Micah Abernathy: Tennessee edges UGA for 4-star DB

Tennessee's Butch Jones (AP)

Tennessee’s Butch Jones coached Micah Abernathy’s brother at Cincinnati (AP file)

Tennessee edged out UGA on Friday for Micah Abernathy, the 4-star cornerback from Greater Atlanta Christina who was one of the state’s top uncommitted prospects.

“It was a tough decision,” his mother, Annette Abernathy, told the AJC. “We discussed it as a family, the five of us: Micah, my husband, his brother, his sister and myself. We weighed all of the pros and cons between the universities. It wasn’t an easy decision until Micah decided that he felt most comfortable with Tennessee.

“And I’ll be honest with you: We did take a huge liking to the University of Georgia family. And that part of was difficult – having to tell them ‘no, that he wasn’t coming there.’ Mark Richt and Coach Pruitt are great men. They made a great impact on Micah as well. That was a difficult decision, and something hard to say when we called Coach Pruitt on Thursday evening. We called out of respect for Coach Pruitt to inform him as opposed to letting him find out first on Social Media.”

One big difference-maker that really helped out Tennessee against UGA was that Abernathy’s older brother, Ralph David Abernathy IV, played for Butch Jones for two seasons at Cincinnati – and before he became coach of the Volunteers. The family felt comfortable with Jones and his staff.

“Yes, that played a huge factor,” she said. “We’ve known the Tennessee coaches. We’ve known them for four years. We know the coaches’ families. And we’ve been a part of that family for the past three years. Yes, that does give us great comfort with the fact that we know them better than the other coaches that we recruiting him. Knowing what you are getting is always better than what you’re not aware of getting. So yes, it played a role in the decision.”

DB Micah Abernathy could decide between Tennessee and UGA this week (AJC)

DB Micah Abernathy could decide between Tennessee and UGA this week (AJC)

Ms. Abernathy also addressed speculation that Micah picked Tennessee because the Volunteers agreed to take his older brother on a football scholarship.

“I’m not aware of that,” she said. “Where did you see that? That’s not the current plan, no.”

Ralph David is taking a medical red-shirt this year as a senior at Cincinnati, she confirmed. He will also be graduating from Cincinnati in December, giving him the opportunity to transfer and play at another FBS institution next season under NCAA rules.

“But right now he’s undecided on whether he’s going to play another season or go to the (NFL) combine,” she said. “He hasn’t made that decision and I don’t know when he will.”

When asked if Tennessee had also offered a scholarship to Ralph David, she replied, “They haven’t said anything to me. I’m not aware of that.”

With Micah’s decision out of the way, his mother was thankful and appreciative to the colleges that expressed interest over the past few years.

“We’re very happy for the decision,” he said. “We feel very blessed and fortunate that Micah attracted such great universities from across the country. They were all wonderful institutions of learning. It basically came down to where he felt most comfortable and knowing that he felt connected to family from the coaching staff to the team. It was a tough decision, making that choice among his top five schools. But at the end of the day, the Tennessee Volunteers won out.”

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Abernathy is rated as the state’s No. 19 overall prospect, per the 247sports composite rankings. His GAC teammate, wide receiver Darius Slayton, is rated as the state’s No. 16 prospect and will likely decide soon between UGA and Auburn, among others.

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— By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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