Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mallard Creek's Tart to walk-on at Maryland

Mallard Creek High punter Michael Tart has accepted an invitation to be a preferred walk-on in the fall at Maryland, Tart said in an e-mail message.
Tart, who's 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, was an All-Observer selection last season after averaging 43.7 yards on 32 punts as a senior. Tart said Maryland plans for him to redshirt in 2010 with the opportunity to earn a starting position and a scholarship in the future.
He said he also considered East Carolina and Wake Forest, but fell in love with the campus and coaches at Maryland after making a campus visit last week.

Ken Tysiac

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ex-Concord WR Lewis signs with ECU

Lance Lewis, a junior college transfer who played at Concord High, is a late addition to East Carolina's football signing class, coach Ruffin McNeill announced Wednesday.

Lewis recently closed out a two-year stay at East Mississippi Community College. He brings the Pirates' class to 19.

Ken Tysiac

Friday, February 5, 2010

Top 2011 QB Golson commits to Tar Heels

Myrtle Beach, S.C., High's Everett Golson (5).

Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High's Everett Golson, one of the top quarterbacks in the class of 2011 and No. 3 on the Observer's list of S.C.'s top junior prospects, committed to North Carolina in a ceremony at his school this afternoon. Details to come.

A link to our earlier blog previewing the ceremony is here.

2011 Myrtle Beach QB to choose Heels today?

Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High quarterback Everett Golson, considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation for the class of 2011, will make his college choice known today at 3:45 p.m. at a news conference at the school.

Golson, who long has favored North Carolina, has written scholarship offers including Clemson, East Carolina, Duke, Stanford, Michigan and Virginia Tech in addition to the Tar Heels. Golson is expected to play basketball in college as well.

The Observer ranks Golson No. 3 on its list of the top junior recruits in South Carolina (with our early list of top juniors in N.C., too.)

Listed at 6-1 and 175 pounds, Golson has started at Myrtle Beach since he was a freshman. He was a member of the South Carolina all-state football team as a junior, when he completed 224-of-356 pass attempts for 3,529 yards, 47 touchdowns and three interceptions. Golson also rushed for 199 yards and five touchdowns as Myrtle Beach finished 13-2, losing to Clinton in the state Class AAA title game.

In three years, Golson is 659-of-1,061 passing for 9,872 yards, 126 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. Myrtle Beach is 39-4 with Golson as the starter.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WR Underwood gets second chance with Pack

One N.C. State signee who hadn't appeared on the pre-signing day recruiting lists is wide receiver Bryan Underwood of Cleveland Heights High in Ohio.

Underwood signed with the Wolfpack last February but didn't qualify academically for his scholarship. He planned to attend a postgraduate prep school in the fall, but the prep school folded, according to Cleveland Heights coach Jeff Rotsky.

So Underwood continued working out with the Cleveland Heights players and worked to get improve his standardized test score. Rotsky said Underwood, who's 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, has achieved a qualifying test score and will enroll in the fall fully eligible for his scholarship.

"He's fast as [heck] right now," Rotsky said. "He's going to bring another year of maturity, which he desperately needed. He's a game breaker. When he gets the ball in his hands, anything can happen."

Ken Tysiac

Wake Forest Signing Day Update

Cornerback A.J. Marshall of Durham's Southern High headlines the list of football recruits who have made their commitment to the Demon Deacons program official by signing their letter of intent today.

Check back here over the course of the day for updates on Wake Forest's official list of commitments.
The Deacons' list of commitments (not including players who enrolled in January):
  • Duke Mosby    DT    6-2    290    Washington, D.C.    
  • Neil Basford    TE    6-4    240    Jacksonville, Fla.    
  • Ben Emert    RB    6-1    225    Ball Ground, Ga.    
  • A.J. Marshall    CB    5-11    180    Durham, N.C.    
  • Matt James    WR    6-5    205    Raleigh, N.C.    
  • Colin Summers    OG    6-4    310    Raleigh, N.C.    
  • Daniel Blitch    OL    6-6    305    Gainesville, Ga.    
  • Dylan Heartsill    OT    6-5    310    Prattville, Ala.    
  • Tanner Price    QB    6-2    190    Austin, Texas    
  • Brandon Terry    WR    6-5    210    Alpharetta, Ga.    
  • Kevin Johnson    CB    6-0    160    Clarksville, Md.    
  • Nick Knott    RB    5-10    170    Wylie, Texas    
  • Desmond Cooper    S    6-2    200    Jacksonville, Fla.    
  • Joseph Byrd    RB    5-10    170    Cape Coral, Fla.
- Lorenzo Perez, News & Observer

N.C. State Signing Day Update

Athens Drive offensive lineman Robert Crisp headlines the list of football recruits who have made their commitment to the Wolfpack program official by signing their letter of intent today.
Check back here over the course of the day for updates on N.C. State's official list of commitments.

The Wolfpack list of commitments:
  • David Amerson, 6-3, 180 S Greensboro, N.C.
  • Billy Bennett, 6-1, 220 PK San Diego, Calif.
  • Torian Box, 6-3, 295, OL College Park, Ga.  
  • Tyler Brosius, 6-6, 233, QB Waynesville, N.C.
  • Anthony Creecy, 6-0, 196, WR Durham, N.C.
  • Robert Crisp, 6-7 299, OL Raleigh, N.C.
  • Tyson Chandler, 6-6, 340, OL North Plainfield, N.J.
  • D.J. Green, 6-4, 205, S Macon, Ga.
  • Mustafa Greene, 6-0, 190 RB Irmo, S.C.  
  • Dontae Johnson, 6-3, 180 S Pennington, N.J. 
  • Andy Jomantas, 6-7, 260 OL Dayton, Ohio   
  • Art Norman, 6-1, 225, DE Stone Mountain, Ga.
  • Tobais Palmer, 5-11, 175 Athlete Pittsboro, N.C.
  • Raynard Randolph, 6-2, 325 DT Brandywine, Md.
  • Theo Rich, 6-3, 225, DE Portal, Ga. 
  • Pete Singer, 5-11, 190 S Raleigh, N.C.  
  • Thomas Teal, 6-2, 315 DT Bennettsville, S.C.
  • Bryan Underwood, 5-11, 170 WR University Heights, Ohio 
- Lorenzo Perez, News & Observer

Duke Signing Day Update

After spurning Tennessee's advances for its head coaching position, coach David Cutcliffe has wrapped up Duke's signing class with a strong North Carolina presence.

Nine of the 19 players in the class came from North Carolina, including highly regarded wide receivers Braxton Deaver and Brandon Braxton of Charlotte's Providence High and running back Josh Snead of Smithfield-Selma. The class also included a promising quarterback prospect in Brandon Connette of Corona, Calif., and SuperPrep All-America offensive guard Laken Tomlinson of Chicago.

Here is Duke's signing day list:
  • Issac Blakeney, 6-6, 215, WR, Monroe, N.C.
  • Anthony Boone, 6-1, 225, QB, Monroe, N.C.
  • Brandon Braxton, 6-2, 195, WR, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Kelby Brown, 6-2, 215, OLB, Matthews, N.C.
  • Jamal Bruce, 6-2, 265, DT, LaGrange, Ga.
  • Will Bryant, 6-3, 295, DT, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Takoby Cofield, 6-6, 300, OT, Tarboro, N.C.
  • Brandon Connette, 6-2, 210, QB, Corona, Calif.
  • Braxton Deaver, 6-5, 210, WR, Charlotte, N.C.
  • C.J. France, 6-1, 210, LB, Columbus, Ga.
  • Steven Ingram, 6-2, 340, DT, Southaven, Miss.
  • Dezmond Johnson, 6-5, 220, DL, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Jordan Ondijo, 6-5, 215, LB, Prairie View, Texas
  • Nick Sink, 6-5, 250, Line, Kernersville, N.C.
  • Josh Snead, 5-9, 180, RB (enrolled in January), Smithfield, N.C.
  • Quan Stevenson, 6-1, 190, DB, High Point, N.C.
  • Juwan Thompson, 5-11, 220, RB, Fairburn, Ga.
  • Laken Tomlinson, 6-5, 295, OL, Chicago, Ill.
  • Jamal Wallace, 6-4, 225, DE, Virginia Beach, Va. 
- Lorenzo Perez, News & Observer

Heels have whirlwind recruiting finish

Barring another signing day surprise (and coach Butch Davis is known for them), North Carolina has completed its signing class with a whirlwind finish that included some additions and subtractions.

On signing day, North Carolina stole Jacksonville, Fla., athlete Sean Tapley away from South Carolina and got defensive line signings from highly rated Tabor City defensive lineman Ethan Farmer, and defensive tackle Carlos Gray of Pinson, Ala.

Late last week, the Tar Heels wrestled highly rated running back Gio Bernard away from Notre Dame and athlete Tre Boston away from Cincinnati, tapping into Davis' connections to close the deal. They also added late-blooming defensive lineman Quinton Alton earlier in the week.

But North Carolina lost a couple recruits late, too. Tight end Alex Smith of Cincinnati, a longtime Tar Heel commitment, signed with Kentucky. And running back Casey Turner of Jacksonville, Fla., who had reportedly switched from Rutgers to the Tar Heels last week, signed with Rutgers after all.

The Tar Heels' list of signings Wednesday (not including players who were already enrolled):

Nick Appel OL 6-6 310 Vienna, Va. Bishop O'Connell

Tre Boston ATH 6-1 185 Cape Coral, Fla. North Ft. Myers

Jabari Price DB 6-0 175 Pompano Beach, Fla. Blanche Ely

Gio Bernard RB 5-10 205 Davie, Fla. St. Thomas Aquinas

Brendon Felder WR 5-10 175 Monroeville, Pa. Gateway

Russell Bodine OL 6-4 290 Scottsville, Va. Fork Union M.A.

P.J. Clyburn LB 6-2 215 Statesville, N.C. West Iredell

Tim Jackson DL 6-5 235 St. Petersburg, Fla. Gibbs

Kareem Martin DL 6-6 245 Roanoke Rapids, N.C. Roanoke Rapids

Ty Linton LB 6-2 215 Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte Christian

Quinton Alton ATH 6-6 250 Memphis, Tenn. Hillcrest

Carlos Gray DT 6-3 290 Pinson, Ala. Pinson

Reggie Wilkins ATH 5-10 175 Shelby, N.C. Crest

Sean Tapley ATH 6-1 185 Jacksonville, N.C. Raines

Darius Lipford LB 6-3 215 Lenoir, N.C. Hibriten

Ethan Farmer ATH 6-3 255 Tabor City, N.C. South Columbus

Ken Tysiac and Lorenzo Perez

Ex-Pack commit Hunter unlikely to sign

Fre'Shad Hunter, Cary High's exceptional defensive lineman, is not expected top sign a national letter of intent today.

Hunter had committed to N.C. State, but had dropped off the Cary High team during the season to concentrate on his academics.

"He is not going to sign with State," said Cary coach Ben Kolstad. "Right now, it is a little up in the air. I expect he'll go to a prep school or to a junior college."

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end is ranked No. 13 on the Observer's N.C. Top 25 list.

-- Tim Stevens

Top N.C. prospect Allen picks California

Defensive back/wide receiver Keenan Allen of Greensboro, who's the top prospect in the Observer's Top 25 N.C. players, has announced that he is signing with California.

A former Alabama commitment, Allen (6-2, 195) announced his decision at a news conference at a Greensboro restaurant. He's taking a group of friends with him, too.

His half-brother, quarterback Zach Maynard, is transferring from Buffalo and will attend Cal. Former Greensboro resident Gabe King and Central Carolina Sports Academy linebacker Chris McCain also are headed to Cal.

Northern Guilford cornerback James Scales announced that he's signing with Oregon.

-- Ken Tysiac

Farmer a big in-state addition for Heels

In the end, Ethan Farmer, a three-star defensive tackle from South Columbus High, went with his childhood favorite.

"This is what I had to do," Farmer said of choosing the Tar Heels.

At South Columbus, Farmer also played tight end. He said North Carolina has also talked to him about playing on the offensive line, at defensive end or as a linebacker.

"It doesn't matter to me," Farmer said.

But it's at defensive tackle where recruiters have him ranked among the nation's best.

Farmer, who's 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, is rated the No. 6 player in the Observer's N.C. Top 25. He gives North Carolina three of the state's top 10 prospects.

He plans to major in either sports medicine or communications.

-- Ken Tysiac

Palmer expected to play offense for Pack

Despite needs in the secondary and the outstanding defensive play of Tobias Palmer as a defensive back at Pittsboro Northwood, Northwood coach Bill Hall expects the Wolfpack to use Palmer on offense.

"He is a key who can play anywhere except in the line," Hall said. "But all the talk from the State people has been about using him on offense. They see him as a kick returner, a slot receiver and maybe come tailback."

Palmer was used primarily as an offensive player the past two years at Georgia Military.

"He had a great career there and I expect he's going to have a great career at N.C. State," Hall said.

Northwood had three of its players sign on Wednesday morning.

Terrance Hackney, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound offensive lineman who graduated in 2009, signed with Mississippi. He played last year at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military.

Senior runner Shane Pepper, who broke Palmer's single-season school record with 1,700 rushing yards last season, signed with Hargrave Military.

East Carolina had been very involved when Skip Holtz was the coach, but the new staff was not as interested, according to Hall.

"If Hargrave does as much good for Peppers as it did for Hackney, Pepper is going to be a big-time recruit next year," Hall said.

-- Tim Stevens

Heels add two, hold on to Wilkins

North Carolina has added two players to its class in signing day decisions, and held on to a commitment from a player who'd wavered between the Tar Heels and N.C. State.

The Tar Heels have received a letter of intent from Jacksonville (Fla.) Raines athlete Sean Tapley, who's 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds and is rated a three-star player by He had been committed to South Carolina.

Defensive tackle Carlos Gray, who's a one-star player, also sent his letter of intent to the Tar Heels. He's 6-3 and 290 pounds.

North Carolina also held on to athlete Reggie Wilkins of Crest High, who committed to the Tar Heels in September, changed his mind and committed to N.C. State in December, then re-committed to North Carolina last week. Wilkins (5-10, 170) is rated the No. 22 player in the state by The Charlotte Observer.

-- Ken Tysiac

Area college signees

Updating constantly:

GASTONIA ASHBROOK: football Christian Insley (N.C. A&T), Jordan Toomer (N.C. Central)


BUTLER: soccer players Holly Holsclaw (Wingate), Kyle Searles (Belmont Abbey), Rob Beatty (N.C. State), Vaughn Bandy (Va. Tech); football players Alex Polofsky (Princeton), Anthony Short (Winston-Salem State), DeMikael Burse (Emory & Henry), B.J. Woodley (Lenoir-Rhyne), Ryan Ferrell (Emory & Henry), Kendall Lamm (Appalachian State), Nate Charest (Catawba), Isaac Turner (preferred walk on at App State), Ryan Ferrell (Emory & Henry), Rico Arellano (J.C. Smith)

CHARLOTTE CATHOLIC: soccer player Evan Kent (Appalachian State)

CHARLOTTE COUNTRY DAY: football player Hedley Jennings (Trinity); soccer player Mimi Kleitches (Appalachian State); field hockey players Giovanna Golen (William & Mary), Tyler McFayden (Davidson); basketball player Janice Roberts (Furman)
CHARLOTTE CHRISTIAN: football players Parker Blazevich (VMI), Kelby Brown (Duke), David Durham (Ohio State), Sam Fulginiti (Elon), Ty Linton (UNC); soccer player Brittany Gendron (Western Carolina)

CHARLOTTE LATIN: Soccer players Kristin Horton (Liberty), McCallie Jones (College of Charleston), McKay Kirkland (Kentucky), Will McGinnis (South Carolina), Will O'Brien (Wofford)

EAST MECKLENBURG: Football players Ronnie Bishop (J.C. Smith), Tony Goodwin (Wofford), Rock Stone (Charleston W. Va.), Devin Moore (N.C. A&T), Olen Little (Wingate)

EAST RUTHERFORD: baseball player Drew Reynolds (East Carolina), Dakotah Thomas (Western Carolina); softball player Alison Ruppe (Spartanburg Methodist)

HOPEWELL: football player Justin Avery (Charleston, W. Va)

INDEPENDENCE: football players Jeremy Inglesi (Elon), Kierre Brown (Elon), Benjamin Mallouky (Davidson), Patrick Stewart (Lenoir-Rhyne), Anthony Carrothers (Grambling)

INDIAN TRAIL PORTER RIDGE: soccer player Liz Rounds (Charlotte)x

INDIAN TRAIL SUN VALLEY: football players Jeremy Busby (Wingate); Andre McManus (N.C. Central)

LAKE NORMAN: Football players Kane Sherrill (Wofford), Chandler Caldwell (Charleston), Avery Ekren (Wingate)

MARVIN RIDGE: football player Dylan Williams (Campbell), baseball player Byron Haag (Wingate), soccer players Ashley Aragona (Lee), Alyssa Clark (Coastal Carolina), Amanda Clark (Coastal Carolina), Chelsea Horan (Wingate), Toni Lashley (Charleston Southern)

MONROE: football players Issac Blakeney (Duke), Donnard Covington (Fay. State), Shamiir Hailey (Fay. State)

MYERS PARK: football players Hunter Westfall (Richmond) and Banks Jenkins (Catawba). Westfall missed the last five games of his senior due to injury. Jenkins was named all-Southwestern 4A and all-Observer in Mecklenburg County.

NORTH MECKLENBURG: volleyball player Hope Lowe, soccer player Emily Archer (Belmont Abbey), baseball player James (Jip) Richards (Davidson). These players will sign Friday at 1:30 p.m.

OLYMPIC: Football players Tyler McMahan (Miss. State), Anthony Henderson (W. Va. Tech), Lucas Beatty (Gardner-Webb), Sean Hubbard (Gardner-Webb), Tyler Hough-Jenkins (Gardner-Webb), Denzel Hooks (Chowan),

PROVIDENCE: soccer player Thomas Allen (Charlotte), football players Braxton Deaver (Duke), Brandon Braxton (Duke), Damon Magazu (East Carolina), Bryce Thompson (Townson), Keon Williams (Gardner-Webb), Jake Hall (Davidson)

SOUTH MECKLENBURG: soccer player Alex Leonard (UNC-Wilmington), football player Larry Kennedy III (Charleston W. Va)

SOUTH STANLY: football players Justin Taylor (Va. Tech), Detric Allen (East Carolina), Cody Melton (Air Force), Colten Burris (Campbell), Cruze Long (JC Smith)

VANCE: football player Dechane Durante (Northern Illinois)

WEDDINGTON: football players Darius Kilgo (Maryland), Anthony Boone (Duke), soccer players Lee Page (Wake Forest), Nicole Costa (UNC-Wilmington), Alex Kachulis (Wofford), Lauren Welch (Lee), volleyball player Alison Rickher (Wingate)

WEST CHARLOTTE: football players C.J. Montgomery (Fayetteville St), Travis Crosby (N.C. A&T). Note: Crosby played the football season at Victory Christian and transferred back to West Charlotte afterwards.
WEST ROWAN: football players Kevin Parks Jr. (Virginia); Chris Smith (Arkansas); Jon Crucitti (Army); Timmy Pangburn (Catawba); Eli Goodson (Catawba)

Letters of intent rolling in

Robert Crisp (N.C. State), Gio Bernard (North Carolina) and Laken Tomlinson (Duke) are among the big-name recruits whose letters of intent have already arrived at their respective schools on signing day, according to the schools' official web sites.

Here are some of the other letters that are in (not including players who have already enrolled):

Duke: Issac Blakeney, Anthony Boone, Brandon Braxton, Kelby Brown, Takoby Cofield, Braxton Deaver, C.J. France, Steven Ingram, Dezmond Johnson, Quan Stevenson, Juwan Thompson.

North Carolina: Nick Appel, Tre Boston, Jabari Price, Brendaon Felder, Russell Bodine, P.J. Clyburn, Tim Jackson, Kareem Martin, Ty Linton, Quinton Alton.

N.C. State: Mikel Overgaard, D.J. Green, Art Norman, Torian Box, Theo Rich, Tyson Chandler, Anthony Creecy, Tyler Brosius, Tobias Palmer, Andy Jomantas, Bryan Underwood.

-- Ken Tysiac

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Coveted RB Lattimore picks South Carolina

Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes running back Marcus Lattimore thrilled fans in his home state Tuesday evening when he announced that he will sign with South Carolina on national signing day Wednesday, according to The (Columbia) State Newspaper.

Lattimore is the top-rated player in the Observer's S.C. Top 25 rankings and is generally regarded as the best running back prospect in the nation. Lattimore announced his commitment during an evening news conference at his church in Spartanburg.

Auburn was the other finalist for his services. Lattimore is expected to immediately help a Gameocks rushing attack that finished last in the SEC in each of the last three seasons.

Ken Tysiac

Late-blooming lineman picks North Carolina

Quinton Alton of Memphis, a late-blooming defensive line prospect who's got a huge frame but has played just one year of organized football, has committed to North Carolina.

William Johnson, Alton's coach, got him to come out for football after he transferred to Hillcrest High from another school. Alton's mother initially opposed the idea because she was afraid he would get hurt, but relented after Johnson told her he had the potential to do big things.

Alton, who's 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, played defensive end, defensive tackle and tight end in his one season at Hillcrest and earned a late scholarship offer from North Carolina.

He'd had opportunities to take official visits at Middle Tennessee, Mississippi and Tennessee State, but declined to take them because he fell in love with North Carolina from afar.

Johnson said Alton will play defensive end or defensive tackle at North Carolina.

Ken Tysiac