ALBANY -- Mitchell County junior receiver Justin Scott did not waste time making a verbal commitment for college football. With offers already from Stanford and Georgia, Scott chose the Cardinal.
Talk about looking ahead to the future.
"I know, right?" laughed Mitchell County coach Dondrial Pinkins, who was the last Mitchell County player to play FBS football (at South Carolina).
Verbal commitments are non-binding, and athletes can change their minds as often as they want until National Singing Day on Feb. 3.
Knowing that, Scott said he still is open to other colleges, including coach Mark Richt's Bulldogs, but feels his choice is in the right direction.
"It's pretty exciting," Scott said. "I've been working hard and trying to better myself so I can be at the top of my game."
The senior said he had several other reasons for choosing a Pac-10 school, and academics and style of play are just two of them.
"I feel like the school matches my needs," Scott said. "I'm a big guy on academics. You've got to have the brains as well as the brawn. For an up-and-coming football team, they did pretty good in the Pac-10, and I feel I can bring something to the offense and defense."
Last season, Scott made 43 catches for 846 yards and accounted for eight all-purpose touchdowns. His speed also has seemingly attracted the coaches' attention.
Scott, who finished second to teammate Kyran Stewart in last spring's GHSA Class AA state 100 meters, then won the 200 and was part of the first-place 4x100 team.
"I think he opened the eyes of a lot of people with his track performance last year," Pinkins said. "As a receiver, that helped the process a whole lot. I think after this upcoming track and football season, he will have a lot of chaos going on with colleges contacting him."
Another reason Scott chose Stanford is family ties. His mother, Jennifer Scott, lives in Michigan and is considering a move out West. His uncle, Michael Crawford, lives in San Diego and a cousin, Kentavious Hazelwood, is in the Navy based at San Diego.
"This is about more than football," Scott said. "Stanford is one of the most elite schools in the world. It would give me the opportunity to get a good education and play football."
Pinkins, however, has reminded Scott of the importance of maintaining the intensity his senior year. Just as players can change their minds on which school to make a verbal commitment to, those same schools can rescind its offers at any time leading up to signing day.
"Those offers can easily be pulled away," Pinkins said. "He's got to go out and continue to work hard and prove he's Stanford or Georgia material and go out and perform at the talent level he is capable of."
Yes, Pinkins said, "Stanford or Georgia material." Scott even admitted that the Bulldogs could still sway him toward Athens.
"I told Stanford I would talk to other schools and determine if Stanford is right for me," Scott said. "Georgia could sway me, I won't say they can't. (Pinkins) has reminded me this is still very early in the recruiting process."
Nile Knapp, who played his junior season at Sherwood Christian and senior year at Southwest Georgia, has a variety of offers, ranging to partial to full rides, but his father, Ted "Rock" Knapp has been trying to keep things as normal as possible.
"Until he decides where he wants to go, we're just trying to keep it low key and keep it as small an issue as I can for him," said Rock, who was his head coach at Sherwood and an assistant at Southwest Georgia." Most of the offers are from NCAA Division II schools."
Nile, at SGA this past season, rushed for 2,192 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Rock said that Delta State has made his son partial offer, and Carson-Newman (partial offer) is high on his son's list along with Lindenwood (Mo.), which is offering a deal that, combined with other financial aid, would give him a free ride.
Nile, according to his father, is scheduled to make an official visit to Lindenwood, which lost in past season's NAIA championship game, on Jan. 23. Attempts to contact Nile on Thursday were unsuccessful.
"He does like Lindenwood a lot," Rock said. "I think he sees them as one of the lead dogs. Although they're a NAIA school, their facilities are better than most of the ones in NCAA Division II. They are going to play for a national championship every year and he likes that."
Distance, however, is somewhat of a concern considering that Rock has battled cancer during the past two years. Rock, however, is in remission.
"The downside is he would be far from home, and with my situation, he doesn't really want to be far away," Rock said. "But I've told him that he can't be considering that. He has to do what's best for him; and if he plays there, we will find a way to get there."
WORTH COUNTY UPDATE:
Worth County tight end Justin Tukes, who has verbally committed to play for Central Florida -- which is led by former Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary -- will make an official visit to Alabama-Birmingham, along with Rams defensive tackle Sherrod Loud, according to an e-mail sent by Rams coach Scotty Ward. Loud not only has offers from the Blazers, but also Georgia Southern and Western Michigan. Tukes made 19 catches for 198 total yards and three scores while Loud had 58 tackles, including six sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
Bainbridge tight end Markeith Chrispen will be among five of coach Ed Pilcher's players making official visits to Albany State this weekend. Chrispen, who made 12 catches for 168 yards, will be joined by Justin Harris, James Hudson Tom Smiley and Jonathan Warren. Seminole County coach Alan Ingram, meanwhile, said that offensive tackle Patrick Johnson (6-foot-1, 265 pounds) shows an interest in either Troy or Central Florida.