Milton High School may have its best crop of college football prospects in school history with five seniors committed to BCS conference schools, including the nation’s No. 5-ranked overall recruit and a running back that is now considered one of the state’s top five at his position after missing nearly all of last season with an injury.
Why aren’t any of them going to UGA or Georgia Tech?
That’s a question asked repeatedly and almost daily to Milton coach Howie DeCristofaro and his five seniors – DE Carl Lawson (committed to Auburn), RB Peyton Barber (Ole Miss), OL Cory Helms (Wake Forest), OL Eason Fromayan (TCU) and OL Josh Harris (Wake Forest)
Milton is an affluent suburb of Atlanta located 35 miles from Georgia Tech and is home to one of UGA’s most fervent fan bases.
UGA has yet to offer scholarships to any Milton players, while Georgia Tech heavily pursued Lawson and Barber.
Ironically, both UGA and Georgia Tech had connections to Lawson, who is ranked by ESPN as the nation’s No. 5 overall prospect. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder is the son of Carl Lawson Sr., who played fullback on Georgia Tech’s 1990 national championship team. However, the younger Lawson grew up a fan of the Bulldogs.
What about Georgia Tech? “They offered me. I just didn’t want to lead them on. I never really felt Georgia Tech was the place for me.”
And UGA? Well, that’s a little more complicated. “They never really recruited me,” Lawson said. “I was really in love with Georgia. I used to be a huge Georgia fan. But by the time they finally came to the school, I had already established relationships with all the other schools.”
Lawson became an instant celebrity after his performance at a junior all-star game last December, was flooded with scholarship offers over the next couple of months and committed to Auburn on March 24. Lawson said UGA recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner came by the school once during the winter, but that the Bulldogs didn’t get really serious until May – when defensive coordinator Todd Grantham stopped by for spring practice.
“It was kind of like how Georgia did with Jordan Jenkins last year, because I followed that. They didn’t really recruit him hard all along … But there are no hard feelings toward Georgia. They’re going to have a great recruiting class at Georgia, and we’ll do well at Auburn.”
Despite being blocked by two and three defenders on nearly every play, Lawson has 13.5 sacks in six games this year for Milton. At the junior all-star game, Lawson dominated practices with his aggressive and relentless play, reminding one scout of a “young David Pollack.” The 5-star will wait until after the season to decide if he will visit other schools than Auburn.
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Meanwhile, the 6-foot, 225-pound Barber has rushed for 1,110 yards this year after missing nearly all of his junior season with torn ligaments in his ankle.
Many schools wanted to see Barber run as a senior before offering, but he decided to go ahead and commit to Ole Miss over Arizona State and Clemson on July 29. It’s shaping up to be a brilliant recruiting move by the Rebels. Barber will take official visits to Ole Miss, Arizona State and Wisconsin but said he remains “99.9-percent committed” to the Rebels.
Barber had early offer from Georgia Tech before the Yellow Jackets got two other commitments at running back. “I’ve always been a fan of Georgia Tech, but I probably didn’t want to run in the type of offense they had,” he said.
What about UGA? There has been very little communication, even though the Bulldogs are still seeking at least one running back in this recruiting class after 5-star Derrick Henry de-committed from UGA and later pledged to Alabama. UGA is still targeting some higher-profile running backs, including Norcross High School’s Alvin Kamara.
“I’m not a Georgia fan after I went to Dawg Night [summer prospect camp] a couple of years ago, and I had a bad experience,” Barber said. “I didn’t feel like I got a good look there. I wasn’t put in the groups that all the other players were put in. It’s all good, though. I’m happy with Ole Miss.”
Helms said he had moderate interest from UGA and Georgia Tech, but decided not to wait any longer and committed to Wake Forest over North Carolina and South Florida. Harris picked Wake Forest over Maryland, South Florida and Marshall, while Fromayan switched his commitment from Cincinnati to TCU.
There’s more D1 prospects coming out of Milton in the future: Trayvon Paulk is one of the state’s top juniors at RB with early offers from Ole Miss, North Carolina and Vanderbilt; he would like to get looks from UGA, Florida and Tennessee. Meanwhile, Milton sophomore OL Nick Wilson has early offers from Tennessee and North Carolina.
WE’RE LESS THAN FOUR MONTHS AWAY FROM SIGNING DAY
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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