Dawgs High on Stripling's List

ATHENS – T.J. Stripling hasn't visited a lot of schools, but he has already been blown away by one.

"This was all new to me," Stripling admitted. "I had never been to an SEC school before, but Georgia really impressed me today. They may be at the top of my list. I know that coaches say anything, but I didn't get that feeling today. I really felt at home."

The Southwest DeKalb star has a solid day last week at the CES combine in Atlanta, where he ran a hand-timed 4.5 second 40-yard dash. He said Georgia's coaches had been keeping track of him during the fall, and that they were glad he made the trip up to Athens.

Stripling said he was impressed with what Georgia had to offer, and was excited to see the future at the school, too.

"The facilities were great and they have some new stuff coming in soon," he said. "They said that they are going to put in a new weight room and a new field."

While Stripling hasn't made the rounds too much during his young recruiting journey, he has visited Ohio State.

"I spoke with Coach Richt during the trip, too, and he said they are going to take a look at my film and look at offering after that," Stripling said.

For now, Stripling says that he's motivated to work harder. He said he was glad to have spent time with Georgia's defensive ends coach Jon Fabris during the visit.

"He was giving me a lot of pointers about my hands," the junior said. "He told me that I am near the top of their list, but they are focusing on 2009 right now."

That remained the theme of many of the top juniors' visits at Georgia – "We are interested in you, but we need to close our 2009 class." Stripling said he understood that.

"The visit shows that my hard work is paying off. It means a lot to have my home-state school invite me to come down. Georgia is number one for me. I watch Georgia all of the time - they are my home school. Asher Allen came from Tucker. I know basketball players that went to Georgia, too. Quincy Carter went to SWD and the to Georgia, and he was a good quarterback for SWD and Georgia," Stripling said.

Stripling said he plans to stay in close touch with the coaching staff over the next few months – Georgia is very much on his mind.

"We are going to go back down for the next junior say in the spring. I want to see a couple practices, too," he said.

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