THE TEN AT 10:
1. Remember Stephon Tuitt, who chose Notre Dame over Georgia Tech in a vigorous and well-documented recruiting battle earlier this year? Well, lost in all the hoopla over the five-star defensive end was the fact that Monroe Area High School had another excellent defensive end playing opposite of him.
That little tidbit of information has not been lost on college recruiters, however, as Kenderius Whitehead is drawing plenty of attention of his own this year. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound rising senior recently landed his ninth scholarship offer from Ole Miss. The Rebels joined Clemson, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Louisville, Notre Dame, South Carolina, UCF and Virginia Tech in the line to secure Whitehead’s services.
“He has the highest motor of any player I’ve ever coached,” Monroe Area coach Matt Fligg said. “He is 6-5 but only 220. But he plays like he’s 290. Very quick and fast.”
Fligg said Whitehead had 54 tackles, 13 sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a junior last season. Whitehead said in a recent article he grew up a Georgia fan but he doesn’t currently have an offer from the Bulldogs. Like Tuitt, he’s an accomplished academician and is thinking about majoring in computer science or similar technology in college.
“My mom stresses to me about academics,” Whitehead told HokieHaven.com. “She says, ‘Son, you can’t play football the rest of your life, it could be taken away from you, once you get an education, you get that degree nobody can take it away from you.’ I’m really looking at getting my degree and how it will help me later on in life. I know if I graduate from Notre Dame, that’s a prestigious college that everybody knows. I want a school with great academics. I’m thinking about a college with computer engineering or computer science. The fact Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech offered is big, especially since I’m trying to work in that field.”
2. You might have seen my report on former South Carolina commitment Lorenzo Mauldin signing a letter-of-intent with Louisville this past week. Well, blog regulars will recall that Mauldin was one of two commitments from whom the Gamecocks withdrew offers in the 11th hour before national signing day last month due to over-committing their scholarship allotment. The other one was linebacker Jordan Montgomery of Groveland, Fla., whose coach at South Lake High, Walter Banks, was furious about South Carolina’s treatment of his player. I called down there this week to find out if there had been any developments in Montgomery’s recruitiment.
“At this point it looks like him and his family are going to still be going to South Carolina or to prep school,” said South Lake assistant coach Terrance Larmond, who handles recruiting at the school. “I can’t understand it myself, but that’s apparently his intention. He had an offer from Temple but he turned it down.”
Larmond said Montgomery, like Mauldin, still has not qualified for admission. “But that just puts him in the same position 50 or 60 percent of the kids there. He has the [test] score, he just doesn’t have the GPA to match it. But he’s on track to get it after this semester.”
Mauldin, meanwhile, tells me he’s waiting to hear back from his latest attempt on the SAT. He, too, will attend prep school if he doesn’t meet freshman eligibility requirements.
3. Ronald Darby, a super fast athlete from Maryland who currently has 28 offers (the latest from Auburn), was profiled Wednesday by Jamie Newberg at ESPN.com. But what that article failed to mention is that Darby has been a longtime target of Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets were among the first schools to offer Darby last fall. They could no doubt utilize Darby’s tremendous speed on The Flats. He recently won the state indoor track championships in the 100 (10.5 seconds) and 200 meters (21.2). At Potomac High in Oxon Hill, Md., the 5-11, 180-pound athlete rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 23 TDs while playing several different positions. Recruiting services list him as an “athlete.”
4. Georgia produces a ton of elite prospects every year, but 2013 is shaping up to be a particularly strong class. Several rising juniors were represented recently on the ESPN Rise Sophomore All-America team, including a pair of defenders from Gwinnett County. Central Gwinnett linebacker Trey Johnson (6-1, 205) and Grayson defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (6-5, 260) were the only Georgians named to the first team. Stephenson DE Reggie Carter, Troup LB Reuben Foster, Houston County DB Bradley Newkirk and East Paulding RB Kamani Thomas were all listed on the second team.
5. Guest speakers at Saturday’s MVP Camp at Lovejoy High include Joe Burns and Steve Herndon. They played for Tech and Georgia, respectively. In case you missed it, here’s yesterday’s report on the MVP Camp in which Chad Simmons of FoxSports/Scout.com, one of the camp organizers, singles out some of the top prospects who will be in attendance. More than 400 high school football players will be participating.
6. While the Atlanta MVP Camp is going on down in Hampton, the Georgia Bulldogs will be conducting another junior day over in Athens. Among the participants scheduled to be there include a couple of potential five-star prospects: RB Keith Marshall of Raleigh, N.C., and DB Geno Smith of Atlanta’s St. Pius School. Marshall and Smith represent two of the Bulldogs’ most significant targets for 2012.
7. A new high score for the Nike SPARQ rating was set in Atlanta at the Nike Combine at Hallford Stadium this past weekend. Cory Batey, a 6-foot, 180-pound wide receiver out of Nashville, Tenn., recorded a score 125.40 on the physical tests, which combines the 40-yard dash, a shuttle run, a power-ball toss and a vertical leap. Batey clocked a 4.61-second 40-yard dash, a 4.16 seconds on the shuttle,threw the power ball 41.5 feet and jumped 39.3 inches on the vertical. That sent him past Yulee, Fla., RB Derrick Henry (123.09) and Clermont, Fla., LB Justin Horton (122.75), who had recorded the country’s previous bests.
Batey, a rising senior, advances to Nike’s national SPARQ competition this summer in Portland, Ore. As a junior at Ensworth High last season caught 47 passes for 687 yards and had 42 tackles at Ensworth last season, according to ESPN.com. He has offers from Kentucky and South Carolina so far.
Other standouts at the combine included McEachern’s Kofi Amichia, who finished first among offensive linemen and set a national best for that position with a score of 106.26. The 6-3, 253-pound athlete ran a 5.08 40, a 4.41 shuttle, jumped 31.9 inches and threw 42 feet. The rising senior is still looking for his first offer.
Hillgrove running back Kenyan Drake, an Alabama commitment, recorded the day’s fastest 40 at 4.53 seconds.
8. Georgia’s recent acquisition of basketball player Nemanja Djurisic of South Kent, Conn., by way of Podgorica, Montenegro, got me to thinking of another player the Bulldogs brought in from across the pond to play ball. I was covering Georgia basketball when Younes Idrissi was recruited to UGA from Morocco by former coach Dennis Felton. Idrissi spent two solid but unspectacular years with the Bulldogs before transferring to Iona, where he spent one season but never actually played a game.
I recently caught up with Idrissi on Facebook. He returned home to Morocco in 2008 and is currently living in Egypt and playing professional basketball in Egypt.
“I am doing great now,” Idrissi wrote to me in a message. “Playing overseas on my third professional contract out of Morocco. In Egypt, to be exact, doing my thing. I evolved into a better player and a better person thanks to UGA!”
9. In case you missed it, here’s the latest on Rockdale County guard Kevin Ware, who’s looking to get out of his letter-of-intent with Tennessee. According to the AJC’s Michael Carvell, the family has yet to hear back from AD Mike Hamilton or anybody else in answer to their request to be released from the LOI. Ware, a four-star guard who has been committed to the Vols since he was a 10th grader. The 6-4 guard says he’s interesting in checking out Georgia and Georgia Tech and a few other schools as well as possible sticking with UT, depending on what coach it hires.
10. THIS & THAT: 6. Cordarrelle Patterson, a 6-foot-4, 197-pound wide receiver from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, made an unofficial visit to Georgia earlier this week, Rusty Mansell of Dawgs247.com reports. As a freshman last season, Patterson had 52 catches for 907 yards and scored 12 TDs, including three on kick returns. He graduated from Northwestern High in Rock Hill, S.C. . . . OT Brandon Greene (6-6, 295) of Cedar Grove has accepted an invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game, according to Scout.com. He’s an Alabama commitment . . .
Jenkins County teammates Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach made an unofficial visit together to Auburn. . . . Louisville and Cincinnati offered Stephenson DB Kyle Fleetwood this week. . . . Brookwood RB Nick Tompkins has added Mississippi State to his list of offers. . . . Peachtree Ridge DB Ray Buchanan Jr. picked up an offer from Louisville this week, his second so far. . . . Eastside DE Sheldon Rankins has picked up two more offers since I first wrote about him Tuesday. The latest were from Vanderbilt and Illinois, which gives him 11 overall.