Ten@10: Georgia not winning as many recruiting battles in South Carolina

Apparently the nation's No. 1 recruit, Jadeveon Clowney of Rock Hill, S.C., never gave Georgia a whole lot of serious consideration before signing with South Carolina on Monday. (Photo by The Associated Press)

Apparently the nation's No. 1 recruit, Jadeveon Clowney of Rock Hill, S.C., never gave Georgia a whole lot of serious consideration before signing with South Carolina on Monday. (Photo by The Associated Press)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Jadeveon Clowney’s commitment to South Carolina on Monday got me wondering if Georgia might have lost a step or two in its recruitment of the Palmetto State. It seems like not so long ago the Bulldogs were always plucking top talent from the neighbor state to the East. But Clowney, a defensive end from Rock Hill, S.C., and the consensus No. 1 prospect in America, never really gave UGA much of a chance. Clowney did not mention Georgia among co-finalists Alabama and Clemson, even though the Bulldogs recruited him hard and he plays a position of great need for them.

In fact, Georgia did not sign a single player from South Carolina at all this year. That’s the first time since 2004 that’s happened. The Bulldogs have never recruited a big number of prospects out of the state, but they’ve almost always snatched away one of South Carolina’s bests annually, including Kwame Geathers in 2009, A.J. Green in ‘08, Prince Miller in ‘06 and CJ Byrd in ‘05. It’s a tradition that predates Marcus Howard and Richard Seymour and goes all the way back to Steve Greer and Kent Lawrence.

Granted, with the home turf as talent-rich as theirs, the Bulldogs shouldn’t spend much time harvesting from other states, much less a sparsely populated one such as South Carolina. But that state has produced more than its share of exceptional football players in recent years, and Georgia has simply lost its head-to-head recruiting battles with the Gamecocks on them lately. In addition to Clowney, it was unable to sway five-star offensive lineman Brandon Shell this year, Marcus Lattimore last year or Alshon Jeffrey in 2009. Those losses came back to bite the Bulldogs on the football field this past season and boosted the Gamecocks, who won their first SEC East title this past season and likely will be favored to again this year.

So what happened? The loss of assistant coach Jon Fabris certainly did not help the situation. Fabris, the driving force behind landing Green, Miller, Byrd and Howard, was dismissed by Georgia coach Mark Richt following the 2009 season.

2. Speaking of Clowney, his addition gives South Carolina 32 signees in the 2011 class. So much for the crack down on oversigning, huh? Four of the Gamecocks’ signees apparently are already enrolled, which gets them to the all-important 28-max number enacted by the SEC last year and the rest of the NCAA this year. But that means at least three of the remaining signees either are expected not to qualify academically, will be convinced to grayshirt or will have to be cut loose.

The Gamecocks already have drawn criticism from the website Oversigning.com because they withdrew the scholarship offers of two other recruits who had been committed to USC before national signing day. One of those is Atlanta’s own Lorenzo Mauldin, who committed to South Carolina last July. Neither Mauldin nor Maynard Jackson High coach Eric Williams could be reached for comment, but Mauldin has been quoted saying he is not upset and will wait to sign with the Gamecocks at a later date. We’ll see.

3. While Clowney represented the last member of the 2011 class to come to a decision (at least on the FBS level), some big recruits for 2012 have already up their minds. In fact, Kenyan Drake, one of the top rising seniors in Georgia, committed to Alabama on Monday. The 6-foot, 188-pound running back from Hillgrove chose the Crimson Tide over Georgia, Georgia Tech, Purdue and Tennessee. Many consider Drake to be the top running back prospect in the state for next season. You can read my report from last night by CLICKING HERE.

4. It appears another one of the top running back prospects in the South is off the market. Matt Jones, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior from Seffner, Fla., was long considered a strong lean for Georgia, which had probably recruited him longer and harder than anybody. But Jones, enamored by Florida’s switch to a pro-style offense under new coach Will Muschamp, committed to the Gators while attending their junior camp over the weekend in Gainesville. After several conflicting reports surfaced, Jones went public with his Florida commitment on Monday.

5. With Jones and Drake off the board, the Bulldogs are down to one uncommitted running back prospect that they have already offered. Keith Marshall, a 5-11, 185-pound athlete from Raleigh, N.C., may be the top overall back in America before it’s said and done. A projected five-star prospect, Marshall already holds 20 offers and they’re all from major football powers across the country. So in addition to turning up the heat on Marshall, expect UGA to step up with some offers to some in-state kids very soon.

Several would seem to be worthy of the Bulldogs’ attention, most notably Stephenson’s Mike Davis. Davis (5-11, 200), the younger brother of former Clemson star James Davis, already has a dozen scholarship offers, including Clemson, Florida, FSU, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Penn State South Carolina and Tennessee. Other local running backs that could also get a look include Kenno Loyal of Columbia and Justin Taylor of Booker T. Washington High.

6. A must-see stop for coaches following the recruiting trail through Atlanta this year is Stephenson. While the Stone Mountain school always produces a bevy of college-bound players, this appears to be a particularly bountiful year for the Jaguars.

Just between Davis (14), defensive end Jarontay Jones (14) and two-way lineman Jafar Mann (15),  Stephenson players have already been offered scholarships from 43 schools. But they also feature Carlos Hood (Memphis, Miami, Mississippi State, South Carolina,UCF), T.J. Moon (Memphis), Raphael Kirby (Florida, FSU, Southern Miss), Darreon Herring (Southern Miss, South Florida, Memphis, Vandy), Joshua Parris (Illinois, USF), Steve McKenzie (Duke, Memphis, Southern Miss)  and Nicholas Gibbons (Illinois). At least five other Jaguar players are getting recruiting interest from FBS schools at this point. So they will clearly be a team to keep an eye on in 2011.

7. Both Georgia and Georgia Tech like what they see in Quayvon Hicks. And what’s not to like? The Pierce County star could play either side of the ball in college. The Bulldogs offered the 6-foot-2, 257-pound junior last Friday as a fullback while Georgia Tech offered Hicks over the weekend as a defensive lineman.

“It really is depending on how big I get in the next couple of years,” Hicks told DawgPost.com. “It’s all about where my body takes me. Right now, I’m a fullback, but I could grow into a defensive player down the road.”

8. Hicks is one of several athletes to have received a bid from Georgia Tech of late. According to JacketsOnline.com, others to receive offers from the Yellow Jackets lately include Old Tappan, N.J., athlete Devin Fuller; Greater Atlanta Christian offensive lineman Chase Roberts; and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins of Forest City, N.C.

9. Hope you’ve been checking back to follow the progress of the ever-growing list of football signees from Georgia. According to the latest updates provided by AJC correspondent Steve Slay, we’re now up to 774 in-staters who have signed on to play college football somewhere. Included in that number is 186 that are headed to Football Bowl Subdivision Schools. The national signing period continues until April 1, so it’s quite likely that those numbers will continue to rise.

10. THIS & THAT: The winter semester signing period is not just for football. Actually, male and female athletes from several different sports sign letters-of-intent at this time of year. For example, Iyana Moore, a star soccer player from Wheeler High School and the United Futbol Academy’s U17 soccer team, not only signed with Tennessee, but has already graduated from high school and enrolled at the university. . . . I want to be sure to bring attention to these other student-athletes whose talents garner them college scholarships. So in the future, be sure to let me know about non-football and basketball signings by sending me an email either to ctowers@ajc.com or ajcrecruiting@yahoo.com. I’m going to create a regular feature highlighting some of these talented individuals and keep a running list of signees you’ll be able to access. I appreciate your assistance with this and any suggestions you may have for handling it. . . .

Drake wasn’t the only early commitment Alabama has landed. In fact, the Crimson Tide got another one over the weekend in Alabama linebacker Tyler Hayes of Thomasville, Ala. That gives the Crimson Tide eight commitments already for the Class of 2012. . . . Quarterback Nick Montana, the son of NFL legend Joe Montana, is transferring from Notre Dame to — where else? — the University of Montana, according to SI.com. . . . No sooner did the ink dry on Clowney’s letter-of-intent than South Carolina assistant coach Shane Beamer left to join his father’s staff at Virginia Tech. Beamer’s generally given a lot of credit for the Gamecocks’ recent recruiting success. . . .

Check out this YouTube video — it’s actually just the audio — of a bombastic radio interview former Florida coach Urban Meyer gave to an Indianapolis radio station in which he says that has been a major loss of integrity among college football coaches:

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog

338 comments Add your comment

Jon

February 15th, 2011
10:04 am

ALABAMA STUDENT

February 15th, 2011
10:05 am

The rest of us

February 15th, 2011
10:10 am

I think all that will change since Beamer is heading back to VA Tech to coach with his Dad.

Chris

February 15th, 2011
10:14 am

Letting Drake get out of the state was a big blow for both UGA and GT. That makes it very clear the walls of this state have fallen down when it comes to keeping talent here, no matter if a kid commits to uga or gt. Both programs have got to get stronger at rebuilding the walls around the peach state…

B.G

February 15th, 2011
10:15 am

B.G

February 15th, 2011
10:17 am

oooooooooooooooooPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Chip how did we lose Matt Jones? Do we have a chance with the RB from North Car.?

branden smith

February 15th, 2011
10:18 am

Mad Mike

February 15th, 2011
10:19 am

seriously – why doesn’t stephenson win a state title every year?

Paul in RDU

February 15th, 2011
10:20 am

Keith Marshall of Millbrook HS, Raleigh is a stud. Look for him to play for Butch in CH

jd

February 15th, 2011
10:21 am

i think its going to be hard wit Uga gettting players to commit early with CMR being on the hot seat

Realistic Dawg Fan...

February 15th, 2011
10:21 am

Spin it how you want, Chip. UGA finally wins in-state…and you decide to write an article about how we missed on South Carolina’s top talent? Why we’re at it, let’s mention how UGA lost the California recruiting battle to Oregon and USC.

It is, however, noteworthy that UGA has managed to cherry pick top talent from NC, TN, and Florida the last few years while holding a decaying wall on Georgia’s border. UGA has even managed to find some diamonds in the rough in SC (ie: Tim Jennings…or Robert Geathers – converted quarterback) that they’ve successfully developed.

In regard to 2012 misses…too early to tell. Still a lot of recruiting drama to play out over a full year.

monty

February 15th, 2011
10:23 am

GA needs to have a big year in 2011 to validate the Dream Team concept. Another lack luster year and before long all you will end up with is guys who grew up hard shell Ga fans.

dawgforlife

February 15th, 2011
10:29 am

There is one reason Drake is not coming to Athens and it is Crowell, the highest rated in state back since Garrison Hearst. More concerning is thed step we have lost in the state of South Carolina. We always used the Carolina connection to get players when the in-state crop was weak in a certain area. We need to make getting back in there a priority.

Vikings87

February 15th, 2011
10:29 am

I really like Davis from Stephenson. I still wish they would have offered the Caffey kid who went to Kentucky. Not good news on Jones, but it’s still early.

RxDawg

February 15th, 2011
10:30 am

Did UGA recruit Clowney “hard”?

chilidawg

February 15th, 2011
10:31 am

Jeez, there is no pleasing some people. Did you look at the class we got before you wrote this?

Too Easy

February 15th, 2011
10:31 am

So the Dawgs and the bees are both recruiting Hicks, huh? Guess he’s not a thug – not until he spurns the bees for the Dawgs. And we will still cherry-pick some out-of-staters, as will some out-of-state schools in GA. But it’s more important to lock down the home state, in general.

RHall55

February 15th, 2011
10:31 am

After the Dream Team, we have lost some steam getting early commitments; does not Recruting Coordinator, CRG, see this; Alabama is not recruting for the SEC Championship, it is recruting for the Nat’l Championship; they are recruiting in our state relentlessly!! They are out-recruting UGA in numbers of players. out-recruting UGA nation wide, and dipping into the JC ranks more often than UGA!! This is a year round job and CRG needs to know that after NSD that his job doesn’t stop there!!! Losing Matt Jones and Kenyan Drake is very disappointing!!!

RxDawg

February 15th, 2011
10:32 am

Montana to Montana… that’s great Chip. You can’t make this stuff up!

The rest of us

February 15th, 2011
10:33 am

Chris

February 15th, 2011
10:14 am

Letting Drake get out of the state was a big blow for both UGA and GT. That makes it very clear the walls of this state have fallen down when it comes to keeping talent here, no matter if a kid commits to uga or gt. Both programs have got to get stronger at rebuilding the walls around the peach state…

So, after putting up a wall last year it’s no tumbling down like in Jericho? My how the memory fades…….

Too Easy

February 15th, 2011
10:33 am

Can Clowney get into USCe?

Pull My Finger

February 15th, 2011
10:33 am

We didn’t get any recruits from, Idaho, Nebraska, or Canada either………sheeeeesh. If we continue to recruit the state of Georgia well we will be okay. This state has enough talent to keep us loaded.

cantondawg

February 15th, 2011
10:35 am

UGA just signed the top running back prospect in the nation this year. It’s natural that other running backs are looking at other opportunities. They want to find a situation where they can come in and play early so i’m not surprised by the commitments. It looks like we have the Tailback position locked down for 3 years

RxDawg

February 15th, 2011
10:35 am

“Why we’re at it, let’s mention how UGA lost the California recruiting battle to Oregon and USC. ”

lmao… there probably won’t be a better comment for the rest of the blog. But yeh, I just kinda dismissed the negative spin as well. It does bother me that Saban keeps getting our states great players though. Not to mention Auburn and UT’s damage also.

I have know problem with Georgia players going to schools outside of the state. That’s a great opportunity for them (the player). I just don’t like our best picking them over UGA.

01HAWK

February 15th, 2011
10:36 am

Alabama is off to an impressive start with its 2012 recruiting class. The Crimson Tide already has seven members on the ESPNU watch list for next February’s class.

Reality Check

February 15th, 2011
10:36 am

Only at the AJC could the sportswriters take UGA’s successful class and locking most instate talent and weave a negative spin. Maybe South Carolina players have a winner at the in state school and prefer to play for the SEC east champions. AJC writers are hacks that like to stir up the UGA pot. Why don’t you ask why GT had problems with getting a top 50 class? That does nothing for your agenda.

cantondawg

February 15th, 2011
10:37 am

I’ve seen reports that Clowney doesn’t have the grades to get in USCe and will have to go the JUCO route. Anybody know more about this

RxDawg

February 15th, 2011
10:38 am

er… no* problem rather. Typing faster than the brain thinks apparently.

Chip Towers

February 15th, 2011
10:40 am

Reality Check, RxDawg, Chili Dawg, others: My aren’t we sensitive this morning! Merely pointing out that Georgia didn’t get any players from South Carolina this year when there were some really good ones for the taking (I didn’t even mention Charone Peake this time). It doesn’t devalue the recruiting class they did get or the job they did in state. Did I not laud the Dream Team enough for Georgia fans on national signing day?

RxDawg

February 15th, 2011
10:40 am

“I’ve seen reports that Clowney doesn’t have the grades to get in USCe and will have to go the JUCO route. Anybody know more about this”

It’s completely false. Spurrier even came out saying that Clowney was better off academicly then most of the other recruits.

swimdawg68

February 15th, 2011
10:40 am

Could it be those running backs see Crowell on the roster and figure they will not become the feature back? I think that has more to do with their decision than anything else. I agree with the “dream team” concept by UGA. Wonder how many 5 or 4 star guys USC garnered from GA? Probably not many. Unlike some schools UGA will not play that signing game (28 max) like Alabama and USC, is it illegal? No. Is it unethecial? Yes. Very proud UGA does not deploy that practice.

Chip Towers

February 15th, 2011
10:41 am

cantondawg: It has been reported that Clowney has a learning disability and has not qualified yet for freshman eligibility. Then again, unless they’ve already graduated from high school, nobody’s eligible yet. ;-)

GTfan2011

February 15th, 2011
10:41 am

Isn’t that a no brainer for Matt Jones? UGA just signed Crowell, whereas UF doesn’t really have a pro-style RB (and has struggled to get production out of its RB spot for years). Should you really be surprised?

MikeP

February 15th, 2011
10:42 am

So Urban Meyer is griping about decreasing integrity? There is no coach or group of recruiters working for a coach that skated as close to the edge as Meyer. For Meyer to now gripe about integrity is the height of hypocrisy.

Were Urban Crier still coaching he’d be the one most lacking his precious “integrity”. He’s the only guy whose lack of integrity could make Nick Saban blush, and that takes some doing!

RxDawg

February 15th, 2011
10:42 am

Nah, I’m not upset with ya Chip :)

I just didn’t take it they way you implied. UGA hasn’t gotten a few good players from South Carolina before. This year they did not. Doesn’t really mean our days of recruiting the state of South Carolina are over.

OldFan

February 15th, 2011
10:42 am

All this obsessing over each recruit means little to nothing when it comes to the success of a program, particularly when we talk about UGA regaining top ten status. A team has to be good enough from top to bottom that a significant contribution from an exceptional athlete can make a big difference on the field. Auburn is the model for this, as was Alabama the year before. UGA can assemble a pack of highly rated players who will spend their careers frustrated by the lack of supporting journeymen, sound coaching, competitive team culture, and a standard of excellence. That’s why we play the games instead of just adding up numerical ratings of the players and proclaiming the winner. So we can praise the high recruits and bless the easy schedule, but I don’t see guarantees in any of that. We want the certainty of player ratings to add up to success. Nothing in life or on the field works that way.

t

February 15th, 2011
10:45 am

Chip Towers

February 15th, 2011
10:47 am

GTfan2011, swimdawg68: Indeed, running back recruiting will likely be a tough go for Georgia with Isaiah Crowell in the house. Unless until the actual season when we all get to see if he’s the real deal or not.

Panther08

February 15th, 2011
10:47 am

I know this is a football recruiting thread but how many times have you heard of a high school female basketball player scoring 44 points in a game. Here is the story on Jayme Gilbert a senior point guard for the Americus-Sumter Panthers in Americus, Ga. http://americustimesrecorder.com/sports/x1227164104/Gilbert-breaks-own-record-with-44-points

RxDawg

February 15th, 2011
10:48 am

MikeP, I saw that article as well. I think Meyer is upset about the coaches and programs out there blatantly breaking rules and flat out paying players money and providing them with resources and commodities that they aren’t allowed to do. Where other programs are running everything cleanly. Auburn is obviously one of those schools that everyone knows about despite their fan’s continuing to put their heads in the sand about it. There are other’s as well. Even worse is that with the NCAA turning their heads away eventualy the clean schools will begin to cheat also so they can get their piece of the pie too. The saddest part is the message this will send to all those young men being developed by the universities. That message is crime pays, take shortcuts to win in life, break the rules to get ahead. It’s quite sad actually … :(

RxDawg

February 15th, 2011
10:52 am

Honestly I’m tired of the cheating going on. They need to just allow the payment of players and be done with it. And don’t talk to be about that title 9 nonsense. Remove football and basketball from the equation and treat them like the different athletics programs they are. They simply draw in too much money not to be corrupt with the limitations put on them.

RRTDawgs

February 15th, 2011
10:53 am

I think UGA has much better chance at Kieth Marshall who really likes our coaches and has developed a good relationship with and keep and eye on Loyal this kid is special .

Reality Check

February 15th, 2011
10:54 am

Several Facts to correct from posters:

Georgia got behind on several prospects due to the late hiring of defensive staff members in 2010.
The coaches hired were new to a great deal of recruits and the lack of familiarity was a factor in many many of these out of state guys not even looking at Georgia.

The Comments by Urban Meyer were a direct slap in the face of Not Gene Chizik, but the staff hired by the Auburn administration to go out and get players for Auburn. Was Urban Right? No, this coming from a guy who did everything in his power to rebuild post Tebow but without the right pieces to fit his system. In another way he was correct, the recruiting of players by some staff members (especially) those at Auburn have drawn the ire from various administrations around the south. Starting with Limos in Auburn to Helicopters at Tennessee, the issues surrounding Cecil Newton and Cam Newton at MSU, and the oversigning by Houston Nutt.

There is a great deal to be looked at, and evaluated.

Ted Striker

February 15th, 2011
10:55 am

Good stuff, Chip. Outstanding coverage/analysis.

M

February 15th, 2011
11:01 am

RRTDawgs

February 15th, 2011
11:01 am

We had no shot at Clowney why we went after Ray Drew and John Jenkins who will be great for us we needed a NT a lot more .

DAWG07

February 15th, 2011
11:02 am

Teams like AL and SC that have coaches that oversign recruits have a distint advantage by pulling offers or cutting loose committed/existing players for more promising players. Fortunately most of the prominate schools don’t operate that way. I am ok with greyshirting as long a s the initial offer specifically states greyshirt offer. Don’t surprise the kid later or ask an existing player to leave to get to the 85 like Alabama frequently does.

dawgster

February 15th, 2011
11:02 am

@Chip…i’m sorry, but i have to agree with “Reality Check and RxDawg to some degree…the article seems to again appear to be putting some negative slants towards the dawgs, or at least thats the way it reads in my opiniion….The Matt Jones deal is not over by a long ways…that i can tell you..He just came back from the gator visit, and obvisously that gave them an edge…I do agree we are not getting some SC kids like we did, but you have to give SC credit for keeping them and along with their recent success on the field has been a big help, more so than our lack of pulling talent from their…I don’t see Bama, Fla, Tech, or Au getting much out of SC either, so its not just the dawgs…Bottomline is that the state of georgia, and fla are always loaded with talent, we get our share and then some but so will Bama, and Fla…Dawg fans have got to stop getting so upset when Bama lands a recruit or two from here….but it seems everytime we do, another article comes out.”Recruit shuns the dawgs for Bama, or Fla, or Au, or Tenn…As dawg fans, we need to just laugh these things off and worry about what we can control…Remember at the beginning of recruiting season how upset everyone was, because we had lost to recruits we wanted to Bama, and Au…then what happens, we end up with one of our best classes ever…so we will be fine, even if we lose a few battles…Don’t let the articles put us in negative mode when they are written…just read them and respond accordingly…its what makes this a fun blog most of the time…go dawgs

mags

February 15th, 2011
11:05 am

Why no word on the 2012 verbal commit from the kicker from Miami, Marshal Morgan? Top student, too with a 4.17 GPA!

cantondawg

February 15th, 2011
11:07 am

There are several factors that will determine how our recruiting class shapes up for 2012. The biggest issue is whether CMR will be around for 2012. If we win big and he gets an extension then i think we will see some really big time recruits come back to us. If not, we may have a disappointing recruiting year.

Most importantly, Our record