Georgia Recruiting Crop Looks Fruitful


by - Correspondent -
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Clemson commitment Jarrod Britt.

The Deep South is the hotbed of recruiting nationally and
Georgia may well be the heart of the South. Speed is the name of the game in the
South and the Georgia Class of 2003 prospects is no exception to that across the
board at every position.


The top recruit in the state this season will be defensive back Paul
Oliver
(6-0, 185) of Harrison. Oliver runs a 4.32 40 yard dash and had
nine interceptions as a junior and made 50 tackles. He took back two picks for
touchdowns and returned four punts for scores as well. On offense, he had 30
catches for 800 yards and nine scores. He is going to wait to announce his
decision on college, but Georgia and Texas are the leaders for his services.


As usual, there is no shortage of top quarterback prospects in the country
this year, and once again, that position is dominated by the Deep South and
three signal callers from the Peach State are among the South's finest.


Blake Mitchell (6-4, 185) of LaGrange was named All-State as a
junior after passing for 2,086 yards and 23 touchdowns to lead LaGrange to the
Class AAA Championship game. “He’s a perfect drop-back passer and he’s been
offered (scholarships) by pretty much everybody,” LaGrange coach Steve Pardue
said. “He has a really strong arm and understands the game." Florida, 
Floria State, Miami (Fl), Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Auburn, Kentucky,
USC, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, East Carolina and Middle Tennessee
have all offered Mitchell. Other Georgia QB prospects are Jimmy
Barthmaier
(6-4,205) of Roswell and Dustin Wade
(6-2,180) of Parkview. Barthmaier passed for over 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns
in his career and  Led the Hornets to a 9-1 regular season record (lost in
the first round of the state playoffs) with 1,451 yards and 10 touchdowns. Wade
led the Parkview Panthers to Class AAAAA State Championship in 2001. Wade
completed 101-of-155 pass attempts for 2,100 yards as a junior and was named
honorable mention All State by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His touchdown
to interception ratio was 26 scores to five picks. Wade has been getting
interest from Georgia, Florida, and Duke.


The running back position is always of interest in the state of Georgia as
the Peach state traditionally puts out some of the nation's best. This year,
they offer two very good running backs that have recruiters salivating.
Kregg Lumpkin (6-0, 195) of Stephenson ran for 2,088 yards and
29 touchdowns as a junior.  Lumpkin favors Georgia, Auburn, Florida,
Florida State, Miami, Nebraska and Penn State but remains wide open between the
schools. The other star back is Jason Evans (6-2, 185) of Harrison. Evans rushed
for 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior. He even got it done on defense as
a junior with more than 40 tackles and four interceptions. He earned all-metro
and all-region honors. He has over 20 offers and his top five favorites are
Stanford, Texas A&M, Boston College, Penn State and Notre Dame(not offered
yet) and named in that order. Other top running backs to watch are
Skyler Thornton (6-1,190) of LaGrange, Tashard
Choice
(6-0, 195) of Lovejoy, and Micah Andrews
(6-0,175) of Greater Atlanta Christian.


No less than seven wide recievers will be called upon by major schools and
they are led by Sean Bailey (6-2,180) of Milton. Bailey is one
of the top receivers in the entire nation. As a junior recorded six touchdown
catches on 37 receptions for 790 yards. He also racked up 260 yards on the
ground as a junior and had more than 80 tackles and three pickoffs on defense.
He has been offered by Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Ga Tech, Maryland,
Stanford, and Virginia. He is considered a lean toward Florida State, though has
not committed to anyone. Armand Cauthen (6-1,175) Douglas County is another top
ranked wide receiver and has been offered by Duke and Wake Forrest. Cory
Clemons
(6-0, 200) of Lowndes. Clemons caught 63 passes for 880 yards
and 11 touchdowns as a junior and lists Florida, Georgia, and Auburn as his
leaders. Other receivers to watch are Steven Rodgers (6-0, 170)
of Lakeside, Bill Grimes (6-2, 195) of Chapel Hill,
Brandon Allen (6-5, 190) of Westlake, J.T. Gartell
(6-2, 175) of Stephenson, and Harry Douglass (6-0,
165) of Jonesboro.


The lone tight end that will garner big attention will be Coleman
Watson
(6-5, 245) of North Springs. Coleman is a big, mobile tight end
caught 30 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns as a junior. "I think he's
going to be the best tight end in the state of Georgia," said North Springs Coah
Kevin Whitley. "He's got great size, great hands and moves real well, everything
you look for in a tight end." Coleman has been offered by University of Alabama
Birmingham, and has interest from Georgia, Nebraska, and Miami, as well as
others.


The offensive linemen in Georgia are big, strong, and fast and there are
several that will be playing on Saturday's next year. Zeb
McKinzey
(6-4,280) of Parkview is considered the best offensive lineman
prospect in the state off of what may be the best offensive line in the country.
McKinzey was named first team all-state offense line and first team all-region
as an offensive guard and defensive tackle. Clemson, Georgia, Vanderbilt,
Florida State,  and Arkansas have offered and he lists Georgia and Clemson
as his favorites. Jarrod Britt (6-4, 270) of McEachern is
another of the top blue chip linemen. Britt ended his recruiting early by committing
to Clemson. He also had offers from Auburn, Alabama,
Florida, Kentucky, Maryland and Arkansas. Other big men to watch from
Georgia will be Brandon Pligram (6-5, 275) of Parkview,
Tyler Medlin (6-5, 295) of Forsyth, Blake
Bonner
(6-3, 275) of Lowndes, David Overmyer (6-5,
270) of Parkview, and Gerrett Cranford (6-3, 280) of West Laurens.


The defensive line prospect list is as long as the offensive line list, and
just as talented. Marcus Dixon (6-6, 260) of Pepperell is the
leader and has committed to Vanderbilt. He recorded 65 tackles, three sacks,
seven QB hurries/knockdowns and seven pass deflections as a junior primarily at
the DE position. Also an excellent basketball player and 4.0 student.
Andre Fluellen (6-4, 270) of Cartersville is close behind Dixon
in rankings. This big defensive end recorded 88 tackles, 10 sacks, six forced
fumbles and scored two touchdowns as a junior. He has offers from Georgia,
Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, and lists them, along
with South Carolina, as his favorites in no particular order. Richard
Cook
(6-4,260) of Washington-Wilkes racked up 75 solo tackles, 30
assists, five sacks, five tackles for a loss and two fumble recoveries. This
defensive end lists Georgia and South Carolina as his favorites. Other defensive
linemen recruiters will be after are Josh Thompson (6-1,285) of
Statesboro, Scott Lenahan (6-1, 295) of Harrison,
Mansfield Wrotto (6-4, 305) of Brookwood, and Delanie
Means
(6-5,290) of Avondale.


The linebacker group is blessed with strength and versatility and that is
exemplified by Des Williams (6-2, 235) of Dacula. He runs a
4.65 40, and had 173 total tackles (70 solo), 20 tackles for loss, three sacks
and four fumble recoveries as a junior. A three year starter, he was named first
team Class AAAAA all-state last season. He is a solid commit to Georgia. Another
super backer is Jarvis Jackson (6-2, 205) of Washington. 
He was a second-team all-state selection and recorded 156 tackles, nine sacks
and two interceptions as a junior at outside linebacker. He's been offered by
Clemson, Ga Tech, Ole Miss, North Carolina, and Virginia. Other linebackers to
watch from this class will be Tim Cesa (6-3, 235) of Harrison,
Deonte Burman (6-3, 235) of Dooly County, Clinton
Willis
(6-0, 220) of Washington-Wilkes, Drew Robinson
(6-3, 225) of Cedartown, Matthew Wilcox (6-0, 210) of
Washington, and Matt Robinson (6-3, 220) of Cedartown.


Paul Oliver, the state's top player, leads the lists of top corner back
prospects this season. He is followed by Jeramie Johnson (5-11,
180) of Washington. He recorded 64 tackles and a state-leading nine
interceptions as a junior, and has been offered by Ole Miss, Maryland, North
Carolina, Clemson, Auburn, Memphis and Hampton. Adrienn Griffin
(5-11, 160) of LaGrange is attracting attention as well. He recorded 73
tackles and five interceptions as a junior. Also caught eight passes for 188
yards and four touchdowns at wide receiver. He has offers from LSU, Maryland,
South Carolina, Wake Forrest, and East Carolina. Other corners to watch will be
DeRae Allen (5-11, 175) of Lovejoy, and Deante
Battle
(5-10, 185) of Starrs Mill.


At least four safeties will see recruitiers at all of their games this
season. Avery Roberson (6-3, 185) of Washington leads this
group. He is a versatile defensive back with potential to play either free
safety or corner at the college level. A four-year starter, has 263 tackles and
12 interceptions to his credit. Has offers from Georgia, LSU, South Carolina,
Wisconsin, and has interest from Nebraska too. Johnny Edwards
(5-11, 180) of Starrs Mill recorded 60 tackles and six interceptions as a junior
and has offers from Duke, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forrest. Joe
Sturdivant
(6-3,190) of Parkview and Ryan Smith (6-0,
190) of Washington will also both get looks. Sturdivant had 133 tackles has a
junior.

Cody Scroggins (6-1, 185) of Rome  is a
versatile athlete who will get some serious looks.  A 6-foot-1, 185-pound
quarterback, Scoggins rushed for 886 yards and passed for 417 as a junior in
Rome's option-based attack. A handful of college programs are recruiting him for
that position, but others envision using his good frame and 4.4 speed at wideout
or safety.


Versatility, strength, and speed are the things that make Georgia high school
football players some of the most sought after recruits in the country each
year. As it is plain to see by this crop, the Class of 2003 will be no exception
to that rule and is the reason that Georgia is the heart of the Deep South.


Jim Baxter is the editor of GAVarsity.com and SCVarsity.com.

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