By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal
December 1, 2003 Commitments continued to flow to ACC (present and future) programs in November, with Duke and Georgia Tech leading the way. DeSoto (TX) High OL/DT Elris Anyaibe, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Texas, committed to Georgia Tech over Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Purdue. A standout two-way lineman for one of the top teams in the talent-rich Lone Star State, he also had offers from Army, Baylor and Southern Methodist. He plans to major in either computer science or engineering at Tech, and he will make an official visit to the Atlanta campus on Dec. 12-14 unless his team is still alive in the playoffs that weekend. He benches 310 pounds, squats 520 and runs the 40 in 5.0 seconds. He has a 3.6 GPA and a 950 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Yellow Jackets is running backs coach Curtis Modkins. Baldwin (MO) Lafayette QB Taylor Bennett, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Missouri, picked Georgia Tech over Ball State, Baylor and Boise State while taking an official visit to Atlanta in early November. Akron and Northern Illinois also showed interest. A left-hander, he took only three snaps as a backup for Lafayette as a junior and almost gave up the sport to focus on baseball before shining during several spring and summer camps. As a senior, he completed 69 of 165 passing attempts for 1,044 yards, six TDs and three interceptions for a 6-4 team. One day after receiving their first tape of Bennett, the Yellow Jackets offered him a scholarship, without having seen him in person. He plans to graduate from high school in December and enroll at Tech in January. Chamblee (GA) High DB Rodney Ezzard, rated one of the top 75 seniors in Georgia, selected Duke over Brigham Young, Illinois, Navy, Ohio, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. A three-year starter at quarterback and defensive back, he threw for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for more than 1,600 over the last two seasons and helped his team to its first three winning seasons since 1988. As a senior, he had 80 tackles and four interceptions on defense, with 930 passing yards, 400-plus rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on offense. Ezzard, who benches 230 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds, is expected to play cornerback for the Blue Devils but may get a shot at QB. Jonesboro (GA) High DB Jamal Lewis, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Georgia, opted for Georgia Tech over Connecticut, Duke and Wake Forest. Auburn, Louisville, Mississippi, Southern Miss and Virginia also showed interest. As a senior, he had 65 tackles and one interception (for a 93-yard TD) for a 3-7 team. As a junior, he had 42 tackles and three interceptions for a 7-4 team. His Jonesboro teammate, defensive end Darrell Robertson, is a Florida State commitment. Lewis, who projects as a cornerback or free safety for Tech, benches 270 pounds, squats 420 and runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds. He has a 3.4 GPA and a 1,040 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Yellow Jackets is quarterbacks coach Patrick Nix. Jamestown (NC) Ragsdale WR/DB Andreas Platt, rated one of the top 50 seniors in North Carolina, chose Duke over Vanderbilt and Wake Forest but said he still may take official visits to those schools and possibly others, in addition to the Blue Devils (Dec. 5-7). Clemson, Maryland and Virginia also showed interest. He missed most of his senior year with a broken ankle but recently returned for a playoff game. In four regular-season contests for a 10-3 team, he had 12 receptions for 132 yards and five touchdowns on offense, with 21 tackles on defense. His Ragsdale teammate, offensive lineman Jonathan Terry, committed to the Devils earlier this year. Another teammate, defensive end Brandon Drumgoole, selected Wake Forest. Former Ragsdale star Emmanuel Byers is a freshman at Virginia. Platt ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds at a Nike camp over the summer, but his coaches said he normally runs in the 4.5 range. Hephzibah (GA) High OL Fred Roland, rated one of the top 75 seniors in Georgia, picked Duke over Middle Tennessee State. His also had offers from Louisville and Vanderbilt. Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and South Carolina also showed interest. A two-year starter, he was an honorable mention all-state selection as a junior, when he had 71 tackles and five sacks on defense. He switched to the offensive line this fall. Former Hephzibah star Brad Lee is a redshirt freshman offensive lineman at Clemson. Roland, who said he wants to study business and law at Duke, benches 330 pounds and runs the 40 in 5.3 seconds. He has a 3.2 GPA and a 960 SAT score. Cincinnati (OH) Anderson OL Rob Schirmann, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Ohio, chose Duke over Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Kent and Ohio. Cincinnati, Indiana, Maryland, Northwestern, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest also showed interest. An agile left tackle for a team that lost only once in the last three seasons, he runs the 40 in 5.1 seconds. Schirmann has a 2.9 GPA in a challenging college prep curriculum and a qualifying SAT score. Others Select ACC Area Programs Atlanta (GA) Westlake OL Courtney Abbott, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Georgia, committed to Florida State over Georgia, Kentucky (visit) and Virginia (visit). He also had offers from every other school in the ACC and SEC, plus Michigan and Ohio State. Known as Baby Shaq because of his 6-8, 330-pound frame, he benches 350 pounds, squats 500 and runs the 40 in 5.3 seconds. He has a 2.5 GPA and an 860 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Seminoles is defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins. Memphis (TN) Melrose WR/DB Carlos Armour, rated one of the top 10 seniors in Tennessee, selected Miami over Mississippi. He also had offers from Arkansas, Louisville, Memphis, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State. A two-way starter in high school, he's expected to play cornerback in college. His Melrose teammate, receiver Corey Kizer, also is being recruited by Miami and lists the Hurricanes (no offer) as his favorite. A track star who runs the 40 in 4.4 seconds, Armour was state runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles last year. He's on track to qualify academically. His main recruiter with the Hurricanes is receivers coach Curtis Johnson. Hutchinson (KS) Community College LB Carlton Baker, formerly of prep powerhouse Belle Glade (FL) Glades Central, chose North Carolina over Arkansas and South Carolina. He also had offers from Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi, South Florida and Texas Christian. Auburn, Florida, Kansas State, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Oklahoma also showed interest. A top-50 prospect in Florida coming out of high school in 2000, he originally signed with Arkansas over Louisville, Kansas State and West Virginia but failed to qualify. After missing the 2000 and 2001 seasons, he enrolled at Division I-AA Alabama State, where he had 44 tackles (fifth on team) and a sack in 2002. This fall at 7-3 Hutchinson, he had 42 tackles, 4.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries while playing middle linebacker, and he ranked second in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference with 14 tackles for loss. Baker, who runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds, said he plans to enroll at UNC in January but won't play for the Tar Heels unless he gets his academics in order by that time. He said he picked the Heels despite the fact that Carolina's admissions requirements were more stringent (requiring more classes and higher grades) than those of any other school that recruited him. He has two years of eligibility remaining. Fort Bend (TX) Hightower OL Tyrone Byrd, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Texas, opted for Miami over Notre Dame, Oklahoma and UCLA. Named the top offensive lineman at the Hurricanes' summer camp, he also had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Colorado State, Houston, Iowa, Kansas State, LSU, Michigan State, Nebraska, UNC, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh and Texas Tech. A three-year starter on both lines, he's projected as an offensive tackle at Miami. A 6-5, 265-pounder, who lived in Chicago before moving to the Houston area, he said his mother is 5-5 and his father is 5-7. Byrd benches 300 pounds, squats 420 and runs the 40 in 5.0 seconds. With a 3.1 GPA and a 770 SAT score, he's on track to meet NCAA minimums, but he must raise his test score to at least 820 to gain admission to Miami. Parkland (FL) Douglas OL Carlos Huggins, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, selected Boston College over Auburn, Mississippi, N.C. State and Pittsburgh. He said one advantage for the Eagles was that his sister attends Boston University, so he'll have someone he knows nearby during his time at BC. He runs the 40 in 5.4 seconds. Homestead (FL) South Dade RB Charlie Jones, rated one of the top 25 running backs in the nation, picked long-time favorite Miami over Florida and Ohio State. He also had offers from Auburn, Boston College, Duke, FSU, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, LSU, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Stanford, Tennessee and many others. As a senior, behind a brand-new offensive line, he rushed for 719 yards and three touchdowns while battling foot injuries. A second-team Class 6A all-state selection as a junior, he had 1,570 rushing yards and 18 TDs for a 6-4 team. As a sophomore, he rushed for 968 yards. He has been bothered by a recurring shoulder injury throughout his prep career but said he doesn't think it's a long-term problem. He benches 330 pounds, squats 420, has a 37-inch vertical leap and runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds. He has a 3.0 GPA and an 850 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Hurricanes is running backs coach Don Soldinger. Vanceboro (NC) West Craven DT/DE Gerard Miller, rated one of the top 10 seniors in North Carolina, selected N.C. State over Florida State. He also had offers from Clemson, East Carolina, Maryland, childhood favorite UNC, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wake Forest. A three-year starter at tight end and defensive end, he had 77 tackles and 11 sacks and caught 17 passes for a 13-1 team (still alive in the playoffs) as a senior. As a junior, he had 80 tackles and 13 sacks for a 12-2 team. Miller, whose coaches believe he could grow into a defensive tackle at State, benches 360 pounds and runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds. He said the school's coaches, players, location (two hours away), passionate fan base and the possibility of early playing time were significant factors in his decision. With a 2.5 GPA and an 800 SAT score, he must slightly improve his academic credentials to qualify. His main recruiter with the Wolfpack is linebackers coach Manny Diaz. Lancaster (PA) Catholic TE Ryan Purvis, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Pennsylvania, picked Boston College over Pittsburgh and UCLA. He also had offers from Stanford, Toledo and West Virginia. Maryland, Michigan, Penn State and Virginia also showed interest. As a senior, he had 29 receptions for 387 yards and scored seven touchdowns for a 4-6 team, while averaging 38.8 yards as the team's top punter. As a junior, he had 21 catches for 322 yards and three TDs for a 3-7 team. He said BC's academic reputation, high graduation rate, winning tradition, location (six hours from home), facilities (new $27 million building on the way) and exciting future in the ACC were significant factors in his decision. Also a solid prep basketball player, he averaged about 13 points and 10 rebounds last season for a 35-0 Class 3A state championship team. Purvis benches 260 pounds, squats 400 and runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds. He has a 3.8 GPA and an 1,130 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Eagles is defensive backs coach Kevin Lempa. Reserve (LA) East St. John RB Derron Thomas, rated one of the top 10 all-purpose backs in the nation, picked Miami over LSU and Nebraska. He also had offers from Colorado, FSU, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Tulane. As a senior, he rushed 169 times for 1,654 yards and 29 touchdowns and had 35 receptions for 583 yards and three scores during the regular season for a 10-2 team. In his team's only regular-season defeat (55-49), he had 375 rushing yards, 53 receiving yards and six TDs. As a junior, he rushed 149 times for 1,589 yards and 20 scores. He benches 250 pounds, squats 450 and runs the 40 in 4.45 seconds. With a 3.4 GPA and a 16 ACT score, he's on track to meet NCAA minimums, but he must raise his test score to at least 17 to gain admission to Miami. His main recruiter with the Hurricanes is receivers coach Curtis Johnson. Westville (NJ) West Deptford LB Tom Walls, rated one of the top 25 seniors in New Jersey, selected Boston College over Iowa, Maryland and Penn State. He also had offers from Indiana, Rutgers, Temple, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. He eliminated the Terps (fullback) and Nittany Lions (tight end) because they wanted him for other positions. He said he enjoyed his unofficial visit to BC over the summer, his official visit in late September, the location of the campus (six hours from home), the Eagles players and the coaches. He played fullback and linebacker in high school but projects as a linebacker for BC. As a senior, he rushed for more than 1,300 yards and scored a region-best 25 touchdowns through a 10-0 start, with more than 100 tackles on defense. As a junior, he rushed 190 times for 1,379 yards and 22 TDs on offense, with 80 tackles and two sacks on defense for a 12-1 state championship team. His former teammate, Damon McWhite, is a redshirt freshman fullback at Wake Forest. Walls benches 280 pounds, squats 500 and runs the 40 in 4.65 seconds. He has a 3.2 GPA and a qualifying SAT score. His main recruiter with the Eagles is defensive line coach Keith Willis. Prominent Prospects Head Elsewhere Roswell (GA) High DB Josh Allen, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Georgia, committed to Vanderbilt over Duke and Navy. Keyport (NJ) High WR J.J. Bedle, rated one of the top 25 seniors in New Jersey, opted for Syracuse over Duke, Indiana, Rutgers and Temple. Boston College, Colorado, Michigan State and Virginia Tech also showed interest. Flower Mound (TX) High RB Ryan Bewley, rated one of the top 250 seniors in Texas, selected Tulane over interest from Air Force, Duke, Louisiana Tech and Texas Christian. Cullman (AL) High DT Justin Britt, rated one of the top 10 seniors in Alabama, selected Alabama over Georgia and LSU. He also had offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado, Duke, Florida, Mississippi, Notre Dame, Oregon, Stanford and Vanderbilt. East Point (GA) Tri-Cities WR/DB Ramarcus Brown, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Georgia, selected Oklahoma over Auburn, Florida and Georgia. He also had offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Duke, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, UNC, Virginia, Wake Forest and Wisconsin. Greer (SC) High WR/DB Sinclair Cannon, rated one of the top 25 seniors in South Carolina, opted for Tennessee over Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. He also had offers from Clemson, Duke, Maryland, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. He played quarterback in high school but will move to wideout or cornerback with the Volunteers. Camden (NJ) Wilson DB Harold Dalton, rated one of the top 25 seniors in New Jersey, chose Iowa over Tennessee and Virginia Tech. He also had offers from Indiana, UNC, Purdue, Rutgers, Tulane and Wisconsin. Walkersville (MD) High FB/LB Tony Fiammetta, rated one of the top 30 seniors in Maryland, opted for Syracuse over interest from Maryland, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. Lakewood (NJ) High RB Dwayne Jones, rated one of the top five fullbacks in the nation, selected Rutgers over Boston College, Nebraska, Syracuse and Virginia. He gained 2,291 yards over the last three seasons but had only 247 this fall while battling ankle problems. Columbus (OH) Academy RB/DB Ray Jones, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Ohio, picked Stanford over Boston College, Duke, Kentucky and Maryland. He also had offers from Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He has a 3.6 GPA and a 1,210 SAT score. Warren (PA) High LB/DB Ben Maljovec, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Pennsylvania, picked Syracuse over Boston College, Iowa and Vanderbilt. Maryland, Northwestern and Pittsburgh also showed interest. Riviera Beach (FL) Suncoast WR/DB DaJuan Morgan, rated one of the top 25 receivers in the nation, opted for Ohio State over Florida, Miami, NCSU and Oklahoma. He also had offers from Auburn, Central Florida, Duke, Georgia, South Florida, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Rockville (MD) Georgetown WR Tommy Moss, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Maryland, chose Syracuse over Duke, Illinois, Kent State, Marshall, Northwestern and West Virginia. Maryland, UNC, NCSU and Virginia also showed interest. He's a second cousin of NFL star Randy Moss. St. Augustine (FL) Nease WR/DB Will Oakley, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, chose childhood favorite Alabama over Louisville. Clemson and Auburn also showed interest. In his first year as a receiver, after previously playing defensive back, he set a Jacksonville-area record this season with 1,283 receiving yards. His father, Bill, played baseball for the Crimson Tide from 1978-82. Will has a 3.9 GPA and an 1,100 SAT score. Hallandale (FL) High RB/LB Leon Pennington, rated one of the top 150 seniors in Florida, selected Michigan State over Florida, Mississippi State and Pittsburgh. He previously played at Fort Lauderdale (FL) Dillard, where former Spartans running back Lorenzo White is an assistant coach. Pennington's father, Leon Sr., played for Florida in college. Tuscaloosa (AL) Hillcrest DB Travis Robinson, rated one of the top 10 seniors in Alabama, picked Alabama over Auburn and Clemson. He also had offers from Arkansas, LSU, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Norcross (GA) Greater Atlanta Christian FB/LB Brannan Southerland, rated one of the top 10 fullbacks in the nation, chose Georgia over Notre Dame and Oklahoma. He also had offers from Auburn, Florida, FSU, Georgia Tech, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Nebraska, UNC, South Carolina and Wake Forest. Savannah (GA) Benedictine FB Jared Spivey, rated one of the top 100 seniors in Georgia, chose Central Florida over Navy. He has a 3.9 GPA and an 1,130 SAT score. Northeast Mississippi (MS) Community College DB Mario Stevenson, rated one of the top 10 juco defensive backs in the nation, opted for LSU over Arkansas, Auburn and FSU. He also had offers from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Tennessee and others. He's originally from Memphis (TN) Melrose. Little Rock (AR) Pulaski LB Matt Stoltz, rated one of the top 25 linebackers in the nation, chose LSU over Colorado, Nebraska, Tennessee and Virginia. He also had offers from Arkansas, Iowa, UNC, Oklahoma State, Tulane and Vanderbilt. North Augusta (SC) High LB/DE Brandon Thomas, rated one of the top 25 seniors in South Carolina, picked Mississippi over Kentucky, Louisville and Wake Forest. He also had offers from ECU and Vanderbilt, plus interest from Clemson and USC. Memphis (TN) Melrose DB Ellix Wilson, rated one of the top 10 seniors in Tennessee, picked Tennessee over Arkansas, Louisville, Mississippi and UNC. His brother, Cedrick Wilson of the San Francisco 49ers, also played for the Volunteers. LaGrange (GA) High LB/DB Wesley Woodyard, rated one of the top 75 seniors in Georgia, opted for Kentucky over interest from Arkansas, Auburn, Florida and Georgia.
Devils, Jackets Led November Commitments
By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal