Photo by Heather Middleton
By Derrick Mahone
Marcus Hunt and Charles Mann use to be a blimp on most college's recruiting screen.
Now, the two soon-to-be seniors are on speed dial for most college coaches. In a year's time, they have moved their status as college prospects from the mid major level into being on most everyone's most wanted list.
"I have big expectations for Marcus," said Dave Telep of ESPN Recruiting. "I really love Charles Mann. He is a big, pure point guard."
Hunt and Mann have the ringing endorsements from the majority of the national recruiting services and hundreds of college coaches ringing their phone.
"You are seeing that your hard work is paying off," said Mann, who averaged 21 points this past season at Union Grove. In addition, he averaged 11 rebounds and six assists for the Wolverines, who reached the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs.
Mann started out the spring evaluation period with no major offers. The interest began to peak when NCAA national champion Connecticut made an offer. Next came an offer from Florida State, and then the offers begin pouring in. Locally, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State have extended offers.
He is currently holding 15 offers.
"It was pretty special getting that offer from UConn," Mann said. "I've been thinking about where I'm going to go."
Mann said he would like to sign in November during the early signing period after cutting his list down by August. He said he currently has set up official visits to FSU, Georgia Tech and Georgia.
"He has the ability to get the other guys the ball," Telep said. "He is one of the best natural passers in this class. He has a big advantage because of his size, and he is a good finisher."
Telep said that Mann needs to improve his outside shot, but really likes him as a top 100 prospect.
Hunt, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward, leaves this weekend for a camp in California. He will also participate in next month's National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Top 100 High School Camp.
The Clayton News Daily Clayton County Player of the Year has 18 offers including Georgia, Georgia Tech and Georgia State. The majority of SEC schools and several ACC schools are also recruiting Hunt, who holds an early offer from Final Four participant VCU.
"I think this guy has a lot of ability," Telep said. "He has an SEC-level body. He still has a lot to prove and has some big expectations. Marcus has a high-level package. He looks like a real competitive kid. There are some big expectations from him. He can be a top 50-75 player. If he doesn't reach that level, then he left some on the table."
Lovejoy junior Justin Tuoyo, who is rated a two-star prospect by some national recruiting services, has already committed to playing at VCU. The 6-foot-9 center said at the time of his commitment that he was solid with the CAA school. Known as a defensive specialist, Tuoyo averaged 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots last season for the Wildcats, who reached the second round of the quarterfinals of the Class AAAA playoffs.
"It was a wise decision by him," Telep said. "He can change things with his rebounding and block shot ability. It is a good fit for him."
The pipeline for top-rated players will not end after the 2012 class is gone.
Eagle's Landing sophomore Desmond Ringer is considered to be among the top-ranked players in his class. Although the 6-foot-9, 230-pounder has yet to get a scholarship offer, he has drawn the attention of several schools including offers from mid majors
Jacksonville and Mercer. He also has an offer from SEC contender Tennessee.
Ringer is considered a four-star prospect by ESPN Recruiting and is rated No. 30 overall in his class and ninth at his position.