Georgia may have added a potentially important piece to its defense when linebacker Marcus Howard, one of the top high school prospects in South Carolina, said Sunday he will sign with the Bulldogs.
Howard (6-2, 205) boasts excellent speed and all-around skills, prompting comparisons with Boss Bailey, one of three starting linebackers Georgia must replace from its 2002 Southeastern Conference championship team.
Howard, of Hanahan, S.C., has an older brother, J.J. Howard, who will be a senior defensive end for Clemson in 2003. The younger Howard also has been recruited by Clemson, among other schools, but he told the Charleston Post and Courier he will not change his mind after committing to Georgia.
During weekend visits, Georgia also received a verbal commitment from linebacker Jarvis Jackson of Atlanta’s Washington High School. Jackson had been strongly considering West Virginia before Georgia made a late push. Howard, who also played running back at Hanahan High, made a big impact at Georgia’s high school camp last summer when he was clocked at 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash. After a strong senior season, Howard was named the South’s defensive MVP in South Carolina’s North-South All-Star game.
Howard will not turn 18 until October.
Meanwhile, offensive tackle Carlton Medder of Groveland, Fla., who for weeks has been rumored to be wavering on his commitment to Georgia, finally said that after a weekend visit to Tennessee he no longer considers himself to be pledged to any school. Medder (6-6, 320) said Georgia, Tennessee and Florida are even on his list of choices.
The decision of another linebacker considering Georgia, Dana Graydon of Dougherty High in Albany, could be affected by the career move of a former Georgia defensive coordinator.
Joe Kines stepped down as Florida State’s linebackers coach this weekend to accept the job as Alabama’s defensive coordinator. Graydon learned of Kines’ move while visiting Florida State this weekend.
Another linebacker, John Beason of Hollywood, Fla., said after a weekend visit to Tennessee that Georgia still is his first choice. Beason still has remaining visits to Florida, Florida State and Miami and has said he will not make a verbal commitment before the Feb. 5 signing day.
Quarterback C.J. Gaddis of Raeford, N.C., visited Georgia this weekend but reportedly told Georgia coaches he is sticking with his verbal commitment to Clemson.
With Howard and Jackson added to the list of verbal commitments and Medder removed, Georgia has 22 players who have said they will sign with the Bulldogs on Feb. 5.