Valdosta Daily Times

January 27, 2012

Lanier’s Junior Gnonkonde visiting La. Tech, UNC

Clemons will visit Miami this weekend

Ed Hooper
The Valdosta Daily Times

LAKELAND — It has been a tumultuous few days for Lanier County football player Junior Gnonkonde.

On Sunday, the 6-foot-5 defensive prospect had his scholarship offer from Georgia Tech retracted due to low test scores, a move that came 11 months after he had committed to play for the Yellow Jackets.

Since the news of his dropped scholarship from Georgia Tech started to surface, Gnonkonde has been busy answering phones from coaches from all over the country. On Thursday, the Ivory Coast native paid a visit to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La. He will be back in Lakeland on Friday, appearing in Lanier County’s highly-anticipated basketball game with Wilcox County.

Following Friday night’s game, Gnonkonde will make an official visit to North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.

According to Lanier County athletic director John White, who serves as Gnonkonde’s legal guardian, a decision could come as early as Monday, with his current favorites being North Carolina, Louisiana Tech and Central Florida.

“To me, I thought he would go to Central Florida,” White said. “It is warm weather, and Junior likes the warm weather.”

Gnonkonde could receive an offer from the University of Florida on Wednesday morning, depending on whether Lowndes’ Josh Clemons signs with the Gators. According to White, Florida head coach Will Muschamp said they could extend a scholarship offer to Gnonkonde if Clemons decides not to head to Gainesville. In that case, Gnonkonde would likely sign with the Gators, even if he has committed to another school.

“If not Florida, I would think he would sign with Central Florida,” White said. “But I am not sure if his first choice isn’t North Carolina. The last question he asked me before he left was, ‘When does North Carolina play Georgia Tech?’ I told him week three. He has a little chip on his shoulder.”

Georgia called and said it had all its commitments, according to White, who also said he believes the Bulldogs think they are in the lead for Clemons. He doesn’t expect Georgia to jump into the running for Gnonkonde, unless Clemons decides to sign somewhere else.

If Gnonkonde doesn’t make a decision on Monday, and if he doesn’t sign on Wednesday — National Signing Day — then he will likely visit South Carolina, who “jumped in last minute,” according to White.

Lowndes’ Clemons to visit Miami this weekend

VALDOSTA — Josh Clemons won’t be with his Lowndes varsity basketball teammates Friday night when they visit Coffee. Instead, the 6-foot-5 five-star prospect will be in Miami on his official visit to the University of Miami.

The visit to “The U” replaced a previously scheduled visit with Louisville, which told Clemons not to come for a visit if the university was not a legitimate contender to land him.

On Wednesday night, Clemons entertained Georgia head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, both of whom attended church with him and his grandfather. That was until Clemons was called away from church to go bail a person out of jail (Clemons serves as a part-time bail bondsman). Richt and Bobo eventually followed Clemons to the jail, which has brought several headlines this morning regarding Richt’s visit to the Lowndes County jail.

On Thursday, Clemons ate lunch with Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. Not even an hour later, Florida head coach Will Muschamp was seen roaming the hallways of Lowndes High School. The two spent the afternoon talking.

Clemons will announce his decision, which has been narrowed down to Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Miami, at 9:15 a.m. on Feb. 1 — National Signing Day. His signing, which will take place in the Lowndes High gymnasium, will air live on an ESPN affiliate.