February 23, 2011

Stephenson duo offered

One after the other, Stephenson High's Raphael Kirby and JaFar Mann walked into Georgia coach Mark Richt's office Wednesday afternoon.

Upon leaving, both players held written offers from the Bulldogs to become part of Georgia's 2012 class.

"It went down about 30 minutes ago," Kirby told UGASports. "This one means a lot. I'm from Georgia; I've always loved Georgia and followed the Bulldogs, being a hometown young man and all."

A 6-foot-2, 218-pound linebacker, the Georgia offer is the fifth for Kirby, who also has letters from Florida, Mississippi State, South Florida and Southern Miss.

Florida offered Kirby Tuesday.

"I've been to a few games at Georgia and it was great," Kirby said. "It was just as great now as it was then."

Kirby said he was particularly impressed with the new facilities at the Butts-Mehre Building where the Bulldogs train.

The last time Kirby was in Athens, the facilities were still in the early stages with only blueprints to show. Wednesday, Kirby got to see the finished product.

"I was just blown away," he said. "All the stuff the last time was just on blueprints, so to see everything in the finished stage was really wonderful to be able to see."

The Bulldogs and Gators likely won't be Kirby's only SEC offers.

He visits Tennessee this weekend with LSU and South Carolina also giving a close look.

"I might not wait to Signing Day to make up my mind, it might be earlier," Kirby said. "I'm just taking everything in right now, making sure my school work is in order and getting ready to try and help our team win a state championship."

At 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, Mann is one of the state's most sought-after defensive tackles.

Like Kirby, Mann is highly sought after by a number of SEC schools, with Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and South Carolina among his eight offers to date.

"I thought last night that I would probably get an offer today, and that turned out to be the case," Mann said. "I thought I would get it today, but it's still wide open."

In fact, Mann predicted that he would probably wait until Signing Day next February before making his choice known.

"The depth chart and where I stand will play a big role in where I go; that and academics," Mann said. "I just want to find a school where I can fit in."



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