect had at least 10 offers, including opportunities at Stanford and Virginia. I’ll have more on Menocal after I interview him later today.
  • Tech landed another potential outside linebacker in Kyle Travis of Cumming. Travis (6-3, 235) played a multitude of positions at South Forsyth High, including defensive end, offensive line and fullback. But he told JacketsOnline.com the Jackets want him to play outside linebacker position. He chose Tech over Georgia Southern.
  • The Yellow Jackets also got a commitment from Sean Tobin, a long snapper out of New Jersey, according to GoJackets.com. Tobin (6-3, 220), who also plays …

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2011 AJC Top 50

Updated: Signing Day, Feb. 2

UGA commitments | Ga. Tech commitments | GSU commitments | AJC Top 50

SIGNINGS

Rank player    Pos.    Ht. Wt.    High school   College

1. Isaiah Crowell RB 5-11 210 Carver-Columbus Georgia

2. Ray Drew DE 6-5 243 Thomas Co. Central  Georgia

3. Jay Rome TE 6-6 250 Valdosta Georgia

4. James Vaughters LB 6-2 233 Tucker   Stanford

5. Nick Marshall ATH 6-2 185 Wilcox County  Georgia

6. Malcolm Mitchell WR 6-1 187 Valdosta  Georgia

7. A.J. Johnson LB 6-3 226 Gainesville Tennessee

8. Xzavier Dickson DE 6-3 238 Griffin Alabama

9. Xzavier Ward OL 6-7 270 Colquitt County Georgia

10. Shannon Brown LB 6-2 225 Cook E. Mississipi C.C.

11. Chris Conley WR 6-3 185 North Paulding Georgia

12. Damian Swann CB 6-1 170 Grady  Georgia

13. Stephon Tuitt DE 6-5 260 Monroe Area Notre Dame

14. Brian Randolph DB 6-0 180 Kell Tennessee

15. C.J. Uzomah ATH 6-5 230 North Gwinnett Auburn

16. Gabriel Wright DT 6-3 290 Carver-Columbus Auburn

17. Jabari Hunt-Days LB 6-3 …

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Chattahoochee’s Ammon Lakip commits to Clemson over Georgia Tech

Clemson is No. 1 over Georgia Tech with Lakip (Photo courtesy of Lakip family)

Clemson is No. 1 over Georgia Tech with Lakip (Photo courtesy of Lakip family)

Chattahoochee All-State kicker Ammon Lakip committed to Clemson over Georgia Tech on Sunday night.

Lakip, whose father graduated from Georgia Tech, made the decision after taking an official visit to Clemson this weekend.

“Clemson felt like home, it was the right place for me,” Lakip said. “My father was real supportive.  He wanted it to be my choice, and it was.”

The strong-legged kicker became a hot commodity late during the recruiting process. His first offer was from Georgia Tech in mid-December, followed by Clemson only a couple of weeks ago.

BCS champion Auburn also entered the sweepstakes, making a “grayshirt” offer that would delay Lakip’s college enrollment until January 2012, so his scholarship would count toward next year’s recruiting class.

Lakip nearly considered committing to Clemson earlier in the recruiting process, but held off after talking with Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson. The …

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Carver-Columbus coach speaks on Isaiah Crowell and ‘Cootie’ Harrow

Isaish Crowell's best friend since kindergarten is already committed to UGA (AJC photo by Jason Getz/jgetz@ajc.com)

Isaish Crowell's best friend since kindergarten is already committed to UGA (AJC photo by Jason Getz/jgetz@ajc.com)

Carver-Columbus coach Dell McGee has heard all the theories about why Georgia offered a football scholarship to his little-known defensive back, Quintavious “Cootie” Harrow.

Harrow’s best friend since kindergarten is Carver teammate Isaiah Crowell, who some consider to be the nation’s No. 1 college prospect at tailback.

When Harrow got the scholarship offer — his first and only — on Jan. 13, he took less than a week to commit to the Bulldogs.

“People are going to have their opinions about why Georgia offered Quintavious, and you’re not going to change that by making a statement about that,” McGee said. “All I know is that [Harrow] is getting a free education at a great institution, along with the opportunity to play football in the best conference in the nation.

“To me, that’s priceless.”

Both Crowell and Harrow were scheduled to make official visits to Georgia …

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