Florida nabs another commitment out of Stone Mtn.’s Stephenson High

Stephenson's Jafar Mann was not doing the "Gator chomp" here. He was clapping in celebration of his team's win over Parkview last fall. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Stephenson's Jafar Mann was not doing the "Gator chomp" here. He was clapping in celebration of his team's win over Parkview last fall. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Stephenson defensive tackle Jafar Mann on Friday became the second player from his school to commit to the Florida Gators. And if he has anything to do with it he won’t be the last.

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound rising senior joined running back teammate Mike Davis in pledging Florida. The Gators are also in hot pursuit of Stephenson defensive end Jarontay Jones and linebacker Raphael Kirby. All four players have in excess of a dozen scholarship offers apiece so far.

Mann said there is a chance all four players will play together at Florida. “I’d say it’s a strong possibility,” he said.

These things can definitely seem subject to momentum. Mann admitted that Davis, who was the first to commit to the Gators on Feb. 19, definitely helped sway him toward UF. And they, in turn, plan to work on their teammates.

“He was an influence, yeah,” Mann said of Davis. “He’s our running back and we’ve been playing together a long time. It was a factor.”

Mann, who starts on both lines for the Jagaurs, will play defensive tackle for the Gators. He held offers from both Georgia and Georgia Tech. But, in the end, neither were strong candidates for his services.

“Georgia, I feel like Georgia waited too late,” said Mann, who had 20 offers in all. “They offered me two weeks after Florida, so I didn’t feel like they were as interested. Tech actually offered me before Florida, but I wanted to get out of Georgia. They’re both good teams but I really wanted to go out of state.”

More than anything, Mann is glad about putting the recruiting process behind him.

“It feels really nice,” he said. “I think I had my mind made up for a while. I just needed to sit back a while and think about it and make sure it was the right decision. I definitely think it’s the best place for me.”

There were a couple of reasons for Mann making the decision on Friday. One, he wanted to be done with the recruiting process so he could concentrate on academics and preparing for his senior season. And two, March 25th happens to be the birthday of Mateo Mann. Committing on Friday, Mann said, was a way to honor his father on the occasion of turning 53.

“He was really happy about that,” Mann said.

You can bet new Florida coach Will Muschamp is, too. The Georgia native now has two Peach-staters committed a year after getting shut out by his home state in recruiting. The Gators now have seven overal commitments for 2012.

By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog

NOTE: The “AJC RECRUITING MAILBAG” has been moved to Monday morning. See you then!

176 comments Add your comment

John

March 25th, 2011
3:38 pm

Grim Reaper

March 25th, 2011
3:40 pm

Two down, two to go, and a Happy Birthday to the kids pop. Its a long way to next Feb signing day and anything can happen, so congrats, and hope he and his teamates have injury free careers wherever they sign…

McDawg

March 25th, 2011
3:43 pm

whatever happen to Mack Brown

Northside Dawg

March 25th, 2011
3:49 pm

Great, Stephenson has become a Gator pipeline. Richt needs to create one at Plant (Tampa) or even Lakeland, although that would be a mighty accomplishment.

that ok

March 25th, 2011
3:50 pm

That school has so much talent and never wins a state title. Well I guess the dawgs will have to cherry pick another school this year

Elliot Garcia

March 25th, 2011
3:58 pm

Welcome to the Gator Nation!

Exley DAWG

March 25th, 2011
3:58 pm

Two weeks after the FL offer and UGA was late?

Who Cares

March 25th, 2011
4:00 pm

While Richt and the rest of UGA’s overpaid, outmatched pitiful excuse for a coaching staff wait around and take spring vacations, their competition is raping the state once again. Instead of building on last year’s class, Richt and his clowns rest on their previous class, and get out worked in state in recruiting once again. These guys never learn. The same thing happened in 2007, after UGA had a good class in 2006 in state, they got killed in state by Ga.Tech of all schools. Remember Eric Berry, Morgan Burnett, Cam Heyward, Bailey the stud d.e, Dwyer, Nesbitt, and the list goes on and on. That was the 2007 class whose players showed up big time on the field last year and the year before. UGA only got 2 players in top 10 in state, and those players would have made a real “Dream Team”.How many times have you heard a recruit say Ga. waited too late to offer, yet Richt and his clowns haven’t gotten the message yet. The only way UGA will be able to compete and beat bama&fl. is to get ride of this coaching staff. Richt and his buddies have ruined this program, and he is either too stubborn or too stupid to figure out that these kids want to feel like they are the top priority of every school. Richt has never heard of you snooze you lose. Well hopefully he will understand that when he is gone after next season.

GeoffDawg

March 25th, 2011
4:01 pm

So which is it? Georgia waited too late or he wanted to get out of Georgia? I don’t have any problem with the methodical approach CMR takes with recruiting even if it does alienate a few of the more impetuous recruits out there. Coaching them up on the field is a different issue…

JM

March 25th, 2011
4:03 pm

Not good for the home teams.

McDawg

March 25th, 2011
4:04 pm

the guy wanted to leave the state-whhaaaa-stop the whining

McDawg

March 25th, 2011
4:06 pm

heyward was never interested in GA neither was Bailey neither was Berry-you don’t lose something you never had

RRTDawgs

March 25th, 2011
4:09 pm

The dawgs have started something with Carver Columbus with Jarvis Jones , Crowell , and Harrow looks like we will get Deion Bonner the Gators just have Stevenson HS locked up .

DawginLex

March 25th, 2011
4:09 pm

when florida loses at least 5 games this fall and muschamp does not feel as welcome in Gainesville, some of these kids will change their mind.

UGA Insider

March 25th, 2011
4:12 pm

I took some major heat earlier this week when I said CMR and CMB were getting their clock’s cleaned in regards to recruiting for 2012 and every day a new top prospect commits to an SEC school not named UGA. Just because you signed a decent class in 2011 is no reason to sit back and wait for these kids to come to you in 2012. Kirby Smarty and WIll Muschamp are wearing you out so far this year. Let’s get going here!

George Stein

March 25th, 2011
4:13 pm

Don’t go confusing people with logic, GeoffDawg.

RRTDawgs

March 25th, 2011
4:17 pm

I will admit i am a little nervous about UGA recruiting so far man Richt better have great season this year Paul Johnson is going have to a great year to .

Worm

March 25th, 2011
4:19 pm

weak argument there who cares..Yes, we would have liked to have Dwyer and Burnett, but Nesbitt wanted to play QB..He’s probably wishing he was more prepared for Pro Ball now..If he’d played wideout or running back his draft status would be improved…
Berry’s dad played at UT-slim chance he was gonna’ be a Dawg…Bailey wasn’t a Georgia boy..He actually grew up somewhere south of Miami…Heyward had family in Ohio and Penn. and wasn’t a Ga. guy growing up..
Richt is not going to oversign and break kids hearts later…Muschamp is from the Mack Brown school of recruiting..Texas is usually done by the start of the season, and they didn’t fare too well last year..I ‘d rather the talent be evaluated properly..Tech actaually offered before Florida, but this kid obviously wanted to go out of state..Best of luck to him…Stepenson always produces more D-1 ships, but never seems to win state.

George Stein

March 25th, 2011
4:21 pm

Can’t say that, Worm. Rome’s dad played at Climpsun and that didn’t prevent UGA from nabbing him.

Jaded Jacket

March 25th, 2011
4:25 pm

There’s no way that UGA and Tech could sign all of the best players in the state. There’s too many players and not enough scholarships. It’s inevitable that some are going to leave the state.

bulldogmaniac

March 25th, 2011
4:27 pm

Let them go! Kids who want to go out of state usually want to get away from family to party.
I only want die hard dawgs who have wanted to play for UGA their whole life

RRTDawgs

March 25th, 2011
4:28 pm

UGA is projected to have a smaller class for 2012 but they do need to get on the ball here i hope this weekend on Junior day there will some commits .

Really Haters???

March 25th, 2011
4:29 pm

You’re right George Stein, If UGA wanted him, they would have been on him long before this. Wise up guys, recruiting starts in the 9th grade. The more you post the better we look!!! GO DAWGS!!!!

bulldogmaniac

March 25th, 2011
4:32 pm

Me and the staff are being really selective in the candidates that we offer.

grantparkgator

March 25th, 2011
4:34 pm

UGA will never make a pipeline into Lakeland HS …Goodman is a Gator or Nole on NSD. IF CMR is smart he’ll close his boarder before worry about which Fl schools he can make a pipeline.
Chip are you hearing anything on UGA signee Ramik Wilson(ILB Tampa FL)? Some “talk” in Tampa that he’s headed to Prep or Juco.

Grim Reaper

March 25th, 2011
4:36 pm

DawgInLex said:
“when florida loses at least 5 games this fall and muschamp does not feel as welcome in Gainesville, some of these kids will change their mind.”
Five games? Hahahahahaha Maybe you should change your name to “DawgInDenial”, nice showing in the hoops tournament too!
5-32 your combined hoops/pigskin record vs Gators last 37 games…..
Hahahahahahahahahahah

npgator

March 25th, 2011
4:39 pm

Welcome to the Gator Nation! Cannot wait for the other 2 Stone Mountain players to commit to the Gators.

grantparkgator

March 25th, 2011
4:39 pm

typo: *borders, worrying
UGA will have a small class like UF back in 2009. Coaches only take need(s) and BIG name kids this early when you are taking a small class.

Poopdawg

March 25th, 2011
4:50 pm

Uga seems to use their summer camps to evaluate prospects . Uga will find 25 young men that want to be Dawgs! Quit bitching about recruiting , seems Richt did ok in feb 2011.

Barb

March 25th, 2011
4:59 pm

people should also take into account UGA’s policy when it comes to recruiting, which CMR has stated before. We hear this plenty of times when an in state recruit committs to another school, that UGA was “not showing them any love,” or “came in late.” What they should realize is that UGA takes a very refined approach to all of this, and does not adopt the shotgun approach to recruiting, i.e. send out as many offers as you can, then when the time comes to tighten the numbers and trim the fat, so be it. Now I am not saying Florida does this, in fact UGA and FLA are two of the only schools in the SEC who oppose it, I am just saying the kids should realize that sometimes when a school is genuinely interested in you, it may take more time for them to evaluate your skills and determine you will be a good fit for the team.

Paddy

March 25th, 2011
5:03 pm

poopdawg….you are absolutly right. Quit the negativity Dawg fans.

NoGaGator

March 25th, 2011
5:06 pm

“DawginLex

when florida loses at least 5 games this fall and muschamp does not feel as welcome in Gainesville, some of these kids will change their mind.”

UGA only wishes it lost just 5 games last year. Even with a losing record and a Coach “dead man walking” UGA was still able to get a good recruiting class. Then again, they always seem to, showing little for it.

RRTDawgs

March 25th, 2011
5:14 pm

I think most likely this Summer it could start to pick up for the dawgs keep watch out for Lenard Floyd , Q . Hicks and Ricky Parks .

Goldtimer

March 25th, 2011
5:20 pm

Good riddance, hope all four leave the state. Stephenson players never amount to anything at the next level. Just like in high school, they claim to be the most “talented” team but always fail in the playoffs.

Listen up

March 25th, 2011
5:27 pm

Florida will not be as good as they have been. The last two coaches ran offenses that were trick offenses. The preparation to play them with college atheletes was hard . I’m talkin about Spurrier and Myer. Those offenses don’t work in the NFL because the defensive coaches have so much time to work on the assignments. Georgia needs to get a big name recruit from the state this weekend , so everyone can calm down. The guys that have committed to Alabama and Florida are good players but not great.

RRTDawgs

March 25th, 2011
5:28 pm

Also big DT Pat Gamble looks like he is favoring the dawgs it wont be huge class but UGA will good some great players no doubt .

Dumbo

March 25th, 2011
5:30 pm

Sounds like Muschamp must not be making any headway against FSU on Instate Recruiting….

grantparkgator

March 25th, 2011
5:43 pm

Dumbo have you looked at FSU and UF commit list? both programs have two OOS players: Casher/Edwards(FSU) and Davis/Mann(UF) both of the UF commits had offers from FSU just like Edwards had a UF offer…..now compare UF/FSU Instate commits and it goes to UF atp.
Also some noise coming out of Buford with Dillion Lee and UA/UF next week or so…..starting off well for UF now they have to get wins on the field.

Jerry Blooger

March 25th, 2011
5:44 pm

OVER half of these post are by trolls. I cant believe this.

Einsteindawg

March 25th, 2011
5:46 pm

Stephenson is always the underachiever…plenty of talent and coaching, but no state titles. I believe it is because it is PLAYER first, team second. Good for you Coach Richt for realizing this and looking elsewhere for your recruits. I’d offer a scholarship to every starter at Wesleyan.

RRTDawgs

March 25th, 2011
5:50 pm

Grantparkgator i have been hearing Dillion Lee is favoring Bama feels more comfortable over there .

Brown Dog

March 25th, 2011
5:54 pm

Lot of good players still out there. Just a refresher on Chip’s list from February.

THE TENTATIVE TOP 10 FOR 2012

1. DE/OLB Jordan Jenkins (6-3, 233), Harris County
2. CB Geno Smith (6-0, 165), St. Pius
3. OT Vadal Alexander (6-6, 310), Buford
4. DT Jonathan Taylor (6-4, 315), Jenkins County
5. ATH Ricky Parks (6-3, 210), Callaway
6. RB Kenyan Drake (6-0, 180), Hillgrove (UA)
7. OLB Josh Clemons (6-5, 200), Lowndes
8. CB Deion Bonner (5-11, 185), Carver-Columbus
9. QB Greyson Lambert (6-5, 195), Wayne County
10. DE Jordan Watkins (6-5, 260), Woodward Academy

ADDENDUM: Some others that were given long and hard consideration to be on this list include Pepperell’s Dakota Ball (Alabama commitment), Norcross’ Jason Croom, North Hall’s Imani Cross (Vol) and C.J. Curry (UGA commitment), Banneker’s Chaz Elder, Dodge County’s Leonard Floyd, Buford’s Dillon Lee, Banneker’s Larry Jefferson, Carrollton’s Jonathan Jones and Sandy Creek’s Quinteze Williams, among others. Any one of those guys — and many more — could be among the players selected for the annual AJC Super 11 team in August.

Lester Miles

March 25th, 2011
5:54 pm

If the ingrate wants to go out of state then good riddance and don’t come back looking for a job. These ingratges use the Georgia tax payers money for their education and training and then defect to the enemy. Once they sign with the enemy school then AJC should never mention their name again. Have a great day. PS and those that come from out of state to play in Georgia are welcome here but the out of state tax payers have a right to gripe too. Loyalty should go both ways.

benedawg

March 25th, 2011
5:56 pm

good ridance…….go on to Florida…..I for one want Georgia people, he knew he was a gator so gtfo of my state….

Brown Dog

March 25th, 2011
6:01 pm

Right on, Lester and benedawg. I know I can count on your signatures for the petition to send Christian LeMay back to North Carolina and strike Stafford’s and Moreno’s names for the Georgia record books.

TampaGator

March 25th, 2011
6:06 pm

Einsteindawg…..

Yep….that Jermaine Cunningham out of Stephenson was a real loser of a player…only helped the Gators win two national titles (starter in one) and was only a first round pick, and starter this year at DE, for that sorry NFL team, the New England Patriots. Yep….stay away from those loser Stephenson players. Well…I hope Georgia continues to do so.

McDawg….

Mac Brown needed to gain strengh and weight to play for the Gators. He has, and he is running 2nd string to Chris Rainey this spring with Demps running track. The Gators also have Gillessie and Blakley at RB.

Dawginlex…..

It is summer….keep on dreaming about the Gators losing 5 next year. They might not lose any with two great coordinators now running the D and the O….and Muschamp running the show.

Dumbo…

I guess already getting some of the best athletes in Florida (Dunker at OL, Jones at RB, Phillips at DT, Pittman at WR, and Powell at LB) is not not making any inroads in recruiting. Guess again. And this is just the start for Muschamp and staff. Aubrey Hill is a great recruiter in south Florida…and he just got started after coming from Miami. The Gators will just supplement that great talent with some of the best talent in other states….as FSU is doing.

Listen up….

Listen to your logic!!!! The Gators will not be as good this year because Meyer and Sprurier ran trick offenses and those don’t work in the NFL. Well….dude…neither Meyer nor Spurrier are coaching at Florida anymore….and Florida will have plenty of tricks in their pro style offense under one of the greatest offensive minds in college or pro football…Charlie Weis. He wasn’t a great HC, but the dude can coach offensive football. And Florida’s new DC might be just as good on the other side according to reports from the Florida players so far. The Gators are going to run an NFL type, attacking defense next year out of the 4-3 and the 3-4. And Gerald Christian has been moved from TE to OLB in his soph. year and people are already comparing him to a fairly decent former Gator OLB….Wilber Marshall.

TampaGator

March 25th, 2011
6:15 pm

Brown Dog…

Jordan Jenkins visited Florida last weekend…

And……why do so many Georgia HS players want to play for the Gators….1. They get to go to a great school for academics and fun (beaches nearby, beautiful campus, great lifestyle, beautiful coeds with tan skin all over their bodies running around everywhere) 2. They get coached up, not down 3. They get to play in games that matter, like SEC and National championship games 4. They get drafted high in the NFL draft. 5. If they don’t make it in the NFL and get a degree, they can go live in any major city in the world and make a lot of money with a degree from U of F.

Who Cares

March 25th, 2011
6:16 pm

to worm, wasn’t an argument, just stating facts that Richt and his staff lost every top prospect they went after in 2007 from the state. You are a typical Richt coolaid drinker, and that is the problem with UGA fans. They have become so accustomed to losing big games the past 3 years, that all they do now is make up excuses, just like Richt. It doesn’t matter why all of these big time prospects turned UGA and RIcht down,the only thing that matters is they didn’t want to go to UGA and play for Richt. The same thing is happening again, and it may be early, but when is the last time any commitment from Ala, or Fl, flipped from those schools to UGA. The answer is never. None of this will matter after Richt & BooBoo get exposed once again this year. The only problem is the new coach, and God help us if there isn’t one, will be another year behind UGA’s rivals. Tech finally cut Hewitt loose after 11 years, and UGA should have done the same thing with Richt. He want turn anything around this season, because he is the problem. It starts at the top, and works it way down to BOOBOO, Garner, and now Grantham.

RRTDawgs

March 25th, 2011
6:23 pm

If Richt does not have a another good season he will be gone but if turns it around this year with players he recruited this blog will be a foot note .

gatorman770

March 25th, 2011
6:31 pm

Don’t get your red panties in a wad, it’s still 10 months till 2012 commitment day and i’m sure the curdawgs will pull at least a couple of recruits out of Florida, just as they did in 2011 (if you go by the school interest data on Florida HS players on Scout, Rivals, etc). UGA has many offers to Florida kids and many players just want play out of state for numerous reasons.
Go Gators!