Archive for February, 2011

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 …

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Hillgrove RB Kenyan Drake chooses Bama over Tech, UGA

Hillgrove's Kenyan Drake stiffarms a McEachern defender during a game last October. He totaled 1,800 yards offense and 20 touchdowns as a junior. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Hillgrove's Kenyan Drake stiffarms a McEachern defender during a game last October. He totaled 1,800 yards offense and 20 touchdowns as a junior. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Listening to Kenyan Drake explain his commitment to Alabama Monday night was like hearing a Crimson Tide coach offer a recruiting pitch.

“In my eyes, you can’t get a better offer than Alabama,” said Drake, a 6-0, 188-pound running back from Hillgrove High in Powder Springs. “They offer you top-tier academics and top-tier athletics. It’s just, like, what else can you get from a college? I decided, why wait when I already have a great feeling about Alabama?”

Drake projects as one of the top running back prospects — if not THE top running back — in the state of Georgia for the Class of 2012. I had already tabbed him for my “Tentative Ten,” my super early list of the 10 best prospects in the state for the coming season. And he was a pretty easy pick.

As a junior at Hillgrove last season, Drake accounted for …

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Former UGA signee Dexter Moody is in football purgatory in South Georgia

Former Georgia signee Dexter Moody finds himself back in South Georgia in football limbo. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Former Georgia signee Dexter Moody is living in Statesboro and finishing up his junior college coursework online. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

This is definitely not the way Dexter Moody thought his football career would turn out.

Moody, a four-star linebacker out of Emanuel County Institute in Twin City, was a much ballyhooed recruit when signed with Georgia in 2009. But pretty much nothing has gone right since then.

UGA revoked Moody’s letter-of-intent after he was suspended from high school, he ended up at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College and now he finds himself living in football limbo down in Statesboro.

“I’m really just handling my recruitment on my own,” said Moody, who is living with his sister, Tanesha Coleman, who attends Georgia Southern University. “I’m still trying to get into schools and all. But I’m having to do it all on my own because my junior college coach really hasn’t helped me out.”

Moody said he used just one season of eligibility at Fort Scott. He was …

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With 2011 in books, it’s time for the ‘Tentative Top 10′ for 2012

Is this Jordan Jenkins the No. 1 college prospect in Georgia for the Class of 2012? Most seem to think so. (Photo by Rusty Mansell/247Sports.com)

Is Jordan Jenkins the No. 1 college prospect in Georgia for the Class of 2012? Most seem to think so. (Photo by Rusty Mansell/247Sports.com)

You asked for it, so here it is — the top college football prospects for 2012.

Well, at least, the top ones according to me. For now.

I call it “The Tentative Top 10.” The reason is I call it that is because, well, let’s face it, it’s February. The ink is still wet on 2011 letters-of-intent and the 2012 football season won’t start for six months. As ever, these things are educated guesses at best based on combine results, all-star performances, highlight video, game experience and reputation. So it’s far from scientific.

I produced my first “Tentative Top 10″ last year. I found it interesting to go back and I think you will, too.

For this year’s list I turned to a couple of foot soldiers in the business of recruiting analysis. Chad Simmons of Scout.com/FoxSports.com and Rusty Mansell of 247Sports.com burn up the state’s roads meeting and …

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Georgia high school football expert sees 5-star DE Ray Drew as ‘a project’

Looking for a different perspective on how good this year’s highest-profile recruits might be in college? Well, I’ve got one for you.

Some opposing coaches who faced Thomas County Central this past season aren't sold on Ray Drew's abilities to excel in college. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Some opposing coaches who faced Thomas County Central this past season aren't sold on Ray Drew's abilities to excel in college. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Longtime Georgia sportswriter Todd Holcomb, who covers high school football for us and serves as publisher of Georgia High School Football Daily, wrote a piece for MaxPreps.com on this subject. Holcomb broke down the 27 highest-rated prospects in Georgia this past season and offered his personal opinion on how each one fared as a high school senior based on his personal observations and feedback from opposing coaches.

For instance, sees UGA’s five-star defensive end signee Ray Drew of Thomas County Central as “a project” based on a tepid performance as a high school senior. Conversely, he views linebackers Jabari Hunt-Days (Georgia Tech) and Amarlo Herrera (Georgia) as “producers” based on …

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Ten@10: Nkemdiche Brothers plan to stick together as Denzel signs with MGCCC

THE TEN AT 10:

Whoever wants to sign Grayson defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche in 2013 will also need to sign his brother Denzel Nkemdiche out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College between now and then. (Photo by Cecil Copeland/theathleticimage.com)

Whoever wants to sign Grayson defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche in 2013 will also need to sign his brother Denzel Nkemdiche out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College between now and then. (Photo by Cecil Copeland/theathleticimage.com)

1. Some of you may recall the story I wrote last fall about brothers Denzel and Robert Nkemdiche (pronounced kim-DEE-chee) and how the Grayson football stars intend to play together in college. Denzel (6-0, 205) is a senior linebacker and running back while Robert (6-4, 250) is a sophomore defensive lineman who is expected to be one of top prospects in America for 2013.

Phase one of that plan got underway on national signing day as Denzel signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. I asked Grayson coach Mickey Conn why the JUCO route.

“Well, Denzel is still working towards his eligibility, but actually he should be eligible by the end of this semester,” he said. “I think he wants to go this route because he wants …

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Now comes hard part for UGA’s ‘Dream Team’ — winning on field

Now comes the hard part.

The so-called Dream Team has now been signed, sealed and delivered and now coach Mark Richt is already talking about assembling another one in 2012. But that may seem like the easy part compared to the challenge that is ahead.

By consensus, the Bulldogs’ 2011 class is ranked among the top seven classes in America. They ended up ranked No. 5 by Rivals.com, No. 6 by ESPN.com and No. 7 by Scout.com. So while it was a Dream Team by virtue of labeling and certainly by landing the majority of in-state recruits it had targeted, recruiting experts determined several other programs had better years on the recruiting trail.

Opinions differ on which team had the best year. Florida State, in its second season under coach Jimbo Fisher, had its class tabbed No. 1 by ESPN and Scout. Rivals thinks Alabama had the top class. Auburn was at one time ranked No. 1 before five-star offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio reversed field and signed with the Crimson Tide. So who …

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774 Georgians have signed on to play college football so far (updated 2/11/11)

As of right now, 774 high school seniors in Georgia have signed some sort of grant-in-aid to play college football. That’s according to numbers provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by high school historian and resident “numbers junkie” Steve Slay.

Included in that number are 186 players who signed on with Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly known as Division I) schools.

Both numbers are slightly down from last season, when Slay counted 743 and 196. But he said he expects the number to continue to rise. Lest we forget, the recruiting period continues until the first of April and Slay said there are a few colleges that still aren’t accounted for yet.

“It’s a fluid list and we’ll see improved numbers across the board as additional signings occur and become known,” Slay said.

Suffice it to say, there are a lot of good football players in Georgia and they’re going to translate that talent into a college education. Congratulations to all!

Following is Slay’s list broken …

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Big John Jenkins says he bought into UGA’s vision of ‘Dream Team’

Big John Jenkins became the last remaining piece of Georgia’s “Dream Team.” The junior college All-American nose guard chose the Bulldogs over Florida in a signing ceremony on Saturday at Maloney High school in Meriden, Conn.

John Jenkins and his mother Maryanne Baker sign his letter-of-intent Saturday to play football at the University of Georgia. (Photo by Fletcher Pake provided by DawgPost.com)

John Jenkins and his mother Maryanne Baker sign his letter-of-intent Saturday to play football at the University of Georgia. (Photo by Fletcher Pake provided by DawgPost.com)

“I’m a Dog,” Jenkins said after handing a Florida cap to a little boy standing nearby and placing a UGA cap on his head. “Georgia will be the school I attend.”

Jenkins (6-foot-4, 340-pounds) starred at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College the last two seasons. He said there were lots of reasons he chose Georgia over a slew of SEC offers, including the defensive scheme, immediate playing time and a close personal relationship with coach Mark Richt. But with the help of new friend and fellow recruit Ray Drew, he bought into the vision the Bulldogs’ were trying to sell with their …

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NG John Jenkins has ‘picked my school,’ will announce after night of prayer

National signing day was a huge day for thousands of prospects nationwide and millions of college football fans. But for John Jenkins it was pretty much a regular day in Perkinston, Miss.

“I was in class most of the day,” said Jenkins, the 6-foot-4, 340-pound junior college nose guard, who Georgia and half the Southeastern Conference still hopes to sign. “I got a chance to see a couple of people sign. I got to see the last of the Isaiah [Crowell] signing. That was pretty cool.”

What Jenkins did NOT think was so cool was what Crowell’s teammate Gabe Wright did immediately following Crowell’s announcement ESPNU. Wright wore an Auburn cap backward where a stitched-in message could be seen.

“I thought that was pretty bold of that defensive lineman to wear a hat that says ‘Nick Who?,’ said Jenkins, who, ironically, could not recall Wright’s name. “I was talking to my Pops and everybody and we were like, ‘Man, that was kind of bold of that kid.’ Nick Fairley is going to be like No. …

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