Recruiting Insider: Will LB Raphael Kirby take an official visit to UGA?
Raphael Kirby won't be able to make an official visit to UGA but is still considering the Bulldogs (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)
Raphael Kirby, one of Georgia’s top linebackers, said it was between UGA and USC for his fifth and final visit.
He ended up picking neither. At least for now. It could change.
The top prospect from Stephenson High School told the AJC on Tuesday night that he will only take four recruiting trips – he has already been to Vanderbilt, with upcoming visits planned for Miami, Florida and South Carolina.
“Yes, more than likely it will be those four,” Kirby said. “I mean, I’m not … I don’t know, I don’t know. I will probably take four visits, but I’m not sure.”
The recruiting process has been grueling on Kirby, who pledged to Miami last spring and insists he’s still committed to the Hurricanes – but began looking at options after Miami was accused of massive NCAA violations in August. Kirby’s attention has been divided between playing for Stephenson’s undefeated football team, taking calls from college football recruiters, and maintaining his grades so he can graduate early in December.
“I’m tired … I’m tired,” Kirby admitted. “I just have a lot going on. I don’t have much time these days. With the football season here, I have games on late Friday night and then I’m leaving early on Saturdays to visit a college … I’m worn out. My main focus is finishing off my senior season at Stephenson. Cutting it down to four schools to visit is not a big deal for me.”
What about UGA? Kirby is still considering the Bulldogs, despite not taking an official visit. “That won’t play a part in my decision,” he said. “I’ve been there plenty of times before.” The 6-foot, 210-pound Kirby is attracted to UGA because of its proximity to his home and the opportunity for early playing time.
Shaq Goodwin (AJC)
- The state of Georgia has “The Big Three” — three basketball stars ranked among the nation’s top 25 overall prospects – Southwest DeKalb’s Shaq Goodwin, Miller Grove’s Tony Parker and Shiloh’s Robert Carter (all are power forwards). Goodwin and Parker made an official visit to Memphis together last week, and Goodwin was impressed. “It was better than I expected,” Goodwin’s mother said. “I don’t know what I expected. The fans around Memphis love basketball, I do know that. They paint the city blue. We met the AD, academic advisors, coaches and people like that. The weather was really nice, too. I joked with them and said ‘This feels like LA.’” Goodwin hasn’t set up any more visits but may work out a date soon for UCLA. He is also considering UGA, Florida and Arizona. Tony Parker has taken recruiting trips to Ohio State, UCLA and Memphis and will go to Georgetown this weekend. His highly-anticipated trip to Duke is scheduled for the end of month, and he may sign in November’s early period, rather than wait until April. “Tony hasn’t officially decided anything, but I think it’s going to be in the early period,” Miller Grove coach Sharman White said. “I think after he gets back from Duke, he’ll have a good idea about things.” Robert Carter traveled to UGA last weekend and will go to Georgia Tech on Friday. He also will visit Florida, Florida State and either Maryland or Kentucky.
- What a whirlwind for one of the state’s top quarterbacks. On Monday, Mt. Pisgah’s Kyle Sloter committed to Tulane after visiting the campus. On Tuesday, Tulane’s coach resigned. Here’s what the QB’s father had to say: “I spoke with the coaches and all the commitments are still being honored, so we’re hopeful that they get in a head coach that runs the style of offense that is conducive to Kyle’s talents. We will have to watch closely in the coming months on that selection.”
- From the AJC’s Seth Coleman: Our Lady of Mercy junior Rashard Fant’s recruiting stock is rising quickly. In just the last two weeks he has received calls from Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina State, UNC and Vanderbilt. All have invited him to attend upcoming home games. “It shows that you do not have to attend a big [high] school in order for recruiters to notice you,” he said. “But it’s very humbling and makes me want to work even harder.” Fant (5-10, 165), who plays running back/receiver/defensive back and returns kicks, has been clocked at 4.40 in the 40. He is being recruited as an athlete. He has scored 12 touchdowns so far this season (with 4 called back for penalties) and compiled 1,165 total yards. He has returned a total of 8 kicks this season (4 punts, 4 kickoffs) for 300 yards and two scores. However, teams have not kicked or punted to him for the last five games. More from Seth: North Carolina State is also apparently going after Alpharetta center De’Andre Wise. Wolfpack assistant coach Micheal Reed has been in contact with the 6-3, 270-pound junior and has invited him to Raleigh to attend a game. He is being recruited by Georgia Tech as well, and attended the Jackets’ win over Maryland last week. Wise was a first-team all-Region 2AAAAA performer as a sophomore last season at Westlake, before transferring to Alpharetta in January.
MLK safety Jarnor Jones
- Here are a couple of names to watch between now and signing day: Whitewater offensive lineman Jordan Watson (6-5, 310), who committed to Kentucky last summer, was offered this week by Miami. Several other SEC and ACC schools are also heavily interested. Another “late bloomer” is M.L. King safety Jarnor Jones (6-3, 190), who committed early to Middle Tennessee State. He was offered by NC State this week, with Arkansas and Vanderbilt also calling about him.
- More basketball: Ashauhn Dixon-Tatum, a 6-foot-11 center at Marietta’s Chattahoochee Tech, has committed to Auburn. Dixon-Tatum recently blocked 10 shots against another junior college in front of college scouts last week. He is from Anderson, Ind., and transferred to Chattahoochee Tech from NCAA Div. II Grand Valley State. Also, Roswell High School’s Taylor Birch committed to Louisiana-Monroe. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard averaged 14.9 points per game last year as a junior and will be Roswell’s first D1 signee in more than a decade.
- Robert Nkemdiche is not only a candidate to be the nation’s No. 1 overall football prospect for 2013, but he’s also making cameo appearances in music videos. Yeah, he’s a pretty big deal. The highly-regarded junior DE from Grayson High School made an appearance in the below video, which hypes up Grayson’s matchup next week against defending Class AAAAA state champion Brookwood. This is a better video than the Chicago Bears and the “Super Bowl Shuffle” (It starts off slow but be patient, it gets better). It has nearly 50,000 page views and will likely double by next week’s kickoff. Brookwood tailback Nick Tompkins, who is committed to Michigan State, gets a special “shout out” in the video. Grayson QB Nick Schuessler is in there, too. Great stuff, check it out …
THE DAY’S RECRUITING NEWS
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
Got an item? firstname.lastname@example.org
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.