Check out DawgNation's photo gallery live from the Georgia state high school track championships.
JEFFERSON, Ga. -- Coming off a personal record in the 100 meter of 11.10 seconds, Brendan Langley (Marietta, Ga./Kell) can now say he is a state champion, as the Longhorns clinched the Georgia AAAA state track title Sunday. Now the 6-foot-1, 186-pound cornerback can focus on trying to earn a championship ring on the gridiron as well. He took a step in the right direction at last month the Charlotte NFTC, picking up an invitation to summer's elite event, The Opening, held at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
“I learned a lot about backpedaling, hip placement and coming out low in your breaks to make it easier for a taller cornerback like myself,” Langley said. “I am very excited to be a part of The Opening, especially since I have never been to the West Coast.”
It was no coincidence that Mike Bobo from Georgia, Kirby Smart from Alabama and Derrick Ansley from Tennessee were spotted Friday at Memorial Stadium. The ESPN 150 defensive back reaffirmed his top three from his last visit to Athens in April.
“Georgia is still on top, followed by Tennessee and then Alabama,” Langley said. “I plan to camp at Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee and I will probably hold out on making my commitment after those. I think I am coming closer to my decision, and I think I will have it ready before the season starts.”
Gators stand out to RB Josh Mercer
One of the fastest prospects in Georgia has seen his recruiting heat up over the last few weeks, as running back Josh Mercer (Guyton, Ga./South Effingham), who placed sixth in the AAAA 100 meters with a run of 10.92, has picked up offers from Florida, Tennessee, NC State, Middle Tennessee State and South Alabama. Mercer says MTSU offered after coming to track practice, and Tennessee saw him work out. NC State and Florida are expected to stop by Wednesday, with Kirk Olivadotti from Georgia and a coach from Georgia Tech also planning to come by soon.
The Gators are in good shape with the 5-11, 185-pound running back.
“Florida stands out from the schools that have offered,” said the 5-11, 185-pound running back. “Brian White is recruiting me to Florida and he is a great coach who cares a lot about me and seems to really want me on the team.”
Mercer plans to camp at Florida, South Carolina and possibly NC State this year. He has discussed the possibility of camping at a fourth program in hopes of earning another offer.
“I have been up to Georgia and they said they really like me,” Mercer said. “They invited me to camp there this summer and me and my dad are talking about getting back up there for it.”
Despite missing two games last season, Mercer rushed for 1,359 yards and 20 touchdowns on 192 carries, adding 349 return yards and 189 receiving yards.
Tight end Jordan Davis looks to earn two more offers
With a personal-best 14.95 in the 110 hurdles, Jordan Davis (Thomson, Ga./Thomson) finished the year sixth in the AAA classification. Not bad for a 6-4, 220-pound tight end.
Spring practice ended last Thursday, and while Davis could not fully participate in practice with the team, several programs came by to see him run track and run some routes.
“Derek Lewis from Florida, Coach John Lilly from Georgia, Travaris Robinson from South Carolina, Dee Kitchings from NC State and a coach from Duke came by,” Davis said.
South Carolina, NC State, and Louisville have offered, and Davis feels Florida could be next. He hopes the Gators and Bulldogs like what they see from him this summer.
“Florida and Georgia said they liked my highlights, my size, my speed in track and my numbers in the weight room,” Davis said. “I want to camp at both schools, and if I earned an offer from both that would be a really hard choice to make.”
Davis says he claims the school power clean record of 335 pounds and he maxed out on bench at 325 pounds Friday.
Athlete emerges after sitting out
Rico Johnson (Swainsboro, Ga./Swainsboro) sat out his junior season after transferring from Treutlen, and he feels that the switch is why he is still searching for his first offer. After an impressive performance two weeks ago in Charlotte, along with taking first in the AA 100 meter and second in the 200 meter dash Saturday, the 5-11, 172-pound athlete might not have to wait much longer.
“I was getting a lot of letters, but then everything picked up after Nike camp,” Johnson said. “It was one of the best experiences in football I have ever had. I learned a lot about route running from the coaches up there.”
Some college coaches added Johnson on Facebook after the Nike camp, and Georgia's Kirk Olivadotti, along with coaches from Marshall, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama and Georgia Tech came by the school a week later. Johnson plays more slot receiver now, but admits his size might place him at defensive back at the next level. He hopes to impress the Bulldogs’ coaching staff next month in Athens.
“Georgia invited me to the Mark Richt Camp in June,” Johnson said. “It is an amazing feeling to know I have a chance to earn an offer from them. It would mean so much to me. I have been up there for junior day visits and they have one of the best programs around and the coaches are cool and make you feel at home.”
Mississippi State, Clemson, South Alabama and MTSU want Johnson to camp this summer as well.
Gordon Central duo getting looks
Tyshaun Clemmons (Calhoun, Ga./Gordon Central) was unable to qualify for the AA finals in the 200 meter dash, but the 6-1, 200-pound receiver admits he cannot complain when looking at how well his recruitment has gone.
Clemmons says he has had visits in the last month from schools including ECU, Arkansas State, Ball State, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Georgia and Middle Tennessee. So far, ECU, Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee and Ball State have offered, and Mississippi State, Kentucky and Georgia Tech have asked Clemmons to camp this summer. He hopes to soon earn offers from all three.
“Mississippi State could be the next to offer and I am looking forward to camping there and at Kentucky to try and get my first SEC offer,” Clemmons said. “An offer from Georgia Tech would mean a lot because it is a closer to home and my family could come see me.”
Clemmons said he made 64 catches for 900 yards last season, with 10 rushes for 110 yards and 10 touchdowns on offense as well as 58 tackles and an interception on defense. He said he is willing to play wide receiver or defensive back at the next level and said Tennessee likes him at safety.
Tight end D.J. Prather (Calhoun, Ga./Gordon Central) took fourth in the AA discus finals with a throw of 144 feet, 10 inches. The 6-4, 230-pound prospect says Wake Forest and Tennessee have come by his school, and Tennessee and Clemson invited him to camp there this summer.
Volunteers offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has told Prather to be patient, and he thinks he could be the first to offer.
“If Tennessee offers it would mean a lot to me and it would be the next step in a long process for me,” Prather said.
Prather says he made 25 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns on offense last year, with 76 tackles and nine sacks on defense.