The auditorium at Douglass High in Atlanta was filled with an embarrassment of football talent Wednesday morning. The best high schoolers from the Atlanta Public Schools gathered to literally cap off their prep careers. The assembly line of athletes took the stage one-by-one, signed their letters of intent and put on a baseball cap with the logo of their future colleges, universities and academies.
The event could be summed up with one word, understated. Anyone expecting intrigue and suspense left disappointed. Administrators from each Atlanta school simply introduced each player, listed a few highlights and attributes, watched as the kids signed their “letters” and then, moved on to the next student-athlete. If the microphone was not turned-on, and the players didn’t sport their colorful caps, the audience would have a hard time separating the very good players from the most sought after, Damian Swann of Grady High.
In fact Swann, rated the No. 3 cornerback in the country by Rivals.com, made his announcement between some classmates that signed to play at Division 2 schools. Like the all the others Swann simply picked-up went along with the script. There was no need for the game of Which-Hat. Swann a rangy athlete with 4.45 speed in the 40 yard dash, really took the suspense out of the room by wearing a UGA sweater vest over a tie. When asked how long he knew Georgia was the only school for him, he remarked just a few minutes after pen met paper, “Every day since I gave them my word, since day one.”
Other students that formally committed to play for FBS schools this fall included Swann’s Grady classmate and best friend, Marcus Caffey. The no. 26 th ranked prospect in the state by Rivals, Caffey is a running back with 18 touchdowns in 2010 and has a frame begging to see a major college weight room. He looks forward to playing for Joker Phillips at Kentucky because of “the home atmosphere. It’s also a good situation to come in and play.”
Pass rushing specialist Lorenzo Mauldin from Maynard Jackson High is headed to play for the legendary Steve Spurrier and the reigning SEC East champion South Carolina.
Darrius Caldwell, another speedy, athletic pass-rusher from Mays is headed to play for Illinois. His high school teammate, Greg Eason will take his talents to the Naval Academy. Joining Eason at Navy will be Marcus Mack from North Atlanta. Another North Atlanta player, linebacker Eddie Jordan chose to head for the beaches of South Florida and play for Miami’s new head coach, Al Golden.
Of course, no matter how established the college program (be it like brand name Georgia or thestart-up Georgia State program), all the stars that took the stage seem to have a similar goal, the NFL. Defensive lineman Roderick Thompson from Mays High is no different and excited to play for Ga. State’s Bill Curry. In Thompson’s own words, “(It’s about) the rings, Superbowl rings, Coach has got Superbowl rings.”
Following is a list of all of today’s football signees from the Atlanta Public Schools website.
NEW SCHOOLS AT CARVER
Dequadis TuckerNorth Carolina Central
SOUTH ATLANTA HIGH
Julius MosesAlbany State University
James RobersonMiddle Tennessee
Roderick ThompsonGeorgia State
MAYNARD H. JACKSON HIGH
Maurion Raines Post Universtiy
Lorenzo MauldinUniversity of South Carolina
NORTH ATLANTA HIGH
Jim RusselBoston University
John Eagle Concordia
Eddie JohnsonUniversity of Miami
Grace SheaUniversity of Wisconsin – Soccer Scholarship
Dara DeMateoBoston University – Soccer Scholarship
Courtney HunterJohnson C. Smith University
Davanta RogersVirginia Union
Zachery WitchettHinds Community College
Treveon AlbertFort Hays State University
Eric BrewsterValdosta State University
Dijon ElderTusculum College
Omari ForemanValdosta State University
Darius HawkinsValdosta State University
Hoderick LoweTuskegee University
Damian SwannUniversity of Georgia
D.M. THERRELL HIGH
Riley LindleyValdosta State
Karnorris BensonWestern Carolina