By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal
June 10, 2002
The academic profiles of Class of 2002 members finally are in the books almost all high schools have completed the 2001-02 academic year, and the standardized tests were offered for the last time (before fall) on June 1 (SAT) and June 8 (ACT) but at least 23 ACC signees won't know their NCAA qualifying status until they receive their latest test scores over the next several weeks. A few others are dealing with off-the-field matters.
Wake Forest recently joined Duke and Georgia Tech as the only ACC schools whose entire recruiting classes have met minimum NCAA academic standards. Every other team has at least one prospect who still needs to upgrade his core-course GPA and/or test score in order to be a full qualifier: N.C. State (five), Virginia (five), Clemson (four), Florida State (four), UNC (four) and Maryland (one).
Through recent interviews with the players, their coaches and/or their families, the ACC Sports Journal confirmed that the following prospects remained short of NCAA minimum standards in early June: Avon (CT) Old Farms WR LaMart Barrett, Tampa (FL) Hillsborough LB/DE Elijah Dukes, Belle Glade (FL) Glades Central DB Garland Heath and Vienna (GA) Dooly County DT Alex Lumpkin of N.C. State; Arlington (VA) Washington-Lee DT Robert Armstrong, Woodbridge (VA) Hylton LB Ahmad Brooks, Dumfries (VA) Potomac DT Keenan Carter and Nassau (NY) Community College OL Robert Jenkins of Virginia; Conyers (GA) Rockdale County DE Irvin Brisker, Kannapolis (NC) Brown DB Chris Carter and Pamplico (SC) Hannah-Pamplico DT/DE Cory Groover of Clemson; Jacksonville (FL) Mandarin DT Chris Anderson, Jacksonville (FL) White TE Lonnie Davis and Punta Gorda (FL) Charlotte WR Dishon Platt of Florida State; and Camden (NJ) Wilson LB Melik Brown, Wadesboro (NC) Anson County DB Cedrick Holt and Wilmington (NC) Laney DB Rashaad Tindall of North Carolina. Six other prospects, included in the team numbers above, declined to confirm their academic status but also reportedly remained short of NCAA minimums.
At least five players appear very unlikely to be on an ACC campus this fall. Dukes, a third-round pick of Tampa Bay in the recent Major League Baseball draft, remains short of NCAA minimums and is expected to sign with the Devil Rays for a signing bonus of more than $500,000. Lumpkin said he's likely to enroll at Hinds (MS) Community College on the advice of NCSU coaches. Jenkins actually met NCAA standards coming out of high school but is expected to be turned down for the second year in a row by the UVa admissions department. Groover is expected to enroll at prep school or junior college. Anderson enrolled for a summer session at Butler County (KS) Community College; under ACC and NCAA rules, the earliest he could arrive at FSU via the juco route is January 2004.
Among those ACC signees who recently reported qualifying scores were Tampa (FL) Chamberlain WR Brian Clark (NCSU), Durham (NC) Northern WR/DB A.J. Davis (NCSU), Tampa (FL) Chamberlain LB Oliver Hoyte (NCSU), Lakeland (FL) Jenkins RB J.P. Humber (Maryland) and Tallahassee (FL) Lincoln DB Pat Watkins (FSU).
Meanwhile, at least three other Class of 2002 signees are dealing with off-the-field matters some good, some bad that may complicate their fall arrivals.
Lilburn (GA) Parkview DB Jeff Francoeur, a Clemson signee, was a first-round selection (23rd overall) of Atlanta in the baseball draft and is expected to sign with the Braves for a signing bonus of more than $1 million. New Orleans (LA) Karr FB Ajenavi Eziemefe, a Georgia Tech signee, was arrested in May on charges of burglary (stealing a mascot statue) and property damage (spray-painting obscenities) after participating in an apparent "senior prank" at his high school; he faces up to 14 years behind bars if convicted on both counts, although prosecutors said prison time is unlikely for such acts. Hagerstown (MD) South DB Domonique Richmond, a Maryland signee, was arrested in March on charges of marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession after allegedly purchasing the drug from a fellow student while on high school property; a judge later agreed to set aside the charges as long as Richmond doesn't commit any crimes for a year, but South Hagerstown officials refused to allow the three-sport star on the playing field this spring.
Other Recent Comings And Goings
Former Commerce (GA) High star Michael Collins (6-6, 215), who signed a football scholarship with Tennessee in 2001 after a stellar two-sport career in high school, announced plans to transfer to Clemson. A prep All-American wide receiver and top-150 hoops prospect, he sat out last fall with the Volunteers as a redshirt and became homesick. A cousin of former Clemson tailback Terry Allen, he will sit out 2002-03 under NCAA transfer rules, then have three seasons of eligibility (in both sports) for the Tigers.
Miami (FL) Central QB Courtney Denson (6-1, 185), rated one of the top 50 rising seniors in Florida, committed to Virginia Tech over scholarship offers from Auburn, Boston College, Central Florida, Florida State, N.C. State, Northwestern and Rutgers. A Michael Vick fan who's projected as a defensive back or wide receiver by most college programs, Denson said he picked the Hokies in part because they promised a chance to play quarterback. He threw for more than 2,000 yards and ran for more than 400 as a junior, while accounting for 25 touchdowns. A solid student (2.8 GPA, 1,160 SAT), he's a brother of former FSU defensive back Clevan Thomas. A few days after announcing his commitment, Denson said he may take official visits to Florida, FSU, Miami and perhaps others.
Elsewhere: Virginia Tech RB Keith Burnell (5-11, 208), a part-time starter last season who had fallen to third on the Hokies' depth chart behind Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones, decided to transfer to Division I-AA Delaware for his final season of eligibility. He will be eligible this fall. Honea Path (SC) Belton RB Jamayes Dixon, a top-25 prospect in the Palmetto State's Class of 2002, signed with Reedley (CA) Junior College. He said he hopes to sign with South Carolina in 2004. Bradenton (FL) Lakewood Ranch RB Markeith McQueen (5-10, 175), unranked, signed with East Carolina at the end of college football's annual signing period. He ran for 1,446 yards on 198 carries as a senior while scoring 19 touchdowns. Also a track star, he has 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash and 10.4 speed in the 100 meters. He was planning to attend junior college before posting a qualifying SAT score in May. Virginia QB Bryson Spinner (6-2, 235) and his brother, Virginia TE Tyree Spinner (6-7, 257), decided to transfer to Division I-AA Richmond. Bryson, who started six games for the Cavaliers last year, has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Tyree, a 2001 redshirt in Charlottesville, has four seasons of eligibility remaining. Both can play this fall.