ESPN rated Charlton Young’s 2010 Georgia Southern recruiting class No. 1 in the Southern Conference, and that was back in November.
CY isn’t done yet.
Friday, Jelani Hewitt, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard out of Northeast High School in Oakland Park, Fla. signed with the Eagles, becoming the highest-rated player yet to sign in this year’s class.
“He’s a guy that can play both guard positions,” Young said about Hewitt. “We want to groom him to be a point guard of the future, but coming in he’s going to play both guard spots. Very intelligent, a fierce competitor and a guy who’s played at the highest level his entire life.”
According to ESPN.com, he graded out at a 92, joining former Statesboro native Eric Ferguson (89) who currently plays small forward at Winchendon Prep School in Winchendon, Mass., power forward Marvin Bynham (86), shooting guard Trey Bussey (86) and power forward Sam Mike (80) as the Eagles’ 2010 freshman class.
With the recent transfer of sophomore Colby Wohlleb, the small forward position became crucial to address.
“It gives us an opportunity to bring in another player in the class, a class that we’re very excited about,” said Young. “I’m proud of what Colby did on the court this year, it was a pleasure to coach him and I’m disappointed that he’s leaving. I wish him the best of luck – he and his family. I want my guys to be happy, and he felt like he needed to make a move for his personal gain. You can’t fault a guy for that.”
Ferguson, who happens to be Young’s godson, enters the picture choosing to play at GSU out of a number of other options.
“If I was still at Georgia Tech, I’d have signed him at Georgia Tech,” said Young. “He’s that level of talent. We’re excited about him, and we’re also excited about the guys around him.”
Though optimistic, Young still feels that the long-term goal of becoming a SoCon powerhouse is still a couple of steps down the road.
“I think it’s going to take us two recruiting class to do it,” he said. “We’re really excited about next year with Willie Powers and Rory Spencer returning, Cam Baskerville, Ben Drayton, Johntavious Rucker. We’ve got five guys coming back that can give us some stability in the program where everything won’t be so new. The foundation has been laid.”
Young, a former player and a GSU Hall of Famer, knows all about the level of talent he’s capable of attracting.
“When I came here in my recruiting visit, a guy picked me up in a red Thunderbird by the name of Jeff Sanders, who was a first-round draft pick to the Chicago Bulls,” said Young. “The guy in the passenger seat was a guy by the name of Mike Curry, a 14-year pro with the Detroit Pistons and a former head coach. And I was in the back seat. That’s three Hall-of-Fame guys around the program at the same time. That’s the talent level our basketball program has had, and that’s the kind of talent we’re going to get.”
In addition to Hewitt, Young expects to sign at least one more recruit before closing the books on the 2010 class.
“I’m going to sign them, then sit down with the depth chart and make sure we’re not signing guys just to sign them,” he said. “We want to make sure he’s the real deal. If we don’t find what we’re looking for in this class, we’ll hold and sign a big-time talent that’s a championship person. That’s hard to find.”
Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.