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Thursday, January 1, 2009
Overheard at the UA game practices


The practice sessions for the second annual Under Armour High School All-America Game always bring plenty of interesting speculation about the uncommitted prospects. The committed prospects in the game typically act as de-facto recruiters for their schools in these situations as decision time nears.

Here's a little of what was "heard around the campfire" on Wednesday.

• Cornerback Branden Smith (Atlanta/Booker T. Washington) is a confident, articulate youngster who always gives the politically-correct answers when asked about his college choice. He does an excellent job of keeping his decision close to the vest when speaking with the media, but ask anyone who has spoken with him or covered him for any length of time where they think he's going and they all say, without hesitation, Georgia.

Will Smith follow the lead of former teammate Reshad Jones and head to UGA? Or will it be a surprise. One interesting point overheard on Tuesday was that Smith had been asking some commitments to another program why their school had backed off because he was "very interested". That piece of information screams undecided, but you can't ignore the constant speculation that he is Athens-bound.

• Wide receiver Andre Debose, safety Ray Ray Armstrong and defensive end Dyron Dye are all making announcements this week. Most of the scuttlebutt on Wednesday said that all signs point toward Debose to Florida. If this comes to pass, he's an outstanding fit to the Gators offensive system, a gamebreaking receiver with outstanding athleticism and speed.

The other two appear to be headed for Miami.

• Everyone who spoke with uncommitted defensive end Sam Montgomery (Greenwood, S.C./Greenwood) got a LSU-North Carolina-Michigan feeling from him. That makes sense as Montgomery has named the Tigers his leader in multiple news articles during recent weeks, citing his relationship with defensive line coach Earl Land. Also, North Carolina defensive line coach John Blake has made a huge impact on his recruitment and Michigan is working him hard as well (fellow defensive end Craig Roh, a Wolverines commit, has struck up a friendship with Montgomery this week).

Montgomery hasn't eliminated very many schools and quite honestly, his decision could go all the way to National Signing Day and may not even be resolved then. There are simply too many schools in the mix and too many things that could happen between now and then to think otherwise.

• There are rumblings that defensive back Greg Reid (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes), who is a Florida commit, could be looking to take a visit or two down the stretch. Georgia is the school that is making the biggest push at this time.

• Southern California receiver commit Alshon Jeffrey (Saint Matthews, S.C./Calhoun County) said after practice Wednesday that he was unsure about a reported official visit to Florida on the weekend of Jan. 31. By late afternoon, however, the official visit to Gainesville was on. Jeffrey will visit South Carolina on the weekend of Jan. 17 and Tennessee on the weekend of Jan. 24, before heading to Gainesville.

• Class of 2010 receiver Chris Dunkley (Royal Palm Beach, Fla./Royal Palm Beach), an ESPNU150 Watch List Member, says that the Gators and Bulldogs are out in front for his services. Dunkley is good friends with fellow Palm Beach County star and Under Armour All-American receiver Nu'Keese Richardson (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee), who is committed to Florida, so most believe he's likely to end up there.

• There continues to be talk of Richardson taking other official visits. It's not very likely that that happens and even if it does, he's extremely firm to Florida. Richardson is helping to recruit prospects not only in this class, but the next class, for the Gators.

• North Carolina wide receiver commit Jheranie Boyd (Gastonia, N.C./Ashbrook) believes that the Atlantic Coast Conference is "just as good" as the Southeastern Conference and that the Tar Heels will be competing for a National Championship within three years under coach Butch Davis.

• Be on the lookout for Class of 2010 receiver Kenny Shaw (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips). Word is he could be a player whose stock really rises once schools find out about him. South Florida and Central Florida already have offered.