Yesterday’s moment of recruiting intrigue

No, I’m not talking about Xzavier Dickson’s verbal to Alabama.  (And after reading some of the Georgia message boards last night, I think there’s a sizeable chunk of the online Dawgnation community which needs to walk away from the keyboard for a few days.)

Rather, it’s the call to revoke the offer to Zack Witchett.

UGA revoked the football scholarship offer on Wednesday to Booker T. Washington WR/DB Zack Witchett, who had been committed to the Bulldogs since last summer.

The news was delivered by UGA assistant Tony Ball in telephone calls to Witchett and his high school coach Stanley Pritchett.

“[Ball] said they were going to revoke the offer,” Pritchett said. “They said Georgia couldn’t take a chance on a guy that they didn’t know whether or not he could stay out of trouble and contribute to the team next year.”

When’s the last time you heard a Georgia coach make a public comment like that?  And it’s even more puzzling given the timing:

… Witchett was suspended three games during his senior season for violating undisclosed team rules, according to his coach. Georgia was made aware of the situation at the time and waited until less than a month before signing day to revoke the offer.

This isn’t a Dexter Moody situation.  That was a decision made almost immediately after Moody’s troubles came to light, and was made with zero comment by Georgia.

Something’s changed and the program wants that known.  I expect there are some interesting conversations coming up in the next four weeks between high school coaches and Georgia’s staff.

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56 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

56 responses to “Yesterday’s moment of recruiting intrigue

  1. mwo

    I had wondered why UGA didn’t rescind the offer to Witchett at the time the incident occured. I am not saying the kid doesn’t deserve another chance, but with all the attention given to discipline issues in Athens, it just seemed like it was a risk not needed. I’ll bet that everyone whining about revoking his offer would have been the first ones saying ” I told you so” should he have came to Athens and gotten into trouble. I wonder if there are statistics as to what amount of the general student population gets into the same trouble the student athletes do- alcohol, suspended licenses, etc. I also wonder how many students have been ticketed for emerging from an alley. I would bet the football team’s record of getting in trouble is not out of line with the students record, it just makes better headlines for the Red and Black and Athens Banner Herald.

    • Keese

      Word is Dickson’s dad had his hand out during the recruiting process similar to Cecil Newton…and the last minute switch was because his dad was forcing his decision to Bama. Wednesday morning he called the UGA coaches telling them he was on board and all Dawg. Between Wed. morning and later that evening, something big happened that caused the switch. Most people close to the recruiting of this kid believe his dad was successful in getting something in return for his committment to Bama at the last minute. It’s pretty indicative considering the uncomfortable moment at when he committed to Bama on tv. The kid did not look enthused at all. Dickson wanted to go to UGA badly and was all Dawg….even more so after the senior gala. Hell, he was even trying to help convice other recruits to come to UGA with him…he was even wearing his UGA gear and taking a ton of pictures with it on…his best friend is Corey Moore (uga safety commit from Griffin and team mate) and they always were talking about playing defense together at UGA, way before their senior years.

      Bray was an Auburn lean for a while but the Dawgs made up a ton a ground. Bray was one of the “silent” commits to UGA. Problem is he also told Auburn the same thing. Speculative third party information is saying that Auburn was involved with the hiring of one of his family members.

      Folks, certain members of the UGA staff, without naming specific names have declared an all out war on Alabama schools, especially Bama. Bama is trying like hell to convince Crowell to come there and using any means necessary. (And the last month addition of Auburn to his committment list, you can add them too). You can bet your ass the boosters of Bama and Auburn are not shying away from stuffing pockets of these recruits family.

      Just something to put in your pipe Dawg fans…we are losing the border recruiting war b/c of this. ….the Alabama schools are doing whatever is necessary and not afraid to bend rules whenever needed. Before you start casting stones at Richt and Garner just also keep in mind they are recruiting these kids the right way.

      • Keese

        One other thing, the recruting for Dickson is not over at all. In fact, if we get any other recruits to switch schools, we stand the best chance with him.

        Folks, I know the overriding truth is that coaching is a bottom line business and winning solves everything…So for that, I can understand fans demanding more out of our team and coaches (I am one of them). But there is also a lot of ignorance by our fans as to what is happening around the program. Fans will make their own reality when it comes to our football program. If you EVER supported Richt, he needs our public support for him more than ever. Fan and public perception goes a long way in this business.

        Just as an ancedote, remember the “problems” fans were bitching about last year? Turnovers, penalties and kick returns were the talking problems last year. Well Richt made significant strides in that department this season…..and I believe our problems this season will get rectifided as well. We as fans just might be surprised at what we can accomplish if we stand behind our coaches and our team.

  2. HamDawg11

    Wonder how we would’ve handled Da’Rick if he’d come to UGA and been involved in a bar fight which led to the hospitalization of an off-duty cop…

  3. Binjamin

    I believe Witchett has also been kicked off his basketball team recently. I would be willing to bet that this was the last straw with Richt & Co.

    • DavetheDawg

      Simple. He’d either be gone or suspended for a substantial amount of time. However, you, I or anyone reading feels about the current state of our program, there is one thing we can all hold our heads up high about: We aren’t Tennessee.

      • DavetheDawg

        Sorry…meant that as a reply to HamDawg11. I was born with no cartlilage in my fingers….

      • UGAdog

        Given the latest development with Marcus Dowtin, i’d say we’re not in any position to throw stones at UT. The only difference is it didn’t involve an off-duty police officer.

        • DavetheDawg

          It’s a cumulative thing with UT. The Dowtin thing is wierd…and punishment is still pending, no?

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Does this mean Crowell’s attitudinal questions may mean we have backed off on him?

  4. 69Dawg

    This is of course a move by the AD to start to right the ship. Unfortunately the people who yelled the loudest about the discipline issues are the same people that want Richt’s scalp and will likely get it. 1 No over signing, but under signing 2poor choices in recruits 3 wasted schollies on kickers and walk-ons 4 once on scholly always on scholly barring a felony. All this has finally come home to roost for Mark. He is in he vortex now and can’t get out.

  5. Will Trane

    Finally the Dawgs staff has changed its recruiting strategy. I’ve said before if a kid is a problem in high school he will be a problem at the next level. Plus when a kid goes to an all star game to make an announcement that puts me on notice the kid is all about himself. You do not have to have all the 5 star players to have a winning program. You have to have a roster of players. A roster of solid players that is there at all times (film study, playbook reviews, meetings, S&C, study hall, practice, the 4 full year ride, and every play of the game). There are hundreds of young men in high school football. There pleny of players and game changers. Improve the relationship with the high school coaches. Improve your evaluation of the players and position for what you need to . You can not get caught up in the rivals list and the network parade of players and games. There is saying among quail hunters about dogs. “You do not kill birds over paper [AKC, FDSB], but over “dawgs”.

    • k zach

      Well said Will i could not agree more.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Absolutely.

        • aristoggle

          Best bird dog I ever hunted over was a liver-spotted pointer bitch named Nell. Only papers she knew about were the ones she whelped her litters on.

          Great point (no pun intended) Will!

    • sasssybritches

      Great post!!!

    • Motorcitymad

      Great comment. Thing that stuck out to me about Bray’s commitment last night was that he was going to AU for the next “three to four years”. Not saying anyone should adopt a head-in-the-sand outlook about what college ball means to these kids, but to me it was a pretty brazen announcement of intent to showboat, half-ass and put the program somewhere near last place on his list of priorities. If he’d committed to UGA and said that, I’d be more pissed than pleased.

    • Hackerdog

      I agree that attitude is important. But it’s laughable to state that a 2 star kid who busts his ass is better than a 4 star kid who has coasted on his skills. Hopefully we can get 4 star kids who will bust their asses. But the solution to our woes is not to bring in more 2 star kids.

  6. Zero Point Zero

    The reason for most of our player troubles is Athens. There are bars there. Lots of them. There are cops there. Lots of them. There are cops who love, LOVE, to arrest students. If the TN bar fight went down in Athens there would be prison time being served. If Richt got in a one car accident on the way home at 2am while Kathy was out of town…he would be with Damon Evans right now. Are the kids at Alabama, Florida and TN not drinking, or not getting caught by cops that don’t want to look very hard?

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    It’s getting to be easier to obtain a scholly by walking on than it is via the recruiting process. We’ll soon have a team made up entirely of Rudy Ruettigers.

    Seriously, I don’t mind loosing the Zach Witchett’s if we get the James Vaughters. Oh, Vaughters’s isn’t coming to UGA. Let’s go to plan C.

    • Sanford222View

      Vaughters has the smarts to go to Stanford. That is why he isn’t going to UGA. He is looking for a totally different academic experience than most highly rated athletes. It has nothing to do with Richt and little to do with the football program at Georgia.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        And, you know what, more power to him….be nice to think we could attract kids with this kind of academic speed, but good for Vaughters….hell I wish I coulda gone to Stanford.

        (Especially now.)

    • Tenn_Dawg

      Of all the things to blame Richt for the Vaughter’s deal is not one of them. Now I think that losing the best guys right and left to UT, BAMA, AU and UT is a totally different story.

  8. hailtogeorgia

    Well, atleast it shows that someone up there gets it.

  9. crapsandwich

    Yep. McGarity’s in the House.

  10. Go Dawgs!

    Someone, either Richt or someone else above him on the totem pole, has decided to make off-field matters a focal point. If you’ve already had off-field issues in the past, apparently UGA is now going to take a long, hard look at whether they think you’ll be a problem in college. Or, at least, more trouble than you’re worth…

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Folks somebody in the administration has been taking a long hard look for a long time, and we have lost committees and signees because of it.

      Whether they have been looking at the wrong thing, who knows?

      But they have absolutely been looking at behavioral issues in high school for a long, long time.

  11. Todd

    Dickson seemed dumb as a rock, but he was a player. Glad Quan (whaegl-baby) Bray is going to the plains. Real curious about Lemay. Quality I’m sure. He talks about religon alot, so he must be good ( son of a preacher man too) Did you guys notice how many kids from Georgia that were making plays? Scott-Wesley dropped a pass and didn’t look all that and the only thing Rome did was jump off sides.
    The Driskell kid is a stud. Landry looked great and I’m sure Mett will get hit him on some big gaines before it is over. I realize you can’t get them all, but at least get a couple of the good ones. Remember Greg Reid getting MVP. How about that saftey going to FSU? Clowney is a straight beast! wonder if he goes with Dickson to Bama. Malcom Mitchell looked good too. Face it, the big time game changers aren’t coming to Georgia. Why would they? If Georgia can’t win with previous talent, what are they gonna do with less?

    • Sanford222View

      You can’t be seriously be basing the talent level of these players off of one high school all star game. I guess Isiah Crowell isn’t very good either since he didn’t put up big stats?

      • hailtogeorgia

        Why not? It’s what happens after G-Day every year…remember how bad Murray was supposed to be?

      • Willie Williams

        Watchoo talkin’ bout Willis?

        If Rivals says you a “can’t miss” you can take that to da Bank, baby.

        No need to be trippin’ over performance. It’s all about the Stars, baby.

      • Todd

        I would take Greg Reid over our 5 star Branden Smith any day of the week. You guys can keep your head in the sand. Clowney is a killer and Dickson looked good. There is always some damn excuse to why Georgia didn’t land the true game changers. Just like excuses why Richt can’t win the big games against teams with better talent than what he has. I can’t remember a team that had more talent than Georgia and Georgia beating them. Does anybody remember David Greene and those offenses being that spectacular or was it the defense? You remember the defense that allowed David Greene and Co. to only have to score 17 points on average to win games. The truth is Van Gorder and about 6 to 7 athletes made the difference. Take away Pollock, Davis, Thurman, Sean Jones, Shockley, Weatherspoon, Gilbert and Richt doesn’t make it past the 6 year mark. Hell, he never really has had a great O-line.
        Look no further than the use of time outs and personnel. This is not a very well coached team. Change? Joe T., John Kasay, and a nutritionist are gonna make the big turn-around??? Please.

        • Tenn_Dawg

          “Change? Joe T., John Kasay, and a nutritionist are gonna make the big turn-around??? Please.”

          Now..here is something from Hookem:
          Hookem and Recruitocosm are now reporting that Texas filled the open strength and conditioning head coach position with former Tennessee strength and conditioning coach Bennie Wylie. There were rumblings over the last two days that Wylie, a native Texan, was waiting for the Longhorns to reach out to him and it seems that it was not a difficult decision when they did so.

          Wylie is a rising star in the profession (like virtually every other coach hired or being considered right now by Mack Brown) and a source indicated to BON that Wylie is considered in the industry as right up there with Tommy Moffitt as the best in the business.

          Wylie played running back at Sam Houston State in the mid-1990s and was a graduate assistant there afterwards. He has also spent time with the Dallas Cowboys and spent much of the 2000s as the S&C coach at Texas Tech before leaving for Knoxville last season.

          So Georgia hires the former video guy and a couple of former players while Texas hires professionals who are considered among the best in their respective fields. I have seen youtube video of this guy and he is young, intense, built like HW and actually does the work with the guys. So tell me again why hiring the “Mamby-Pamby Land ” video guy is suppose to give me hope that we will get better in terms of S&C.

          “Give me 3 sets of 10 you jackwagon”

          • Dog in Fla

            “Give me 3 sets of 10 you jackwagon”

            Okay…

          • sUGArdaddy

            Ummm…Joe T ain’t mamby pamby, brother. And John Kasay is about the meanest SOB on the planet.

            Don’t mistake your opinion for the facts. Youth isn’t everything. Joe T is most certainly not a young up and comer, but he is also not soft and mamby pamby. I can assure you of that. I don’t know if it will work. But I can promise you that things are about to get a whole lot meaner in the weight room.

            • Todd

              I will go on a limb and say the Texas hire WILL work out. You are HOPING that Joe. T and Kasay will work out. Just like everything else about Georgia, lives in the past and slow to react. Maybe Joe T will wear his letterman jacket and between sets have Loran Smith come in and tell “fire ‘em up” stories about Georgia football from 50 years ago .

  12. Tenn_Dawg

    Good Senator…the Georgia people just want some good news instead of bad reruns of uninspired play and uninspired press conferences. I think most Georgia fans put the season behind them…at least I did. They (I) were looking for something to feel good about. The bowl game was that opportunity given the time to plan and prepare. It was an opportunity to showcase the new attitude Georgia will play with. The opportunity to show the prospective recruits that Georgia will be coming back so hop on board. The opportunity to showcase the best WR in the country in his last game. The opportunity to somewhat unite the fan base going into the crucial part of the recruiting season.

    Instead we get that very poor display. Sometimes perception is reality and right now the perception is Georgia does not coach up their players like Saban, Meyer, etc., The perception is Richt does not know how to fix the problems. The Georgia people are tired of hearing empty promises of we are going to figure this out or we are going to get better when all we see is poor play and poor coaching. Now the perception of the Dream Team just seems like another empty promise.

    So from my perspective here is the mind set of those that need to step away….a Poor 2009 season begot a Shreveport bowl which begot a below standards 2010 recruiting class which begot another poor 2010 season which begot another crappy bowl which begot a piss poor performance which will beget losing the best class in Georgia in years which will beget another crappy season. Just like the bible the perception is it will go on and on and on.

    • No One Knows You're a Dawg

      Well said.

      McGarity is making the same mistake Hamilton made with Fulmer and it’s going to hurt the program for the next 3-5 years.

  13. AlphaDawg

    Any truth to the rumor, that we didn’t use all practices available prior to the bowl game?

    • Tenn_Dawg

      I heard that as well. I hope it is not true. If it is I am not sure what to think about. If they were out recruiting where are the fruits of their labor? No new verbals in 6 months. All I know is much of the angst within the Bulldog Nation at this time could have been avoided if they would have only played well in the bowl and won the damn thing.

  14. Witchett’s story is even more interesting in light of Lemay whose off-field issues kept him from even seeing the field as a senior. Binjamin’s comment is along the lines of what I’m thinking: instead of some shift in Georgia policy, there had to be another development on Witchett’s side of things.

    I tend to give the school and coaches a lot of benefit of the doubt on these things as they know a lot more of the story. Whatever happened, Georgia probably made the right call, and of course Witchett will go on to have a career like Jamar Chaney or Jamar Bryant.

    • But Georgia under Richt has given plenty of players second opportunities. So why not in this case? And why state a reason publicly?

      • fuelk2

        How is telling his high school coach the reason stating it publicly? It’s not like they could just not explain it to him and move on.

        • I imagine that if Ball told the coach to keep it amongst themselves, he would have. From the player’s perspective, it does no good to have something like that aired publicly.

          • carolinadawg

            Then his high school coach should have kept quiet. Ball didn’t make anything public.

            • My educated guess is that at worst Ball didn’t mind if his quote got out there and that he made that clear when he told the coach. Georgia has normally been very tight-lipped about that kind of stuff.

              • Gravidy

                My uneducated guess is the same as your educated guess. Sending the message that UGA is suddenly paying special attention to off-field issues and winning immediately can’t be a bad thing for a program under fire for…uhhh…you know, off-field issues and losing. Nope, I don’t think Richt is upset about that discussion becoming public at all.

      • Keese

        From what I’ve heard inside the program, he was given an opportunity to keep his scholly after the first incident but there have been multiple attitude and academic problems since then.. and included the use of social media badly

  15. DawgPhan

    got to love internet fans…pissed that we lose out on a top rated recruit after they spent the whole week complaining that some no star jobber who loved UGA was passed over.

  16. H-Town Dawg

    I agree that the 5-star players don’t always live up to the hype . And there are plenty examples of “sleeper” recruits doing great things once they get to campus. But it is disturbing that it’s become so difficult for UGA to secure commitments from the state’s top players. Looking at the group of Georgia kids on the rosters of last night’s all-star game, I’m sure that Justin Scott-Wesley won’t be the only one to sign with the Dawgs but it’s troubling to see so many of them either already committed to other schools (including close rivals) or reluctant to commit at all. Even if they do finally sign up with Richt apparently there’s enough doubt in their minds to cause them to hesitate. I get that they’re all counseled by friends and family to take all their visits and milk the star-treatment process for all it’s worth but they could give a verbal commitment and still take visits if they want to do so. And given that the star treatment never really ends anyway, I don’t see why an athlete who truly wants to be a Dawg would feel the need to drag it out.

  17. Scorpio Jones, III

    And of course the whining, carping, complaining and general open revolt among the Georgia fan base has nothing to do with kids being leery of Georgia, right?

    Fire Bobo, Fire Richt, Fire everybody….on and on and on…..these kids can read, like, ya know?

    And again, as I said higher up, we have been “reviewing” high school issues on potential recruits may have had for years, and have lost signees because of it…Jamar Cheney comes to mind and there was another linebacker last year, what’s new is that we are telling the world BEFORE they sign that this will be important.

    Since LeMay has already enrolled and practiced, one would assume whatever he did was not enough to set off the review alarms.

    • Todd

      I would think continually shitting the bed in Jacksonville and decline of the program, along with its inability to perform with the best in the league for the last 3 years has more of a factor than the fans. Yeah they read, but they aren’t reading about Georgia doing well on the sports page of newspapers. Maybe they wanted to see how Georgia did in the bowl game. They got to see a previously successful SEC coach show the world his slit on 4th and goal. All the while the dominant offense mustered two fgs against a conference USA team. I am sure that has nothing to do with the wanting to come to UGA. They can’t wait to jump on that train and “finish the drill”.

  18. shane#1

    How much is bad pub from all the arrests at UGA hurting recruiting? If I was a kid that liked to party, as a matter of fact I was a kid that liked to party, I would think twice about going to UGA. You can say that these kids need to concentrate on their schoolwork and football and forget partying, but that ain’t gonna’ happen. Not in the real world. There is no way that Swinford and Scott and Stanfill would survive the draconian Police State that is Athens today.