Archive for July, 2011

QB Will Gardner commits to Louisville over Alabama and Mississippi State

QB Will Gardner

QB Will Gardner

Will Gardner, a 6-foot-5, 214-pounder quarterback from Coffee High School, committed to Louisville over offers from Alabama, Mississippi State and Southern Miss on Monday. He also had serious interest from Florida and N.C. State, according to his coach.

“Will went and visited all of those places, and he felt the most comfortable at Louisville,” Coffee coach Ken Eldridge told the AJC. “He’s really improved since last season. He’s the type of quarterback where the sky is the limit. We’re talking about a kid who is totally dedicated and committed to getting better. He’s a legit 6-5, and has put on 18 pounds since last season. He’s also dropped his 40 speed from 4.73 to 4.63. And, of course, he has a cannon for an arm.”

Gardner threw for around 1,400 yards and 14 TDs last year as a junior at Coffee, which runs multiple offensive formations including the Wing-T, Option and Spread offenses. “Everybody talks about Will’s arm,” Eldridge said. “But he’s got some good …

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Alabama-bound LB Dillon Lee stars for Georgia at national camp

Alabama-bound LB Dillon Lee (left) with his older brother, UGA OL Dallas Lee (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

Alabama-bound LB Dillon Lee (left) with his older brother, UGA OL Dallas Lee (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

Buford High School linebacker Dillon Lee, who has committed to Alabama, proved that he is among the nation’s top athletes over the weekend.

Lee finished in the top 10 of the SPARQ Rating National Championship at “The Opening” — Nike’s new summer training competition that features some of the country’s top college football prospects. In the SPARQ contest, the rising high school seniors are tested in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle, and throwing the power ball.

Lee led the entire field after two events, and ended up finishing 8th overall. In the preliminary round scores, Lee was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.66 seconds and had a 35.6-inch vertical jump.

Lee is the younger brother of UGA offensive lineman Dallas Lee, and committed to Alabama over Florida State and UGA (click on story link).

It’s always interesting to see how top-rated prospects perform …

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Inspirational football coach resigns

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Jeremy Williams (right) is embraced by now-UGA offensive lineman Kenarious Gates (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Jeremy Williams, who has inspired many with his attitude toward the terminal diagnosis of ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, has resigned as head football coach and athletics director at Greenville High School.

Williams is the subject of a new film documentary called “Season of a Lifetime” and also was featured on last year’s season-ending episode of ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” with his family. Greenville is a Class A school located 60 miles southwest of Atlanta.

“Jeremy thought he could coach this year, but he’s having a lot of breathing issues — I think he probably realized that there was no way he could stay out there on the field with the kids in this kind of heat,” Carol Lane, superintendent of Meriwether County schools, told the AJC.

“I told Jeremy he’s still part of our family and can come to Greenville High School anytime he wanted to because those …

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VIDEO: Is Shaquille Johnson the best dunker in Georgia HS history? You be the judge

Is Shaquille Johnson the best HS dunker EVER in Georgia?

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Is YouTube celebrity Shaquille Johnson the best high school dunker in Georgia history? That’s what we want to know.

One popular YouTube video makes the claim that Johnson is the best in high school basketball. And they are talking about the USA, not just Georgia.

The 6-foot-4 senior at Milton High School is a rock star when it comes to dunking the basketball. Johnson committed to Auburn.

The jury is still out about how well Johnson can dribble in traffic or shoot from the outside (although his coach says he is vastly improved). But we know a few things. He can elevate. And he can dunk. In fact, last summer, we brought up how Shaquille Johnson might be the third-best dunker in the state of Georgia then — behind only Josh Smith of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and Travis Leslie at UGA. Some people laughed at …

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Chamblee WR Robbie Theus commits to Georgia State

Chamblee wide receiver Robbie Theus will stick around Atlanta to play his college ball.

The 6-foot, 180-pounder got his first football offer from Georgia State and decided to accept it. Theus, who also had moderate interest from Coastal Carolina and recently attended Georgia Tech’s camp, is the fourth commitment for Georgia States’ 2012 recruiting class.

“Robert is a tremendous athlete,” Chamblee coach James Soza said. “He’s a football player and he’s a track athlete — doing the long jump and a leg on our 4×100 relay team. He has all the physical tools with his size and quickness. Last year, Robert played quarterback for us. This year, we’re going to use him all over the football field. I would almost say the sky is the limit for Robbie.

“We need to let him play offense, defense and special teams. He can make things happen to change a game. I think he will be a major factor at Georgia State in one of those roles — as a defensive back or wide receiver, and on special teams. …

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Where was UGA’s head coach on first day of NCAA contact period? (UPDATED)

Grade UGA’s ability to recruit homegrown basketball players?

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You can always tell a college coach’s priority by which prospects he scouts in person on the first day of the NCAA’s summer “contact period.”

Wednesday was the first day.

Where was UGA basketball coach Mark Fox?

Well, he was watching one of the state of Georgia’s top basketball prospects for 2012 — but it wasn’t anywhere around these parts.

Fox traveled to Indianapolis to scout Charles Mann, a 6-foot-5, 193-pound point guard who has around 15 early scholarship offers, including UGA, Georgia Tech, UConn, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Auburn and South Carolina. Mann, who transferred to Milton High School from Union Grove for his senior season, plays with the Southern Select AAU team.

“Coach Fox could’ve been anywhere on the first day, and he was there to see Charles,” Milton coach David Boyd said. “Charles is a very big priority for …

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OL Jordan Watson decides to follow his RB to Kentucky

One of Georgia’s top running backs is taking his favorite blocker with him to college.

Jordan Watson, a 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive lineman from Whitewater High School, committed to Kentucky over Mississippi State and South Florida. Watson’s high school teammate, tailback Josh Clemons, signed with Kentucky last February and will play college ball this season. Watson will join him after his senior year at Whitewater.

Whitewater OL Jordan Watson committed to Kentucky (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

Whitewater OL Jordan Watson committed to Kentucky (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

“I joked with the Kentucky coaches about how Josh has recruited me harder than they did,” Watson said with a laugh. “It definitely made a difference with Josh going there. We’ve known each other a long time … since I was 8 or 9 years old. He’s an offensive lineman’s dream — talented runner, great blocker and hard worker. I think it’s great that we’re going to be on the same team again in college.”

Watson picked Kentucky out of 9 offers, including Memphis, Wake Forest and Georgia …

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Sheldon Rankins would likely be committed to North Carolina if not for NCAA investigation (UPDATED)

Eastside DE Sheldon Rankins

Eastside DE Sheldon Rankins

One of Georgia’s top college football prospects admits he would likely be committed to North Carolina if the Tar Heels weren’t under an NCAA investigation.

Sheldon Rankins, a 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive end from Eastside High School, said he nearly committed to North Carolina during an unofficial visit on June 13. The next week, the NCAA handed the ACC football program a notice of allegations that listed nine major violations.

“Yes, I almost committed when I went up there for a visit but I didn’t want it to be a spur-of-moment thing,” Rankins told the AJC on Monday night. “I decided to wait a few days until I could get back home and think about it. When I got back, I heard all the talk about the NCAA sanctions and that has kind of delayed everything.”

Despite all the bad news, Rankins said that North Carolina remains his leader out of 20 early scholarship offers, which also includes Stanford, Ole Miss, South Florida, N.C. State, Duke, Mississippi …

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Banneker DB Chaz Elder discusses finalists UGA, South Carolina and Vanderbilt

Bannker DB Chaz Elder will pick between UGA, South Carolina and Vanderbilt in August (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

Bannker DB Chaz Elder will pick between UGA, South Carolina and Vanderbilt in August (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

One of Georgia’s top defensive backs will pick between UGA, South Carolina and Vanderbilt next month.

Chaz Elder, a 6-foot-2, 180-pounder from Banneker High School has narrowed down to the three SEC East schools out of 20 early offers, which also includes Auburn, Ohio State and LSU. Elder will visit each finalist for a second time in July — including an appearance at UGA’s “Dawg Night” prospect camp on July 15 and at South Carolina on July 21.

Elder met with Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner, along with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and DB coach Scott Lakatos in Athens a couple of weeks ago. Elder said he was originally recruited by UGA only at the safey position but is now getting looks at both safety and cornerback. Elder has determined that he wishes to play cornerback in college because it gives him “the best chance” at reaching his NFL …

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Auburn WR Quan Bray’s mother murdered, father charged (UPDATED)

Troup RB Quan Bray has been displaying his versatility by also playing wide receiver and returning kicks during Under Armour practices this week. (AJC photo by Alex Menendez/alexmenendez@mac.com)

Auburn recruit Quan Bray (AJC photo by Alex Menendez/alexmenendez@mac.com)

Sad news out of Georgia’s football recruiting circles. Here are some details by the AJC’s Mike Morris:

The mother of Auburn University freshman receiver and Troup County High School football standout Quan Bray was shot and killed Sunday morning in LaGrange.

According to WTVM-TV in Columbus, LaGrange police responding to a car accident found that the driver, Tonya Bray, had been shot in the head. She was pronounced dead at West Georgia Medical Center.

A short time after her death, Jeff Jones turned himself in, telling police that he had driven up to Tonya Bray’s car and shot her, WTVM reported. According to the station, Tonya Bray and Jones had been in an 18-year relationship.

Jones is being held in the Troup County Jail, charged with murder.

Here’s some more information from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer’s Alan Riquelmy:

Moments before Bray wrecked, witnesses saw a green car chasing her silver, …

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