RECRUITING: Cunningham Looks At SEC Schools

Fighting off the double teams has become routine with Jermaine Cunningham, the imposing 6-4, 210-pound defensive end from Stone Mountain, Georgia. He knows that opponents have to account for him on every play but that doesn't stop him from getting to the quarterback. It seems that nothing can stop college recruiters from beating a path to his door, either.

(See Jermaine Cunningham profile)

Cunningham already has double digit sacks through two games. Friday night against McNair, he held up his end of the deal for Stone Mountain to help his team win a hard fought defensive struggle.

"I had four sacks but not sure how many tackles in a 9-6 game," he said.

As of September 1, college coaches can call recruits again and ever since, Cunningham's phone has been very busy.

"I had a couple of coaches call," he said. "Coach Mattison and Meyer from Florida called. Coach Ford from Virginia Tech, Coach Garner (Georgia), the Alabama coaches, and Tennessee coaches all called."

The Gators were among the first to call September 1 but they were unable to hook up with Cunningham, who is rated four stars by Scout.com

"They called me first thing on September 1st … it was pretty early," he said. "I can't really remember when exactly because that was when my (cell) phone was turned off."

His parents and coaches help shape his recruiting and guide him through the process. Without naming a leader, Cunningham knows he won't go far from home.

"Wherever my parents and I feel the most comfortable and the most at home at," he said about the school he will eventually choose. "They don't want me to go too far. My coaches help me with what to do … they tell me what questions to ask and they tell me to keep my options open.

Because he wants to stay close to home, Cunningham is taking long, hard looks at several Southeastern Conference schools.

"I am probably just looking at some schools in the SEC," he said. "Probably six or seven like Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, and South Carolina."

He talked about three of his SEC favorites:

FLORIDA: "The new coaching staff … I feel like they are trying to get the team right to win a national championship. I really like the staff and facilities and stuff. Coach (Stan) Drayton is an excellent guy and cares about his players."

AUBURN: "They are pretty good. Their coaching staff … like Terry Price … I have a good relationship with him and talk to him all the time."

GEORGIA: "They take care of their players. Considering that Kregg Lumpkin, Greg Gartrell and DeMario Minter … they all have been through the program and haven't had any complaints.".

When pressed about others, he wasn't ready to go in depth, "Really I like all the SEC schools, they are all about even," he said.

Cunningham is planning to schedule an official visit to Florida although he hasn't set a date yet. He indicated that he probably won't take his full allotment of five official visits.


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