Archive for March, 2012

Max Garcia: OL transfer ranks UGA visit “between 9 and 10″

Max Garcia, who is one of the nation’s most-heavily recruited football transfers, rated his official visit to UGA somewhere “between a 9 and 10” on a scale of 1-10.

OL transfer Max Garcia rated his visit to UGA  (Photo courtesy of Maryland)

OL transfer Max Garcia rated his official visit to UGA somewhere "between a 9 and 10." Garcia would give the Bulldogs much-needed depth along the offensive line (Photo courtesy of Maryland)

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound offensive lineman is a former Norcross High School football star who was recently granted a release from Maryland. Garcia will red-shirt next year and have two seasons of eligibility.

Garcia took official visits to UGA and Ole Miss over the last 10 days. He confirmed with the AJC that he will go to Florida on Friday, then take a recruiting trip to USC next week. Garcia is deciding between Wisconsin, Vanderbilt and Clemson for his fifth and final visit. He hopes to announce his college decision by late April.

UGA has been the longtime frontrunner for Garcia, who requested permission to transfer from …

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Engagement Announcement: Vandy and another Georgia recruit

New Vandy DB commit Taurean Ferguson with Commodores coach James Frankin (Note:

Engaged: New Vandy DB commit Taurean Ferguson with Commodores coach James Frankin (Photo owned and submitted by the Ferguson family. Note: This photo was not arranged, publicized, owned or submitted by Vanderbilt)

Published at 4:39 p.m. Saturday

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin is trying to build a fence around Georgia.

Taurean Ferguson, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback from Jonesboro High School, committed to Vanderbilt on Saturday while touring the campus. He picked the Commodores over Ole Miss, Wake Forest and Cincinnati.

“I picked Vanderbilt because I looked at it as four years to set myself up for the next 40 years,” Ferguson told the AJC. “I’m going there for the education and sports.”

Four out of Vanderbilt’s five commitments for its 2013 football recruiting class are from the state of Georgia, including three within the last week. The highest –profile Georgia recruit is Cedar Grove High School’s Johnathon McCrary, the 4-star QB who picked the Commodores over UGA …

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Positives out of NCAA probation? UNC finds them in recruiting

UNC football coach Larry Fedora told the AJC this week that the NCAA probation and penalties handed down earlier this month have actually been a “relief.”

How on Earth could Fedora say anything positive about a negative? It’s because North Carolina got assassinated on the recruiting trail while being under an internal and NCAA investigation for two long years.

“We were up against the unknown with recruiting kids,” Fedora said. “It’s hard to battle the unknown because people and other schools can say whatever they want. Now there’s really nothing they can say. It is what it is. Now we can move forward from it. It makes it a whole lot easier to recruit. People cannot use it against us in the future.”

UNC coach Larry Fedora said recruiting will be easier this year without the "unknown" factor of NCAA penalties hanging over the program (AP)

UNC coach Larry Fedora said recruiting will be easier this year without the "unknown" factor of NCAA penalties hanging over the program (AP)

North Carolina, not surprisingly, has been on a hot streak with recruiting since the NCAA finally revealed sanctions on …

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Dabo Swinney’s plan to revolutionize college football

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is one of college football’s biggest advocates for the NCAA permitting a spring scrimmage against another team.

We’ve always endorsed the idea for three reasons: It would further enhance the enormous popularity of college football, it would give players and fans something to look forward to during the middle of the offseason, and most importantly it would generate much-needed revenue for college athletic departments struggling in the tough economy. Or proceeds could be donated to charity.

  • UGA vs. Clemson.
  • Texas A&M vs. Texas
  • Georgia Tech vs. Alabama
  • Oklahoma vs. Nebraska
  • Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech
  • Penn State vs. Pittsburgh
  • Auburn vs. FSU

Would you be tempted to attend one of those scrimmages if they were held this spring? We think a lot of people would. The NCAA already allows scrimmages and pre-season exhibitions in other sports, including basketball and soccer.

Clemson's Dabo Swinney:

Clemson's Dabo Swinney a spring football game vs. another team: "Personally, I …

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Georgia DE exchanges commitment vows with Vanderbilt

Vandy's coach is off to a surprising start for 2013, with three of four commits from Georgia (AP)

Vandy's coach is off to a surprising start for 2013, with three of four commits from Georgia (AP)

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin had some advice for DE Jonathan Wynn after he committed to the Commodores on Monday night.

The 6-foot-4, 218-pound defensive end from Stephenson High School said he picked Vanderbilt over South Carolina, Clemson and Wake Forest.

“He said ‘that’s great, we’d love to have you’ … and then he said some funny stuff,” Wynn told the AJC. “He was like, you know, now that you’re committed, you’ve got to keep your word if other schools offer you. He asked me ‘What are you going to say?’ I told him I would tell other schools ‘Thanks but I’m already committed.’

“Coach Franklin then had a nice metaphor [about my commitment]. He said it was like ‘we’re engaged right now with this commitment, and next February we’re going to get married when you sign with us.’ I thought that was pretty funny. He has me laughing.”

South …

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Mark Richt and Paul Johnson: Sales pitches to state’s loaded 2013 class of recruits

What is Mark Richt’s sales pitch to recruits from the state of Georgia? What would Paul Johnson say if he had a few seconds in front of the top high school juniors? We asked both coaches.

This is a big year for recruiting both UGA and Georgia Tech within the state. This is one of the state’s strongest and most high-profile classes ever – with around 200 prospects expected to sign D1 football scholarships next February.

It’s only March, but already more than 110 of the state’s high school juniors have early scholarship offers. Georgia is also home to the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked prospects in the entire country by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports with Grayson DE Robert Nkemdiche (undecided) and Troup LB Reuben Foster (committed to Alabama), while Dooly County DE Montravius Adams (undecided) is creeping up in the Top 10 nationally.

Mark Richt (right) and Paul Johnson are expected to have a lot of success with in-state recruitinng for 2013 (AJC photo)

Mark Richt (left) and Paul Johnson are both expected to have a lot of success with in-state recruiting for 2013 (AJC photo)

What would Georgia …

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Georgia OL commits to Alabama over LSU, Georgia Tech and South Carolina

Nick Saban built Alabama's No. 1-ranked recruiting class for 2012 with eight of Georgia's top recruits. Saban appears to be raiding the state again with three early 2013 commits (AP)

Nick Saban built Alabama's No. 1-ranked recruiting class for 2012 with eight of Georgia's top recruits. Saban appears to be raiding the state again with three early 2013 commits (AP)

One of Georgia’s top offensive linemen has committed to the reigning BCS champions.

Andy Dodd, a 6-foot-4, 325-pounder from Pepperell High School, committed to Alabama over LSU, Georgia Tech and South Carolina.

“Andy has done a pretty good job going around to all the Junior Days,” Pepperell coach Jeff Shiflett told the AJC. “A couple of weeks ago, he got an offer from Alabama and he had been praying about it. He has gone to visit Alabama a couple of times and felt like it was a very good fit for him.

“Just the opportunity to play in the SEC and for a great program like Alabama was very appealing for Andy.”

Said Dodd, “Out of all the places I visited, it was the best fit.”

It marks the second year in a row that Alabama has hit the jackpot at Pepperell, which is located in the northwest …

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PF LaRon Smith will sign with Georgia State

LaRon Smith, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Palm Bay, Fla., has committed to play basketball at Georgia State.

Smith picked Georgia State over offers from Duquense, Jacksonville and Campbell, among others. He will sign with Georgia State on April 11, the beginning of the NCAA’s late signing period.

“He’s a 6-foot-8 kid with a 7-2 wingspan,” Heritage High School coach Stephen Link told the AJC. “He can play inside or outside. He was my lead shot blocker. He has the ability to step out and shot the 3-pointer but also finish inside.”

Smith averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 4.5 rebounds this past season at Heritage. He committed after taking an official visit to Georgia State last week.

“I didn’t know if he’d commit on his visit,” Link said. “But he fell in love with the city, the coaches, and the direction of the program. They’re going nothing but up and up right now.

“LaRon has the chance to play against some high quality competition and hopefully help …

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LB Johnny O’Neal commits to UGA over Georgia Tech

UGA LB recruit Johnny O'Neal of West Laurens HS (Photo by 247Sports.com)

UGA LB recruit Johnny O'Neal of West Laurens HS (Photo by 247Sports.com)

UGA finally got a commitment at the inside linebacker position.

Johnny O’Neal, a 6-foot-1, 230-pounder from West Laurens High School, committed to UGA on Saturday, he confirmed in a text message. O’Neal said he picked the Bulldogs over runner-up Georgia Tech.

“Well [I picked UGA] because I felt like it was the right place for me,” O’Neal told the AJC. “Coach [Mark Richt] and all the other coaches were showing me a lot of love, and I feel like that’s the direction God led me in.

“I feel like with a lot of hard work, I could start for them and help them win a championship.”

O’Neal, who was attending a Junior Day at UGA, said Richt was thrilled with the news and gave him a signature hug. “Oh, he was happy after I told him. He gave me a big hug and said he was glad to have me.”

UGA now has nine commitments for its 2013 recruiting class,with O’Neal being the first one at the inside linebacker position. The …

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Carl Lawson: Son of Georgia Tech football star commits to Auburn

Auburn DE commit Carl Lawson, who "couldn't be blocked" at a recent all-star game, still plans to take visits to Tennessee, Clemson, UCLA and USC, among others (AJC)

Auburn DE commit Carl Lawson, who "couldn't be blocked" at a recent all-star game, still plans to take visits to Tennessee, Clemson, UCLA and USC, among others (AJC)

DE Carl Lawson, who is considered one of the state’s top 10 prospects, committed to Auburn on Saturday night.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end from Milton High School picked his longtime leader Auburn over UCLA, among his 25 early football scholarship offers. Lawson is considered one of the Southeast’s best pure pass rushers.

“I love Auburn, the football tradition, the people and everything,” Lawson told the AJC. “Every time I go up there, they hit everything on my checklist.”

Lawson said his college decision was endorsed by his father, Carl Lawson Sr., who played fullback on Georgia Tech’s 1990 national championship team. The Yellow Jackets are one of Lawson’s 25 offers.

“My father wanted me to go to Auburn,” the younger Lawson said. “He wanted me to commit the last time I was there. He …

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