THE FIVE AT 10 (sorry, some unexpected challenges this morning):
1. The fallout has begun at Tennessee in the wake of Bruce Pearl’s dismissal as men’s basketball coach and Georgia or Georgia Tech could benefit from it. Kevin Ware has officially requested a release from his UT letter-of-intent. A 6-foot-4 guard from Rockdale County High, Ware is a four-star prospect who has been committed to the Vols since he was a sophomore and signed with them last November. He told the AJC’s Michael Carvell that he’d consider either of the state schools but might lean toward UGA since the Yellow Jackets are also going through a coaching change.
“I wouldn’t lean to Georgia Tech as much because Coach [Paul] Hewitt just got fired and I don’t know the situation there without a new coach,” Ware told Carvell. “I would take a good look at Georgia because of some of the guys coming in, especially Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (a five-star signee from Greenville High). We played against each other twice when I was in high school and I think we would play well together in the same backcourt in college. However, I don’t know the scholarship situation at each school or what they’re looking for.”
Georgia’s scholarship situation is tight. The Bulldogs on Sunday accepted a commitment from what will be their fourth signee of the 2011 class, Nemanja Djurisic, a 6-8, 230-pound forward from South Kent, Conn. They will lose only seniors Chris Barnes and Jeremy Price to graduation, so unless juniors Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins both decide to enter the NBA draft, they don’t currently have any room.
Tech’s situation is a little more fluid. The Yellow Jackets currently have two players signed for 2011 (Bobby Parks and Julian Royal) and will lose two players to graduation (Mo Miller and Lance Storrs). So that gives them 11 scholarship commitments for 2011-12 (the NCAA max is 13). Meanwhile, there’s some question as to whether Parks intends to honor his signed LOI (Royal has said he’s sticking). Suffice it to say, whoever assumes Tech’s head coaching position should have room to bring in more players between now and the April signing period.
2. One up-and-coming local player on the football recruiting scene is Covington’s Sheldon Rankins. The 6-3, 255-pound defensive end from Eastside High School has been piling up offers of late. Most recently he landed one from Nebraska this past weekend. That gives the rising senior nine so far. His others are from Boston College, Florida Atlantic, Louisville, Mississippi State, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Florida and Stanford.
“He’s an explosive kid off the end,” Eastside coach Rick Hurst said. “He has great size and tremendous speed, around 4.7 in the 40, an all-around great athlete. And he’s a good kid. Has a 3.5 GPA; his mom’s in education. Just a real pleasure to be around.”
You’ll also notice neither Tech nor UGA have offered. Hurst certainly has.
“Georgia was [recruiting him] for a while, but now they’ve offered several D-ends,” Hurst said. “I’m a Georgia fan and I’m really kind of ticked off with them, to be honest. Bryan McClendon [an assistant who is recruiting him for UGA] likes him, but it’s not up to him.”
3. Former Georgia quarterback Logan Gray is considering transferring to Colorado, according to the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colo. Gray, who signed with the Bulldogs as the nation’s 10th-ranked quarterback in 2007, has decided to take advantage of the NCAA’s postgraduate transfer rule and complete his final year of eligibility elsewhere.
4. Rising juniors and seniors looking to make a splash on the recruiting landscape or improve upon their status will get a chance to do so at a camp where participants will be evaluated by CBS national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. The Junior Rank Diamond Flight Camp will take place April 8-10 at Walton High School in Marietta. The camp is for rising fifth graders through high school seniors. The price is $99 for all three days, but the first 100 rising juniors and seniors will be able to attend the camp for free by registering with Junior Rank national camp director Oscar Dillard at 404-626-1264, or email at email@example.com (fifth through 10th graders should register at the Junior Rank website, www.juniorrank.com).
Camp participants will receive instruction from coaches with college and NFL experience, including running backs coach Blair Thomas (Penn State, No. 2 overall pick by the New York Jets), linebackers coach Buddy Curry (North Carolina, Atlanta Falcons for eight seasons) and defensive backs coach Mark McMillian (Alabama, eight years in the NFL).
5. Offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker, who included Georgia and Auburn on his recent spring-break tour of campuses, committed to the Florida Gators over the weekend. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound tackle from Boynton Beach, Fla., becomes the Gators’ sixth commitment for 2012. Likely not helping the Bulldogs’ cause with Dunker was the fact that the students — and players — were on spring break while he made his visit late last week.