Archive for January, 2011

UGA targets Drew, Jenkins bond in Miami, talk about playing together (updated)

Very few people know where Ray Drew is going to go to college, but John Jenkins claims he does.

The duo hit it off in Miami this past weekend. Drew, a five-star defensive end from Thomas County Central, and Jenkins, a 6-4, 340-pound noseguard at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, both just happened to be on official visits at the University of Miami this weekend.

Despite having not met previously, the two highly-sought-after prospects — who each have Auburn, Georgia and Miami among their finalists — ended up spending the majority of their time together in Coral Gables. Jenkins said they discussed at length the possibility of playing together in college.

“He and I really clicked,” said Jenkins, back at school in Gulfport, Miss., Monday. “He knew about me when I got down there and we just ended up hanging out together and talking a lot. He was just saying how he’d like to play where I play at. He said he wanted to be where I was playing nose so he can make some plays. We …

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Georgia Tech lands 3 commitments, hopes Stephon Tuitt makes 4

Georgia Tech enjoyed a fruitful weekend of recruiting as it hosted a number of recruits on the The Flats. The Yellow Jackets welcomed three more members to their rapidly-growing Class of 2011 on Sunday.

Athlete Corey Dennis of Troy, Ala.; offensive lineman Errin Joe of Lakeland, Fla.; and athlete Demontevious Smith of Monroe each committed after official visits on the Tech campus. That gives Georgia Tech a total of 21 commitments. Thanks to some attrition, the Yellow Jackets are expected to sign the NCAA maximum of 25 players in this class.

“I actually wasn’t expecting to commit this weekend,” said Smith, who chose the Jackets over Virginia Tech. “I was just expecting a good experience. I definitely got that and more. It was even better than I expected. So I went ahead and committed.”

Smith goes by the shortened first name of Demon, which is pronounced duh-MONN. Tech is hopeful his pledge will lead to at least one more commitment.

Smith is the Monroe Area High School teammate …

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Georgia Bulldogs offer scholarship to Isaiah Crowell’s close friend

As Isaiah Crowell prepared to leave Columbus for Tuscaloosa and his official visit to Alabama Friday afternoon, Georgia was making moves behind the scenes to try to ensure that the state’s No. 1 player comes their way.

The Bulldogs offered a scholarship to Crowell’s teammate and close friend Quintavious Harrow on Thursday, Carver-Columbus coach Dell McGee confirmed. Better known as “Cootie” to his family and friends, Harrow (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) played a linebacker/safety position known as the “pony” in the Tigers’ 3-5-3 defense. He’s expected to played defensive back in college.

“It’s good to see Quintavious get a great offer like UGA,” McGee said.

By all accounts, Georgia is the only school from which Harrow has received an offer so far. The only reference to him among the recruiting services is an account of him running a 4.46-second 40-yard dash — pretty impressive — at the Scout Showcase combine in Atlanta last summer.

“Cootie? I really don’t know too much about it,” …

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Grady RB Marcus Caffey switches commitment to Kentucky

Grady RB Marcus Caffey decided to take his speed and power to the SEC. (AJC photo by Collin C. Chappelle)

Grady RB Marcus Caffey decided to take his speed and power to the SEC. (AJC photo by Collin C. Chappelle)

When Marcus Caffey committed to Purdue on January 2, he spoke joyfully and confidently about his choice. He was certain it was the place for him.

But Kentucky coach Joker Phillips kept working on him and, less than two weeks later, he broke through. Caffey, the No. 26 player in the state, switched his commitment from the Boilermakers to the Wildcats on Thursday.

“I feel like I’m pretty close to Coach Phillips and all the Kentucky coaches,” Grady’s star running back explained. “I’ve gotten to know them well during the recruiting process. Plus, a lot of guys from Atlanta go to Kentucky. It’s a place that feels more like Georgia, more like home.”

Caffey is the seventh Georgian to commit to the Wildcats and the fourth member of the AJC Fab 50. He joins M.L. King WR Demarco Robinson, Whitewater RB Josh Clemons, White County RB/LB/DB Ashely Lowry, Griffin WR Nile Daniel, …

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James Vaughters ‘disappointed’ Stanford D-coordinator likely out

Tucker linebacker James Vaughters had about 40 scholarship offers before he chose the Stanford Cardinal last June. (AJC photo by Phil Skinner)

Tucker linebacker James Vaughters had about 40 scholarship offers before he chose the Stanford Cardinal last June. (AJC photo by Phil Skinner)

James Vaugthers and his family got word that David Shaw had been named Stanford’s new head coach only a couple of hours before boarding a plane Thursday to make his official visit to the school. But who Shaw hires as defensive coordinator is probably going to play an even more important role in whether Vaughters honors his commitment and signs with the Cardinal on national signing day.

Vaughters, an AJC Super 11 linebacker from Tucker and the No. 4-ranked player in the state, has been committed to Stanford since last June. But he said after coach Jim Harbaugh left to coach the San Francisco 49ers he may have to reconsider his decision depending on what happened to the coaching staff.

Shaw, Stanford’s offensive coordinator since Harbaugh has been there, was tabbed the new head coach on Thursday.

“We really don’t know that much about …

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Ten@10: Valdosta’s Jay Rome, Malcolm Mitchell to announce choices on Jan. 20 (updated)

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 …

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4-star DE Stephon Tuitt to give Georgia Tech one last shot with official visit

Monroe Area DE Stephon Tuitt, a U.S. Army All-American and Notre Dame commitment, is going to take one last official visit to Georgia Tech the weekend of Jan. 21. (Photo provided by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl)

Monroe Area DE Stephon Tuitt, a U.S. Army All-American and Notre Dame commitment, is going to take one last official visit to Georgia Tech the weekend of Jan. 21. (Photo provided by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl)

Georgia Tech has at least one more shot at Stephon Tuitt. You can bet the Yellow Jackets are going to make it a good one.

Tuitt, a 4-star defensive end from Monroe, has been committed to Notre Dame since last September. But he has agreed to take an official visit to Tech on Jan. 21. He said it’s the only official visit he’ll take between now and national signing day on Feb. 2.

“When I go, I’m going to go there with an open mind,” said Tuitt, a senior at Monroe Area High School. “I’m going to act like it’s the first time I’ve been there. I’m going to forget past history between me and the coaches and try to see if it’s a place I could see myself playing the next four or five years.”

At one time it seemed a foregone conclusion that Tuitt would end up with the Yellow …

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Georgia JUCO target John Jenkins de-commits to Okla. St.

The whirlwind recruitment of junior college star John Jenkins just got a new boost of momentum.

John Jenkins

John Jenkins

Jenkins, a 6-foot-4, 340-pound nose guard from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, officially de-committed from Oklahoma State this week. Not that he’d been very committed before that. Georgia has been in hot pursuit of the hole-plugging nose guard for months. The Bulldogs made in-home visits both last month and this one and will host Jenkins on an official visit Jan. 21.

Meanwhile, Auburn, Florida and Miami have also been in contact with Jenkins and have made him a recruiting priority.

So it wasn’t much of a surprise when Jenkins backed off an October commitment to Oklahoma State when the Cowboys came to visit him in Connecticut recently.

“They said they felt like I wasn’t committed to them anymore; that’s the way the conversation started,” Jenkins said of Oklahoma State. “It ended up with me saying I had to do what I had to do and I’d let them know.”

The Cowboys …

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Ten@10: James Vaughters seeks answers from Stanford after Harbaugh’s departure

THE TEN AT 10:

After coach Jim Harbaugh's departure for the NFL, the question is how much longer will James Vaughters carry Stanford's banner. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

After coach Jim Harbaugh's departure for the NFL, the question is how much longer will James Vaughters carry Stanford's banner. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

1. James Vaughters is taking a wait-and-see approach with regard to Stanford. For the moment at least, the AJC Super 11 LB from Tucker remains committed to the Cardinal despite this week’s news that coach Jim Harbaugh is leaving to take over the San Francisco 49ers.

“I really don’t know everything yet,” Vaughters said this week. “I can’t make my decision until I know everything. Who his replacement is going to be, that’s the most important thing.”

Vaughters hopes to get some answers when he, Ola defensive back Ra’Chard Pippens and most of Stanford’s 22 commitments make official visits to Stanford this weekend. It had been planned for weeks that they all make their officials together this weekend.

“We’re talking,” Vaughters said of his fellow pledges “The whole class is going to be out there. We’ll find out …

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Rewind: Georgia Junior Bowl showcased finest rising seniors

Harris County's Jordan Jenkins was "a beast" during the Georgia Junior Bowl this past Saturday at Hallford Stadium. (Photo provided by Rusty Mansell/247Sports.com)

Harris County's Jordan Jenkins was "a beast" during the Georgia Junior Bowl this past Saturday at Hallford Stadium. (Photo provided by Rusty Mansell/247Sports.com)

MONDAY REWIND:

I wrote a lot this past week about national all-star games in Florida (Under Armour All-America Game) and Texas (U.S. Army All-American Bowl). But there was actually a first-class, first-of-its-kind event for juniors being played right here in a our own backyard.

The inaugural At&T/Rising Seniors Dot-com Georgia Junior Bowl was played on Saturday at Hallford Memorial Stadium. Actually, 86 of the best rising seniors in the state competed, studied and played together over the course of five days last week all around Atlanta.

“It was great. It was more than an all-star game.” said 247Sports.com recruiting analyst Rusty Mansell, who helped organize the event and choose the players for the game. “These kids got a life-education over three days. They visited hospitals, they participated in a telethon and …

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