Archive for January, 2011

Georgia’s dream alive in Valdosta; Dogs get Mitchell, Rome (UPDATED)

Malcolm Mitchell was the second Valdosta football star to don a white Georgia cap on Thursday. Teammate Jay Rome chose the Bulldogs earlier in the day. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

Malcolm Mitchell was the second Valdosta football star to don a white Georgia cap on Thursday. Teammate Jay Rome chose the Bulldogs earlier in the day. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

Valdosta – Georgia’s recruiting dreams remained alive Thursday night as the Bulldogs recorded a sweep here in Title Town, landing two of the state’s top six players in the matter of two hours.

Tight end Jay Rome, an AJC Super 11 member and the No. 3 player in the state, committed to the Bulldogs over Alabama Thursday afternoon. Thursday evening, his wide receiver teammate Malcolm Mitchell, the state’s No. 6 player, joined Rome in tabbing the Bulldogs. He also picked the state school over Alabama.

“It’s a good idea,” Mitchell said of UGA’s “Dream Team” concept. “Jay going there and being a friend had a little bit of influence on me but it was based on what I wanted. That’s what it came down to. I had to do what I felt was right.”

Rome, a 5-star prospect from Valdosta High, unveiled his decision in a …

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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 …

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Stephon Tuitt drops Tech, switches back to Notre Dame

Stephon Tuitt has switched his commitment back to Notre Dame.

The five-star defensive end from Monroe Area High School, who flipped from the Fighting Irish in order to commit to Georgia Tech on Tuesday, confirmed to the AJC late Wednesday night that he flipped back to Notre Dame. Elapsed time on the de-commit/re-commit: About 30 hours.

“What a day!” Tuitt said.

Tuitt said he had a change of heart after Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and several defensive coaches made an in-home visit Wednesday night.

“They just told the truth,” he said when asked what changed his mind. “They didn’t say anything negative about Georgia Tech or anything like that. They just told the truth about what Notre Dame could do for me and what I could do at Notre Dame..”

Tuitt said he “had a few questions I needed to get off my chest.” Asked what those questions were, he said, “just some little things and some big things. I had some questions about the class they have coming in and some about the …

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Georgia gets commitment from Isaiah Crowell’s teammate Quintavious Harrow

Quintavious Harrow committed to the Georgia Bulldogs on Wednesday. Harrow is a close friend and teammate of the state’s No. 1 prospect, running back Isaiah Crowell. Georgia offered him the scholarship just last week.

“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 and I feel like it’s the right choice for me.”

Harrow said Georgia has been recruiting him for “a long time” but just offered him last week after he obtained a qualifying test score on the ACT.

“He felt like it was the best situation for him and he felt comfortable doing it today,” Carver-Columbus coach Dell McGee said. “Coach Richt was really happy and pleased about it after they talked on the phone. [Richt] said he was going to take good care of him, off and on the football field. We’re just happy for Quintavious.”

Harrow (6-0, 185)  is expected to play defensive back at Georgia. He played the “pony” …

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Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson races to meet newest recruit, Monroe Area’s Stephon Tuitt

Notre Dame's loss was Georgia Tech's gain (Photo provided by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl).

Notre Dame's loss was Georgia Tech's gain (Photo provided by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl).

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson didn’t waste any time with greeting his newest recruit, Monroe Area’s Stephon Tuitt.

Johnson rearranged his travel plans to meet in person with Tuitt on Wednesday afternoon. One day earlier, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end switched his commitment from Notre Dame to Georgia Tech.

“Coach Johnson just welcomed Stephon to the Georgia Tech family,” Monroe Area coach Matt Fligg said. “[Johnson] didn’t say anything Notre Dame, or about the issue of Tuitt switching his commitment. That never came up. They talked strictly about Georgia Tech.”

They met for about an hour and were joined by athlete Demontevious Smith, Tuitt’s high school teammate and fellow Georgia Tech commitment. Smith picked Georgia Tech over Virginia Tech last weekend.

“Coach Johnson shook both of their hands and congratulated both on being Yellow Jackets,” Fligg said. “The rest of the …

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South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier raids Georgia for two more commitments

Steve Spurrier’s raid on Georgia’s college prospects continued with the commitments of McEachern High teammates Rory Anderson and Marcquis Roberts on Wednesday.

With the two new additions, South Carolina has now reached double digits in its Georgia recruiting efforts for the 2011 class — as 11 of 28 commitments are from the state. Last year, the Gamecocks landed six prospects from Georgia.

“South Carolina had a great season in the SEC, and I think a lot of people noticed,” McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said. “I know all of our kids want to play in the SEC, especially with their run of national championships. That was an important overall factor.

The timing of the McEachern duo’s announcement was interesting: Why on a Wednesday?

“They both finished a visit last weekend and kind of decided they had seen enough during the overall recruiting process to be able to make a comparison,” Hockman said. “They felt like it was that time.

“And you know how recruiting works? It can get …

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It’s a Bama-Georgia tug-of-war for Valdosta’s Malcolm Mitchell, Jay Rome

Valdosta's Malcolm Mitchell (L) and Jay Rome are extremely close but will be making their announcements separately on Thursday. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

Valdosta's Malcolm Mitchell (L) and Jay Rome are close friends but will be making their college announcements separately on Thursday. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

Malcolm Mitchell insists he and Valdosta teammate Jay Rome are good friends; always have been, always will be. But one is left to wonder what’s going on when they decide to announce on the same day but at different times 80 miles apart.

Mitchell is going to make his college decision public at 7 p.m. Thursday night at a local restaurant in Valdosta. Rome, meanwhile, has agreed to make his announcement live on ESPNU’s “Recruiting Insider” show an hour-and-a-half earlier. The problem is that is going to require Rome to drive to a TV station in Tallahassee, Fla., where the world wide leader can establish a satellite link.

None of which to say that ESPNU thinks more of Rome, a five-star tight end, than it does Mitchell, a four-star wide receiver/defensive back. The network, which got up close and personal with both players …

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OT Xzavier Ward all over map 2 weeks before signing day

THIS IS FROM AJC PREP WRITER MICHAEL CARVELL:

The best recruiting soap opera to watch in the state of Georgia over the next two weeks may be Colquitt County’s Xzavier Ward.

Georgia Tech, UGA, Alabama are among the schools making a late push for the 6-foot-7, 275-pound offensive tackle.

Ward was originally scheduled to take an official visit to Alabama, along with Florida, earlier this month but the recruiting trips were canceled because both schools said they had too many commitments at the tackle positions.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen made an in-home visit on Monday, along with a couple of Georgia Tech assistants. Ward agreed to take an official visit to Mississippi State this weekend, while Georgia Tech called on late Tuesday, trying to convince Ward to travel to its campus instead.

“Mississippi State and Coach Mullen have been to his house, and Xzavier is going to honor his commitment to visit that school,” Colquitt County coach Rush Propst said. “He looked Coach …

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Stephon Tuitt on switch: ‘I think Tech is where my heart was the whole time’

Monroe Area defensive end Stephon Tuitt switched his commitment from Notre Dame to Georgia Tech on Tuesday. (Photo provided by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl).

Monroe Area defensive end Stephon Tuitt switched his commitment from Notre Dame to Georgia Tech on Tuesday. (Photo provided by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl).

Stephon Tuitt and his Monroe Area team had a huge basketball game scheduled Tuesday night. West Hall would be well-advised to look out below because Tuitt is likely to be flying high tonight.

On the same day that Tuitt was awarded a fifth star from the recruiting analysts at Rivals.com, Tuitt decided to switch his commitment from Notre Dame to Georgia Tech. Tuitt will be the highest-touted recruit ever to ink with Yellow Jackets when he signs on national signing day, according to JacketsOnline.com.

According to Tuitt, it was a difficult decision but one he’s been thinking about for a while.

“I think it’s where my heart was the whole time,” said the 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end. “I feel like I made a decision I can be comfortable with.”

Tuitt had been committed to Notre Dame since mid-September and entered the …

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Ten@10: Crowell’s mom ‘not selling my son’s soul to the devil’

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 …

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