Archive for June, 2012

Tyren Jones: Alabama RB commit shoots down UGA rumors

Tyren Jones said if there’s a “Derrick Henry domino effect” among top running backs, he’s not going to be part of it.

Jones is arguably the state of Georgia’s No. 1 prospect at running back who committed to Alabama over UGA and Clemson last February.

Meanwhile, Derrick Henry is the running back from Yulee, Fla., who is UGA’s top-rated commitment for 2013.

RB Tyren Jones: "I'm 100-percent committed to Alabama" (AJC)

RB Tyren Jones: "I'm 100-percent committed to Alabama" (AJC)

Henry fueled speculation that he may flip to Alabama after making strong comments about the Crimson Tide, and then visiting with Nick Saban for a few days this past weekend. Henry officially remains committed to UGA but said on Twitter that he will “make a statement soon.”

Which leads us to back to Tyren Jones.

There are rumors that if Henry flips from UGA to Alabama, it would create a domino effect of top running backs switching schools – like you often see among QB prospects, including Jones going from Alabama to UGA.

“Yes, I’ve been hearing all that stuff, and …

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Ex-Georgia Tech recruit waiting on clearance from NCAA

Junior Gnonkonde, the ex-Georgia Tech football commitment, is awaiting NCAA clearance before he can enroll at North Carolina this summer.

Ex-Georgia Tech DE Junior Gnonkonde is awaiting word from the NCAA (AJC)

Ex-Georgia Tech DE Junior Gnonkonde is awaiting word from the NCAA (AJC)

“There is an issue with the NCAA, we’re going through the process with them right now, and we think everything is going to be all right,” said John White, who is the Lanier County High School football coach and Gnonkonde’s legal guardian.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound defensive end was the first commitment for Georgia Tech’s 2012 recruiting class but ended up parting ways with the Yellow Jackets. Last January, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson informed White that they could not sign Gnonkonde because his test score “was too low” – which White disputed. Gnonkonde ended up signing with North Carolina over South Carolina, Syracuse, Central Florida and Louisiana Tech, among others.

What’s the deal now? Is it the test scores? “For some reason, the NCAA flags the kids from the Ivory …

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Jay Woods: Georgia Tech and UGA make top 11

Georgia Tech and UGA made the cut for Jay Woods (AJC)

Georgia Tech and UGA made the cut for Jay Woods (AJC)

Jay Woods, who is one of the state’s leaders in football scholarship offers with around 30, narrowed his list down to 11 on Monday. Here they are from the 6-foot-2, 278-pound defensive tackle from Jackson High School (in no order):

  • Missouri
  • UGA
  • Georgia Tech
  • Clemson
  • UCF
  • Kentucky
  • Duke
  • Vanderbilt
  • South Carolina
  • Nebraska
  • Texas A&M

“These are the 11 schools recruiting me the hardest, so I’m going to focus on them,” Woods said. “My three priorities in choosing a school  will be education, my relationship with the coaches, and the opportunity to come in as a freshman and make an impact.”

Woods said he will likely wait until taking five official visits after his senior season before making his decision. “I’m not trying to rush things; this is supposed to be fun.”

SINCE THE WEEKEND

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How was the Alabama visit for UGA’s top football recruit?

How did it go with UGA’s top football recruit visiting Alabama over the weekend?

Well, Derrick Henry, the 5-star tailback from Yulee, Fla., remained committed to UGA on Sunday night after returning from his mini-vacation at Alabama.

That appears to be good news for UGA, doesn’t it? However, Henry is keeping people guessing by putting this on Twitter:

“I will make statement soon, after I talk it over with coaches and family”

Henry’s coach at Yulee (Fla.) High School, Bobby Ramsay, made some statements to Dawg247sports (subscription required): He complimented Alabama for its success in winning national championship and putting players in the NFL, said Nick Saban made it clear that Alabama was recruiting Henry at the RB position (and not LB like some have speculated), and said Alabama’s coaches stated “If you tell us not to recruit you, we won’t recruit you, but otherwise we’re going to recruit you.”

The photo that UGA fans cringe to see. 5-star RB Derrick Henry tweeted this picture of him wearing an Alabama jersey, asking "What do you think?"

The photo that UGA fans cringe to see. 5-star RB Derrick Henry tweeted this …

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Alan Knott: South Carolina adds another Georgia OL

Steve Spurrier plucked away another one of Georgia’s top college football prospects on Sunday.

Alan Knott, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound offensive lineman, committed to the South Carolina Gamecocks among his 15 football scholarship offers, which also included Virginia Tech, Miami, Central Florida and North Carolina.

OL Alan Knott (247sports)

OL Alan Knott (247sports)

Last February, Spurrier imported 12 recruits from the state of Georgia. This year, for South Carolina’s Class of 2013, he already has seven commitments from Georgia – and Knott was the second one in two days. Camden County OL JP Vonashek picked South Carolina over UGA on Saturday.

Knott is ranked as a 4-star by ESPN. “I think South Carolina is getting a guy who is going to be a really good offensive lineman,” Sandy Creek coach Chip Walker told the AJC. “He’s very athletic and has a great punch. When he comes off the ball, he can really knock people around. He has got long arms, and that’s another thing colleges want. I think he’s a guy who can …

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Ed Christian: Former AJC Super 11 selection killed in shooting

The late Ed Christian was an AJC Super 11 selection in 2009 (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

The late Ed Christian was an AJC Super 11 selection in 2009 (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

A former AJC Super 11 selection was among the three people that died in a shooting in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday night.

Ed Christian, a football star from Lowndes High School, died at the scene, according to police.

The offensive lineman was selected to the AJC’s Super 11 team in 2009 as one of the state’s top overall players.

Christian originally committed to Florida State but later switched to Auburn. He was red-shirted at Auburn in 2010, and couldn’t play last season because of back injury which eventually led to him to giving up the sport. He was granted a medical hardship and was continuing his studies at Auburn.

Many of Christian’s former high school and college teammates are posting tributes on Facebook and Twitter.

There’s a Guest Book for Ed Christian that can be found here.

For the latest information on the shooting, go to the AJC’s news coverage here.

OVER THE WEEKEND

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Naim Mustafaa: 4-star LB commits to UGA over Georgia Tech

UGA beat out Georgia Tech for LB Naim Mustafaa in a rare head-to-head battle between the two in-state rivals.

“I made my decision about a week ago; I just had to come down to Georgia and tell them face to face,” Mustafaa told the AJC on Saturday.

“It just came down to where I wanted to be, really. Georgia Tech and Georgia are both great schools. I had to choose one.”

Son of former Georgia Tech football star commits to UGA (247sports.com)

Son of former Georgia Tech football star commits to UGA (247sports.com)

This recruiting journey had a few twists and turns.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Mustafaa is the son of former Georgia Tech football star Najee Mustafaa (Reggie Rutland), who played seven seasons in the NFL. The younger Mustafaa was rumored to be on the brink of committing the Yellow Jackets, at one point or another.

Meanwhile, UGA did the improbable job of repairing its relationship with Mustafaa.  UGA offered an early scholarship to Mustafaa and then stopped communicating with him on a regular basis – making him think the Bulldogs were no longer …

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JP Vonashek: South Carolina edges UGA for 3-star OL

After signing 12 from Georgia last February, Steve Spurrier has six 2013 commitments (AP)

After signing 12 from Georgia last February, Steve Spurrier has six 2013 commitments from the state (AP)

One of the state’s top offensive linemen, who nearly committed to UGA a couple of months ago, pledged to the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday.

JP Vonashek, a 6-foot-6, 280-pounder from Camden County High School, committed to South Carolina after making an unofficial visit on Saturday. Vonashek had 13 offers, including Ohio State, Florida State and Tennessee.

“It was either going to be South Carolina or Georgia, and I felt South Carolina was the best place for me,” Vonashek told the AJC. “I went there for a visit and I really enjoyed it. It’s close to home and I think they are going to have a great program for the next couple of years.”

It was a big recruiting win for South Carolina, which had offered Vonashek a scholarship only 9 days ago. “I talked to my parents after we left, and I told them that I loved it,” he said. “They told me if that’s what I wanted to do, then …

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Parker McLeod: Alabama picks up Georgia QB

Nick Saban has 16 commitments for 2103, including two from Walton High School (Chick-fil-A)

Nick Saban has 16 commitments for 2013, including two from Walton High School (Chick-fil-A)

Alabama coach Nick Saban finally landed one of Georgia’s top 2013 quarterbacks.

Parker McLeod, a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder from Walton High School, committed to Alabama on Wednesday and finally went public with it on Friday. He had 10 offers, with Oklahoma State as his second favorite.

“Alabama was my dream school all along,” McLeod said. “I got a firm offer from them on Wednesday and I committed on the spot. They wanted me to wait a little bit, or until Friday, until I went public with it.”

Alabama’s coaches likely wanted to inform other QBs they were courting. The Crimson Tide liked several in Georgia:

Saban had serious flirtations, including a 90-minute Skype call, with Camden County’s Brice Ramsey, who remains committed to UGA. Alabama also offered Marietta’s Anthony Jennings (committed to LSU) and Cedar Grove’s Johnathan McCrary (Vanderbilt).

“It’s a tremendous honor to play for Coach …

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Jack Banda: Arizona gets commitment from Nkemdiche’s teammate

Jack Banda committed to Arizona on Friday, without visiting the school first. But the 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end from Grayson High School had his reasons.

DE-TE Jack Banda (AJC)

DE-TE Jack Banda (AJC)

“Because that’s a big offer and I didn’t want to let it sit on the table,” Banda explained. “I wanted to seal the deal and not let anything slip away.”

Banda said Arizona stopped by Grayson last month to watch his spring football practice, but he was playing with the school’s baseball team in the state playoffs. Banda is a pitcher and first baseman. Arizona offered a football scholarship on Monday, and Banda accepted. He also had offers from Florida International and UNC Charlotte.

“It’s a really good offer and it’s in the Pac-12,” Banda said. “And they’ve got a new coach with Rich Rodriquez. Everything is looking good over there, and I’ve always wanted to go to the West Coast. They have nice weather over there and it’s different.”

Banda played defensive end and tight end this past season at …

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