THE TEN AT 10:
1. Ricky Parks prides himself on being able to play pretty much any position on the football field. But the 6-foot-4, 225-pound athlete from Hogansville admits to being more than a little pleased that Georgia Tech wants him to play quarterback in college.
That is Parks’ primary position at Callaway High School. The Yellow Jackets offered him a scholarship to play quarterback for them early Wednesday morning.
“It elevates them a little bit knowing they want me to play quarterback,” said Parks, who is projected mostly to play tight end on the next level. “We run the option at my school, but not the triple option like they do. But I believe it’s something I could do.”
Clearly Tech believes so, too. It is the first school to offer Parks purely as a quarterback.
Parks, who I included among my “Tentative Top 10″ prospects for 2012, also has offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Only the Gators have discussed with him the possibility of playing some quarterback.
“Florida offered me but not purely as a quarterback,” Parks said. “They’re thinking of me more as a hybrid like Trey Burton.”
Despite Tech’s welcomed overture, the Jackets don’t immediately shoot to the top of Parks’ list. Alabama holds that spot
“So far I’d say Bama is my leader,” Parks said. “They have probably one of the coolest coaching staffs around and their fans are great and really know how to make you feel at home.”
Nevertheless, Parks in no rush to make a decision. He doesn’t expect to choose a school at least until the national all-stars next January. He has been invited to both the U.S. Army and Under Armour All-America games.
2. Neiron Ball’s football career may or may not be over at Florida. But that’s the last thing coach Mike Parris is worried about right now. “He’s going to live; he’s going to be all right. So we’ll worry about that football stuff later,” said Parris, who coached Ball at Jackson High.
Ball, a rising sophomore linebacker for the Gators, dropped out of an off-season conditioning drill in Gainesville on Monday because of severe headaches. When the headaches persisted, Ball was taken to Shands HealthCare hospital where it was determined he was suffered from bleeding in his brain. Doctors eventually diagnosed him with a congenital vascular condition.
“The last update I had is he’s stable,” Parris said Thursday morning. “He’s still in ICU but they’re going to let him out Friday maybe.”
Ball (6-2, 222) was a four-star prospect when he signed with the Gators out of Jackson. He appeared in eight games as a true freshman last season and finished with 10 tackles. He was expected to compete for a starting position this season.
“I wouldn’t assume football’s over for him right now,” Parris said. “They have not even discussed it yet. He’s definitely out for spring, which is fine. The important thing right now is it looks like he’s going to be all right.”
3. Georgia followed the latest trend in college football coaching when it went to the NFL to make its latest hire. The Bulldogs on Wednesday tabbed Washington Redskins’ assistant Kirk Olivadotti to coach linebackers. Increasingly college teams are turning to NFL coaches to join their staffs as their pro experience is attractive to recruiting prospects hoping to one day play in the league.
Olivadotti’s selection was hardily endorsed by at least one UGA letterman. “UGA you just got one hell of a coach in Kirk Olivadotti,” Redskins defensive end Phillip Daniels posted on Twitter. “The defense just got a whole lot better. One of the smartest coaches I have ever known. Enjoy success with him on board. Congrats K.O.”
4. Remember Josh Jarboe, the can’t-miss wide receiver prospect out of Atlanta’s Cedar Grove High School? Well the 2008 Oklahoma signee just landed at Arkansas State.
The 6-3, 195-pound Jarboe was dismissed from Oklahoma before ever playing a game after he was arrested on felony gun charges (later reduced to a misdemeanor via first-offender laws) and followed that by posting a controversial rap video on YouTube. Jarboe transferred to Troy, where he was also dismissed (for undisclosed team rules violations) after sitting out a year. He ended up at Northeast Mississippi Community College before signing with Arkansas State during the ongoing national signing period.
“I am just convinced that he has matured and wants to put that past him,” Arkansas State coach Hugh Freeze told The Jonesboro Sun. “I’ve never had a recruiting meeting like that before where a kid is as emotional, breaking down and crying just thinking that somebody is willing to listen to his story. We all have a past. He made a mistake, and he is the first to confess ‘I made a mistake.’ . . . It’s up to him to rewrite his story, and we want to help alongside of that.”
Interestingly, Freeze also recently hired Lane Kiffin’s younger brother Chris Kiffin, who also is overcoming past run-ins with the law.
5. Speaking for one-time signees landing elsewhere, former Georgia Tech safety Brandon Leslie signed with Hawaii this week. Leslie signed with the Yellow Jackets out of Edison High in Fresno, Calif., in 2008. But after redshirting and playing one year at Tech, he returned to California to take care of an ailing father. He played for the College of the Sequoias junior college last season before settling on the Warriors this past Monday.
Leslie said he had no hard feelings about things not working out at Georgia Tech. “I had good relationships there,” he told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
6. After writing a recruiting profile on Stephenson running back Mike Davis on Wednesday, I had a lot of readers ask me about where he stood with Georgia. Davis — who received his 16th scholarship offer on Wednesday from Auburn — told me the Bulldogs have not offered him and he’s a little bummed about it.
“When I started getting offers like every other day I was wondering, this is my home state, Georgia,” Davis said. “Colleges from out of state are offering me but Georgia is the only team that has not. It’s made me wonder, what is the hold up? I’m left to think they just don’t have much interest in me. I still wonder if and when they’ll offer me. I guess I just have to be patient and wait.”
Asked if a UGA offer was something he covets, Davis laughed and said, “It’s Georgia. Yes sir.”
7. One local running back both the Bulldogs and Georgia Tech have offered is Columbia’s Kenno Loyal. Loyal, who’s first name is pronounced KEEN-o, is a 5-11, 230-pound bruiser. He led DeKalb County in rushing with just under 1,500 yards and scored 17 TDs in only nine games as a junior last season.
Coach Mario Allen said he didn’t even know until recently that UGA had offered his star back. “It must’ve been right before signing day when Coach [Mark] Richt and Coach [Rodney] Garner came by the school,” Allen said. “Kenno said Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida have offered. Alabama, Clemson, Kentucky, LSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State haven’t yet but probably will soon.”
Despite Loyal’s big frame, Allen said all his suitors are projecting him as a tailback and not as a fullback. “He’s extremely fast for his size,” he said. “He’s a pure tailback. Georgia Tech likes him at their B-back position.”
8. Stephenson assistant coach Corey Johnson, who handles a lot of the Jaguars’ college recruiting responsibilities for head coach Ron Gartrell, tells me CBS College Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming is planning to come to the school Friday to do a story on all the Football Bowl Subdivision talent the school is producing. The Jaguars are expected to have as many as 15 players ink scholarships with major colleges in 2012. Lemming seems to think that might be the most in the country this year.
Stephenson has sent more than 20 seniors to college football each of the past two seasons. Georgia High School Football Daily publisher Todd Holcomb points out that at least three this year’s expected recipients are first-year transfers into the school. Linebacker Raphael Kirby, who has moved in from Parkview, has offers from Auburn, Florida, South Florida and Southern Miss. Tight end Joshua Parris, who came from Shiloh, has an offer from South Florida. Running back T.J. Moon, who came from Union Grove, has an offer from Memphis and is being recruited by Notre Dame.
9. Former South Carolina assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Shane Beamer recently joined his father Frank Beamer’s staff at Virginia Tech. I found this Q&A with Beamer in the Virginian-Pilot an interesting read. Beamer, a former Georgia Tech assistant, was given a lot of credit for the Gamecocks’ recent recruiting successes. In this interview, he talks about how he has made recruiting Georgia a cornerstone of his talent-acquisition philosphy and he intends to continue to recruit the area for Virginia Tech. South Carolina signed 11 players out of the Peach State on national signing day.
10. THIS & THAT: Central Gwinnett sophomore linebacker Trey Johnson is expected to be one of the most heavily-recruited prospects in the Class of 2013, along with Grayson defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche. Johnson just received an offer from Illinois, which is his sixth so far, according to head coach Todd Wofford. Georgia Tech, Auburn, FSU, Southern Cal and Cincinnati have already offered, Wofford said. . . . Illinois also offered Central Gwinnett running back George Morris. . . . Maryland offered Marist OL Nick Brigham (6-4, 281), according to Scout.com’s Chad Simmons.
By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog