LOVEJOY, Ga. – Atlanta showed why it's called Hotlanta this past Saturday as more than 90 of the top prospects in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina showed up at the final Rivals.com Junior Day in 2005. More than 90 Division I prospects were on hand, including at least 15 players that are under consideration for high three or even four-star status.
"This was a great event," Louisville (Ky.) DuPont Manuel defensive tackle Aundre Henderson, who measured in at 6-foot-3 ¼ and 289 pounds. "I learned what to do and not do in the recruiting process. Some of the things I learned, I wish I knew a few weeks ago when I began getting all these letters in the mail."
Rivals.com's keynote speaker is Joe Hornback of Des Moines (Iowa) Roosevelt. Hornback was a three-year letter winner from the University of Kansas and has established himself as one of the best in the state of Iowa and previous to that in Missouri at Grandview High School.
Hornback has spoke at the Rivals.com Junior Days for six years and this year's program stressed even heavier than before on academics. That part of the program was especially vital because the NCAA has focused so much in the past year on graduation rates and tougher academic standards.
"The talk about academics was the most important to me," Calhoun, Ga., receiver Kris Durham, who measured in at 6-foot-5 3/8 and 186 pounds, said.
"I know definitely know how important academics are to the colleges. I am already qualified with a 3.7 grade-point average and a 1030 on the SAT, but I also learned about what core classes I needed to make sure that I've taken care of."
Hornback also guided the players through the entire recruiting process, starting with talking to the players about how to fill out questionnaires and letters that they are receiving now, to how to handle summer camps, telephone calls and unofficial visits.
Several recruits, though, said the best advice that they got from Hornback came when he talked to them about what questions they should be asking when they meet a coach for the first time or talk to them on the one when they can make that initial call in May.
"I have my questions ready now," Jeffersonville (Ga.) Twiggs County running back JoJo Cox, who measured in at 5-foot-10 3/8 and 213 pounds, said.
"I already have good offers from teams like Clemson, Auburn, Maryland and Penn State, and now that I'm even more prepared I'll be ready to ask the coaches the right questions when they call me in May."