Archive for March, 2012

Nigel Bowden, 4-star LB, commits to Vanderbilt (UPDATED)

LB Nigel Bowden picked Vanderbilt over Georgia Tech (AJC)

Vanderbilt LB recruit Nigel Bowden (AJC)

One of Georgia’s top linebackers has committed to Vanderbilt.

Nigel Bowden, a chiseled 6-foot, 237-pound linebacker from Central Macon High School, said he picked the Commodores over his runner-up, Georgia Tech, which appeared to be on the brink of offering a football scholarship. Bowden held offers from Vanderbilt, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, while Tennessee was also very close.

“I wasn’t planning on committing today but it just felt right,” Bowden told the AJC. “I was planning on going back to Georgia Tech for another Junior Day, and then going back to Vanderbilt. But today, everything came together.

“I love the coaches. Coach [James Franklin] is so passionate about everything with football. He doesn’t really talk a lot about putting players in the NFL, like other schools do. The other ones send you mail about all the guys they’ve put into the NFL.

“Vanderbilt sends you mail talking about academics and education. Coach …

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Marist QB commits to Central Florida

Marist QB Myles Willis

Marist QB Myles Willis

The long commute to Marist may have helped QB Myles Willis, who committed to Central Florida this weekend.

The 5-foot-9, 185-pounder decided to accept his only early football scholarship offer so far, UCF. He also had interest from Boston College, Alabama-Birmingham, Georgia Tech and Mississippi State.

“I’ve really liked Central Florida since I visited during my sophomore year,” Willis said. “I went down there for Junior Day this weekend with all the other recruits this weekend. I had a great time.  Coach [George O’Leary] told me that they haven’t offered many people early. That made me feel really special. I wanted to commit early so I could focus on my senior year of football. So I did it, and I’m satisfied. It’s a great school.”

Willis resides in Conyers and makes a two-hour drive (round-trip) every school day to Marist. Willis enrolled at the Atlanta private school before his freshman year. Marist’s reputation for athletic and academic excellence may …

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Does being Vince Dooley’s son help Tennessee with recruiting in Georgia?

Does being Vince Dooley’s son help Tennessee with its recruiting efforts in the state of Georgia?

Vince Dooley remains perhaps the famous coaching name from the state, directing UGA for 25 years and leading the Bulldogs to the 1980 national championship.

Derek Dooley is Vince’s son and the second-year coach at Tennessee, which traditionally recruits well in Georgia.

Derek Dooley on today's recruits:

Derek Dooley on today's recruits knowing about his famous father: "Unless you’re a real sports junkie, it’s hard to have an expectation that they would know all of the people who had such a great impact on college football.” (AP)

Unfortunately for the younger Dooley, he apparently has discovered like the rest of us that kids’ attention spans go about as far back as about a week’s worth of the best soundbites on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Most of today’s football recruits don’t know that Steve Spurrier coached at Florida, much less that he won the Heisman playing quarterback for the Gators.

In fairness to the kids, they …

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Tony Parker: Will UGA pull off one of biggest recruiting UPSETS in years?

Tony Parker prediction?

  • Duke
  • UGA
  • Kansas
  • Ohio State
  • UCLA
  • Other finalist

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UGA appears to be in prime position to pull off one of the biggest recruiting upsets in the history of the school’s basketball program.

McDonald’s All-American Tony Parker has the Bulldogs among his finalists, along with Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, UCLA, Memphis and Georgetown. Parker is an Atlanta schoolboy legend, leading Miller Grove High School to four straight state championships in basketball.

The 6-foot-9, 280-pound Parker is ranked by ESPNU as the nation’s No.  21 overall basketball prospect.

Duke’s Mike Krzyzewksi is scheduled to be at Miller Grove on Thursday, and Ohio State’s Thad Matta may visit on Friday. UCLA coach Ben Howland met with Parker on Tuesday.

“My recruiting is going pretty steady,” Parker told the AJC. “My family and I are starting to narrow it down, really getting to the nitty gritty on picking a school and deciding which one …

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UGA on brink of making key hire for football recruiting

UGA is expected to announce the hiring for one of its most important football recruiting jobs within the next couple of weeks.

The job title is officially called “Director of On-Campus Recruiting” and is closely related to UGA’s position of assistant recruiting coordinator, which has been vacant since Charles Cantor abruptly resigned from the Bulldogs last July.

The Director of On-Campus Recruiting will serve as the right-hand man to UGA coach Mark Richt and longtime recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner. It’s a critical hire for UGA’s future recruiting efforts.

Here is some of the info for the gig:

  1. Job Summary: Responsible for the organization and execution of official and unofficial visits at UGA and assist [Garner] with the direction of on-campus recruiting …
  2. Knowledge, skills, abilities: Be familiar with and demonstrate a commitment to compliance with NCAA and SEC rules. Ability to communicate and organize schedules. Ability to stay up to date with recruiting’s current …

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UGA’s Mark Richt and Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson agree — state is No. 1 priority

Paul Johnson and Mark Richt signed more out-of-state recruits than normal this year. However, both shake hands in agreement that the state of Georgia is their No. 1 recruiting priority (AJC)

This year, Paul Johnson and Mark Richt signed more out-of-state recruits than normal. However, both coaches shake hands in agreement that the state of Georgia is their No. 1 recruiting priority (AJC)

UGA’s Mark Richt and Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson both reaffirmed to the AJC that the state of Georgia is their top recruiting priority.

The state of Georgia is one of the nation’s top manufacturers of football talent, producing around 175-185 major-college prospects per year. The Class of 2013 is considered one of the strongest and deepest ever, as more than 100 of the state’s high school juniors have been already been offered D1 football scholarships.

There’s a lot of 2013 star power, too, with Grayson DE Robert Nkemdiche and Troup LB Reuben Foster ranked as the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 overall prospect by Rivals, Scout, and 247sports.com, respectively. Also, Dooly County DT Montravius Adams is creeping up in the top 10 on many national lists.

Last month, UGA had a larger than …

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Lane Kiffin and Urban Meyer: Are SEC defenses really FASTER than everybody else?

If you listened to the talking heads on ESPN, one of the biggest things that separates the SEC aka “the conference that has won six BCS championships in a row” is … the speed on defense. It’s almost as if they have a different gear than the rest of college football.

Is that true? Or just a media myth that is perpetuated by ESPN and others?

We asked people who would know, including a couple of former SEC coaches who now hold two of the most prominent non-SEC jobs.

Are SEC defenses really that much faster than the rest of college football?

Lane Kiffin (AP)

Lane Kiffin (AP)

  • Former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin, who is now at USC and has the Trojans ranked No. 1 next year in one ESPN poll. “I believe there is a difference of speed in the SEC. The difference to me is in the front seven, especially the defensive line. There are so many good front seven players in high school in the Southeastern region. Obviously a lot of them go and play in the SEC. Every week in the SEC, you’re usually dealing with …

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Robert Nkemdiche: Nation’s No. 1 football prospect set to announce on May 18

DE Robert Nkemdiche will announce his college decision after Grayson's spring game on May 18 (AJC)

DE Robert Nkemdiche will announce his college decision after Grayson's spring game on May 18 (AJC)

Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s No. 1 overall football prospect, ranked his visit to LSU as a “10” and set the date for his highly-anticipated commitment.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end from Grayson High School told the AJC that he plans to reveal his college decision on May 18 — after Grayson’s scrimmage to end spring football practice at the Gwinnnett County powerhouse.

“I’m ready to commit because I know where I want to go,” Nkemdiche said. “I feel like I’ve seen all the places I needed to see, and talked to all the coaches everywhere.

“I don’t feel any need to wait any later than the spring. I’m ready to get it over with, and then I can focus on other things … my senior year of high school, my schoolwork, and helping Grayson try to win the state championship again.”

Nkemdiche (pronounced Kim-DEE-Chee) said his top five schools “in no particular order” are LSU, Alabama, …

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Son of Craig “Ironhead” Heyward commits to Georgia Tech (UPDATED)

PG Corey Heyward has an NFL lineage

PG Corey Heyward has an NFL lineage

Corey Heyward, the son of the late NFL star Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, committed to play basketball at Georgia Tech on Sunday.

The 6-foot, 205-pounder is a point guard at Virginia’s Hargrave Military prep school and graduated from Peachtree Ridge High School last year.

Heyward committed to Georgia Tech over offers from Appalachian State and Georgia Southern. He also had serious interest from Nebraska and Ole Miss, among others.

“I committed because it was the best decision for my family,” Heyward told the AJC. “It has great academics and a prestigious basketball program. Coach [Brian Gregory] has really started a movement to get it back on track, and I want to be part of it.”

Heyward’s famous father played running back for 11 years in the NFL, including from 1994-1996 for the Atlanta Falcons. He died of cancer in 2006. Corey’s older brother, Cameron Heyward, starred in football at Peachtree Ridge and Ohio State and was a first-round  NFL …

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Donnie Miles: Atlanta DB commits to North Carolina over Tennessee

North Gwinnett safety Donnie Miles (AJC)

North Gwinnett safety Donnie Miles (AJC)

One of Atlanta’s top defensive backs committed to North Carolina on Sunday night.

Donnie Miles, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound safety from North Gwinnett High School, picked North Carolina over Tennessee. Miles said he was also getting looks from South Carolina, Maryland, Georgia Tech and UGA, among others.

Miles committed to North Carolina after visiting this weekend. “I went up there for a visit and it changed my whole outlook on everything. They have a new coaching staff and it’s a great college town. I loved it. I fell in love with North Carolina.”

What about the NCAA probation? Last week, North Carolina was placed on three years of probation, including the loss of 15 scholarships and a ban from a bowl game this season, for improper benefits.

“That didn’t affect my decision,” Miles said. “I think it stinks for the kids there [at North Carolina] now because they had nothing to do with it. I feel bad for them. But I believe in coach [Larry …

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