OL Joe Harris commits to South Carolina over UGA and Clemson (UPDATED)

Lithonia HS OL Joe Harris commits to South Carolina over UGA and Clemson with his mother next to him on Wednesday (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

Lithonia HS OL Joe Harris commits to South Carolina over UGA and Clemson with his mother next to him on Wednesday (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

(BREAKING: Click here to read about top UNC recruiting target in Georgia shocked by firing of Butch Davis)

Joe Harris, who is considered by some to be Georgia’s No. 1 college football prospect on the offensive line, committed to South Carolina on Wednesday.

“I love everything about South Carolina — it just shines brightly to me,” Harris told the AJC.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder from Lithonia High School picked South Carolina over UGA, Clemson and Mississippi State among his 13 early offers at DeKalb County’s football “Media Day.”

7 of South Carolina's 17 commitments for 2012 are from Georgia. How would you grade Spurrier's overall recruiting efforts in Georgia?

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“South Carolina is on the rise; they have some of the best players in the country with Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffrey,” Harris said. “They need some help on the offensive line. The coaches feel like I can be someone who can give them some immediate help. I really like South Carolina’s coaches, and I think they will help me bring out the best in me as a football player. South Carolina has a great atmosphere for college football. They have some of the best fan support anywhere, win or lose. But they’re winning now, and I want to be a part of that winning.”

The Gameocks also gained inside position due to Cedrick Cooper, who played at Lithonia last season and ended up signing with South Carolina. Said Harris, “We’re really good friends. He told me a lot of good things about South Carolina. We played on the same team in high school, and want to do it again in college. I also know Sharrod Golightly [freshman safety from Southwest DeKalb High School], and some of the other Atlanta recruits who have already committed to South Carolina this year.”

What about UGA?  ”I had people in my family and teachers who wanted me to go to UGA,” Harris said. “It’s a good school. But I just didn’t connect to UGA as well I did with the overall situation at South Carolina … South Carolina is just a better fit for me.”

Said Lithonia coach Marcus Jelks, “UGA was one of the first to offer Joe. But other schools recruited him much harder over the last few months.”

South Carolina has 17 players committed for its 2012 recruiting class, including 7 from Georgia. Said Jelks, “Harris is a big, strong kid who has a lot strength and power. He’s also a natural leader at the position. He’ll be a good one for South Carolina.”

UPDATE: One of Georgia’s top basketball players has Duke, Memphis and Ohio State as his leaders. Tony Parker, a 6-foot-9, 270-pound forward from Miller Grove High School, is also talking with North Carolina and NCAA champion UConn (click on story link)


  • Top UNC target in Georgia “shocked” by Butch Davis firing (click on story link)
  • One Georgia HS has 11 seniors committed to play football at D1 schools (click on story link)
  • Lifelong UGA fan will play for archrival Georgia Tech (click on story link)
  • Nephew of 3-time Olympic gold medalist Gail Devers to play football at Virginia (click on story link)
  • If SC-bound Joe Harris isn't Georgia's No. 1 OL, then it's Buford High School's Vadal Alexander (pictured). Vadal also appears headed out of state, listing LSU, Alabama, and Auburn as his leaders (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

    If SC-bound Joe Harris isn't Georgia's No. 1 OL, then it's Buford High School's Vadal Alexander (pictured). Vadal also appears headed out of state, listing LSU, Alabama, and Auburn as his leaders (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

  • Georgia Tech lands DB from same Florida HS as UGA’s Aaron Murray and Orson Charles (click on story link)
  • Georgia’s No. 1 point guard picks UGA over NCAA champ UConn & FSU (click on story link)
  • Tennessee gets commitment No. 8 in less than a week with Georgia WR (click on story link)
  • Armchair QB Q: Should UGA have signed another RB to go with Isaiah Crowell? (click on story link)
  • Somoan OL Chester Brown picks UGA (click on story link)
  • UGA’s QB of the future: Yet to start in high school, ready to prove scouts are right (click on story link)
  • UGA’s Mark Richt gives a “group hug” after 4 commit together at Dawg Night (click on story link)
  • What do Georgia Tech’s 2012 football recruits think of the NCAA ruling? (click on story link)
  • Who is the best DUNKER in Georgia history? State your case by going here
  • UGA is ranked No. 2 in the nation in recruiting over the last 10 years (click on story link)
  • Georgia Tech basketball coach says NCAA’s penalties will make ACC school stronger (click on story link)
  • How committed is a Georgia RB to Alabama? So much that he cut the “A” in his head (click on story link)
  • Georgia QB picks Louisville over Alabama and Mississippi State (click on story link)
  • Surprise! See 40-yard dash times of Georgia’s top prospects (click on story link)
  • A Georgia football coach, who inspired many with his attitude toward a terminal illness, resigns (click here for story)
  • Georgia State vs. Georgia Southern fans in an epic message board war right here
  • Georgia’s “fastest football recruit” (click here for story)

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog Got a recruiting item? mcarvell@ajc.com


Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC

306 comments Add your comment


July 27th, 2011
9:49 pm

I like Will Friend….you really didn’t need to bring him into this conversation…i hope that counts for something


July 27th, 2011
9:50 pm

Congratulations Joe for helping make this o-line class probably the best ever in the history of Gamecock football! Have fantastic Senior year and stay safe! See you soon! Go Cocks! Go Joe!

Surfside Cock

July 27th, 2011
9:53 pm

RRTDawgs, the Georgia myth is over. Look at the Rivals recruiting rankings. The Cocks are in the top 10-15. Where the hell are the puppys? They’re sucking hind tit. You give your fellow Georgia followers, ( I will not qualify you as an alumni ) a bad reputation. It’s something that we South Carolinians have grown to hate. You think your puppy sh*t don’t stink. Well let me tell you that it did last year and it will smell worst this year between the shrubs because you and the dogs are a bunch of scrubs compared to the new Gamecocks. Shrubs=scrubs. Face it RRT, Spurrier owned you at Florida and he is doing the same at Carolina…The Carolina.
By the way, with Davis getting canned at unc and the puppys losing their first two games I think Coach Ritch will face the same fate. What do you think? Will you call for him to be fired? Tell me your thoughts oh wise one! With unc and uga going down with no head coach, look for the Gamecocks to move to the top of the list for Marshall. Wouldn’t that float your boat? RRT, from a lifetime Gamecock, you don’t want to get into it with me. I respect you fine University. I also do not condone some comments from some USC fans but when you talk trash and you’re obviously a piece of garbage, then I feel an obligation to reply. Sorry, I’m not sure there are Cliff notes covering all of this. Good Luck on the 10th to all the Georgia fans. I hope we all have a good time but you’re going DOWN for the second year in a row and you’ll understand why Mr. Joe Harris chose The University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks.

That’s right. Two time, back to back college baseball National Champions!

The Agent

July 27th, 2011
9:56 pm

USC is out working UGA in GA. This is crazy!!!! USC will own the state of Ga if UGA keep this up.

Honolulu Dawg

July 27th, 2011
10:10 pm

Sorry, New QB Coach at SC. I aopllguys I am the weal idiot. I am dummer than my man Joe. I thought you were taulking bout Columbia in South Ameewica.

Dog Gone

July 27th, 2011
10:24 pm

Ga losing ga recruits to south carolina? Embarrassing. Ga recruiters better get it going or they can hit the road.


July 27th, 2011
10:35 pm

“Another Georgia HS player that used our taxpayer money for his education and training and then got in bed with the enemy. Not too much loyalty or class with these individuals.” – Remember a kid that left South Carolina to play for Georgia named A.J. Green? Consider throwing back your 5-star commit, John Theus, as he is from Florida, not Georgia. Kids go where they feel the most comfortable and where they feel they can be of value. South Carolina may have been better sooner under Spurrier had players like A.J. Green and Carlos Dunlap chosen to stay home and play but they didn’t. Get off of Joe Harris’ back and move on. We did.


July 27th, 2011
10:40 pm

Glad your gone, you will find out that USC is not all that when you get there.

big cock

July 27th, 2011
10:47 pm

gamecocks are taking over georgia. sc is going to beat the crap out of those rednecks this year. haha


July 27th, 2011
10:50 pm

Yep, georgia is losing recruits to USC and are already losing game to USC (check last years Marcus Lattimore coming out party) guess what dude….USC gonna get another victory in athens this september

Glory Glory Haleluyah…

Lets sing!


July 27th, 2011
10:52 pm

I thought when Coach Kung Fu Panda took a huge “reach” on Jimmie Kitchens it was supposed to give GT an “in” with Joe Harris, yeah right!

GT didn’t even make his list of finalists.

So we end up taking an undersized reach (Kitchens) that had academic issues that prevented him from going to Auburn & Tenn St. and we still don’t get the big-time OL Recruit for 2012, Harris.

Typical GT recruiting.

Kung Fu Panda

July 27th, 2011
10:56 pm

Nice to see that WnE is obsessed as ever. The blog is about a kid who goes to SC rather than UGA and he makes it all about GT. What a sad angry person he is.


July 27th, 2011
11:42 pm

So, how’s that “Dream Team” thingy working out for you?

Pago Pago DAWG

July 27th, 2011
11:59 pm

Word on the street..UGA was backing off this kid anyway.

Rabid Dawg'84

July 28th, 2011
1:20 am

In case you complainers missed my post about Bobo: We scored 30+ seven straight games last year. Our problem in most losses since BVG left has been the defense. I hope and think we will return to having a strong defense in 2011. Do you not remember all the losses when BVG was here was because of our offense sputtered and couldn’t move the ball? That is why we called for CMR to hire an OC. Do you really think that there is a team out there where all the fans agree with every offensive play call? I too wonder why we run a draw sometimes to Thomas on 3rd and 11. Bobo probably wonders how all these Dawg fans who have never coached successfully are supposed to be thrilled and awed with every call he makes. Do you think AM, as a freshman executed Bobo’s calls perfectly? Bobo produced last year. Our offense has been outscored the last few years by WM’s defense. CTG has the hauses now, let’s see.
Go Dawgs!

[...] RELATED: Lithonia High School offensive lineman Joe Harris commits to South Carolina over UGA and Clemson (click on story link) [...]


July 28th, 2011
2:48 am

Notice the intelligent UGA fans say congrats to the young man. The rest talk about how sorry USC’s history is, how bad we really are and we’ll never be anything good. That might be true but our fans stay true no matter what. You won’t see us bashing our coach and living on yesteryear. The time is now and I can’t wait to see what happens.

Dirty Dawg

July 28th, 2011
3:38 am

Wonder how these young men will feel about their decisions when Georgia ‘runs the table’ on the likes of South Carolina, et. al.? Of course we might not, but that ‘on the rise’ thing just might ring a little hollow after a few touchdown Georgia victory come Sept 10.

Dirty Dawg

July 28th, 2011
3:56 am

You Carolina guys just kill me…you win one SEC East title (then get your butts beat down in the Dome…twice)…then you get a young kid believin’, like so many of you now seem to, that you actually make the Sun come up when you crow. Got news for you, it ain’t you and by the time the Sun sets on Sept. 10, these kids, along with the rest of the SEC will know that Spurrier has ’shot his wad’ and will be contemplating life with nothing left but golf.


July 28th, 2011
4:23 am

Of COURSE uga didn’t REALLY want this kid! Heaven forbid that a quality player might choose any school that doesn’t reside in Athens! Did a pup fan ACTUALLY state that Athens was a better city than Columbia?! That there were no attractive women in Columbia?! AMAZING! Shouldn’t you mutts be celebrating your preseason national championship? Bill King should have you dogs barking by now…PLEASE tell me that he hasn’t stopped serving up that koolade! Spurrier…a Heisman trophy winner…has been the head coach of a National Championship Team (At the END of the season when they ACTUALLY count) vs. Richt…a good coach that seems to have lost his winning touch these last few seasons? This kid made a good decision…good luck kid!


July 28th, 2011
5:28 am


Win P.

July 28th, 2011
5:38 am

If SC is where his heart is…then the rest should be there too.

Bama Don

July 28th, 2011
5:50 am

Good p/u cocks and see ya in Atlanta in December. RTR


July 28th, 2011
5:51 am

First of all welcome to South Carolina Joe. Hope you have a very good career on and off the field here at SC.
Now in reply to who said “Butch Davis fired, Kieth Marshall to the dawgs. What about when your coach gets fired this year? Ya’ll been calling for his head the last couple of years and after ya’ll flop again this year he’ll be gone just like Butch Davis. Good luck with that fired coach approach in recruiting but don’t use it to strongly, you’ll be in that boat soon.


July 28th, 2011
6:26 am

Didn’t he just say that in the interview he had a day ago? I mean you could tell by his responce he was heading to South Carolina. Plus he thinks he will be playing with a lot of the current starters? Most will be gone when he starts more than likely. Good luck to you!


July 28th, 2011
6:41 am

Good luck to you young man. I hope you will be happy at your school and get a good education.
Now as for all the S.C. fans cutting down UGA and talking like your school is the next best thing to sliced bread. Don’t you think you might want to wait until you win the SEC title one time, before you declare your school all world. You act like a bunch of giddy teenage girls at a slumber party. Show some class.

East Repeat

July 28th, 2011
6:58 am

A lot of sour grapes on this post by Dawg fans! If this keeps up I will need to chnage my name to “East ThreePeat”! Way to go CSS, South Carolina is at the top of SEC East and players like this will keep us there. See u Dawg fans Sept 10th in Athens. It will be glorious!


July 28th, 2011
7:20 am

You know our program is down when USCe fans are talking trash….Anyways, good luck to Joe


July 28th, 2011
7:49 am

@East Repeat.. sour grapes? All I see is Cocks trying to poke at Dawgs. Yes, pun intended. Win something besides a low rent bowl game. I love that you guys have passion for SC, but please KEEP IT REAL!!! Your team was a 50 yard pass and a fumble away from blowing the game against us last time. We beat you in a shootout. We beat you when no one even scored a touchdown. The only reason you guys even compete against our weak coaching staff because its the beginning of the season and you all are fresh. Your best bet is that Spurrier doesn’t take this job next year. How you like me now?


July 28th, 2011
7:54 am

All we have to do is bracket Alshon Jeffrey cause he is slow, and blitz Garcia to death (and it will happen). You folks are in for a blowout. I hate to tell you. History serves itself. So yeah you get a East Three-peat, three more years looking at our rear view.

Nothing Could Be Finer

July 28th, 2011
7:56 am

Good choice, Mr. Harris.

Nothing Could Be Finer

July 28th, 2011
7:58 am

Slydog, why didn’t the dogs do that last year?
Good luck stopping Lattimore again.


July 28th, 2011
8:09 am

SC over UGA LMAO…. Columbia is plain Jane at best …. Campus ok … Stadium is a joke ( oversized high school stadium ) and not on campus however it is on the fairgrounds….


July 28th, 2011
8:13 am

His words: “They have some of the best fan support anywhere, win or lose.” I’m a UGA fan but maybe this is why he didn’t decide to go to Athens. We shoot our wounded, rejoice when a problem kid leaves, condemn the coach for losses that can be traced back to decisions made by 18-20 year old’s.


July 28th, 2011
8:15 am

@ Nothing Could Be Finer… easy answer: CMR, BooBoo, and a new defense. When installing a 3-4, you need an elephant nose tackle. We did not have one. Now we have three. The problem really wasn’t defense, it was bad play calling and holding Murray’s hand. When they took the bibb off in the 4th quarter, we came back. You know as well as I know, that fumble by Ealey cost us the game. I admit, we got physically hammered on both sides last year, and we still could have won. No disputing that. If SC was so good, then they would not have lost 5 games. Period. They were just better as a team last year over UGA. UGA will win more games this year off talent alone, in spite of our staff. SC needs a Spurrier or a Holtz to even stand a chance. You guys just don’t have enough depth talent wise. Your first team can hang with anyone, but what about after that? This is a “football” analysis I’m giving, not just some bulldog puppy hugger.

Michael Carvell

July 28th, 2011
8:18 am

2 banned and counting.

Thanks everybody for your comments. Please no personal attacks on kids or their family members simply because the kid did not pick your favorite school. Thanks.


July 28th, 2011
8:18 am

Lattimore? Are you kidding me? Our D was brand new last year. Have you heard of Big John Jenkins? lol I didn’t think so. Will be kinda hard to run through a hole when there isn’t one! So just keep running those jaws! 9/10/11 will be a Glorious Day! GO DAWGS

We are nearing the end

July 28th, 2011
8:22 am

The Frosh Dream Team of 2011 came in to UGA because they knew that likely, they could play for UGA right now.

This current 2012 class of recruits is keenly aware that with CMR & Co. that they could be (could be) committing to play for a team that will have a new coach on board by December.

CMR and his entire staff also are keenly aware that they ( or UGA ) will feel the “hurt” by this so far, very, very soft Frosh 2012 class, say within two or three years down the road. There is not much that they can do to stem the flow of kids leaving Georgia for other schools. It is a fact, that the other coaches are pounding on the heads of the players AND their parents to establish the fact that CMR possibly by December could be out of here.

This is what happens when you let your program slide, like CMR has for the last three or four years. This is one HUGE REASON why it is so difficult to reverse, once the slide begins. All of a suddent the recruiting starts to slide and we are seeing that now.

CMR needs to win 9 and be at least TIED with SC in the East at season’s end. Otherwise, we make changes. HE ALSO MUST DEFEAT Florida or that will be his demise. It is what it is.

UGA man

class of 71 & 73

Nothing Could Be Finer

July 28th, 2011
8:27 am

The runt of the dog littler, Brandon Boyken, at 5-foot10 is no match for 6-foot-4 Alshon Jeffery.

I suspect that

July 28th, 2011
8:27 am

I suspect that the so called SC fans here are not even from the state of SC. The enjoy this site to hammer away at UGA. That is their right. Knock yourselves out.

SC fans that i know are good, solid, folks. They got a good OL in this kid and beyond that, see them in September.

Go Dogs.

Nothing Could Be Finer

July 28th, 2011
8:29 am

Center T.J. Johnson, at 6-foot-4, 314 lbs can handle any fatboy noseguard the dogs toss on the field.

Just as I predicted yesterday about NC ...........

July 28th, 2011
8:35 am

Yesterday, I suggested that GT’s CPJ will take the reigns at NC in his home state. I predicted yesterday that Coach Butch Davis would be blown out. He was.

The NC administrators would be mesmerized by the possibility of immediate wins by using CPJ’s goofy wishbone offense. At NC, he very likely could recruit far superior athletes than what he has currently at GT. He is aware that NC has a brand that is more superior in sports that GT has. Frankly, neither school has done anything recently including basketball and baseball, which both schools think that they play at a high level.

CPJ is well aware that his resume is badly damaged by the NCAA cheating scandal and this North Carolina HC job is his ticket out of town and far away from Ethel Street.

CPJ knows that at GT, he will never win big. Even his lil 09 ACC trophy is collecting dust in the basement of the Waffle House corporate offices.

CPJ will dump GT soon for Chapel Hill.

Nothing Could Be Finer

July 28th, 2011
8:35 am

Ga loses their top 2 running backs, top 2 wide receivers, Chappas, top defender (Houston), 2nd best linebacker, and a bunch of o-linemen.

Bad news.

At least their kicking game is supposed to be good.

love them dawgs

July 28th, 2011
8:38 am

Best fan support win or lose???? He just doesn’t know Carolina fans. Let them lose and they are ready to fire spurrier and they pick the players apart. With Mangus, their QB Coach being arrested in Greenville for being drunk and urinating on the sidewalk and Garcia getting in trouble and getting 5 more chances to “do good”, yep, Carolina is the place for him. Wonder how much 5 Points played in his decision. Read about the last two players getting in trouble—-they are beginning to make us, UGA, look like Saints!!!


July 28th, 2011
8:42 am

@ We are nearing the end… all very true statements, but there is one problem with your argument. UGA WILL get a coach that is highly regarded and stop the bleeding. What IF they got Charlie Strong, Dan Mullen, Derek Dooley, Tommy Tuberville, Mike Leach, or Kirby Smart. All great recruiters with ties to the South. The smoothest transition would probably be Smart, because of the defense (3-4) and he has his hooks in just about every major recruit in the south and nationwide. Plus he is all DAWG. That’s why he didn’t take the DC job. A smart move.


July 28th, 2011
8:45 am

Every year Steve gets these great recruits and their QB and QB coach are drunk

Richts Butt Cutt

July 28th, 2011
8:46 am

Unreal that we are now loosing the states best players to S. Carolina. I never thought I would see the day. Good grief.


July 28th, 2011
8:48 am

@ Nothing Could Be Finer… That’s why I said bracket Jeffrey, as in double cover or put a safety over the top. That’s not a football analysis. A 314lb center? Jenkins is 6-4 and weighs 340 plus. Kwame Geathers is 6-6 and weighs 350. Who is your back up center? a nobody. Football analysis please.


July 28th, 2011
8:48 am

Dawgwalk, love your red&black glasses, but unfortunately for UGA fans, Lattimore ran through our pathetic secondary like a hot knife through butter. It wasn’t just the nose guard getting pushed around. Rambo, Hamilton, Boykin, Brandon Smith, none of them wanted to come up and tackle this kid in the 4th qtr. Sorry, but those are the same inept D.B’s that will be afraid to tackle him again this year. For a top O.L recruit to pick S.C over UGA is a sad thing, and it clearly makes a statement as to what Ga. kids think of the state of the UGA program and it’s direction under Richt. As bad as UGA needs depth on the O.L. losing a top O.L should never happen, couple that with the fact his coach said UGA was on him early, but that S.C was recruiting him much harder down the stretch. This is a common comment among high school coaches and propects when it comes to Richt and his staff. THey have this arrogance about them still, and for the love of God, no one knows why. When you get your ass kicked all over the field the last 3 years, you should work your ass off, and do whatever it takes to secure the top talent in state. But not this bunch of arrogant, unprepared coaches. Losing to Bama and Saban, and Meyer and Florida on recruits is understandable, both schools have won N.C. lately, but to lose to S.C, that is unaccepable at UGA. Tech&Carolina are little brothers to UGA, always has been, but doesn’t look like that will continue to be the case. Please McGarity, use your damn head, and help UGA get back to where it should be, and stop the bleeding before it’s too late to recover.

Richts Butt Cutt

July 28th, 2011
8:48 am

And now we have S Carolina (the armpit of the SEC) fans talking trash to us? This is what we have become.. Thank God Tennessee sucks right now…