Commentary

Georgia high school carving its spot

Originally Published: October 21, 2009
By Jc Shurburtt | Scouts Inc.

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Carver High is quickly gaining a reputation for being one of the Southeast's top talent-producing programs, and the Class of 2010 is no different. Four of its top prospects, defensive end Corey Crawford, offensive lineman David Beasley, quarterback Devin Burns and defensive end Brandon Smith, are coveted by some high-major programs.

However, this is not the first group of Carver teammates to be heavily recruited. In 2009, three prospects inked with BCS programs, including linebacker Jarvis Jones, linebacker LeRon Furr and defensive back Ryan Hubbard. In 2008, wide receiver Jarmon Fortson and quarterback DeRon Furr signed with BCS programs.

This year, Clemson commits Crawford and Beasley are two of the top sleepers in the Southeast.

Corey Crawford
JC ShurburttCorey Crawford displays the ability to use his hands and will flash the ability to push blockers out of the way.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Crawford has 11 sacks in seven games this year. He remains firm to the Tigers but has taken some visits to other schools and plans to take a few more.

"I am still committed, but I am just taking visits to some other schools," said Crawford, who recently visited Florida State.

"I like Florida State," he said. "It was a good environment. [Special-teams] coach Jody Allen is a cool, calm and collective type of guy. They lost their game, but they will be OK later on because they are a young team."

Crawford added that he may visit Florida, Alabama and LSU soon, but nothing is scheduled yet. Regardless, it will be a tall task for any program to overtake the Tigers as his No. 1 choice.

"If I was to change my mind, it would be because the environment is better than it is at Clemson," Crawford said. "It would have to be a place that is spiritually oriented because I have a strong relationship with God. It just would have to be somewhere I could see myself growing up for the next four years."

Beasley says he tries to improve every game and thinks he has gotten stronger this season. He has played stronger and improved his bench press to 375 pounds.

"This year, I feel like I should just demolish folks," Beasley said. "I have been playing a lot better and getting a lot stronger."

He feels he gets great work in practice (and he did Tuesday) going against Crawford, Smith and talented 2011 defensive tackle Gabe Wright.

"It really does make me better on a daily basis," Beasley said. "They want me to play left tackle at Clemson, and all of the defensive ends that they have there are about Corey's size. So practicing with Corey gets me ready for the next level."

Louisville, Southern Mississippi and Ole Miss all have continued to recruit Beasley after he committed to the Tigers, but he remains firm.

Burns is committed to Maryland and took his official visit to College Park during the weekend of Oct. 10 -- ironically, when the Terps defeated the Tigers 24-21.

"After the game, I came back to Columbus and talked some smack," Burns said.

Smith also is getting attention from a number of programs and holds a firm offer from Southern Mississippi. He plans to make an official visit to Tennessee on the weekend of Oct. 31.

"The coaches said if I come to Tennessee, on first and second down, I will be playing outside linebacker, and on third down, I am going to put my hand down and rush the passer," Smith said, adding that he prefers rushing the passer to playing in space.

Carver also has three outstanding prospects on the horizon for the Class of 2011. Wright, running back Isaiah Crowell and offensive tackle Quincy McKinney all hold multiple offers from BCS programs. Wright and Crowell are ESPNU 150 Watch List members and have dozens of early offers. Duke and North Carolina both have offered McKinney.

Leaderboard

There is a lot to like about Wake Forest's 2010 recruiting class, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. Jim Grobe and his staff have been evaluating up a storm for the past decade. Here are three who have created a buzz on the field and at events during this recruiting cycle.

LB Zach Allen (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee)
Allen showed off his athleticism as a tight end at the Nike 7ON camp in Portland, Ore., in July. He's big, fast and could be one of the most versatile prospects in Florida in this year's class. Wake Forest has a tradition of signing players out of Pahokee, and Allen will continue that tradition.

TE Jonathan Garcia (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida Baker)
Displayed good size and athletic ability at the Miami Under Armour combine in February. Garcia has good hands and runs good routes. He is a player you will hear about in the ACC down the road.

QB Tanner Price (Austin, Texas/Westlake)
Price showed off a big arm at the Fort Worth Elite 11 and Fort Worth Nike Football Training Camp this past spring. He puts up big numbers at his high school, and barring injury, he should have a great career.

Hot Sell: Notre Dame

Notre Dame is the hot sell for the third week in a row. The Fighting Irish hosted multiple official and unofficial visitors last weekend for their 34-27 loss to USC in South Bend, and most came away impressed. Wide receiver Tai-ler Jones (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) even switched his verbal commitment from Stanford to Notre Dame, and five-star prospect offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (Minneapolis/Cretin-Derham Hall) also had strong reviews of the experience. Notre Dame recruits nationally, and the USC weekend is a showcase weekend that pays big dividends for the Irish with prospects from coast to coast every other year.

Coast-to-Coast Notes

Floyd changes visit
ESPNU 150 defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia/George Washington) will not visit South Carolina this weekend, as was originally planned. Instead, he is planning to make an official visit to Ohio State to take in the Buckeyes' home game against Minnesota.

There is also talk that he may not make an official visit to Penn State, which was long considered the team to beat. North Carolina and South Carolina are also set to receive official visits, and he has already been to Florida and USC officially, so one team has to drop.

Floyd's scheduled visits to USC and Florida went off without a hitch, but in recent weeks, scheduled visits to Penn State and South Carolina have been shuffled in the days leading up to the visit.

Hicks
Thomas E. White\ESPN RISE MagazineJordan Hicks is the nation's top-rated linebacker.

Hicks could be in Tuscaloosa
Under Armour All-American linebacker Jordan Hicks (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) said during his weekly teleconference this week that there is a chance he could make an official visit to Alabama this weekend for the Crimson Tide's home game against Tennessee. Hicks also said he may visit USC the weekend of Nov. 28, when the Trojans host UCLA. Hicks is the nation's top linebacker prospect and the No. 2 overall prospect in the ESPNU 150.

Tapley taking five
ESPNU 150 wide receiver Sean Tapley (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines) has been committed to South Carolina since September 2008 but continues to look hard at other schools.

"I am going to take all five official visits and see what I can see," he said. "I am going to visit South Carolina, Miami, North Carolina, Ole Miss and Southern Mississippi."

Tapley was in Miami for the Hurricanes' win against Oklahoma a couple of weeks ago and says his teammate -- Under Armour All-American defensive tackle Louis Nix, who is committed to the Canes -- continues to try to persuade him to do the same.

Tapley has been playing mostly cornerback this season for his high school team.

Utah runner getting looks
Class of 2011 ESPNU 150 Watch List running back Harvey Langi (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham) now holds scholarship offers from Wyoming, Colorado, BYU, Utah and Stanford. He plans to start paying a lot of attention to recruiting after his season ends.

"I am going to really start visiting a lot of these schools and looking at them," he said. "I am going to be looking at the environment and of course the education and the coaches in the program. I want to go to a school with good standards and a good football program. I just want to find a good place for me to go play ball."

The 6-2, 215-pounder grew up a BYU fan, but the University of Utah was the first football program to offer him a scholarship.

"I liked the Cougars a little more growing up," he said. "But after Utah offered, I started paying a lot more attention to them and started watching them a lot more and liking them."

Langi, who has more than 1,300 yards of total offense and 14 touchdowns this season, also has received an offer from Stanford.

"That is a beautiful campus," he said.

Langi added that Miami, LSU and Oregon are among the other schools showing him attention.

Texas tidbits
Junior recruiting in the Lone Star State is really starting to heat up.

• Class of 2011 ESPNU 150 Watch List running back Herschel Sims (Abilene, Texas/Abilene) recently picked up an offer from Baylor. The Bears join Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in offering. Sims has been on two unofficial visits to Texas this season, and should the Longhorns step in with an offer -- as they are expected to -- it will develop into a border war between the Sooners and Horns.

• There is an early trio of schools vying for talented Class of 2011 athlete Leroy Scott (Pasadena, Texas/South Houston), who projects as a cornerback in college. Texas, LSU and Georgia are the three primary programs he likes.

• Class of 2011 defensive lineman Desmond Jackson (Houston/Westfield) has offers from Stanford, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Houston, Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor. Alabama and Texas are also showing interest. Jackson has some connections to the Crimson Tide program, so look for Bama to be a factor if things develop there. The 6-1, 270-pounder is an ESPNU 150 Watch List member.

• Arizona, Tulsa and Texas Tech have offered Class of 2011 ESPNU 150 Watch List offensive tackle Taylor Doyle (Austin, Texas/Lake Travis). The 6-5, 265-pounder has been a starter since his sophomore season.

Short stuff
Purdue did a nice job with four-star receiver O.J. Ross (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) during his official visit and is a serious challenge to North Carolina. Both programs could use his speed in their receiving corps. ... Class of 2011 ESPNU 150 Watch List defensive end Jalen Grimble (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) hopes to visit LSU and/or Michigan before the season ends. ... The recruitment of tight end Alex Smith (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) likely will come down to Cincinnati and Michigan, and it would not be a bit of surprise to see him stick with the Bearcats -- the team he's been committed to for some time. ... Under Armour All-American cornerback John Fulton (Manning, S.C./Manning) says that Alabama and South Carolina are dead even after his official visit to Tuscaloosa this past weekend. ... Wide receiver Dontavis Sapp (Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta) says he has an offer from East Carolina. ... Alabama is expected to start making a push for junior college defensive back Mike Harris (Torrance, Calif./El Camino). ... South Florida should be considered the team to beat for receiver Ace Sanders (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee), but there is a lot of talk about a possible offer from Georgia. If that happens, look for the Bulldogs to jump to the top quickly. ... Look for Class of 2011 Watch List athlete Damiere Byrd (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek) to get a lot of attention from SEC programs. He likes Florida quite a bit. ... Defensive tackle Michael Thornton (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) claims he's wide-open and is very respectful when he talks about all schools that are recruiting him. Supposedly, it's a Georgia-Penn State battle at this point, with the Bulldogs as the odds-on favorite to land him.

JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at jcsespn@aol.com.