Isaiah McKenzie, a highly-regarded kick returner and receiver from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., committed to the Bulldogs at a press conference at his high school on Wednesday morning. His letter-of-intent arrived later in the morning, Georgia announced.
McKenzie immediately becomes the top candidate to return kicks and punts this season.
“His No. 1 job is gonna try to be that punt returner, kick returner for us,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “It could be the difference in one ballgame, and obviously help us on offense if we can sometimes just get 10 yards on the punt return. That’s the first down for the offense. And field position is so crucial, it sometimes doesn’t matter how effective you are as an offense, the percentages go down if the field position isn’t in your favor. It’s hard to go 80 yards on anybody, I don’t care who you’re playing.”
Head coach Mark Richt was watching film of McKenzie just before coming in Wednesday for his press conference.
“He’s a very dynamic return man,” Richt said. “That’s what jumps out at you the most – just his ability to make people miss one, two or even three times in the same play. He has a lot of speed, quickness and swag. He really believes in himself.”
Daily Archives: February 5, 2014
Per the presser going on right now,
If Rocker’s got the front four, do they need two linebacker coaches? And if they don’t need two linebacker coaches…
WARNING: Quotes from today’s presser should be taken in small doses. This blog assumes no responsibility for any reaction that may occur as a result of an excessive reading.
If your condition persists for more than four hours, consult your doctor.
… but it’s still pretty amusing.
Five-star linebacker Rashaan Evans — by far the most-watched recruit for both Auburn and Alabama fans on Signing Day — stunned many in his hometown of Auburn by choosing the Crimson Tide. A huge win for Nick Saban and a big blow for the Tigers (who had been considered the favorite until recently), Evans is the No. 15 overall player in the Top 247.
Somewhere out in some trailer park, Harvey Updyke silently pumps his fist.
I’ll use this Patrick Garbin post to set up a signing day thread. Have at it in the comments.
Hey, I’m just glad somebody noticed. It’s a start.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I’m coming around to the belief that the biggest story about Georgia’s 2014 recruiting is going to turn out to be Kendall Gant’s.
Gant, as many of you are aware, is the Florida defensive back whose longstanding commitment to Georgia was terminated this week, essentially by mutual arrangement, due to academics. Carvell talked to Gant’s coach and got the gory details.
“It was either Thursday or Friday of last week. I was sitting in on that meeting when McClendon told him. He basically said because Kendall hadn’t passed the test yet, they were going to have to take that scholarship and give it somebody else because they couldn’t afford to wait. They needed to make sure they filled their needs at the free safety position. That was the first I heard about all of this. I said ‘He’s fixing to take a trip to Marshall, and Marshall has the (NCAA partial qualifier) program. All he has to do is deal with what he’s supposed to do. He’s on campus, and they’re going to be involved with him the whole year. But at Marshall, if he passes the test, he’s there to go on the first day. And if lines up and he wins the job, he starts at Marshall.’”
Georgia doesn’t take partial qualifiers. Marshall does, which makes for a pretty simple call if you’re a kid who doesn’t want to go the JUCO route. And Gant clearly doesn’t, according to his coach.
“He didn’t make a final decision about that trip until after the communication we had with Georgia. Marshall offered him a trip because we have another kid committed there. Kendall wasn’t sure what he was going to do until after his conversation with (McClendon). Again, that was the first time I had heard they were going to pull the offer, and give it to somebody else even if he gets his two extra points and passes the test. He would still have to go to JUCO, and (Gant) didn’t want anything to do with JUCO because you’ve got to have a 2.5 core and an associate’s degree – and Marshall gave him an out on that. They said, ‘We’ll sign you. If you don’t make it, we’ll prop you. If you make it, you’re going to line up and compete for a free safety spot.’”
Gant and his coach (“It will always be on my mind. I will always have that question mark there.”) are clearly disappointed by Georgia’s decision not to hold a spot open, and on a certain level I can certainly understand that. But I’ve also got to say as somebody who’s shaken his head more than once over the way this staff has handled roster management in other classes that I welcome what appears to be a more clear-eyed, or hardass, depending on your point of view, approach to signings. Gant’s coach talks about the possibility that his player eventually makes his test score, but that’s a hope, not a guarantee. If things don’t work out academically, that means Georgia’s left a slot open in a class that’s not going to be a large one.
Not only that, but Gant would then be left with the JUCO option that sounds very unappealing to him. I’m not saying Georgia’s done him any favors, since he wanted to be in Athens, but there’s something to be said for honesty, particularly if the kid has a legitimate option in Marshall. It’s either that, or Georgia goes down the oversigning trail, something Richt has no appetite for doing.
What I don’t know is whether this is a one-off call, based on the staff changes, or whether it heralds a different approach in Richt’s recruiting philosophy. Georgia seems to have approached signing day more aggressively this year than in years past, but, again, it’s hard to say how much of that is due to the change at defensive coordinator and short-term talent evaluation. I hope it indicates that Richt has finally grown as tired of leaving money on the table, so to speak, as most of us have, and that the days of dressing less than 70 scholarship players on the in-season roster are behind the program. We shall see.
I love the way this is phrased:
ACC officials have voted to send the NCAA’s Board of Directors “a piece of legislation that would grant the conferences the flexibility to determine who played in their football championship game,” ACC commissioner John Swofford told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
Anything goes. Let a thousand conference championship formats bloom!
They’ll tell you with a straight face that this is for the fans, but it’s really about jockeying for the four-team playoffs. As well as keeping the extra cash generated by a conference title game.
… Under the current structure, the NCAA requires that each conference have an equal number of teams in each division, and every team must play each opponent in its own division. Should the NCAA lighten its restrictions, conferences would have the option to change the format.
I bet Nick Saban has a few ideas about how to game that.
The conferences could change their formats every year, I supposed based on the perception of the strength of their teams in the preseason. Why not? Shoot, once the playoffs expand past four, the conferences will be even more motivated to jigger their title arrangements. If they guess wrong, it’s not like they won’t get paid anyway.