Recruiting Insider: Will LB Raphael Kirby take an official visit to UGA?

Raphael Kirby won't be able to make an official to UGA but is still considering the Bulldogs (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

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)

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

    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 …


    – By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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47 comments Add your comment


October 19th, 2011
1:41 am


October 19th, 2011
2:06 am

nothing worse than seeing white boys trying to rap


October 19th, 2011
2:07 am

A sleepy second?


October 19th, 2011
2:51 am



October 19th, 2011
5:24 am

COOL VIDEO………………………I hope they can back up the talk.

Coach Franklin

October 19th, 2011
5:43 am

OMG OMG your DC just yelled at me!!! Waaaa papa Richt, waaaaaaa!


October 19th, 2011
6:40 am

Wish these kids would show some ” Georgia State Pride ” even if it meant going to the other school.

Destin Dawg

October 19th, 2011
6:43 am

Grantham’s Junk yard Dawg defense… keeps UGA;s stumbling offense in the game… support Grantham or he will leave,, then you’ve got Richt/BoBo’s .. Franklin { a jerk } is the villan in this situation.. don’t be distracted.. go Dawgs Beat Fla. !!!

Destin Dawg

October 19th, 2011
6:48 am

Raphael.. enjoy your senior year.. make good grades.. make your decision.. in Jan. or Feb,, signing day.. Go Dawgs !!


October 19th, 2011
6:52 am

another thug to take up space in our state university to entertain ignorant fanbase willing to pay thug coaches millions of dollars


October 19th, 2011
7:48 am

I wish the real reports would come out. . The reason everyone is on Grantham more than Franklin is the camera angle from Fox Sports only shows Grantham’s face and the back of Franklin. I’ve watched the video a fee times and from the video I would think Grantham was the agressor, but that’s not true. I work for IMG Sports, and in charge of the end of the half/game radio reports. I was 10 feet from what happened and from what I saw Franklin was not looking for Mark Richt. He went after #36 yelling and screaming. Todd Grantham yelled back at Franklin “if you have a problem with my players come to me”. Franklin then said some in choice words to Grantham about #36 then it got out of control.

MLK 10

October 19th, 2011
8:07 am

STEPHENSON, Where YOU at? Playing WEAK teams, and ready to lose in the first or second round of the playoffs like every year!

That video is awesome!


October 19th, 2011
9:06 am



October 19th, 2011
9:39 am

these kids rock! this is good clean fun and guess what? playing high school sports or any other level is a competitive thing. You adults taught them this behavior, but they did it with style! If you don’t have pride in your competition in a team sport, who will you be out on the field?

Fake Bama Fan

October 19th, 2011
9:42 am

All these players need to go to Georgia Tech, we’re building something here.

Moe Dawg

October 19th, 2011
9:53 am

You need to join the tech fan base with it’s “we’re better than everyone else” attitude and calling certain players “thugs”.

UGA fans need to quit criticizing Franklin. He just might become our next head coach.

GT Fan

October 19th, 2011
10:09 am

Mr. Carvell,

Any word if he is considering Georgia Tech? If not, why? Thanks

Michael Carvell

October 19th, 2011
10:09 am

@GT Fan, no Raphael Kirby is not considering Georgia Tech, which offered three of his Stephenson teammates (Mann, Davis and Jones) but not Kirby.

coach Kirby Smart

October 19th, 2011
10:15 am

Tell him to hold off until I get there. I got lot’s to do when I come.


October 19th, 2011
10:33 am

@GT Fan: I am not trying to be a smarta** here but you are never going to pull the top level talent on either side of the ball until you stop running the Service Academy offense. Why would this kid want to practice against an offensive scheme that he’ll never see if his dreams are realized (playing pro ball)?

If he wants to play for a classless loser DC he will!

October 19th, 2011
10:57 am


@GT Fan -----

October 19th, 2011
10:59 am


October 19th, 2011
11:09 am

@GT Fan –, no it wasn’t academics. One of Kirb’s finalists is Vanderbilt. He has great grades. Think before you post. The TRUTH is Georgia Tech didn’t bother offering because they knew they didn’t have a chance at Kirb. It was a waste of time, just like it was a waste of time offering the other three.


October 19th, 2011
11:10 am

Awesome video! Hope they back it up on the field.


October 19th, 2011
11:46 am

CTG was wrong. Coach Franklin was the antagonist and should take the brunt of the blame for going after and pointing at a college football player. Period. What’s worse?

It’s not that CMR was not confrontational with Franklin, but he didn’t reserve judgement about his own team’s actions until he knew all the facts and he rolled over for the “losing” coach for whining about being taunted. He put down his own “organization” by trying to be a humble winner. Fire this man!!!!

Response/to MLK 10

October 19th, 2011
12:45 pm

MLK 10 what type of KoolAid are you drinking? If Stephenson is playing weak team, what teams are MLK playing? Last I checked on the schedule both teams have been playing the same teams. Be for real. Stop talking junk before time… Just wait and see what the season brings…. Remember, MLK almost let LUELLA whip them BUTTS…. LOL… You must have forgotten about that game..


October 19th, 2011
1:08 pm

Why is that R Kirby, J Dawson, and J Holsey taking official visits to other schools and not UGA? Have they seen enough of UGA? At one time, these players seriously considered UGA; is that UGA’s stock is dropping? Take my suggestion: Offer CMR an administrative positive to finish out his career @ UGA; offer Mike Bobo, QB Coach, that’s what he really is and keep his pet project, Brice Ramsey in UGA’s fold; keep John Lilly as the TE Coach and recruiter!!! Offer the HC job to Kirby Smart and let him bring that winning attitude and the discipline both on and off the field that AL has!! He can close the borders down on the big time recruits and get them coached up; let Kirby make the decision on the rest of the staff!! “Win, Baby, Win”!! “You Snooze, You Lose!!”


October 19th, 2011
2:36 pm

K. Smart is not the answer for UGA!!!!


October 19th, 2011
2:39 pm

Kirby Smart has no HC experience. Why would you want him to lead the team for? He is a defensive coordinator period. He has no clue about offensive schemes, and he is Saban’s bitch anyways!!! Bobo does need to be demoted to QB coach. Bring in an offensive coordinator from Conf. USA they know how to play offense.

News |

October 19th, 2011
5:00 pm

[...] Florida is targeting the junior college ranks for immediate help in 2012.2. Georgia is trying to land a visit from defensive end Raphael Kirby, who’s still committed to Miami.3. Defensive Francis Kallon [...]


October 19th, 2011
6:26 pm

I would love to see John Gruden as UGAs next coach!


October 19th, 2011
6:28 pm

CMR will never win a championship!A good man and a above avg. coach but not a championship.


October 19th, 2011
6:36 pm

Come on Raphael—We need you at UGA…We want you playing for the DAWGS..!!!


October 19th, 2011
6:48 pm

thought you meant kirby my defensive coordinator. I was about the go beat him down.


October 19th, 2011
6:58 pm

I thought you meant kirby smart was coming home to coach. Got me excited there for a second. Could do no worse than the high diving zombie mark rick.

Destin Dawg

October 19th, 2011
7:03 pm

Saban hired Kirby Smart after Grantham turned it down…. Todd will be our next coach… I’ve supported Richt through these last 2 dismale seasons.. filled with offense melt downs… when he wimped out and didn’t defend Grantham.. I hope we lose out.. Richt is not motivated,, and should be a preacher..

Destin Dawg

October 19th, 2011
7:06 pm

Smart needs to be a head coach first or you’ll have the same situation @ Gators with Muschamp.. He;s is crazy… Grantham is cool.. a mans man.. Go Dawgs


October 19th, 2011
7:40 pm

I just cant understand this fasination with Kirby Smart.He hasnt done squat as a head coach.When you think Kirby Smart think Charlie Wiess.I hope there is no head coaching change at Georgia but if so I do hope Todd Grantham is considered for the job.I love his fire..

Fox News

October 19th, 2011
7:54 pm

Blakeb you wish you worked for IMG Sports, just a UGA fan trying to come up with more excuses!


October 19th, 2011
9:35 pm

I don’t think what Vandy’s recruits think should make us worry.


October 19th, 2011
9:42 pm

Initially upon seeing the tv coverage of the postgame, I was upset about Coach Grantham’s behavior. However, after seeing the vicious blind side cheap shot that Vandy’s center (Stewart) put on Geathers, I am shocked that Geathers received any form of league discipline and I am glad that Grantham gave Franklin back what Franklin deserved. If one of our players took a cheap shot like the guy did to Kwame, I would suspend him for at least 3 games. Franklin initiated the postgame flare-up and has the nerve to act like it was Georgia’s fault when he should have called out his own players for their trash talking and cheap shots during the game. I wasn’t surprised to hear Franklin in his postgame interview ranting about not backing down from anyone – it was obvious that his players have been coached to talk trash and take cheap shots if that is what it means to not back down.


October 19th, 2011
9:54 pm

Annapolis – that’s pretty stupid. By that logic no top defensive player would ever go to a school that runs a spread offense.


October 19th, 2011
10:17 pm

I thought the coach at Stephenson basically banned any of his players from visiting UGA? Is that just a dumb rumor? Maybe he’s thinking twice since there will be more coaching staff changes after the season. Could be Richt unless he ends 9-3!

Yo Doc C

October 19th, 2011
11:06 pm

Why don’t you take a look at the video of Shawn Williams’ decapitation attempt of the VU receiver and then come back and talk. Makes the VU player’s “vicious” block look like playground stuff. And that wasn’t even one of Williams’ TWO personal fouls.


October 20th, 2011
12:14 pm




October 21st, 2011
3:30 pm

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