THE TEN AT 10:
1. Another one of Atlanta’s top backs has chosen to attend college out of state. Columbia High running back Kenno Loyal confirmed that he committed to Auburn late Monday afternoon.
Loyal said he committed to the Tigers as soon as he’d heard they offered on Monday as they had long been his favorite.
“I went down to Auburn for their junior day Saturday and I just like everything about it,” said Loyal, who said it was his sixth trip to The Plains. “Everything there is about family and unity. Even the people who don’t play football, the students, everybody, they’re all like a family. It’s a home away from home.”
Loyal (5-foot-10, 215-pounds) rushed for 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns — including 320 yards and 4 TDs in one game — as a junior last season. Auburn was his 10th offer. His others included Georgia and Georgia Tech. He’d also been offered by North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia from the ACC and Ole Miss and Tennessee from the SEC.
With Loyal’s pledge to Auburn, all of the state’s top backs have chosen to leave the state so far. Other top running backs already committed include North Hall’s Imani Cross (Tennessee), Stephenson’s Mike Davis (Florida), Hillgrove’s Kenyan Drake (Alabama) and Washington’s Justin Taylor (Alabama)
Loyal said he is happy to end the recruiting process. “I didn’t want to get much deeper into it,” he said. “I knew it was going to get way worse than this. I knew I wanted to go to school there so I didn’t have any reason to hesitate.”
Here’s a link to Loyal’s junior highlight video on YouTube.com. There’s 11 minutes of it.
2. At least one of the state’s top backs hasn’t bolted the borders yet. But it may just be a matter of time. Brookwood’s Nick Tompkins on Monday added Boston College to his late-coming list of offers. That is No. 4 for Gwinnett County’s leading rusher (1,890 yards, 22 TDs). His first offer came from Virginia on Feb. 28. He’s also been invited to attend Arkansas and Army on football scholarships since then. Tech and UGA are hovering around but haven’t offered yet. Tompkins also has some very impressive highlight video on YouTube.
3. Another one of Atlanta’s finest went west over the weekend. Cedar Grove OT Brandon Greene (6-6, 295) committed to Alabama while on an unofficial visit in Tuscaloosa with his mother. Here’s the write-up I did Monday on Greene.
In the meantime, Greene’s decision gives the Crimson Tide 10 commitments so far, including five from Georgia. Other Peach-staters also on Bama’s 2012 roll include Pepperell defensive lineman Dakota Ball and Calhoun kicker Adam Griffith, Drake and Taylor.
That’s actually more commitments from Georgia for the Tide than they have so far from Alabama (four). South Carolina signed 10 Georgians in February, the most of the out-of-state major colleges.
4. Of course, South Carolina had 11 commitments from Georgia before national signing day. But the Gamecocks were unable to sign Atlanta’s Lorenzo Mauldin because they over-committed their scholarship allotment (they ended up inking 32 players during the signing period). Mauldin, who has not qualified, still hopes to end up at South Carolina either by way of prep school, by qualifying or grayshirting. But he has since received an offer from Louisville and continues to be recruited by a few other schools.
Meanwhile, it’s been pretty quiet in Mauldin’s camp lately and there’s a good reason for that. Finally reached on Monday, Mauldin informed me he has decided he won’t be granting anymore media interviews. “I won’t give out any new information,” he said via Facebook message. “The next thing I will tell anyone is what school I choose to go to.”
5. Earlier Monday I wrote about teams lining up to sign the Jenkins County pair of James DeLoach and Jonathan Taylor. That got me thinking about the numerous “package deals” any team would be lucky to have across Atlanta this year.
Auburn could have one in the making with Loyal. Columbia teammate Jhaustin Thomas, a 6-6, 233-pound defensive end, has offers from Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. But, oddly enough, nothing from Plain Tigers so far. There is also DB Chaz Elder and DE/TE Larry Jefferson of Banneker and TE Kurt Freitag and LB Dillon Lee of Buford, among others.
Also, Tech, which recently signed DL Jimmie Kitchen out of Lithonia, is in position to land his highly-touted teammate, OL Joe Harris, in the 2012 class. And, of course, there’s several different combinations that could come out of Stephenson High. In fact, I’d say the odds are pretty decent that Florida could land a quadruple package from the Jaguars. The Gators could add DE Jarontay Jones, LB Raphael Kirby and DT Jafar Mann to a list that already includes the running back Davis.
That’s just a few. I’m sure there must be others?
6. Alabama could possible fashion a year-delayed package deal with Greene. His Cedar Grove teammate Jonathan McCrary, a rising junior, promises to be one of the top recruits in the state in 2013. He’s a 6-2, 170-pound dual-threat quarterback who is already attracting attention from all over the South.
“He’s special,” Cedar Grove coach Ray Bonner said. “He studies film, watches it every morning. His dad drops him off before school and he comes to my office and he watches film. He really understands what’s going on. His dad’s an ex-high school coach and NFL guy. So he’s been around football all his life.”
Because of his athleticism, McCrary could play any skill position in college. But Bonner says “he’s a quarterback all the way. If you watch tape on him you’ll know what I’m talking about it. I’m telling you he’s special because the kid runs and throws. He looks to pass first and run second. And he does them both well.
In keeping with what seems to have become a theme this morning, here’s some highlight video on McCrary from the Stephenson game last season. The Saints lost 24-18, but McCrary and his teammates gave the Stone Mountain powerhouse fits along the way. Later, Cedar Grove knocked off Gainesville in the second round of the state playoffs.
7. Speaking of good sophomore quarterbacks, Colquitt County coach Rush Propst just landed a really good one. Cole Segraves, who passed for nearly 1,600 yards and ran for another 750 to earn first-team all-region honores at White County as a sophomore last season, transferred to the South Georgia school this week. Segraves is following his father, Gregg Segraves, who is joining Propst’s staff. Gregg Segraves resigned as White County’s head coach last fall. Segraves (6-4, 190) is expected to thrive in Propst’s patented spread offense. Of course, there are also some video highlights of young Mr. Segraves from last season.
8. I’m not sure what to make of this right now but reports out of Idaho indicate that quarterback Mike Tamburo plans to transfer out of Boise State. The 2009 North Gwinnett graduate is a redshirt sophomore but has yet to play for the Broncos and was considering a position change, possibly to wide receiver. Chatroom talk on some fan sites had him heading to Georgia, which, of course, opens the season against Boise State in September in the Georgia Dome. But I could not reach Tamburo or North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire on Monday and Brian Murphy, who covers the Broncos for the Idaho Statesman, was skeptical about that. I’ll keep an eye on this situation so stay tuned. Meanwhile, there is no recent video of Tamburo but here’s some from his senior year at North Gwinnett.
9. I mentioned in this space last week that scandals are suddenly threatening college football. Well, that bird has since come to roost. First the revelations about Oregon, hinted at last week by ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd, came to light. Turns out the Ducks forked out $25,00o to a recruiting service in Texas and there questions surrounding what, if anything, in actual “services” they got for that money. That has led to accusations of impropriety involving Oregon’s highly-touted running back signee from Texas, Lache Seastrunk, who had a close relationship with the owner of the recruiting service.
These revelations have spurred media to look into the use of recruiting services nationwide. The Seattle Times, for one, discovered that the Washington Huskies spent $40,000 last year on recruiting services. The natural next question is, of course, whether Georgia and/or Georgia Tech use such “recruiting services” and, if so, how much do they spend on them and what do they get for it? We’re going to find out.
Meanwhile, a Yahoo! Sports investigative report came out late Monday claiming that Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel knew eight months before the accusations became public that several players were trading team memorabilia and autographs for tattoos. On the surface that may not seem a big deal, but not reporting an NCAA violation is a violation in and of itself and one that is very frowned upon within college sports’ governing body. So there could be big trouble ahead for the Buckeyes.
Again, stay tuned.
10. THIS & THAT: Clemson picked up a commitment Sunday from DE Shaq Lawson (6-3, 245) of Daniel, S.C., according to the Charleston Post and Courier. . . . Ben Moore of PantherTalk.com informs me that Georgia State has extended its second offer for the Class of 2012 to ATH Travares Copeland of Port St. Lucie, FL. He said Copeland (5′11, 180), who also has offers from Kentucky, South Florida and Louisville, played quarterback and defensive back as a junior last season but may play wide receiver in college. The Panthers’ first offer went to WR Bernard Davis of Lake Worth, Fla. That is the same high school as current Georgia State QB Star Jackson.