Recruiting: Georgia loses five-star recruit

We normally don’t do de-commitments, but when it’s one of the nation’s top high school running backs, we’re happy to get some words in.

Derrick Henry, formerly a commitment for the Georgia Bulldogs, decided Athens is not going to be his home after all.

He said in a statement – covered by the AJC said:

“This has been a great experience getting to know so many great coaches and visiting some of the best college football programs in the country. Even though I’ve worked really hard to put myself in this situation, I know I’m blessed to have this opportunity I’m very thankful for that.

“For me personally, this is one of the biggest decisions I’ll make in my life and probably the most important to this point. I want to be 100 percent sure I am making the best choice on where I go to college and to play football. I’m going to open up my recruitment and take some more visits, get as much information as I can, and then decide from there. I was probably a little too quick in making my initial decision and got caught up in the moment so I apologize for that. I’m still considering Georgia and I have nothing but great things to say about their program, but I want to be honest with everyone in the fact that I am going to go over all my options and do what is best for me and my athletic and academic career.

“For the rest of the summer, I am focusing on helping my team have the best season that we can have and achieve our team goals. Please refer any questions about my recruitment to my head coach. I’m not sure when I’ll make a final announcement, but when I have no doubts at all about where I’m going, I’ll let everyone know.”

The de-commitment, while big news in SEC country, probably isn’t that surprising bearing in mind his visit to Alabama last weekend.

BOTTOM LINE: The move follows Henry’s visit to Alabama last weekend, in which he was seen wearing an Alabama shirt. And also, there’s the Nick Saban Factor, in which Saban’s history of great running backs (Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson) definitely seemed to turn Henry’s head. Do not be surprised if he commits to Alabama. 

Recruiting: Mississippi State gets three more commitments

Just when you thought it was safe to put away your cowbell, Mississippi State has just received three more major commitments – both on the attacking side of the ball.

First of all, four-star running back Kailo Moore, who hails from Rosedale, Mississippi, opted to play for Dan Mullen’s 2013 class. Moore ran for nearly 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns for West Bolivar, and he’s got frightening speed. He’s Rivals’ No.12 running back in the nation, and the second in the state.

To make matters worse for in-state rival Ole Miss, he originally committed to play for the Rebels, but decided to go to Starkville instead. He also received offers from Alabama and Vanderbilt- according to Rivals.

“It feels good to be back over here, its been a while since I’ve been here,” said Moore. “It is just the love that I feel when I’m here. The coaches are always happy to see me. And the fans are always glad to see me and wanting me to come here.”

Also added was three-star wide receiver DeAndre Woods from Pinson, Alabama, ranked as the 15th WR in the state. According to Rivals, he’d been offered by Arkansas, Auburn and Vanderbilt- among a slew of others.

But that wasn’t all for Mullen’s men on an incredible day for the Bulldogs.

Three-star athlete Gabe Myles – father of former Bulldogs player Eddie – also made a commitment. He had been a high-performing quarterback in his Starkville high school, but according to reports, he’ll probably play defensively in college.

Again, Ole Miss had made him an offer.

Recruiting news: Bulldogs grab monster QB commitment

The Mississippi State Bulldogs added two commitments on Monday, the Starkville Daily News has reported.

Floridian quarterback Cord Sandberg – noted by the News as being “top quarterback prospect on the MSU recruiting board” told the Daily News: “”I wanted to play football in the SEC. That was important to me. I know what Coach Mullen has done with other quarterbacks and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Sandberg was given a four-star rating by Yahoo Rivals and was listed as having offers from SEC rivals LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt as well as interest from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

He added: “”I am coming up to visit on the 23rd and 24th of July. I am not going to visit anywhere else. I know this is where I want to be and I am done with recruiting. I am a Bulldog now.”

But Dan Mullen wasn’t finished – he also landed Chris Jones, a defensive end from Houston (Miss.), who was considered more under-the-radar.



Recruiting: Georgia grabs one recruit, loses another to USC

Georgia has beaten Georgia Tech to the commitment for 4-star linebacker Naim Mustafaa, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reported.

He told the AJC: “I made my decision about a week ago; I just had to come down to Georgia and tell them face to face. It just came down to where I wanted to be, really. Georgia Tech and Georgia are both great schools. I had to choose one.”

Mustafaa is the son of seven-year NFL veteran Reggie Rutland, who played for Georgia Tech.

However, Saturday was not all good news for Bulldogs fans.

They had battled it out for in-state offensive linesman JP Vonashek with South Carolina, and ultimately lost the battle to their SEC rival.

Vonashek told the AJC: “It was either going to be South Carolina or Georgia, and I felt South Carolina was the best place for me. 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.”

He added: “I’ve been to UGA a couple of times, and I went to South Carolina today … Nothing really [went wrong] with UGA. I won’t say anything bad about them. I just liked South Carolina better, to tell you the truth.”

BOTTOM LINE: Vonashek is a big win for South Carolina – as it gives the team more help for the running of Marcus Lattimore up front – especially as they are still improving at quarterback.

Scheduling: SEC games open ESPN’s CFB season

ESPN will be showing two SEC games on the first night of the season, the network announced.

South Carolina’s tricky trip to Vanderbilt and Texas A&M first game of its SEC existence – against Louisiana Tech- will be shown on ESPN and ESPNU respectively. We’ll go out on a limb and say that we expect the Aggies- yes, even with THAT defence – to win that one comfortably.

You should also keep an eye out for September 13th, when former Auburn offensive co-ordinator Gus Malzahn takes his Arkansas State team on the road to noisy Lincoln, Nebraska for a showdown with the mighty Nebraska Cornhuskers. Later that day, Mississippi State go to Troy (you can watch it online on ESPN3).

Here’s the full list. We’ll go as far as saying that thus far, it’s a little uninspiring.

BOTTOM LINE: The early season showdown between South Carolina and Vanderbilt’s going to be great for two reasons. One, it’s an early sighter to see if Steve Spurrier’s men are ready for to be a SEC/National Championship Contender. Two, it’s a way to see how good James Franklin truly is, and if his rating in our SEC Top-5 coaches is truly justified.

Recruiting: Atlanta media frets over Henry’s visit to Alabama

The Atlanta media is already fretting about Georgia recruiting, and it isn’t even football season yet.

On the AJC’s website, the paper says: “Derrick Henry: Should UGA be worried about 5-star tailback visiting Alabama?

Henry, you remember, was seen as one of Georgia’s biggest recruiting coups when he plumped for the Bulldogs in July.

But Alabama has four things in its favour. Firstly, the Tide have  just won a National Championship – its second in three years. Secondly, the school’s last two running backs were Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson – who ended up being quite good, by the way. We hear Eddie Lacy could be something special, too. Thirdly, they’ve got the best recruiter/ coach in the land in Nick Saban. No five-star recruit is safe in an opposing school’s stable if Saban’s about. Fourthly, If you’re good and you go with Nick Saban, it virtually guarantees you a big payday in the NFL. Just ask Richardson, Julio Jones, and the Alabama defense.

Henry told ESPN: “I’m very excited because I finally get a chance to see the campus, get the whole nine yards, see the players, talk to them and get their side of it, and meet with the coaches. I’m ready to get down there.”

BOTTOM LINE: No recruit’s safe with Saban about. Anyone in the SEC knows that. And if we’re honest, we think he’s going to flip and wear Crimson. 


Georgia extends Richt’s contract

The Georgia Bulldogs have extended the contract of their sometime under-fire coach, Mark Richt, the school announced today.

The three-year extension will mean that Richt – who still has two years running onto his contract – will stay with the Dawgs until the 2016 season – if he’s not let go (which is always a risk in the SEC).

Last year Richt led Georgia from a 0-2 hole to winning the SEC East. They played well in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta before dropped passes eventually got the better of them and LSU won handily.

Chip Towers at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted on Twitter that the biggest bit of the story is “is no buyout for him if he chooses to leave on his own”, while Gentry Estes of Georgia24-7 noted that Richt would be paid out $4.8m if he’s fired at the end of the 2012 season, a number that falls to $800,000 each season thereafter.

Estes notes that Richt would have had to pay Georgia $2m if he’d decided to walk to another school.

“Mark Richt is not only the dean of SEC coaches, he is a person who has represented the University of Georgia extraordinarily well since he arrived in December of 2000,” said Georgia president Michael Adams.   “He has compiled a very strong record of wins and losses over that period. I am glad we were able to work out this contract extension which I believe is good for the University, good for football and good for Mark.”

Also signing a deal was Greg McGarity, Georgia’s athletic director, until December 2017. He will make around $500,000 per year.

BOTTOM LINE: This year Georgia is loaded and has recruited well, making it one of the favorites for the SEC East crown – although South Carolina and Florida will push them all the way.

SEC finalizes 2012 schedule

The SEC released its 2012 schedule.

We’ll be going through it at a later date, but right now, read, digest, and imagine. And cancel your Saturday weddings.

Aug. 30
South Carolina at Vanderbilt
Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech (Shreveport, La.)

Aug. 31
Tennessee vs. N.C. State (Atlanta, Ga.)

Sept. 1
Alabama vs. Michigan (Arlington, Texas)
Jacksonville State at Arkansas
Bowling Green at Florida
Buffalo at Georgia
North Texas at LSU
Central Arkansas at Ole Miss
Jackson State at Mississippi State
Southeastern Louisiana at Missouri
Auburn vs. Clemson (Atlanta, Ga.)

Sept. 2
Kentucky at Louisville

Sept. 8
Auburn at Mississippi State
Florida at Texas A&M
Georgia at Missouri
Western Kentucky at Alabama
Louisiana-Monroe at Arkansas (Little Rock)
Kent State at Kentucky
Washington at LSU
UTEP at Ole Miss
East Carolina at South Carolina
Georgia State at Tennessee
Vanderbilt at Northwestern

Sept. 15
Alabama at Arkansas
Florida at Tennessee
Florida Atlantic at Georgia
Western Kentucky at Kentucky
Idaho at LSU
Texas at Ole Miss
Mississippi State at Troy
Arizona State at Missouri
UAB at South Carolina
Texas A&M at Southern Methodist
Presbyterian at Vanderbilt
Louisiana-Monroe at Auburn

Sept. 22
LSU at Auburn
Rutgers at Arkansas
Kentucky at Florida
Vanderbilt at Georgia
Missouri at South Carolina
Florida Atlantic at Alabama
Ole Miss at Tulane
South Alabama at Mississippi State
Akron at Tennessee
South Carolina State at Texas A&M

Sept. 29
Ole Miss at Alabama
Arkansas at Texas A&M
Tennessee at Georgia
South Carolina at Kentucky
Towson at LSU
Missouri at Central Florida

Oct. 6
Arkansas at Auburn
LSU at Florida
Georgia at South Carolina
Texas A&M at Ole Miss
Vanderbilt at Missouri
Mississippi State at Kentucky

Oct. 13
Alabama at Missouri
Kentucky at Arkansas
Auburn at Ole Miss
Florida at Vanderbilt
South Carolina at LSU
Tennessee at Mississippi State

Oct. 20
Alabama at Tennessee
Auburn at Vanderbilt
South Carolina at Florida
Georgia at Kentucky
LSU at Texas A&M
Middle Tennessee at Mississippi State

Oct. 27
Ole Miss at Arkansas (Little Rock)
Texas A&M at Auburn
Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)
Kentucky at Missouri
Tennessee at South Carolina
Mississippi State at Alabama
Massachusetts at Vanderbilt

Nov. 3
Alabama at LSU
New Mexico State at Auburn
Missouri at Florida
Ole Miss at Georgia
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
Texas A&M at Mississippi State
Troy at Tennessee
Tulsa at Arkansas

Nov. 10
Texas A&M at Alabama
Arkansas at South Carolina
Georgia at Auburn
Mississippi State at LSU
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss
Missouri at Tennessee
Louisiana-Lafayette at Florida

Nov. 17
Arkansas at Mississippi State
Alabama A&M at Auburn
Ole Miss at LSU
Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Western Carolina at Alabama
Syracuse at Missouri
Jacksonville State at Florida
Georgia Southern at Georgia
Samford at Kentucky
Wofford at South Carolina
Sam Houston State at Texas A&M

Nov. 23
LSU at Arkansas

Nov. 24
Auburn at Alabama
Kentucky at Tennessee
Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Missouri at Texas A&M
Florida at Florida State
Georgia Tech at Georgia
South Carolina at Clemson
Vanderbilt at Wake Forest

Recruiting News: Mississippi State lands new QB

Mississippi State has relieved its worries at quarterback a little, the Clarion-Ledger has reported.

Jamil Golden, who is seen as a dual threat quarterback, enrolled just before summer classes, meaning that he’ll be available for the start of the season.

Golden had offers from Arkansas and South Alabama, but spurned the Razorbacks – obviously – with the chance of starting as soon as September.

The Bulldogs have Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott took snaps at practice, and Nick Schuessler was part of their signing group. Schuessler was not highly recruited in his home state of Georgia, and only had one FBS offer from Colorado State. Arkansas, however, also showed interest.

Sunday recruiting news: Dawgs grab new WRs

It’s been widely reported but this is the news out of Florida – the Georgia Bulldogs have gone down south and grabbed wide receiver Reggie Davis.

Tallahassee-based Davis, ranked the 17th wide receiver in the nation, was recruited far and wide by schools, including Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee out of the SEC and Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, NC State, and Oregon – amongst others – outside of the conference.

The 6ft tall Davis – a four-star receiver according to Yahoo Rivals – has a 4.55 40, and weighs 158-lbs.

The news comes hot on the heels of Georgia’s signing of Uriah LeMay (brother of Christian LeMay, who was recruited by Mark Richt last year) on Friday.

SB Nation says about him: “LeMay has a solid build at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds with good length and very solid strength. LeMay is not a burner and is not extremely quick off the line, but can get some deep separation. He is already very good at routes which require him to use his large body to shield defenders and create room to catch the football. And of course, he already has a great relationship with his future quarterback, Christian.”

BOTTOM LINE: The Georgia Bulldogs keep on stacking their commitments, don’t they? But the bottom line really is this: The Georgia Bulldogs haven’t been able to replace AJ Green and Davis and LeMay could start immediately when he comes on board in 2013 – especially if the dropped catches that plagued the Dawgs last season continue into 2012. And the Dawgs had better keep their eye on Davis – if Florida State have a good-as-some-people-believe 2012 they may come calling for the hometown wide receiver’s signature.

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