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Sidelined prep star Jarnell Stokes may be at college soon

Though Jarnell Stokes is still pondering his college decision, there’s a good chance the five-star 2012 forward prospect and Southwind High senior will be playing for one of the six schools he’s considering in January as a mid-term enrollee.

Stokes, a 6-8, 255-pound forward ranked the No. 11 senior prospect nationally by Rivals.com, says he’s on pace to graduate this month from Southwind. If he does graduate early, Stokes, an honors student, could enroll in college in January and play this season once he’s attending classes and is cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Spring semester classes at Memphis begin on Jan. 12.

By Jason Smith

“I’ve set myself up to go to college midyear. I really don’t know yet, but that’s definitely an option,” said Stokes, who’s considering the University of Memphis along with Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee. “I have other options that me and my dad don’t want to reveal. I walk by faith and not by sight, so I’m just waiting on God to give me the word on what’s my next option.”

Stokes, who transferred to Southwind from Central High last summer, was ruled athletically ineligible at Southwind by Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association executive director Bernard Childress in August due to transfer rules. His hardship appeal to the TSSAA Board of Control was denied last month, leaving him ineligible to play his senior season at Southwind.

Willie Stokes, Jarnell’s father, said four of the six schools his son is considering — Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida and Tennessee — have athletic scholarships available for him in January. While Memphis doesn’t, Stokes could qualify for an academic scholarship that would cover his tuition for a semester and he could be a walk-on with the Tigers.

Stokes believes he’s ready to contribute immediately in college. He certainly has the frame, but says he’ll leave the decision of whether to play this season up to the coach he commits to.

Stokes said he doesn’t know when he’ll commit. He was in Knoxville on Saturday for Tennessee’s game against No. 17 Pittsburgh.

“I talk to my dad about that every day. I’m just waiting on an answer from God,” he said. “I wish I could just choose right now and get it all out the way, but I don’t think I’m ready to make a decision right now. Maybe I will be next week, but I can’t give you a timetable right now.”

Stokes said he’s been working out three to four times a day, something he said he couldn’t do if he was playing for Southwind. He said he doesn’t regret his decision to transfer.

“I mean, it hasn’t been tough at all,” Stokes said of sitting out his senior year. “Honestly, I’ve got the mindset of college now. I’ve gotten over that. Transferring to Southwind, I knew the consequences and I was ready to face it from the get-go. I knew the decision I was making going into it.”


Source: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/dec/04/stokes-may-be-at-college-soon/

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