- Jamie Newberg, RecruitingNation
Here are five things to watch this weekend in the Southeast:
Visit season starts for ESPNU 150 DE
This weekend kicks off the first of five scheduled official visits for ESPNU 150 defensive end Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County). Jenkins, who is the nation’s No. 5-ranked defensive end prospect, will trip to the University of Tennessee, as the Volunteers host the Georgia Bulldogs. Derek Dooley and Tennessee have some ground to make up, as they, along with Auburn and Georgia, try and play catch up with Florida and Alabama. For some time now Jenkins has favored the Gators and Crimson Tide.
Then again, if you are Dooley, this is what you want, a chance to host Jenkins and his family for the weekend on an official visit. The atmosphere should be fantastic on Saturday night and the setting always is just that in Knoxville on a game day.
Jenkins is also scheduled to visit Auburn (Oct. 14) as well as Alabama (Nov. 4), Georgia (Nov. 11), and Florida (Nov. 25).
Alexander heads to LSU
Will this be the clincher for ESPNU 150 OL Vadal Alexander (Buford, Ga./Buford)? The nation’s No. 3-ranked offensive guard prospect will make his official visit to LSU. Alexander, 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, has made numerous unofficial visits to Baton Rouge over the past year or so. In fact, he’s from New Orleans and still has plenty of family there who would love nothing more than for him to be a Tiger.
The Bayou Bengals have also committed Alexander’s teammate at Buford High School, long snapper Reid Ferguson. That should certainly help the LSU cause.
This could be Alexander’s last official trip. He visited both Alabama and Auburn during the month of September and continues to say it’s a battle between this trio from the SEC West. He plans on graduating in December and enrolling in college in January.
Top recruit from Nevada to visit Arkansas
Ronnie Stanley (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman), a four-star recruit and the top prospect from the state of Nevada, will make his first official visit to the University of Arkansas this weekend.
It’s unusual that the Razorbacks are recruiting this far west but there seems to be a great interest from the nation’s No. 39-ranked offensive tackle. In fact, Stanley’s parents are planning on attending the visit with him to Fayetteville.
This is likely his only trip to see Arkansas before his decision is made, so it’s imperative that things go well for the Hogs to have a shot.
Stanley said via text message on Tuesday that Notre Dame is the only other school he knows he will make an official visit to at this time, but no date has been set.
Stanley seems to be wide open and is showing interest in two other SEC schools, Auburn and Vanderbilt, as well as teams out west like Arizona, USC, UCLA, Washington and Cal. He also likes Oklahoma and Nebraska.
Keep an eye on the Sooners. Ryan Reynolds and DeMarco Murray are former players from Bishop Gorman who starred in Norman.
Valdosta and Lowndes meet Friday night in the Winnersville Classic, one of the great football rivalries in all of high school football, and both teams are 5-1 on the season.
Valdosta is the winningest high school football program in the country. Since 1913 it has won 23 state titles, 41 region titles and only had six losing seasons. In that time Valdosta’s record is 866-202-34. To put that in perspective, Valdosta could go 0-10 for the next 66 years and still have a winning record.
Meanwhile, Lowndes has won five state titles since 1980, four of those coming since 1999.
Lowndes star player this season is ESPNU 150 outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons, the state’s top prospect. Harvey-Clemons remains undecided and Georgia, Florida and FSU all have a great shot this high four-star recruit at this point.
Valdosta leads the series 33-16 but Lowndes has won the last seven games between the two. They are expecting 15,000 fans to attend the game, which will be airing on ESPNU at 8 p.m. ET.
Going for a milestone ... again
T. McFerrin gets a chance for 300 wins again. This head coach for Jefferson High School near Athens, Ga., has actually won 323 games as a head coach, but his first 24 came while he was coaching Central Sullivan High School in East Tennessee. So he’s stuck on 299 wins in the state of Georgia, as McFerrin’s Dragons take on Oglethorpe County.
“I could have had it last week but we lost to North Oconee,” McFerrin said. “Hopefully we will have better luck on Friday.”
He came out of retirement to accept this job two years ago. He was previously at South Gwinnett High School, where he coached former Georgia Bulldog quarterback David Greene and then retired in 2004.
“They were very persuasive in getting me back on the sidelines,” McFerrin said. “Then again, I can never stay retired. This is not the first time this has happened to me. But it’s been great here and winning No. 300 in Georgia will be special.”
This is McFerrin's 36th year as a head coach. He also coached at Peachtree, Tucker, Lithonia, Elbert County, Forest Park and SE Whitfield in the state of Georgia.