Ten@10: Another top RB heading westward out of Georgia

THE TEN AT 10:

Columbia's Kenno Loyal busted loose for 1,500 yards and 17 TDs as a junior last season. (Photo by Langston Sandlin/Z3 Photography)

Columbia's Kenno Loyal busted loose for 1,500 yards and 17 TDs as a junior last season. (Photo by Langston Sandlin/Z3 Photography)

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.

335 comments Add your comment

Alex Moore

March 8th, 2011
10:02 am

Alex Moore

March 8th, 2011
10:02 am

How Many UGA fans actually went to UGA?

Axlrodes

March 8th, 2011
10:05 am

juvenal

March 8th, 2011
10:05 am

sarge will be happy….

Axlrodes

March 8th, 2011
10:06 am

class of 2002 – BS in Mathematics

Texas Ranger Bobby

March 8th, 2011
10:11 am

This is another blow for Bama. They really underachieved in 2010 and LSU appears to be the favorite to win the west in 2011.

Is Saban headed downhill? Losing a 24 point lead to Auburn and also losing to LSU and SC indicates that the SEc may be passing him by.

Me and my brother Walker Bobby are concerned.

Texas Ranger Bobby

March 8th, 2011
10:12 am

Only our Daddy Ricky Bobby pi$$e$ excellence.

Bama doesn’t.

Texas Ranger Bobby

March 8th, 2011
10:13 am

If you ain’t first, you’re last.

Bama ain’t first anymore and it ain’t looking any better for next year neither.

Chi Town

March 8th, 2011
10:15 am

Texas Ranger Bobby = Douche Bag who thinks he is funny

Texas Ranger Bobby

March 8th, 2011
10:17 am

The Watergirl

March 8th, 2011
10:17 am

With Crowell on the roster now Keith Marshall is the only RB target UGA has for 2012 class!!

Texas Ranger Bobby

March 8th, 2011
10:18 am

chi town,

We are Bama people and we have a right to be concerned about losing 3 games last year after being favored to win the national title.

Especially since Awbarn won and we lost to LSU and SC

DP

March 8th, 2011
10:19 am

Chip, how could Tressel having knowledge of 5 players selling memorabilia not seem like a big deal? He obviously knew that A.J. Green was hit with a 4 game suspension for the same thing while he played 5 guys who should have been ineligible and said nothing. If Tressel didn’t tell the Ohio State administration and then lied to the NCAA in December about when he first learned of it, I don’t see how Ohio State will avoid firing Tressel to minimize NCAA sanctions.

sogadog

March 8th, 2011
10:19 am

Everyone please pray for Johnathan Taylor and his family.

Texas Ranger Bobby

March 8th, 2011
10:19 am

Nice try 10:17 but I love women. Plus, have you seen my mama?

HOT! I want one like her. Just like my daddy got

Chris

March 8th, 2011
10:20 am

Great job Chip, as always. Question: Are there any other running backs (other than the ones you mentioned today) that are on the radar for UGA/GT in the state? We all know about Keith Marshall from NC, but just any particular in the Peach State that could be on their respective radars. Thanks Chip.

BigTimeTECHFan

March 8th, 2011
10:21 am

Congrats to Loyal – Wish it was Tech, but he will do fine at Auburn as long as Gus is their OC. Dyer will be a awesome next year.

Oh Ohio State held off – I think they worked the timing out with NCAA, they both knew what was up, worked it out so Ohio St could have a chance to win a bowl game, a less impact as possible.

I think Tech gave Nick Tompkins a verbal offer, not sure but I think they been visiting him.

Jonathan McCrary – Dad NFL???, It’s not Fred McCrary is it, seem like his kids are younger, not long ago a\ all their kids were young, I think it was just two girls unless they had older boy??, but it been awhile sense I saw them.

da Big Dawg

March 8th, 2011
10:26 am

Hello…didn’t the top rated RB in the country, Isaiah Crowell, out of Carver HS, sign with UGA….or was I asleep on signing day? Come on, even the AJC can do better research than that

St. Bernard

March 8th, 2011
10:27 am

We just signed Crowell. I don’t expect rbs to be signing.

wrecked

March 8th, 2011
10:35 am

Got Luck and congratulations to Kenno, Anyone ever wonder why the best backs don’t consider Tech. Could it be the service academy offense?

BigTimeTECHFan

March 8th, 2011
10:39 am

wrecked – Kenno did consider Tech

BcS2010

March 8th, 2011
10:40 am

Why is Josh Dawson out of Tucker not gettin any hype for next season. He was a 1st team all state player for the AAAA as a junior. He is 6 foot 4 225 pounds and runs a 4.6 40. He had 16 sacks last season and that lead his team. He played on one of the best defenses in the country and probably had the best season stat wise. He big can run and will be a great fit for many programs. He has offers from Duke,Georgia,South Carolins,Virginia,Virginia Tech,UCF,Vanderbilt and other schools. I just do not see why he is not getting as much hype as he should.

jp

March 8th, 2011
10:40 am

Hey Chip, why don’t you mention anything about the guys that UGA is recruiting at RB? It’s obvious they have their sights set on Keith Marshall of North Carolina and they also just offered Jovon Robinson out of TN. Why don’t you mention the fact that these guys are more talented than the in-state prospects instead of making it sound like UGA is losing out on instate RBs’ when in fact they never even offered these guys with the exception of Justin Taylor who we just offered after he had committed to Bama.

jp

March 8th, 2011
10:44 am

Also chip, how is UGA concerning DL and LB recruiting. Those are the two greatest needs for UGA this year and it also happens that those are the two most heaviest positions in quality and quantity in the state. Do you have any info on the guys UGA has offered and really hope to land and when we can expect their commitments?

McDawg

March 8th, 2011
10:45 am

why does tech keep letting these guys get away?

UGA's r. back coach is

March 8th, 2011
10:45 am

One issue that I have with UGA ( my alma mater ) is that Richt has allowed young ex players to become position coaches w.o. ANY experience. Take r. back coach Bryan
McClendon. He is probably a great young man for sure, BUT does he recruit well? Can he coach? I mean, he played wide out @ UGA and his dad was one of my all time favorite Dogs.

Just asking.

Could this be one reason UGA is losing all of the good backs in Georgia?

JB

March 8th, 2011
10:47 am

EVERY blue chipper that leaves the state, and there are tons, will have a story written about them like something is wrong in Athens. The last two years have been disappointing, but my word, 115 of 120 Div 1 schools would gladly trade classes with us this year. The state produces about 50 players a year THAT MOST WANT and another 100 or so that have several offers, so we can’t sign them all, and will lose some we want, but we’ll get our share, always.

RxDawg

March 8th, 2011
10:48 am

Will there be any Georgia football players left on the board? Oh well, sounds like a good year to recruit out of state.

GT IS the school that NEEDS Backs

March 8th, 2011
10:49 am

GT IS A RUSHING OFFENSE. Period. Not only do they need a great back, they need MANY backs but who are they landing? Now, THAT is the bigger issue vs whether UGA who runs a balanced offense, is missing out.

GT ought to be the school that IS worried about LOSING all of these Georgia bred backs. It appears to me that GT is NOT getting traction with the decent backs in GA.

JB

March 8th, 2011
10:51 am

We are doing well in Florida,SC,NC and Tenn…..Wonder if they write a story every time someones signs with UGA

RxDawg

March 8th, 2011
10:51 am

Loyal said he is happy to end the recruiting process. “I didn’t want to get much deeper into it,”

lol I bet he didn’t want to get anymore into it. He’s probably under strict orders not to get into any Auburn recruiting “techniques”.

JB

March 8th, 2011
10:52 am

GT needs defensive help….Bad……Starting group is weak and second team may not be Div 1 material.

Preston

March 8th, 2011
10:56 am

Alex, the answer to your question is: a small percentage of the fan base. Why?

RxDawg

March 8th, 2011
10:58 am

Personly, I don’t really see the major deal about Oregon. So they pay 25k for a service that most schools pay 5k for? Overpaying for something isn’t a violation. Maybe there is more behind the curtain, but I’m not particularly moved by the story yet.

dogfan34

March 8th, 2011
10:58 am

Loyal is a beast of a back. How did he get out of the state? If Crowell gets hurt we are in trouble.

bruce mac

March 8th, 2011
10:58 am

JB and JP, because the only way the AJC can get anybody to read and comment on their blogs is to slant it for or against UGA. No one and I mean no one cares about Yech and certainly no one cares about out of state schools in any quantity. UGA is the one and only Dawg in the State that people care about. Therefore, you write everything as it relates to UGA and you get traffic. Comprender?

Rimfire

March 8th, 2011
10:59 am

I realize this has become big “news” ,but this fawning over these kids creates all kinds of bad karma.
Would you want your prize signee to turn out to be Charlie Sheen…oe even Can Newton?
Let the kids be kids, as long as possible. Selling their souls is a little much at 17-18 years old!

Tide Fan

March 8th, 2011
11:00 am

BRUCE MAC = DOGFAN34 = RXDAWG = JB = jp

All the same blogger, bloggin to himself.

fasttrack1234

March 8th, 2011
11:00 am

Another Atlanta Kid that got away who will come back to beat UGA.

Preston

March 8th, 2011
11:01 am

McDawg 10:45, that’s funny! A little mean, but funny nonetheless. LOL

RRTDawgs

March 8th, 2011
11:02 am

RB is not are biggest need but i would not say we just going after Kieth Marshall but a stud RB Jovon Robinson a power back out Memphis UGA has offered a lot of kids the past couple weeks which is smart move by Richt this time he not putting all his eggs in one basket .

JB

March 8th, 2011
11:02 am

bruce…………you and I agree on that……looking for the first Mark Richt Hot seat story any day with spring ball around the corner. Schultz and Bradley will do 50 of them each between now and Boise.

JB

March 8th, 2011
11:04 am

I would like to see a couple of less TE’s on the roster replaced with 2 or 3 more DL,NG or DE.
I think we have 5 TE’s on campus….3 would be plenty IMO.

Chip Towers

March 8th, 2011
11:04 am

Chris: Georgia has offers out for Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C.; Jovon Robinson (6-1, 220) of Memphis; and T.J. Yeldon (6-1, 200) of Daphne, Ala. I’m not sure who else they may be eying in-state other than Nick Thompkins, who I happen to like a lot. . . . Tech also has a lot of out-of-state offers at the position, including Marshall, Drew Harris (6-1, 200) of Pennsylvania, Ishmael Adams (5-10, 182) of California, Ronald Darby (5-11, 175) of Maryland and Tysean Holloway (5-11, 175) of North Carolina. . . .

jp: Georgia offered both Loyal and Justin Taylor (as did Tech). Of course, with Isaiah Crowell just signed they’re going to be very choosy about anyone they offer this year and prospects are going to be wary of going to UGA and possibly having to sit behind him. . . . But I’m not making an editorial comment one way or another. I’m merely noting a trend.

JB

March 8th, 2011
11:05 am

TIDE FAN…………………Give us something decent?

giff smith

March 8th, 2011
11:06 am

sure wish GT would attempt to rehire Giff Smith to assist in IN STATE RECRUITING…this hurts

The Biggest Concern

March 8th, 2011
11:06 am

I understand he wants to go to Auburn, but do they have room under the salary cap for him? or will he be a oversigning victim and wind up in 2012?

Bless Your Hearts

March 8th, 2011
11:06 am

The dawgs don’t have to worry because, like the Miami Heat, they have the “Dream Team”!

Preston

March 8th, 2011
11:07 am

As excited as I am about Crowell, I don’t believe in putting all your eggs in one basket. There’s really no excuse for not getting one or two of these guys to come in and reload at the position. Works the same for all other positions as well but the RB is so vital that there is reason for some concern. But keep in mind folks: signing day is a LOOOOOONG way out. Don’t be surprised if a couple of these guys aren’t dawgs before it’s all said and done. BTW, how many schollies will UGA have to offer next year?

Americus GA

March 8th, 2011
11:09 am

Georgia’s recruiting 2 great out of state backs you should check their videos out. Jovon Robinson and Kieth Marshall. It’s way too early to say they are missing out on some great backs in Georgia when they may be getting even better backs from outta state.