Archive for October, 2011

Robert Carter talks about official visit to Georgia Tech; next trips are Florida, FSU

If Robert Carter stays within state, it will be to …

  • UGA
  • Georgia Tech

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Georgia Tech took its best shot at landing one of the state’s “Big Three” basketball prospects over the weekend.

Robert Carter, a 6-foot-9, 250-pound power forward from Shiloh High School, made an official visit to Georgia Tech over the weekend after taking a recruiting trip to UGA last week. Carter is one member of the “Big Three” — three Atlanta area seniors ranked among the nation’s top 25 overall prospects, a special group which also includes Southwest DeKalb’s Shaq Goodwin and Miller Grove’s Tony Parker.

When asked to rate his Georgia Tech trip on a scale of 1-10, Carter said, “I had a good time at Georgia Tech. I enjoyed spending time with the coaches and players, and I like the direction that coach [Brian Gregory] is taking the program. I don’t know if I could really rate it, though.” After pausing for a few seconds, Carter said, …

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12-year-old DT who is 6-1 and 220 pounds invited to all-star football game

London Lewis stands 6-1 and 220 lbs. as a 7th grader

London Lewis stands 6-1 and 220 lbs. as a 7th grader

The next great football prospect?

London Lewis, who is 12 years old and stands 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, has been invited to play in the JuniorRank Academic All-American football game in Phoenix on Jan. 2.

Lewis is a seventh grader at DeKalb County’s Chapel Hill Middle School and plays both ways at offensive tackle and defensive tackle. Lewis is in the gifted academic program at Chapel Hill.

The JuniorRank All-American Game, presented by Russell Athletic, stated in its press release that it “scouts the best young junior high school student athletes across the country …”  JuniorRank has a game for ages 14-under and 13-under played at Phoenix’s Chase Field. Lewis will be part of the 13-under game. London is the son of Henry and Valeria Lewis.

– Information courtesy of DeKalb County SID Mark Brock

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UGA’s Mark Richt sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to football recruit

You know you’ve made it as a big-time football prospect when a college head coach sings you “Happy Birthday.”

That’s what happened with Tray Matthews, a junior defensive back from Newnan High School who has already committed to UGA.

On Tuesday, Mathews turned 17 years old, and he was talking on the phone that night to UGA assistant John Lilly. We’ll let Matthews tell the rest about a birthday he’ll never forget:

Mark Richt sings "Happy Birthday" to recruit (AJC photo)

Mark Richt sings "Happy Birthday" to recruit (AJC photo)

“Coach Lilly said I’ve got somebody who wants to talk to you and it’s Mark Richt. As soon as Coach Richt got on the phone, without saying anything else, he started singing me ‘Happy Birthday.’ And he sung the whole song to the finish. I was shocked. It made my day. I’ve never had a coach sing me ‘Happy Birthday’ before. That was really cool.”

Matthews said both he and Richt had a good laugh about it, and then talked for a few more minutes. “He wanted to know how my season was …

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UGA and Alabama scouting Griffin OL Nhigel Phillips

Nhigel Phillips proved he had potential to be a college prospect by the way he performed in practices last year.

That’s right, practices.

Every day in practice, the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Phillips would line up on the offensive line and compete against his celebrated teammate from Griffin High School – Xzavier Dickson, one of the state’s top defensive ends who ended up signing with Alabama.

“Obviously, Dickson was a senior and Nhigel was a sophomore, and early on Dickson handled him,” Griffin coach Steve Devoursney said. “However, as Nhigel got better and better, whenever he got his hands on Dickson, he could hold his own. Then he started figuring out, ‘Once I got hold of him, I can block him.’ But the problem was getting hold of Dickson.”

Note: You can watch Phillips in action at 7:30 p.m. Thursday when Griffin plays Dutchtown on WSB-TV’s digital channel 2.2, along with www.wsbtv.com

Phillips projects to be another solid prospect out of historically …

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Geno Smith, Alabama DB commit, still hearing from UGA, LSU, FSU and Auburn

AJC Super 11 pick Geno Smith of St. Pius (AJC)

AJC Super 11 pick Geno Smith of St. Pius (AJC)

Alabama DB commit Geno Smith is planning an unofficial visit to archrival Auburn but it’s not why you think.

Yes, Auburn was the runner-up to Alabama for the AJC Super 11 DB’s commitment but his trip to Auburn would be to go see Alabama play. This year’s Iron Bowl will be played at Auburn on Nov. 26.

“Other than the Iron Bowl, I don’t plan on visiting any other schools than Alabama,” said Smith, who still hears from Auburn, UGA, LSU, Arkansas and Florida State on a regular basis.

Smith has kept an extremely low profile since committing, focusing on his senior season at St. Pius, which is 7-0 and ranked No. 2 in Georgia’s Class AAA. Smith stars on both sides of the ball for St. Pius, also playing tailback.

Smith has flourished under the incredibly high expectations that were put on him for his senior season. “I know the expectations are high, but I don’t really think about it that much because I’m confident …

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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 …

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What did Georgia Tech’s No. 1 football recruit think about his visit to Auburn?

What do you think about prospects that are committed to one school and visiting other schools?

  • Unofficials are fine, but official visits are uncool
  • I don’t like it
  • That’s how recruiting works. Don’t blame the kids. Blame the colleges that pressure the kids into committing early, then still recruit kids committed to OTHER colleges.

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Georgia Tech’s No. 1 football recruit said he remains committed to the Yellow Jackets after visiting Auburn over the weekend.

“I enjoyed Auburn but my jacket stays yellow … I’m committed to Georgia Tech,” Francis Kallon told the AJC.

Kallon is a 6-foot-6, 250-pound defensive end from Central Gwinnett High School who is in his first year of playing organized football after moving from London, England. He committed to Georgia Tech last spring, and had only been to Tech games this fall before going to see Auburn this past weekend.

“It was a really, really good game at Auburn,” Kallon said. …

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Vanderbilt football recruits from Georgia react to confrontation with UGA

How do you think the postgame confrontation will affect Vanderbilt’s recruiting efforts in Georgia?

  • Positive
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The postgame confrontation between Vanderbilt coach James Franklin and UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham appears to be a positive for Vanderbilt’s recruiting efforts.

The Atlanta area is prime recruiting territory for Vanderbilt, which has six of its 17 commitments from the state of Georgia. All six of them crossed over the state line for last Saturday’s game, and were on the Vanderbilt sidelines to witness the confrontation.

“You know, Georgia won the game fair and square but they didn’t really show that much class about it,” Stephenson linebacker Darreon Herring told the AJC. “To be honest, I think Mark Richt should’ve handled the situation a little better than he did. The whole game, the Georgia DBs were talking trash, pointing fingers and taunting the Vanderbilt sidelines. I just feel like …

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‘Freakish athlete’ is commit No. 4 for Georgia State’s basketball team

Buford's TJ Shipes with the dunk (Photo courtesy of BufordBasketball.com)

Buford's TJ Shipes with the dunk (Photo courtesy of BufordBasketball.com)

Credit the son of Georgia State’s basketball coach with help in recruiting one of the state’s top basketball prospects.

TJ Shipes, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Buford High School, committed to Georgia State over Utah, Rice, Old Dominion and UAB, among others. It was the fourth commitment for coach Ron Hunter’s 2012 recruiting class at Georgia State.

“TJ was real comfortable with Georgia State, and they have been recruiting him the hardest,” Buford coach Allen Whitehart said. “Coach Hunter sold TJ on his vision for the program and where he is taking it. TJ also developed a pretty good friendship with Coach Hunter’s son [RJ Hunter]. They met each other at summer camp, have stayed in touch through Facebook and Twitter, and are excited about playing together in college.”

Shipes averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds last year at Buford, which lost in the Class AA state championship game. …

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How did Robert Carter rate his official visit to UGA? (Next stop is Georgia Tech)

UGA has the best chance at …

  • Robert Carter
  • Shaq Goodwin
  • Tony Parker

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The state of Georgia has three basketball stars that are ranked among the nation’s top 25 overall college prospects — Shiloh High School’s Robert Carter, Southwest DeKalb’s Shaq Goodwin and Miller Grove’s Tony Parker. The threesome, who all play power forward, have been dubbed “The Big Three” by college recruiters.

The best chance for both UGA and Georgia Tech in keeping at least one member of “The Big Three” at home for college appears to be Robert Carter.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pounder took an official visit to UGA over the weekend, and will make a recruiting trip to Georgia Tech on Friday. Carter will also visit Florida, Florida State and either Kentucky or Maryland within the next few weeks.

When asked to rank his UGA trip on a 1-10 scale, Carter said, “It was up there. It was in the 8, 9 or 10 range. Well, I couldn’t really tell because …

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