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Clemson, Maryland Lead Early Decisions

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal
July 1, 2003 Catching up on late spring and early summer commitments to ACC area schools: Weldon (NC) High DT/DE Kentwan Balmer, rated one of the top 25 seniors in North Carolina, committed to North Carolina over interest from Maryland, NCSU and Wake Forest. He announced for the Tar Heels soon after attending their summer camp in June. As a junior, he had 103 tackles and 11 sacks. He benches 290 pounds, squats 550 and runs the 40 in 4.9 seconds. Also an outstanding basketball player, he plans to play only football at UNC.

Camden (NJ) High DT Shukree Barfield, rated one of the top 25 seniors in New Jersey, opted for Clemson over Penn State, Rutgers, Tulane and West Virginia. Boston College, Iowa, Tennessee and Wisconsin also showed interest. He said he may still consider other schools, especially Miami or Ohio State if either extends an offer, but that a July 19 unofficial visit to the Tigers could firm up his decision. As a junior, he had 55 tackles and six sacks. At a Nike camp this summer, he ran the 40 in 4.95 seconds and bench pressed 185 pounds 21 times. He said defensive coordinator John Lovett was his lead recruiter with the Tigers and a big factor in his decision. Barfield has a 2.4 GPA and still needs a qualifying test score.

Millersville (MD) Old Mill DB Kevin Barnes, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Maryland, chose Maryland over Duke. Virginia also showed interest. He announced for the Terps after attending their summer camp in June. As a junior, he had 64 tackles and six interceptions as a cornerback, with 10 receptions for 229 yards and two TDs as a receiver. He runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds, has a 39-inch vertical leap and won the state Class 4A outdoor high jump title (with a 6-6 effort) last year. His main recruiter with the Terps was defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo. Barnes has a 3.5 GPA and a 1,070 SAT score.

Wilmington (NC) Hoggard PK Connor Barth, rated one of the top 25 seniors in North Carolina, selected UNC over interest from Boston College, East Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wake Forest. He announced for the Tar Heels after attending their summer camp in June. As a junior, he converted 54 of 55 extra points and 11 of 14 field goals, with a long of 50 yards. He also put 75 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone and averaged 39 yards per punt. At a Texas all-star combine in January, he was named the top rising senior kicker in attendance. He has a 3.7 GPA and wants to major in sports medicine.

Kennesaw (GA) Harrison FB/LB Justin Boyle, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Georgia, picked Duke over Navy. Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest also showed interest. He runs the 40 in 4.55 seconds and benches 310 pounds. As a junior, he rushed 55 times for 360 yards and five TDs and caught 10 passes for 110 yards and two scores for a 12-1 team. Harrison has sent numerous prospects to ACC, Conference USA and SEC schools in recent years.

Woodlawn (MD) High OL Scott Burley, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Maryland, chose Maryland over interest from Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. A four-year starter, he was a second-team all-state and all-region selection as a junior. He benches 350 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.3 seconds. He has a 3.1 GPA.

Florida QB transfer Patrick Dosh, formerly of Richmond (VA) Benedictine, chose East Carolina over Georgia Tech, Hofstra and James Madison. He will have three seasons of eligibility with the Pirates after sitting out the 2003 campaign. He cited his relationship with first-year ECU coach John Thompson, Florida's defensive coordinator last season, as an important factor in his decision. At Benedictine, Dosh captured two state titles, set the Virginia high school record for career passing yards (8,648) and threw for 74 TDs. After redshirting the 2002 season at Florida, he ranked third on the depth chart after a 5-for-18, two-interception performance in this year's spring game, and he faced more competition in Gainesville from two incoming prep All-Americans. He originally chose the Gators over UNC and Virginia Tech, after previously committing to the Hokies.

Augusta (GA) Westside PK Obi Egekeze, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Georgia, committed to Maryland over interest from Georgia, Ohio State and Penn State. A first-team Class 3A all-state selection as a junior, he made 33 of 34 extra points, five of nine field goal attempts (with a long of 54) and averaged 35.7 yards per punt. At the National Kicking Competition in Las Vegas in January, competing with more than 140 kickers and punters, Egekeze tied for top field goal honors, won the punting contest and was named one of the camp's top 12 underclassmen. Egekeze, who is of Nigerian descent, has a soccer background and began playing football only three years ago. His brother Ndu, a 6-6, 230-pound forward, is a rising senior and part-time starter on the Penn State basketball team.

McKeesport (PA) South Allegheny FB/LB Justin Guadagni, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Pennsylvania, chose Georgia Tech over Indiana and Purdue. Iowa, Kentucky and Michigan State also showed interest. A four-year starter with 4.7 speed, he had 102 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a junior. South Allegheny, which went 3-27 over the last three seasons, has had only two Division I-A signees in the last 25 years. Tech offensive line coach Joe D'Allesandris, a Pennsylvania native, was Guadagni's lead recruiter for the Yellow Jackets. While coaching in the CFL, D'Allesandris had as a player South Allegheny coach Jim Ward, who was fired after last season but played a big part in Guadagni's development. Guadagni has a 4.3 GPA and plans to major in engineering.

Madison (FL) County OL Bobby Hutchinson, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, chose Clemson over Syracuse. Auburn, Central Florida, Florida, FSU, Georgia Tech and UNC also showed interest. Projected as a center, he runs the 40 in 5.1 seconds and benches 320 pounds. He also throws the shot and discus for the track team. His main recruiter with the Tigers was first-year receivers coach Dabo Swinney.

Houston (TX) Strake Jesuit OL Ben Lemming, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Texas, picked UNC over Boston College, Northwestern, SMU and Stanford. Nebraska also showed interest. He benches 330 pounds, squats 440 and runs the 40 in 5.2 seconds. He is a member of his high school's student council and recently was recognized by the state House of Representatives for his service to the community. He has a 3.8 GPA and a 1,260 SAT score.

Ijamsville (MD) Urbana LB/DE Eric Lenz, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Maryland, chose Maryland over Boston College and Pittsburgh. Penn State and Virginia also showed interest. As a junior, he had 69 tackles, eight sacks and four interceptions at linebacker, plus 28 receptions for 352 yards and seven TDs on offense. He has blocked six punts and eight kicks in his career, and he runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. A first-team all-state selection as a kicker (sophomore) and as a defensive lineman (junior), he may play the Terps' LEO position (a combination linebacker/end) in college. He has a 3.7 GPA and scored over 1,000 on the SAT.

McLeansville (NC) Northeast Guilford DT Dennis Marsh, rated one of the top 25 seniors in North Carolina, selected Maryland over Clemson, ECU and UNC. Penn State and Tennessee also showed interest. After attending summer camps in College Park and Chapel Hill, he said the Terps won out because they want him to play defense, while the Tar Heels projected him as an offensive lineman. As a junior, Marsh had 68 tackles and six sacks. He benches 360 pounds, squats 500 and runs the 40 in 5.1 seconds. With a 2.6 GPA and a 770 SAT score, he must improve his academic credentials to qualify academically.

Greensburg (PA) Hempfield Area LB Mike Marvis, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Pennsylvania, selected Maryland over Boston College, Clemson, Indiana, Syracuse and West Virginia. Iowa and Pittsburgh also showed interest. In announcing his decision, which came after a visit to College Park, Marvis made headlines when he stated that the uncertain status of the Big East played a large role in his decision; he said he had been leaning toward the Mountaineers. He had more than 100 tackles as a junior for an 0-10 team in a Class 4A league in the Pittsburgh area. Mike's brother, Sam, signed with Maryland in 1998 (and graduated this spring) but rarely played for the Terps because of various injury problems. Sam, an offensive lineman, was a top-50 prospect in Pennsylvania in 1998.

Charlotte (NC) Providence RB/DB Andrew Pearman, rated one of the top 25 seniors in North Carolina, chose Virginia over Clemson, Duke, UNC, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wake Forest. The brother of UVa tailback Alvin Pearman, Andrew rushed for more than 1,600 yards and scored 23 TDs as a junior. One of the fastest players in the state, he runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds and the 100 meters in 10.54. He benches 280 pounds. He has a 2.4 GPA and a 950 SAT score.

Milford (VA) Caroline LB Brandon Samuels, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Virginia, opted for South Carolina over ECU, Marshall, Pittsburgh, Temple, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. UNC also showed interest, and Samuels said he may reconsider his decision if the Tar Heels offer. An honorable mention all-district selection as a junior, he had 82 tackles and two fumble recoveries. He also had 12 receptions as a tight end. He runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds. Samuels, a cousin of former Virginia Tech player Reggie Samuels, has a 3.1 GPA but still needs a qualifying standardized test score.

Lake Mary (SC) High OL Taylor Tremel, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, selected Clemson over Central Florida and South Florida. Alabama, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Memphis, Mississippi, UNC, Southern Miss and Wake Forest also showed interest. He benches 290 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.2 seconds. He has a 2.8 GPA and a 1,050 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Tigers was first-year receivers coach Dabo Swinney.

Randallstown (MD) High DB Christian Varner, rated one of the top 10 seniors in Maryland, chose Maryland over Marshall,
NCSU, Penn State, Purdue and Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia also showed interest. Also a pro baseball prospect, he batted .586 and played great defense in center field as a junior, earning all-county honors. He runs the 40 in 4.45 seconds and hopes to play both sports in College Park. He has a 3.1 GPA but still needs a qualifying test score.

Allendale (SC) Fairfax LB Courtney Vincent, rated one of the top 25 seniors in South Carolina, chose Clemson over an offer from South Carolina State and interest from Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Virginia. He attended camps at Clemson and South Carolina this summer but did not receive an offer from the Gamecocks. A first-team Class 2A all-state selection as a junior, he had more than 100 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions for a
7-5 team. He runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds. Offensive line coach Ron West was his lead recruiter for the Tigers. Vincent has a 2.4 GPA and still needs a qualifying test score.

Georgia Tech DT/DE transfer Scott Wolf, formerly of Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas, chose South Florida. A 2001 signee in Tech's last recruiting class under George O'Leary, Wolf redshirted the 2001 season in Atlanta before returning home after experiencing serious (stenosis) neck problems. A first-team Class 4A all-state selection as a high school senior, he originally chose the Yellow Jackets over Boston College, Michigan State, Virginia and Virginia Tech. He'll have three years of eligibility with the Bulls, whose doctors recently granted him medical clearance.

Top 2003 Classes Take Big Hits

As is the case in all major conferences, a significant percentage of ACC signees failed to qualify academically this year. And, as is usually the case, the top-rated 2003 classes — in this case N.C. State, UNC and FSU — took some of the biggest hits.

Williamsport (PA) High RB Darrell Blackman, a prep All-American who signed with NCSU, will attend Hargrave Military Academy. Hampton (VA) Phoebus DB Phillip Brown, a prep All-American who signed with Virginia, dropped out of Fork Union Military Academy this spring but still hopes to enroll at UVa in time for the 2004 season. Jacksonville (FL) Mandarin RB Brian Dennison, another NCSU signee, will attend Kilgore (TX) Community College. Rocky Mount (NC) Northern Nash DE Chad Green, another NCSU signee, said he will attend a junior college in Mississippi, probably Jones County (MS) Junior College. Baltimore (MD) Mt. St. Joseph WR Keon Lattimore, a Maryland signee, said he'll attend one of the Virginia prep schools. Georgia Military (GA) Junior College DB Brian Staley, a juco All-American who signed with Clemson, dropped out of GMC this spring but still hopes to enroll at Clemson in time for the 2004 season. Three UNC signees — Wilmington (NC) Laney DT Marcus Hands, Wendell (NC) East Wake DE Terry Hunter and Virginia Beach (VA) Kempsville DT Kenny Price — will attend Hargrave Military Academy.

Among the ACC signees who still had not confirmed their qualifying status entering July but held out last-minute hope were Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military DT Chris Anderson (FSU), Miami (FL) Carol City LB Maurice Charles (NCSU), Jacksonville (FL) White LB Guerlin Dervil (NCSU), Quincy (FL) Shanks WR DeCody Fagg (FSU), Daytona Beach (FL) Seabreeze LB Anthony Kelly (FSU), Jacksonville (FL) First Coast OL Aubrey McPhadden (FSU), Virginia Beach (VA) First Colonial DT Khalif Mitchell (UNC) and Georgetown (DE) Sussex Central WR Drew Weatherly (Maryland). Several other (unlisted) ACC signees also had not yet qualified entering July.

Milford (OH) High FB Joey Razzano, a Virginia Tech signee, was denied admission at Tech and thus became an immediately recruitable prospect. He signed with Kentucky and will be eligible for the Wildcats this fall. The Hokies recently asked him to take another science course this summer to bolster his transcript, but he declined. Razzano, whose father Rick played for Tech, originally chose the Hokies over Mississippi, where his brother plays. By the time the Rebels learned of Razzano's unexpected availability for this fall, they didn't have a scholarship available.

Others Announce Early Decisions

Bealeton (VA) Liberty DB A.J. Brown committed to Syracuse over Clemson, Indiana, Kentucky and Temple. … Miami (FL) Killian DB J.R. Bryant, formerly of Miami (FL) Columbus, selected Miami over Florida, FSU, Michigan, NCSU, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Rutgers. … Camp Hill (PA) Trinity QB Chris Crane chose Boston College over Clemson, Connecticut and Vanderbilt. … Boca Raton (FL) St. Andrew's OL Grant DeBenedictis picked Michigan over Central Florida and Northwestern. … Alpharetta (GA) Chattahoochee OL John Hafferty selected Kansas State over interest from Boston College, Kentucky, Mississippi and UNC. … Miramar (FL) High TE/DE Josh Julmiste opted for South Florida over interest from Auburn, ECU, UNC and NCSU. His brother Pat is a quarterback for the Bulls.

Mechanicsburg (PA) Cumberland Valley FB/LB Dan Lawlor picked Penn State over Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Vanderbilt. … Frederick (MD) Linganore TE/DE Mike Lucian chose Penn State over Georgia Tech. Boston College, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech also showed interest. … Wilmington (DE) Tatnall PK James Ohliger opted for Boston College over interest from Clemson, Virginia and others. ... West Chester (OH) Lakota West OL Dan Rehring selected Ohio State over Cincinnati, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, NCSU, Northwestern, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia. … Haverford (PA) School QB Bryan Savage picked Wisconsin over Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Maryland. … Coraopolis (PA) Moon OL/DT A.Q. Shipley chose Penn State over Michigan, Pittsburgh and Virginia. He also had offers from Boston College, Iowa, UNC, NCSU, Michigan State, Ohio State, Syracuse, West Virginia and many others. … Pahokee (FL) High DB Alphonso Smith selected Pittsburgh over Georgia, Michigan State, Mississippi State and Virginia Tech. He also had offers from ECU, Iowa, Iowa State and others. He's a productive quarterback in high school but expects to play cornerback in college.

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